We all know, SAFe courses are in high demand. But where to start, which courses to choose, how to prepare for classes, do we have any books or articles one can go through before coming to classes, how to pass exam in first attempt and with good score, where can we find good reading articles, books, video etc. these are the questions, people often ask. I have tried to answer these queries in below five sections:
- Which SAFe courses to opt
- Pre-Reading for any SAFe Training
- How to prepare for your Exam
- You are SAFe certified now, what next
- Some videos worth watching
As on today, SAI offers 7 types of SAFe courses which are: SPC, RTE, SA, SSM, SASM, POPM, and SP.
Framework based (SA, SPC)
- SA-If you have big plan to make your career in SAFe, or you want to understand the complete framework, this could be very good starting point. This is also SAI’s flagship course and my personal favourite. If you have no clue, this could be your default starting point as well. However if you are new to Agile or lost touch base with Agile, but want to attend SAFe course, Please make sure you go through all the pre-reading materials sincerely. Officially , this course is for Executives, Development Manager, Project Manager, Program Manager, Line Manager and Process Leads etc. If you are already CSM or any Agile Certified, or practicing Agile for 4-5 years, this is good.
- SPC-If you are serious about SAFe, looking foreward to digital transformation, create revolution in your organization, looking for personal transformation, looking for game changing in your career, this is for you. But my personal suggestion would be start with SA, give 2-3 months gap, deep dive in all SAFe related concepts, only then enroll for SPC course. As participants in SPC classes are usually senior people, discussions are at different levels.
Role based (SSM, POPM, SP, RTE)
- SSM/POPM-If you are already playing role for Scrum Master or you are aspiring SAFe Scrum Master, you should attend SSM. Same is true for POPM.
- SP-If you are completely beginner to Agile and SAFe, and you belong to Developer or testing community, you want to understand how things work in Agile, how to do Iteration Planning, how estimation works, how to do daily standup, what are the real purposes of these ceremonies, you should consider SP course.
- RTE-If you are already playing RTE's role or you are aspiring RTE or looking forward to switch job to more promising one, RTE is perfect fit.
Advanced Course (SPC, RTE, SASM)
SPC, RTE, SASM all three, comes into advanced categories.
- SASM-As for example if you are experienced Agilist, and CSM certified, and you want to play Scrum master’s role in Team level or SAFe project, or you want to understand nitty-gritty of Scrum roles, anti-pattern, or play Sr. Scrum Master’s role in very complex project or want to understand how to motivate people, how to create high performance team or how to coach SMs , team or PO, you should attend SASM,.
In general for all these advanced courses, you need to plan well for your exam, and to know more, Please refer "How to prepare for your Exam" section of this article.
you can find more information about all SAFe course: http://www.scaledagileacademy.com
Please visit Temenos+Agility website to know more about our upcoming trainings: https://www.visiontemenos.com/
2)Pre-Reading for any SAFe Training
- Basics of Agile
- Agile Manifesto-Four values and twelve Principles: http://agilemanifesto.org/
- Full report on why/how/where Manifesto were written: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/12/agile-manifesto-a-history/547715/
- Why Software Is Eating the World: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111903480904576512250915629460
- Basics of Scrum
- Scrum guide (19 page): You can download scrum guide from here: http://www.scrumguides.org/
- Scrum Primer (20 page): http://www.scrumprimer.com/
- What is User Stories? https://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/agile/user-stories
- What is Story? http://www.scaledagileframework.com/story/
- What is Planning Poker? https://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/agile/planning-poker
- Basics of Kanban
- What is Kanban: https://leankit.com/learn/kanban/what-is-kanban/
- Team Kanban: http://www.scaledagileframework.com/team-kanban/
- Basics of XP
- What is Extreme Programming: https://ronjeffries.com/xprog/what-is-extreme-programming/
- Basics of Lean
- What is Lean? http://www.miconleansixsigma.com/what-is-lean.html
- Seven Types of Waste: http://www.leanprocess.net/7-wastes-of-lean-manufacturing/
- What is Value Stream? http://www.miconleansixsigma.com/value-stream-map.html
- SAFe House of Lean: http://www.scaledagileframework.com/lean-agile-mindset/
- Basic of DevOps
- What is DevOps? http://www.scaledagileframework.com/devops/
- Continuous Delivery Pipeline: http://www.scaledagileframework.com/continuous-delivery-pipeline
- Basics of Lean Startup
- Principles of Lean Startup: http://theleanstartup.com/principles
- Servant Leadership
- What is Servant Leadership? https://www.greenleaf.org/what-is-servant-leadership/
- Systems Thinking
- What is Systems Thinking: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-systems-thinking-bajrang-bahadur-/
- Basics of SAFe
- What is SAFe? http://www.scaledagileframework.com/what-is-safe/
- Why SAFe? http://www.scaledagileframework.com/why-safe/
3)How to prepare for your Exam:
In general, SAFe exams are hard, and you shouldn’t take it lightly. If you pay attention to class, read course materials 2-3 times, refer big picture for more details on the topics you are not confident enough, and have Lean-Agile mind set while taking the exam (just forget what you actually do, in your real-life project for time being), you can crack it first time.
- Sample Test: we have around 86 sample test questions available on SAI website (https://www.scaledagile.com), go to ‘exam section’ for each course. Any one can download these sample questions, even before coming to class. As on today #of questions typically we find are: SP-10, SSM-11, SA-10, SASM-15, POPM-15, RTE-12, SPC-13
Questions and #of questions are regularly updated on website.
Anyone can download and go through these questions. It is highly recommended that you should go through all these sample tests before and after attending the classes.
- Practice Test: For most of SAFe courses, you will find Practice test, which is similar to final test in terms of #of questions, duration and pattern. Based on your score in Practice test, you can decide if you are ready for final test.
In addition to course material, you also need to also go through the contents available on SAI web site. (https://www.scaledagile.com/). Each icon is clickable on Big-picture. Here you can get more details or you can deep dive in any topic of your interest.
- Final Exam: Make sure you have proper internet.
In case you don’t pass in first attempt, DON’T start ‘retake exam’ immediately. Please make sure you prepare well at least for one week, check all the sections, you haven’t done well, only then go for retake.
For any other unforeseen problems and situations, you can reach out to SAI support, phone (303-554-4367) or mail-id (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can find these details on SAI website also.
4)You are SAFe certified now, what next?
All of us (including busy executives) need to be Life-long learners. In actual, our agile and SAFe journey starts now. If you have no clue, these are the books, you can start with:
- User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development, Mike Cohn
- Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time, Jeff Sutherland
- The Lean Machine, Dantar Oosterwald
- The Goal, Eliyahu Goldratt
- Switch, Chip Heath and Dan Heath
- Coaching Agile Teams, Lyssa Adkins
- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni
- Meeting by death by Patrick Lencioni
- Agile Software Requirements, Dean Leffingwell
- Agile Retrospectives, Esther Derby and Diana Larsen
- Principles of Product Development Flow, Don Reinertsen
- Lean Product and Process Development, Allen Ward and Durward Sobeck II
- The decision to trust by Robert F Hurley
Some more Authors
- James Womac-The machine that changed the world, Lean Thinking
- Mike Rother-Toyota Kata
- Gene Kim: The Phoenix Project, DevOps Handbook
- Eric Ries: Lean Startup, The startup way
- Steven Johnson-Where good ideas come from, Mind Wide Open
- David Rock- Coaching with the brain in mind, Your brain at work, Quiet leadership
- Dave Gray-The connected company, Game Storming, Liminal thinking
- Peter Senge-Fifth Sense
- Frederic Laloux- Reinventing Organizations
- Dave Logan- Tribal Leadership
- Brian Robertson-Holacracy
- Clayton Christensen- Innovator’s Dilemma
- Geoffery Moore- Crossing the chasm
- Jens Maier-Ambidextrous organization
- Jacob Morgan-Future of Work, Employee Experience Advantage
- Carol Dweck – Mindset
5)Some videos worth watching
- SAFe 4.0 in 5 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmJ_mJw8xec
- All Blacks Vs Wallabies: Youtu.be/KWnwI0-aeq0
- The Greatest haka EVER: youtu.be/yiKFYTFJ_kw
- Shit Bad Scrum Masters Say: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGbsgs611MM
- Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc
- Build a tower, build a team: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0_yKBitO8M
- The Backwards Brain Bicycle : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFzDaBzBlL0
- SAFe 4.5 Executive Briefing with Dean Leffingwell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTG4I6jUbj4
Good Luck with your SAFe journey!