As a CEO of a software company I got certified by SAFe®. What it takes and what are the benefits? Is Scaled Agile Framework certification worth the time?
For whom is SAFe® certification?
Individuals get SAFe® certification, not organizations1.
1 Companies make partnerships with SAFe, e.g. SoftwarePlant is a Bronze Partner of ScaledAgile.
SAFe® certification is for (a) project managers and (b) those who work for large enterprises. SAFe® is reductively Scrum to the power of two2. Not just one team, but many.
2 We intentionally cut corners here, for SAFe® novices ;)
There are exceptions to the large enterprise rule of which we are an example. We are a software house, employing around 30 people. Certainly, we’re not a regular SAFe® client, but we develop software for enterprise-scale organizations. So, to design the software – our BigPicture, BigGantt, and the other Jira apps – we need to know the SAFe rules.
As a bonus, the Scaled Agile certificate, placed on a website header, will generate some publicity, even to a small or medium business.
Interestingly, Scaled Agile Inc. is not that big either…
The corporate home of SAFe® – Scaled Agile Inc. based in Boulder, Colorado is a relatively small business, too. They used to employ roughly 30 people, and only recently grew to approximately 60 employees.
My personal motivation for getting SAFe® certification
At some point, SAFe® attracted my attention and I became certified to verify its potential. Especially due to the fact that I had had a great deal of experience in project management with a variety of methodologies at that time.
How SoftwarePlant changed after SAFe® certification?
No revolution occurred, but my SAFe® certificate brought some order to our processes. How?
- SAFe’s own term, architectural runway, means caring about invisible “features” en route, without the so-called Big Design Up-front (BDUF).
- Consistently not caring about the architectural runway would gradually pile up technical debt, too big to be repaid when eventually discovered.
- Items 1. and 2. helped us to increase scalability, security, clean code, reliability, and maintainability in our software – traits that clients are not keen on paying for3.
3 To be precise, medium and large clients are largely aware of the challenges of security and scalability in their software.
So, the Scaled Agile Framework in action is similar to a building’s foundation. Of invisible value, hidden below the surface, but preventing walls from being torn apart…
- you’ll connect to other SAFe® certified managers through LinkedIn
- you may have an opportunity to visit some remote yet appealing city. In my case, SAFe® training took place in Helsinki
- your organization becomes eligible for partnership with SAFe. This, in turn, yields Partner Insider Call, the SAFe’s newsletter, direct access to SAFe experts
SPC, or SAFe® Program Consultant certificate in a nutshell
- the 3-4-day training course (workshop style, SAFe® at a glance, a little bit too superficial)
- Michael Stump of SAFe® ran the training course
- in my case training was held in Helsinki, but as of 2017 they train in Warsaw, too (google “safe training calendar”)
- expect experienced project managers as students
- some 30 days of swotting up after that
- an online exam
- excellent SAFe® materials available after certification
Is the SAFe exam cumbersome? I took it during my holiday from a hotel room. But you need a dependable internet connection…
SAFe vs. non-SAFe management
Before its birth in 2011, SAFe’s predecessors were mainly classic management methodologies. The majority of them are inert, aimed at creating documentation, following a long-term plan, etc. Risk management is notably lean, sewn into processes, and efficient in SAFe® compared to those older methodologies.
Scaled Agile Framework has been made from scratch and by SAFE’s own admission:
- has become the world’s leading framework for enterprise agility
- 70% of Fortune 100 adopted SAFe® practices
- 160k+ trained professionals work in 100+ countries
You might also consider: obtaining Jira certification