Nov 28

SAFe Certified. Is it worth it?

SAFe certified software team

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 webiste 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?

Michael Stump

Michael Stump of SAFe® running “my” SPC training in Helsinki.

No revolution occurred, but my SAFe® certificate brought some order to our processes. How?

  1. SAFe’s own term, architectural runway, means caring about  invisible “features” en route, without the so called Big Design Up-front (BDUF).
  2. Consistently not caring about the architectural runway would gradually pile up a technical debt, too big to be repaid when eventually discovered.
  3. 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 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…

Further benefits

  • 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 SAFe logo

SPC – SAFe® Program Consultant certification – devised for change agents.

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 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


Safe training

Vibes of the SAFe® training.

You might also consider: obtaining Jira certification

About The Author

With his automotive background Marcin goes beyond the 'Jira + software development' standard. He likes simple, up-to-five-sentence answers to complex questions.