What Is the Role of a SAFe Product Manager (And Why They Matter)

What Is the Role of a SAFe Product Manager

What Is the Role of a SAFe Product Manager (And Why They Matter)

A SAFe product manager has various different responsibilities. For instance, working closely together with the Product Owner. Find out more about this role.

Keyword(s): SAFe product manager

Are you implementing the Scaled Agile Framework within your company or organization? Have you been hearing about how everyone else is going agile or incorporating lean and you’re not quite sure what that means?

If you’re not sure whether or not your company could benefit from hiring a product manager then keep reading. If you’re a product manager who’s not quite sure how you fit into your company, then you’re in the right place too.

Don’t worry; we’re going to break down what a SAFe product manager is. We'll also look at how they can help you incorporate an agile workplace into your product development.

Let’s get started.

What Is a Product Manager?

In today's fast-paced world, customers expect new and exciting products regularly. New features must be added to existing products, from physical devices to software, and apps alike.

If you're in the business of releasing and updating products, then you need a product manager. You need someone to oversee the entire project and ensure on-time delivery to happy customers.

The product manager is the front-end, customer-facing member of your team. The product manager looks at the company-wide goals and vision as well as the current state of their products. Then, they will focus on creating and updating the product line to fit the market demand.

They are also responsible for delivering the best product at the best value to the customer. In doing this, they must create a vision and roadmap for the development of the product.

Additionally, the PM will:

  • identify the features and benefits of the product that are important to the client
  • manage the product backlog
  • identify what will be worked on next
  • decide the order each feature will be rolled out

They will determine which items in the backlog will strategically fill the demands from the market. The PM also validates the priorities so that everyone can transparently see the items in the backlog. This also allows everyone to see how to deliver the best products to your customers.

This role is vital within the SAFe environment, and a successful PM will be able to identify how they fit into the Scaled Agile Framework.

How Does This Fit Into the SAFe Framework?

The SAFe system is a way for large organizations to structure their product development in a lean and start-up similar style. It provides a framework in which small teams within a large organization can operate. This allows large organizations to operate in an agile environment and experience the same benefits seen in smaller companies.

Through the planning and execution of release trains, product managers can incorporate ART to drive their products to market quickly, efficiently, and sustainably. Agile Release Train is a system in which a team of teams within an organization can operate to work towards a common vision and roadmap.

The person keeping everyone on the same page and working towards the same vision is the SAFe product owner/product manager. They are the Release train engineer and their job is to manage the ART team to ensure delivery of the product to the client.

The product manager must be highly trained in the SAFe system. This allows them to manage your teams and ensure timely delivery of your product. While your entire team, and really your entire organization must be trained in the agile method to ensure its success, the product manager must be specialized to properly manage the process.

Benefits of Having a SAFe Product Manager

When it comes to delivering a quality product to your customers, having a SAFe product manager ensures that your various departments are not working in separate silos.

Your design team needs to work with your marketing team. Both need to work with research and development to deliver the best product that your client will love and use every day.

The product manager ensures that these teams are working together and that they are working towards the same vision and final product features. Collaboration is a must in any agile environment.

Unfortunately, in many large organizations, it can be hard to strengthen the collaboration and communication amongst the various departments. Your product manager brings your teams together to ensure the proper collaboration happens. This means you can deliver an amazing final product.

The product manager clearly defines the expectations for each department and ensures that they are carried out. This role can be difficult to do without proper training. The PM must be able to communicate and negotiate between several departments.

They are the glue that holds together the team and unites the various departments working to create and deliver the product to the customer. This vital role is important to any company that wants to scale its growth while also remaining agile and lean within its industry.

Incorporate This Vital Role in Your Company Today

Product development is a team sport and your SAFe product manager is the coach leading the team onto the field. To be successful and to get the best product to market, you need a strong leader who will listen to your clients and guide your teams towards that final product.

Success will come when you can deliver quality products to happy customers. Do this while maintaining a lean and agile environment, you will see tremendous success for your company.

If you have more questions about the product manager role and how you can incorporate it into the agile workplace, contact us today. We’re in the business of building agile leaders every day and look forward to working with you and your company.

A Guide to Passing the Scaled Agile Exam

A Guide to Passing the Scaled Agile Exam

A Guide to Passing the Scaled Agile Exam

Are you due to take the scaled Agile exam? Here are some great tips to help you make sure you pass the exam with flying colors.

Keyword(s): Scaled Agile exam

Show the world you are an expert in implementing Agile and improving projects by passing the Scaled Agile exam. The Scaled Agile exam combines questions related to your experience and skills that analyze your experience.

What should you study and how is the exam administered? This helpful guide will breakdown how to pass the Scaled Agile exam and set you up for success.

Scaled Agile Exam

Organizations that implement Lean and Agile Practices can use the guidelines provided by the Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe. SAFe tests your knowledge of three different categories of information including Agile Software Development, Lean Product Development, and System Thinking.

These practices allow businesses to improve when dealing with issues that arise when developing and delivering ideal systems and software by a specified time. The Scaled Agile Framework practices are complex, challenging, and a crucial aspect of business for many companies.

Becoming an expert on SAFe practices will help you move your company towards the SAFe was of performing tasks and allow you to easily take on new challenges.

Passing the Agile exam not only provides you with a certificate but it positions you as an Agile leader in the industry. Scaled Agile Framework skills can help advance your career and improve projects you are working on.

Details of the SAFe 5 Exam

The Scaled Agile Framework exam is taken on a computer. It is web-based and timed. This exam is given in English and participants are not allowed to use any books or notes when taking the exam.

The format of the exam is multiple choice. After participants complete the Leading SAFe training course, they will be given access to the exam on the online SAFe Community Platform. Participants are given 90 minutes once the exam starts to complete the exam. If you go over the 90 minutes given for the exam the exam will time out.

There are 45 questions on the exam. You must correctly answer 34 questions to pass. The cost of the exam is included in the course registration fee.

The course fee only includes one attempt at the exam and that attempt must be used 30 days after completing the preparatory course.

Retaking the Agile Exam

If you do not pass the examination on the first attempt, you can retake the exam again for a fee. You can immediately take the exam again your first unsuccessful attempt.

If you do not pass the examination on the second attempt, you have to wait a minimum of 10 days before you can take the exam for the third time. There is an additional 30-day required wait period if you do not pass on the third attempt.

Once a participant scores a minimum passing score of 76% they are not allowed to retake the exam unless updates are made to the Agile system and the exam.

Setting Up a Study Space

The Scaled Agile Exam is designed to analyze the knowledge participants have in Agile Software Development, Lean Product Development, and System Thinking.

The exam will test your theoretical knowledge and practical skills. You must have both of these to pass the exam successfully.

Don’t wait until the last minute to study for the exam. Some participants thrive on last-minute cram sessions but for most this is not the best way to prepare.

Start your preparation with a proper time management strategy. Set up a schedule for when you will study for the Scaled Agile exam. Organize your study time around your schedule and according to the amount of preparation you feel you need.

Study in a place where you can spread out all of your notes and course materials. Make sure the place you choose to study has enough light and a comfortable chair. Put any distractions away out of sight so they do not interfere with your study time.

Some people like to play background music to help them focus while they are studying while others need complete silence. Do whichever works best for you.

Some people need to have a neat and organized room to concentrate while other throve in a cluttered environment.

Think about the type of study environment that works best for you and do what you can to set your environment up to meet your optimal study conditions.

Preparing for the Agile Exam

Some participants find visual aids to be really helpful when studying for the Scaled Agile exam. When you begin a new topic, challenge yourself to write down everything you already know about that section before you study. Then fill in the gaps of your knowledge with the areas you find as you study.

Once you get a bit closer to the date of your exam, consider converting all of your notes into one-page diagrams. Sometimes participants don’t remember the answer but they can “see it” visually on the pages they studied from.

Getting all of your ideas down in this format can help you quickly recall information and “see it” when you take the text.

Practice exam questions from previous versions of the text. This can be one of the most effective ways to prepare. Time yourself as you practice the old questions to see how long it takes you to answer the questions.

Make sure you are not spending too much time on the questions. If you are that’s probably your cue to go back and study more.

Another great study strategy is to study with a friend and explain the answer and questions to them. Since they are not familiar with the material you will have to do a really thorough job of explaining it.

This method can help you achieve a better understanding of the material yourself by explaining it to someone else.

Good Luck on Your Exam

Taking the Scaled Agile exam can be the first step in an exciting career path. Becoming a SAFe 5 Agilist requires a lot of knowledge and skills.

The Agile Center can help prepare you for your exciting future as a SAFe 5 Agilist. Enrol in our SAFe Agilist examination preparatory class today and get on the road to success.

Tips to Help Your Scrum Team Work Remotely

Tips to Help Your Scrum Team Work Remotely

Tips to Help Your Scrum Team Work Remotely

COVID-19 caused a huge change in almost every area of our daily life, including the workplace. Also Scrum Teams started working remotely from home offices. How can you and your team and stay productive at the same time?

Keyword(s): scrum team, remote working

Building an scrum team in a remote environment is a mix of two big challenges - being agile and building a team. Follow these steps to ensure success with remote Scrum teams.

Virtual Daily Scrum Meetings

In Scrum, on every single day of a sprint, the scrum group holds a daily scrum meeting known as the daily scrum or the daily standup meeting. The daily standup meeting offers both project stakeholders and the team an opportunity to get a fast update of the project's status and align their targets with that of the project. Adapt to new reality, remote stand-up meetings should be held.

Stand-ups are a core element of the agile framework-and they're also a simple meeting structure to roll out for distant teams. Remote stand-up meetings are a good way for teams to align brief - and long-term targets, along with personal tasks and general team projects. The standup meeting is held to make the team conscious of the present status and impediments, not to foster an extended discussion or try to solve problems. In 15-minute time-box members of the Development Team examine the progress in the direction of achieving the Sprint Goal since the earlier remote Daily Scrum.

If one-on-one meetings were part of the office experience, continue to hold them virtually with remote Scrum teams.

Use Digital tools for remote collaboration

Remote teams require a special set of tools and practices to be productive outside of the headquarters building, particularly as a historic number of companies transition to remote work because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With remote groups, you must make sure the free flow of correct info by fostering a communicative culture through the use of the right tools and practicing robust collaboration skills.

Remote Scrum team members should discover digital ways to copy the workflows, practices, tools and perks that a colocated group has access to - from the comforts of their homes.To maintain remote Scrum teams working nicely together, have totally different team members handle various virtual meetings.

Scrum teams that usually use cards on the wall for sprint planning should transition to an digital Scrum board when they work remotely.

Team members in every office will benefit from regular face time, and that includes video conferencing in addition to visits to remote workplaces.

A simple, annotated screenshot shared with remote Scrum team members is a robust and simple tool.

It's essential than ever before to ensure your remote Scrum Team has the processes in place to be productive and the tools in place to foster collaboration and communication.

Real-time Messaging Connects All Members

Real-time Messaging Connects All Members

If your group members don't have access to the proper tools, distant working can become challenging, even impossible.

You should use instant messaging platforms to keep everyone connected. Most organizations already use messaging platforms, even for colocated employees, however for remote Scrum teams, this method to communicate in actual time is essential.

Slack is one of theses messaging platforms you can use with your scrum team. Slack is a proprietary business communication platform developed by American software company Slack Technologies. It offers many IRC-style features, including persistent chat rooms organized by topic, private groups, and direct messaging.

Create Remote Culture

Many teams that simply switched to a remote method of working are dealing with new challenges, which can require revisiting group norms, cultivating morale, and adapting a team's strategy to coaching. This is especially as a result of the remote team members may have completely different communication types, work ethics, context, values, and their cultures might differ fully.

Remind your team of the adage "Work doesn't exist unless it's visible to the team." When employees transfer to remote, their work can turn into opaque because it's hard to see what other team members are doing at home.

In-person face time helps the group know their remote colleagues in higher fidelity, which, in turn, makes future video conferencing more practical.

Remote Scrum teams ought to create agendas and doc meetings to maintain all team members within the loop.

Since folks aren't all together within the workplace, more facilitation could also be required on the Scrum Master's part to be able to transfer items/tasks along.

Though virtual environments provide some distinctive challenges to Scrum teams, there are many potential methods to achieve success. But, as you communicate much less frequently together with your team members in a remote team set up, strengthening relationships becomes much more complex.

Remote Scrum teams are capable of finding that with some considerations and planning and may achieve efficient velocities whereas developing their very own distinctive team relationships.

Check and monitor team well being and be sure to are aware if any of your group members need further help if they are having challenges being productive and engaged with their distant setup.

These practices guarantee good communication between the whole remote Scrum team and maintain everybody focused and aligned on objectives.

If you have questions in your mind about the remotely working Scrum team, reach out to us today.

How the Modern Enterprise Architect Benefits From SAFe® Training

How the Modern Enterprise Architect Benefits From SAFe Training

How the Modern Enterprise Architect Benefits From SAFe Training

Learn how an enterprise architect greatly benefits by exploring certifications, such as the SAFe® 5 Architect (ARCH), in this career and industry guide.

Keyword(s): enterprise architect

Unfortunately, 60% of product managers wish they had more technical skills. And only 5% said they know how to code. Having a technical background can help immensely when planning product development.

Enter the enterprise architect. The liaison between executives and the teams developing new products in your company. The person who knows the tech stack of your company as well as how to ensure timely delivery of products to the customer.

Are you exploring the career benefits of becoming an enterprise architect? Are you currently in the field but looking for a way to increase your marketability and skills?

Then earning certifications such as SAFe 5 Architect could greatly benefit you.

Don’t worry if you don’t know what that means, keep reading to learn all about it and how it can further your dream career.

How Agile Can Help You

The architect prioritizes the strategies and identifies the key problem areas. They are responsible for keeping the development on time and on budget. They see the big picture and ensure that when the team is sprinting, they are heading in the right direction.

As the enterprise architect, you marry the specialized tech skills with the soft skills necessary for any company to succeed. You ensure that the organizational infrastructure and systems align with the company goals.

You make sure that your team meets their key performance indicators (KPIs). And you ensure that collaboration happens across departments. Thus you avoid separate silos amongst employees.

It can be difficult to work with so many responsibilities. But this is what gives you and your company a competitive advantage when it comes to creativity, flexibility, and productivity.

The agile framework is a seamless transition to help your IT department work closely with others. It also helps to improve productivity and transparency. By incorporating an agile foundation with the technical skills you can create an environment that rapidly delivers quality products.

Start to incorporate the agile framework into your planning process. Then you will see an increase in productivity and implementation. No longer will the IT department wonder if anyone cares what they’re doing.

And no longer will the marketing department be tasked with selling a product that customers don’t want. Instead, you ensure that the systems are in place to ensure seamless functionality.

How Certification Can Further Your Career

As you further your career you will find it necessary to show certifications. Use this to show you’re well-versed in the agile framework as well as in enterprise architecture and IT experience.

Finding the right certification to show you’ve mastered the Scaled Agile Framework is important to further your career. This certification will enhance your current EA degree and IT background.

The SAFe certification doesn’t substitute for enterprise architect classes. Rather it enhances your coursework by giving you a new way to plan how your team approaches development and production.

As the enterprise architect, it is up to you to define the key initiatives. Then communicate those across the various disciplines and departments within your team. These soft skills are a vital addition to the important technical knowledge you must have to be successful in this role.

Certification in certain areas will allow you to be more of a T-shaped employee. This will give you various opportunities across several departments and roles. You need to be well-versed in various soft skills such as effective communication.

As the liaison between upper management and your team, you need to be able to work across the various departments.

However, you also need to have in-depth knowledge of the technical aspects of the work your team is completing. This will allow you to get in the trenches, so to speak, when you need to, to help with various backlog tasks.

How to Choose the Right Certification for an Enterprise Architect

You know that you enjoy IT and have a solid background in the vital technical skills needed. However, you want to continuously learn and become better at your job. Or maybe you want to branch out and investigate architecture as a possible new career move.

Either way, SAFe for Architects certification can give you valuable training in how to be an efficient enterprise architect who runs and manages productive teams.

As you’re exploring certification, we encourage you to find a program that will teach you the agile method. And will incorporate seamlessly your EA system.

You want to successfully deliver products that your marketing team can sell to satisfied customers. And your team works hard to deliver these products on time. To speed up your delivery without sacrificing quality, then the Scaled Agile Framework is key to your success.

SAFe training will allow your team to scale their efforts and deliver new products regularly and quickly.

You Can Benefit from Certification Today

As you explore developing your career, the enterprise architect may be a great choice for you if you enjoy working with both the technology and operations of your business or company. If you’re good at seeing the big picture and work well with many people across departments, then you’re on the right path.

Additionally, as you further your career and want to add to your resume, certification in a framework such as agile can help you. It will also help your team to deliver new products and software programs on-demand and at scale.

If you have more questions on how we can help you find the perfect certification for you and your company, reach out to us today. We are here to help you get on the path to the perfect job and to utilize the agile method to develop your team to increase efficiency and attain their goals.

How an Agile Consultant Can Help You

How an Agile Consultant Can Help You

How an Agile Consultant Can Help You

Agile methods are among the top solutions for IT management. With a consultant you can utilize an even larger benefit from this framework

Keyword(s): agile consultant

Agile development frameworks are common in the world of IT and software. Giants like Spotify, Twitter, and eBay all use the approach.

The Agile manifesto dates to 2001. It has inspired countless teams to find faster and better ways to develop products.

One advantage is the movement of decision-making control to the teams themselves. This is a collaborative approach, not a top-down method.

So bearing this in mind, how can an Agile consultant help you make the most of the framework? Read on to learn more about the advantages of hiring one.

Enjoy Better Clarity In Your Team

One of the main benefits of using an Agile consultant is the clarity they bring to the project. Think of them as a bridge between the stakeholders and the development team.

The consultant helps the stakeholders to agree on what they expect from the project. This gives them a better idea of what to expect. No more "I'll know what I want when I see it"!

Then the consultant can take this to the team to help with goal setting. Knowing the expectations in advance helps to keep this process more realistic.

The added advantage is that the stakeholders can have more trust in the team because they feel 'heard'. In turn, the team can work more quickly because they have a clear brief.

This reduces miscommunication, which prevents mistakes and unnecessary delays. It also means the consultant has a clear vision of the project's aims and scope.

This 'bigger picture' view can help with decision-making if problems occur. It's a step towards becoming a truly Agile business.

Ensure Projects Have Direction

One of the benefits of using an Agile approach is the iterative formula. Projects become organic, with regular milestones to review progress.

That also gives opportunities to pivot or take projects in a new direction. Stakeholders get projects that are more in line with requirements. Developers create better quality products.

This doesn't happen by accident. It's choreographed by the consultant to make sure groups stick to their goals.

The consultant works to manage the direction but not the content of the work. This lets the teams keep ownership of the project.

At the same time, they can hand over the problem-solving elements to the consultant. This gives teams the time and space to focus on what they do best⁠—creating products.

It also means that the consultant can stop the team from getting distracted. Instead of following tangents, the team is nudged back onto the action plan.

Approach Problem Solving In a New Way

Agile consultants aren't part of your team. It's better to think of them as outside forces helping to guide your team.

They're like IT sherpas. The organization contracts him or her to provide solutions as required.

When your team hits a problem, the consultant is there to help with solutions or answers. The advantage is that they're unbiased.

Their advice comes from their experience with the framework. They're not burdened by attachment to the project.

Their sole concern is resolving the issue so the team can get back to working on the project. This is also helpful if you have issues between the team and the stakeholders.

Agile consultants can act like independent, impartial advisors, rather than invested individuals.

This approach is the difference between Agile consulting and coaching. Coaches are 'in the thick of it' with their team. Consultants stay more detached so that they can focus on solving problems.

Get Targeted Support On a Project-By-Project Basis

Agile consultants usually only work on a short term contract basis. That's because they're hired for their Agile expertise.

They focus their advice to move the project forward. They also create action plans for the team to follow. If you need more hands-on Agile help, a coach might be a better fit.

The coach works within the team. By contrast, the consultant works alongside.

Coaches will help to develop the skills of individual team members. Consultants work at a more holistic level for the benefit of the project.

Remember that consultants work across a lot of projects within many different companies. This gives them a high degree of expertise with experience in a huge range of areas.

When a problem appears, it's likely the Agile consultant has faced something similar. This helps them to solve the problem faster and with a greater chance of success.

If problems occur that the consultant hasn't faced before? They're more likely to be able to troubleshoot.

They've got a huge bank of experience behind them that individual teams can't access. Consultants bring a vast knowledge base with them that can speed up projects.

Bring Agile Into Your Team With an Agile Consultant

97 per cent of companies now use Agile in their development process. That's still not 100 per cent.

It leaves three per cent of businesses that don't use the framework. Beyond that, not every team uses Agile. Some teams may use a version of Agile, such as Scrum.

Does your team still use the old Waterfall approach? The flexible Agile approach may seem unorthodox. You may prefer to have more finalised work created at each step of the process.

Whether you use Waterfall or another method, an Agile consultant can help to set up the systems you need to make this framework work for you.

They will guide you through the iterations so you can see for yourself how Agile benefits project development.

If this is your business, you would enjoy having an Agile coach on staff. They can take the action plans created by the consultant and help the team implement them.

Enjoy These Benefits

Now you know the huge benefits an Agile consultant can bring to your business. As impartial outsiders, they offer advice for the good of the project. They're not tied into individual teams.

They're trained to solve problems using their vast experience within the Agile methodology. Your business can benefit from their expertise.

Agile Center offers consultancy services for Development Teams. Contact us if you need more information about these services.

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