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A Journey Towards Earning a Leading SAFe®5.0 Certification

Our blog regularly provides insights about the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®), like 4 main features that enable SAFe®. You can also go through an article stating the benefits of SAFe® Agilist certification. Also, we recently published a specific article about the benefits to get the SAFe® 4.5 Certification, and here we give some details about the Leading SAFe® 4.6.What is SAFe®? When any large organization wants to go Agile, it can hardly skip the Scaled Agile Framework ® (SAFe®). Now, this framework has become the world’s leading framework for companies that target to scale Agile. Also, SAFe® is described as the “Agile Enterprise Big Picture”, as it helps to apply Agile and Lean practices and principles to the whole organization, from the Team to the Portfolio level.Benefits of the SAFe® certification For any professional, being SAFe® certified brings recognition to be able to support all kinds of organizations in their Lean and/or Agile transformation. Indeed, SAFe® is the most used framework for scaling Agile, especially in big companies like the ones listed in the US Fortune 100. Consequently, holding a SAFe® certification makes a candidate profile very attractive compared to employers’ expectations.Accreditation body of SAFe®The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) has an official certifying body: Scaled Agile, Inc. This accreditation body guarantees “ a valid, reliable, and consistent method of assessing SAFe® skills, knowledge, and mindset “ (read more About SAFe® Certification).Salary of the SAFe® certifiedSalary for SAFe® certified professionals can vary across regions and experience:EuropeIndiaUnited StatesAgile Coach€ 70,000Rs 2,220,000$135,000Product Owner€ 80,000Rs 1,900,000$115,000Scrum Master€ 55,000Rs 1,220,000$95,000Software Engineer€ 60,000Rs 1,630,000$75,000Job roles/Target audience of the SAFe® certificationThe target audience of the SAFe® certification is wide and covers all these positions:         Executives and Leaders, Managers, Directors, CIOs, and VPs         Development, QA, and Infrastructure Management         Program and Project Managers         Product and Product Line Management         Portfolio Managers, PMO, and Process Leads         Enterprise, System, and Solution ArchitectsStatistics related to SAFe® certification(Note: All the data mentioned here is provided by payscaleEuropeIndiaUnited StatesGenderFemale: 10%Male: 90%Female: 40%Male: 60%Years of experiencePopular companiesDeutsche BankINGBNPViseoPhilipsOmicron4Com TechnologiesMotorolaAir France KLMCA, Inc.Syntel, Inc.Tata Consultancy Services LimitedInfosys LimitedAccentureJohnson ControlsFederal Express Corporation (FedEx)Cap GeminiUsaa InsuranceVencore, Inc.TechSmith CorporationJohnson ControlsSAFe® Agilist Exam details1. What is the format of the exam?The SAFe® certification exam is in the Multiple Choice Questions format2. How is the exam delivered?The exam is Web-based (single-browser), closed book, no outside assistance, timed.3. How to get access to the exam? Once they have completed the Leading SAFe® course, candidates can access the exam. For this, they will use the SAFe® Community Platform. 4. How long is the exam?The exam duration is 90 minutes.5. How many questions? The SAFe® exam consists of a total of 45 questions.6. What is the passing score? 34 out of 45 (75% passing score). 7. What is the exam language?English. 8. How much does the exam cost?The course registration fee covers the first exam attempt, provided that the candidate takes the exam within 30 days of course completion. Then, it will cost $50 for any additional attempt.9. What are the exam prerequisites? There are two main prerequisites to take the exam. First is to have an experience using the Scrum framework, the second is to have more than five years in one or several of these fields: project or product management, business analysis, software development.10. What is the exam retake policy of the exam?A first retake, meaning a second attempt on the exam, can be done at any moment after a first attempt. In case of a third attempt, candidates have to wait for 10 days and in case of a fourth attempt, they have to wait for 30 days.Leading SAFe® 4.6 Exam preparation SAFe® Agilist Certification exam questionsHere are some of the questions that might be helpful in exam preparation- How to run agile on multiple teams?How to synchronize the work of these teams?How to prioritize organizational demands?How to scale an agile architecture?How to deal with risks in an agile way?Agile and governance, is it possible?Can you highlight the addition and changes in 4-level with 3-level SAFe® 4.0?Can you define a System Team?Can you explain the difference/relationship between a Value Stream and an ART?What is the key to crossing back in forth or connecting the various levels of SAFe®?What is the difference between a Capability and an Epic or Theme?Why would you decentralize decision making? Doesn’t this disempower the product owner or cause confusion about who is the final decision-maker?Are there any reasons that Scrumban would not work with SAFe®?We have some applications that use Scrum delivery practices and some that are milestone driven (waterfall). Can SAFe® 4.0 support both epic and user story management planning, backlog prioritization for Scrum teams, as well as requirements management for our waterfall teams (until they transition to agile)?Some teams may run continuous integrations while others not. How can we balance this if we have a fixed Program Increment timeline?Is SAFe® making it more complex and less agile (e.g., more rigid, additional control)?Exam study materialsKnowledge and skill required by the job role are primarily measured by the exam. In order to prepare well for the exam, candidates can use various online resources like these ones:The course materials are one of the most important components from the course because they offer an opportunity to refer back to the content delivered during the class. All candidates can access to it within the SAFe® Community Platform.The Study guide delivers comprehensive details about the job role and the exam, like a reading list. Here again, it is accessible via the Learning Plan in the SAFe® Community Platform.Another element of the Learning Plan in the SAFe® Community Platform is the Practice test. It offers predictability of success on the exam because it works with similar time duration and level of difficulty and provides the same number of questions.You can go through the SAFe® sample test that contains 8 questions that will help you in SAFe® 4.6 certification exam preparation.Ways of earning Leading SAFe® 4.6 certificationAttend the courseCourse completion is the first step toward SAFe® certification.Scaled Agile training classes are designed with the learner in mind. Incorporating active learning techniques with a robust role-based curriculum is a great start to the SAFe® learning journey.Receive access to the SAFe® Community Platform after the class, which provides access to study materials & the exam.Study for the examDetailed exam study guides are available to help prepare for the exam and are part of the Learning Plan provided to candidates on the SAFe® Community Platform. Each study guide provides relevant and content-specific exam information, such as the certification role description, prerequisite skills and knowledge, exam objectives, and a comprehensive reading list.Practice tests can help prepare for the exam and are part of the Learning Plan on the SAFe® Community Platform. With a practice test, candidates can ‘test before the test.’ It simulates the actual certification exam in duration, difficulty, and topic area. Passing the practice test does not guarantee to pass the certification exam, but it provides a testing simulation, and the score report can be used to identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Practice tests are available at no additional charge, delivered through the Learning Plan in the SAFe® Community Platform, and can be taken as many times as needed. Note that the testers will receive the same bank of questions each time, but the questions will be randomized.Sample tests provide the examples of the type and format of the questions to expect on the certification exam. They are publicly available for all exams under Exam Details on each certification detail page.Leverage experience. It’s more than being book smart. Scaled Agile exams test specific knowledge, skill, experience, and attitudes related to each SAFe® job role. Combining a person’s learning and studying with their real-world experiences is a key to becoming SAFe® Certified.Take the ExamA link to the exam is included in the Learning Plan on the SAFe® Community Platform.Candidates have 30 days after course completion to take the exam at no additional charge. However, once they start the exam, they’ll have a fixed time to complete it.Complete exam information, including exam time limit, number of questions, and a sample test, is available for all the exams under Exam Details on each certification official page.What will you get on passing the SAFe® 4 Agilist exam?Becoming a Certified SAFe® 4 Agilist requires an exceptional range of skills and is a career path for many servant leaders (Scrum Masters). SAFe® 4 Agilist certification includes:Getting the Certified SAFe® 4 Agilist PDF certificateGetting the Certified SAFe® 4 Agilist  digital badge. Any candidate can promote their accomplishment onlineNote: Digital badge permits individuals to share authentic certifications online through email signatures, digital resumes, and social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Digital badging consists of metadata that indicates a Certified SAFe® professional’s qualifications. Scaled Agile has partnered with Acclaim to provide digital versions of SAFe® certifications.Getting one-year membership to the SAFe® Community Platform. It also includes access to the SA Community of PracticeGetting access to Meetup groups and events that connect you with other SAFe® certified professionalsNote: SAFe® Meetups provides opportunities to the SAFe® certified across the globe. SAFe® Meetups allows to connect with each other face-to-face, share best practices (sometimes SAFe® experts attend or speak in these sessions to enable learning), and gain knowledge on Scaled Agile Framework in a local setting.Getting access to a variety of learning resources to support you during your SAFe® journey.Summing It UpFor professionals who are looking for career development in the Agile field, SAFe® certification can be the most relevant option today. It gives a guarantee to the companies that they hire individuals with the skills required to scale Agile and a strong knowledge of the SAFe® environment. On top of that, it is important to know that a large majority of big enterprises have implemented SAFe® and that the hunt for SAFe® certified professionals is still very active.

A Journey Towards Earning a Leading SAFe®5.0 Certification

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A Journey Towards Earning a Leading SAFe®5.0 Certification

Our blog regularly provides insights about the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®), like 4 main features that enable SAFe®. You can also go through an article stating the benefits of SAFe® Agilist certification. Also, we recently published a specific article about the benefits to get the SAFe® 4.5 Certification, and here we give some details about the Leading SAFe® 4.6.

What is SAFe®? 

When any large organization wants to go Agile, it can hardly skip the Scaled Agile Framework ® (SAFe®). Now, this framework has become the world’s leading framework for companies that target to scale Agile. Also, SAFe® is described as the “Agile Enterprise Big Picture”, as it helps to apply Agile and Lean practices and principles to the whole organization, from the Team to the Portfolio level.

Benefits of the SAFe® certification 

For any professional, being SAFe® certified brings recognition to be able to support all kinds of organizations in their Lean and/or Agile transformation. Indeed, SAFe® is the most used framework for scaling Agile, especially in big companies like the ones listed in the US Fortune 100. Consequently, holding a SAFe® certification makes a candidate profile very attractive compared to employers’ expectations.

Accreditation body of SAFe®

The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) has an official certifying body: Scaled Agile, Inc. This accreditation body guarantees “ a valid, reliable, and consistent method of assessing SAFe® skills, knowledge, and mindset “ (read more About SAFe® Certification).

Salary of the SAFe® certified

Salary for SAFe® certified professionals can vary across regions and experience:


EuropeIndiaUnited States
Agile Coach€ 70,000Rs 2,220,000$135,000
Product Owner€ 80,000Rs 1,900,000$115,000
Scrum Master€ 55,000Rs 1,220,000$95,000
Software Engineer€ 60,000Rs 1,630,000$75,000

Job roles/Target audience of the SAFe® certification

The target audience of the SAFe® certification is wide and covers all these positions:

  •          Executives and Leaders, Managers, Directors, CIOs, and VPs
  •          Development, QA, and Infrastructure Management
  •          Program and Project Managers
  •          Product and Product Line Management
  •          Portfolio Managers, PMO, and Process Leads
  •          Enterprise, System, and Solution Architects

Statistics related to SAFe® certification

(Note: All the data mentioned here is provided by payscale


EuropeIndiaUnited States
Gender
Female: 10%
Male: 90%
Female: 40%
Male: 60%
Years of experience
Popular companiesDeutsche Bank
ING
BNP
Viseo
Philips
Omicron
4Com Technologies
Motorola
Air France KLM
CA, Inc.
Syntel, Inc.
Tata Consultancy Services Limited
Infosys Limited
Accenture
Johnson Controls
Federal Express Corporation (FedEx)
Cap Gemini
Usaa Insurance
Vencore, Inc.
TechSmith Corporation
Johnson Controls

SAFe® Agilist Exam details

1. What is the format of the exam?

The SAFe® certification exam is in the Multiple Choice Questions format

2. How is the exam delivered?

The exam is Web-based (single-browser), closed book, no outside assistance, timed.

3. How to get access to the exam? 

Once they have completed the Leading SAFe® course, candidates can access the exam. For this, they will use the SAFe® Community Platform. 

4. How long is the exam?

The exam duration is 90 minutes.

5. How many questions? 

The SAFe® exam consists of a total of 45 questions.

6. What is the passing score? 

34 out of 45 (75% passing score). 

7. What is the exam language?

English. 

8. How much does the exam cost?

The course registration fee covers the first exam attempt, provided that the candidate takes the exam within 30 days of course completion. Then, it will cost $50 for any additional attempt.

9. What are the exam prerequisites? 

There are two main prerequisites to take the exam. First is to have an experience using the Scrum framework, the second is to have more than five years in one or several of these fields: project or product management, business analysis, software development.

10. What is the exam retake policy of the exam?

A first retake, meaning a second attempt on the exam, can be done at any moment after a first attempt. In case of a third attempt, candidates have to wait for 10 days and in case of a fourth attempt, they have to wait for 30 days.

Leading SAFe® 4.6 Exam preparation 

SAFe® Agilist Certification exam questions

Here are some of the questions that might be helpful in exam preparation- 

  • How to run agile on multiple teams?
  • How to synchronize the work of these teams?
  • How to prioritize organizational demands?
  • How to scale an agile architecture?
  • How to deal with risks in an agile way?
  • Agile and governance, is it possible?
  • Can you highlight the addition and changes in 4-level with 3-level SAFe® 4.0?
  • Can you define a System Team?
  • Can you explain the difference/relationship between a Value Stream and an ART?
  • What is the key to crossing back in forth or connecting the various levels of SAFe®?
  • What is the difference between a Capability and an Epic or Theme?
  • Why would you decentralize decision making? Doesn’t this disempower the product owner or cause confusion about who is the final decision-maker?
  • Are there any reasons that Scrumban would not work with SAFe®?
  • We have some applications that use Scrum delivery practices and some that are milestone driven (waterfall). Can SAFe® 4.0 support both epic and user story management planning, backlog prioritization for Scrum teams, as well as requirements management for our waterfall teams (until they transition to agile)?
  • Some teams may run continuous integrations while others not. How can we balance this if we have a fixed Program Increment timeline?
  • Is SAFe® making it more complex and less agile (e.g., more rigid, additional control)?

Exam study materials

Knowledge and skill required by the job role are primarily measured by the exam. In order to prepare well for the exam, candidates can use various online resources like these ones:

  • The course materials are one of the most important components from the course because they offer an opportunity to refer back to the content delivered during the class. All candidates can access to it within the SAFe® Community Platform.
  • The Study guide delivers comprehensive details about the job role and the exam, like a reading list. Here again, it is accessible via the Learning Plan in the SAFe® Community Platform.
  • Another element of the Learning Plan in the SAFe® Community Platform is the Practice test. It offers predictability of success on the exam because it works with similar time duration and level of difficulty and provides the same number of questions.
  • You can go through the SAFe® sample test that contains 8 questions that will help you in SAFe® 4.6 certification exam preparation.

Ways of earning Leading SAFe® 4.6 certification

Attend the course

  • Course completion is the first step toward SAFe® certification.
  • Scaled Agile training classes are designed with the learner in mind. Incorporating active learning techniques with a robust role-based curriculum is a great start to the SAFe® learning journey.
  • Receive access to the SAFe® Community Platform after the class, which provides access to study materials & the exam.

Study for the exam

  • Detailed exam study guides are available to help prepare for the exam and are part of the Learning Plan provided to candidates on the SAFe® Community Platform. Each study guide provides relevant and content-specific exam information, such as the certification role description, prerequisite skills and knowledge, exam objectives, and a comprehensive reading list.
  • Practice tests can help prepare for the exam and are part of the Learning Plan on the SAFe® Community Platform. With a practice test, candidates can ‘test before the test.’ It simulates the actual certification exam in duration, difficulty, and topic area. Passing the practice test does not guarantee to pass the certification exam, but it provides a testing simulation, and the score report can be used to identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Practice tests are available at no additional charge, delivered through the Learning Plan in the SAFe® Community Platform, and can be taken as many times as needed. Note that the testers will receive the same bank of questions each time, but the questions will be randomized.
  • Sample tests provide the examples of the type and format of the questions to expect on the certification exam. They are publicly available for all exams under Exam Details on each certification detail page.
  • Leverage experience. It’s more than being book smart. Scaled Agile exams test specific knowledge, skill, experience, and attitudes related to each SAFe® job role. Combining a person’s learning and studying with their real-world experiences is a key to becoming SAFe® Certified.

Take the Exam

  • A link to the exam is included in the Learning Plan on the SAFe® Community Platform.
  • Candidates have 30 days after course completion to take the exam at no additional charge. However, once they start the exam, they’ll have a fixed time to complete it.
  • Complete exam information, including exam time limit, number of questions, and a sample test, is available for all the exams under Exam Details on each certification official page.

What will you get on passing the SAFe® 4 Agilist exam?

Becoming a Certified SAFe® 4 Agilist requires an exceptional range of skills and is a career path for many servant leaders (Scrum Masters). SAFe® 4 Agilist certification includes:

  • Getting the Certified SAFe® 4 Agilist PDF certificate
  • Getting the Certified SAFe® 4 Agilist  digital badge. Any candidate can promote their accomplishment online

Note: Digital badge permits individuals to share authentic certifications online through email signatures, digital resumes, and social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Digital badging consists of metadata that indicates a Certified SAFe® professional’s qualifications. Scaled Agile has partnered with Acclaim to provide digital versions of SAFe® certifications.

  • Getting one-year membership to the SAFe® Community Platform. It also includes access to the SA Community of Practice
  • Getting access to Meetup groups and events that connect you with other SAFe® certified professionals

Note: SAFe® Meetups provides opportunities to the SAFe® certified across the globe. SAFe® Meetups allows to connect with each other face-to-face, share best practices (sometimes SAFe® experts attend or speak in these sessions to enable learning), and gain knowledge on Scaled Agile Framework in a local setting.

  • Getting access to a variety of learning resources to support you during your SAFe® journey.

Summing It Up

For professionals who are looking for career development in the Agile field, SAFe® certification can be the most relevant option today. It gives a guarantee to the companies that they hire individuals with the skills required to scale Agile and a strong knowledge of the SAFe® environment. On top of that, it is important to know that a large majority of big enterprises have implemented SAFe® and that the hunt for SAFe® certified professionals is still very active.

Nicolas

Nicolas Casel

Blog Author

Scrum Master / Agile Consultant with passion for fostering Agile mindset and improving User Experience.
Other skills: web development, CMS, usability, e-learning

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Scrum, arguably the most popular Agile framework in use across industries, has been proven to help develop products in a timely and highly efficient manner. The 14th State of Agile Report states that 97% of organizations practice Agile development, out of which 58% prefer to use Scrum as their go-to method.And with good reason, too! Scrum lays out a series of simple principles and processes, which are very easy to follow and get measurable results. Not only does the frequency and velocity of product delivery increase, but changing requirements are also accommodated—an imperative in the current volatile market conditions where to be inflexible means to be left behind.In this article, we review the top Scrum best practices that streamline and optimise Agile workflows, creating stellar results.For those who are new to Agile and Scrum, let’s start with a brief introduction.Scrum in a nutshellScrum is a lightweight Agile framework that allows product development to be carried out in short and incremental iterations, through collaborative teamwork.During each iteration, called a Sprint, the delivery of a small increment of value is completed. Sprints are time-boxed, usually lasting two to four weeks, and allow the team to break down complex projects into short, doable tasks.As the team catches up on a daily basis, as well as at the end of every Sprint, work becomes transparent and obstacles, if any, are ironed out before they escalate out of control and hinder progress.  The project becomes more flexible and adapts to changes easily, as requirements are re-evaluated and task priorities are re-grouped at the end of every sprint.Scrum Roles and the Scrum TeamThere are three clearly defined roles in Scrum.  The Product Owner is the person who creates the Product vision, sets the direction for each sprint, and acts as the bridge between the team, customers and stakeholders. The PO maintains and manages the Product Backlog which determines the progress of the product development.The Scrum Master is the one who holds things together, helping the PO to define value, and communicating that value to the team so that they can deliver it. He or she creates and facilitates an environment that is conducive to Scrum success.The Scrum Team is a cross-functional, self-organising group of developers who are jointly responsible for product delivery. A team usually comprises not more than seven people, who are required to communicate and collaborate well together.  There is no hierarchy on a Scrum team, and the Scrum Master is considered their ‘servant leader’ and not their manager.Scrum Best PracticesWhether you’re a product owner, Scrum master or a team member, here is a set of best practices that can help to improve your efficiency and set you on the track to team success!Teamwork and meetings1. Create Product Backlog in conjunction with stakeholders.The stakeholders can contribute effectively to creating the product vision, and must be roped in for the inputs while creating the product backlog. During the negotiations on the backlog and while re-prioritising tasks, the team and stakeholders can come to a better understanding of the vision and what is expected to be delivered.2. Stakeholders must participate in Scrum meetings.When stakeholders and Product Owners participate in Scrum meetings, they will understand the workflow and the ways in which the team works. In turn, they can offer valuable feedback on the progress of work and about the deliverables during each sprint.3. Try not to regroup teams.When a team has worked together successfully on previous projects, they will already be sharing a rapport and understanding of each other’s capabilities. Rather than breaking the work rhythm, the best practice would be to keep productive teams together. This, of course, is not always possible as some projects will need regrouping due to different skill requirements.4. Work on team building.Team building is a practice that should never be neglected or sacrificed for want of time. A group that is cohesive will work better and faster, and the Scrum Master should use team-building techniques and activities to foster cooperation and collaboration.5. Don’t sit down during Stand-ups!.The reason why the daily meeting is called a Stand-up is because people are expected to stand up, and not sit down! Typically, meetings where everyone is standing up are shorter and get the expected results, while sit-down meetings tend to drag on and on.6. Nurture remote communication.When teams are distributed across geographies, or work-from-home mandates are in place, it’s important to set guidelines for remote communication. Important details could be missed out on calls, and critical notifications should be documented over a shared tracker so that they are flagged. Collaboration software makes it easy to set up notification messages to all the people concerned.Planning and estimates7. Keep stakeholder in the loop while estimating.It is always better that the principal stakeholder should be present during estimating meetings. If the team has any doubts, they can get cleared at once. What’s more, the stakeholder will understand the why, what and how behind estimation and this will help to establish trust and accountability.8. Plan a new sprint only when the backlog has enough items.Only when the product backlog has enough items for the next two sprints, is it time to plan the next one. Scope creep happens when there is uncontrolled growth in the scope of the project, because there was poorly defined scope for the next few sprints in the backlog.9. Set goals clearly.Unless the goals for each sprint are clearly laid out, it could become very difficult to prioritise the tasks in the backlog. The team and customers must align their objectives in order to set the goals that the team will achieve during each sprint. Based on the goals, the Product Owner in conjunction with the team will choose the tasks that must be completed during the sprint.10. Estimate using Planning Poker.Planning Poker is a proven, easy to use technique for estimating and planning. Using this simple technique, accurate and doable estimates can be achieved.11. Set time aside daily for risk mitigation.By planning a six hour day and leaving two hours aside each day for risk mitigation, it is possible not to fall short on time estimates. Many unexpected things could happen that turn timings awry, and by doing this it is possible to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances.12. Do not stretch or cut short sprint timings.The time frame for a sprint should not be stretched or curtailed, as otherwise the team will be tempted to neglect set timelines in the expectation that they will be reset. Even if a story is unexpectedly big and cannot be completed in a sprint, at the end of the agreed-upon timeframe the sprint should end, and the items that were not completed should be moved to the top of the backlog for the next sprint. At the same time, if the stories are completed ahead of time in a sprint, then some smaller stories could be added to help keep the schedules on track.Managing backlogs13. Keep sprint backlog separate from product backlog.The product backlog is updated regularly, while the sprint backlog is kept frozen and can be referred back to at any time. Do not mix up the two or combine them.14. Use task prioritisation techniques.Task prioritisation techniques such as MoSCoW, Business value approach, Kano model, Walking skeleton and so on can be used to prioritise tasks in the product backlog. Simple excel documents can list out backlog tasks and show the status and priority (must, could or should are most frequently used terms). Use the technique that makes best sense for your team, and that everyone is able to understand.15. Itemise user stories by assigning IDs.To cut through ambiguity, assign an ID to each user story so that the team knows exactly what is being discussed. Two user stories may sound similar but be different, and team members may think that a different story is being discussed.16. Map functional and technical dependencies.Dependencies could be functional (defined by stakeholders) or technical (defined by the engineering team). By mapping both types of dependencies, the workflow is smoothened and optimised, and bottlenecks can be identified and removed.17. Use a Scrum board.Many people work better when they have visual aids to guide them. A Scrum board is a very useful tool in this regard. The board is a visual representation of User stories, tasks that are yet to start, in progress and done. It can also indicate blocks, testing tasks and reviews from the Product Owner.  Tools like JIRA and Trello are very easy to use and understand, and offer great value to the team.Tracking and predicting18. Use sprint burndown charts.Burndown charts that visually depict the progress of the sprint are a great visualisation tool that detects issues when they appear, and helps to resolve them before they escalate. Completed tasks per day are mapped against the planned tasks, giving an indication if the progress goes off track.19. Use release burndown charts.Release burndown charts depict the sprints that are needed to complete, or release, the product. The team can decide whether they need to adjust the timeframe or not. Using these charts is a good practice to follow, especially if the product backlog was updated over the course of the project with new user requirements.20. Chart velocity.By calculating the velocity, the progress of work can be charted against initial estimates, and used to better predict team commitments and results. If the velocity is changing a great deal, then the sprint planning must be revisited and made more reliable.21. Invest in good quality software.Tools that are built for Agile teams can help with project planning, time tracking and measurement of metrics. JIRA, Toggl, Git, and Slack are popular tools that are very supportive and can help to streamline and optimise workflows.To sum up…Implementing a smooth, streamlined Agile workflow could take a lot of planning and strategizing, but with the right mindset, approach and collaborative tools, it doesn’t have to be difficult!  Each team is different, and you might need to experiment with a few approaches and Scrum best practices till you find the one that’s right for you.After all, the main premise of Agile is that you should be flexible, and adapt when the need arises!
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Top 21 Scrum Best Practices for Efficient Agile Wo...

Scrum, arguably the most popular Agile framework i... Read More

Product Owner vs Scrum Master: Key Differences

Scrum Master vs Product Owner: The two most important roles in a Scrum team. Though they seem similar, there are significant differences between the two. The pandemic has accelerated your organization’s need to go agile. But in your quest for digital transformation which roles will you hire for? The Scrum Master vs Product Owner has been a long standing debate, despite the fact that both are indispensable roles in the Scrum software development methodology and play their part in Agile transformations. Let’s look at these two roles, their specialities, differences and contributions to the digital landscape. Who is a Scrum Master? “The Scrum Master is accountable for establishing Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. They do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory and practice, both within the Scrum Team and the organization. The Scrum Master is accountable for the Scrum Team’s effectiveness. They do this by enabling the Scrum Team to improve its practices, within the Scrum framework.”—Scrum.org Who is a Product Owner? “The Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Scrum Team. The Product Owner is one person, not a committee. The Product Owner may represent the needs of many stakeholders in the Product Backlog. Those wanting to change the Product Backlog can do so by trying to convince the Product Owner”—Scrum.org Scrum Master vs Product Owner The Scrum Master and Product Owner are different roles with different responsibilities, yet they complement each other. The Scrum master should support the Product Owner in every step possible.   There should be an amicable relationship between the Product Owner and the Scrum master. Disputes may arise between the two, if the roles are not clarified. The Scrum Master’s main aim is to ensure project success, by assisting the product owner and the team in using the right process and adhering to Agile principles. Scrum Master Product Owner Servant leadership: The day to day activity of a Scrum Master involves servant leadership where they are involved in performance planning, coaching, self- organization, removing obstacles, resolving conflicts and serving the team. Stakeholder satisfaction: The first responsibility of the product owner is customer satisfaction and this they carry out by ensuring that customer requirements are given priority and there is transparency between development team and stakeholders.   The product owner guarantees stakeholder satisfaction by ensuring product success, and building a product which meets business requirements.   Coach and teacher:  Agile coaching is a Scrum Master’s primary skill. Teaching Scrum skills, especially to new Scrum teams is a huge part of the Scrum Master’s responsibility.   They need to ensure that the team is working as per Scrum and Agile principles and following processes. Conflict resolver: Product owners may often come across unreasonable or difficult to handle stakeholders.   Having conflict resolution skills will come in handy to diffuse any untoward situations or escalations that may arise with stakeholders or development team members.     Technical familiarity:  There is no doubt that having some technical competence will help a Scrum Master be better at the job.   Technical acumen will help a Scrum Master remove any impediments the team faces and build better products by providing the correct tools and techniques. Collaborator: A product owner is a great storyteller, which means that they are able to explain the vision of the product to the developers.   They need not necessarily have the technical skills to prepare user stories but they can effectively collaborate with those who can.     Organizational skills:   As someone who leads and guides the Scrum team, having good organizational skills is a must-have in a Scrum Master’s repertoire.   SMs must ensure that work is allocated correctly, there is no slippage of tasks and deadlines are met.   Prioritization skills: The Product Owner must have inherent prioritization skills in order to prioritise items on the backlog. Soft Skills: A Scrum Master should have great interpersonal skills, should be a conflict manager with the ability to solve internal and external conflicts, should be an excellent communicator and must have empathy towards team members. Soft Skills:  Good communication skills and being business savvy are paramount to being successful as a Product Owner.   Having to work with stakeholders and other parties means that Product Owners must be able to communicate the status of the product and other technical knowledge that the customer may wish to know.   Similarly, they must be able to communicate to the team about the vision of the product and stakeholder expectations.   Scrum knowledge: What is a Scrum Master without Scrum knowledge? The primary responsibility of the Scrum Master is to guide the development team on all things Scrum and make sure that the development of the product is taking place according to Scrum and Agile principles and values.   This will ensure that all benefits that are associated with Scrum and Agile are realised during the course of the project.   Scrum knowledge: The product owner must have knowledge of the product roadmap, release management, product backlog management, sprint planning, review and retrospectives, in order to maximise product value. Scrum Master vs Product Owner – A Responsibility Comparison Scrum Master Product Owner Aiding the team: As a servant leader, the primary responsibility of the Scrum Master is to help the development team perform. This includes removing obstacles that may impede the team from performing. Defining the vision:   The Product Owner’s main task is to define the vision of the product to the development team. This involves helping them understand the reason for the product being built, its usefulness for the clients and stakeholders, how it can evolve in the future and what it is expected to achieve. Giving the development team a correct vision of the product will help them work better. Helping team members do Scrum:   A Scrum Master is well versed with Scrum processes and tools. It’s the Scrum Master’s primary responsibility to ensure that the team adheres to Scrum processes during the development of the product. Being the bridge between stakeholders and team:   As the go-between the development team and the customers, it is the Product Owner’s responsibility to get each party what they need to be happy. In the development team’s case, the product owner has to ensure that they have understood without any ambiguity, what needs to be built and with respect to the stakeholders, product owner has to ensure that they get the product that they have asked for.   At the same time, the product owner must maintain a correct balance between the two and ensure that there is complete transparency and there is no over commitment on requirements to either side.   Arranges stand up meetings: The daily stand-up meetings are an essential part of Scrum. The Scrum Master facilitates these meetings and ensures that all issues are addressed and the team is able to perform towards reaching its sprint goal. Meet with all those involved with the product: This includes meeting stakeholders, development team and all those who wish to discuss the product roadmap. These discussions could range from current product backlog items to future releases to any technical information the stakeholder may need. Sets up an environment where the team can perform more effectively: The development team develops the product, and a happy team means a well-built product and satisfied customers.   The team must be allowed to work in an environment that is free of distractions and conducive to innovation and research.   The Scrum Master makes sure that such an environment is provided to the team. Maximises Product Value:   The Product Owner maximises product value by identifying what items in the product backlog need to be tackled first. Continuous prioritization and ordering of product backlog is an important responsibility of the product owner to ensure that high priority work gets into production first for release. Helps Product Owner with product backlog:   The Scrum Master aids the development team and the Product Owner with effective product backlog management.   This they do by facilitating Scrum events, product planning and by helping the team to identify backlog items. Manages Product Backlog:   Creating and updating the backlog is a major part of the product owner’s responsibility. They have to sequence, prioritise and ensure that the development time is not wasting time or resources in doing the wrong tasks. Updating the product backlog is an on-going responsibility of the Product Owner.   Promoting Scrum in the enterprise:   The Scrum Master has a greater responsibility than that of leading the team, and that is the promotion of Scrum and transformation of the entire organization.   This they do by coaching and helping teams and departments understand Scrum and develop an Agile mind-set. Explaining Scrum:   You may be working with a team that is new to Scrum or stakeholders who are not aware of Scrum processes.   As a Product Owner you will be expected to help your team understand about the Scrum processes that will be followed during every stage of product development while also helping the stakeholders understand how Scrum is being used to develop the product.   Here are some of the frequently asked questions around Scrum Master vs  Product Owner Which is the one most important service a Scrum Master provides to the Product Owner? The most important help a Scrum Master gives the Product Owner is in the management of the product backlog.   While the primary responsibility of the product backlog management lies with the Product Owner, the Scrum Master pitches in when there are too many things to handle and the Product Owner is unable to perform all activities simultaneously. The Scrum Master is also the perfect bridge between the Product Owner and the development team, helping the team understand the vision of the Product Owner and helping them realise this vision. Are Scrum Master and Product Owner the same person? This is a highly debated question in the Agile world. Some experts are of the view that there are clear differences between the two roles and hence there should be two individuals to manage these two roles.   The Product Owner should have an overall vision of the client’s requirements. Due to this reason, the Scrum Master needs the Product Owner; whereas the project team requires the Scrum Master to help them deliver by creating an atmosphere conducive to development and innovation. Who validates the product delivered in Scrum? The product backlog is ordered on the basis of the value of the items being delivered. Though the value is influenced by several factors including the complexity, risks associated and criticality, these are not the basis for calculating value.   The value of the product is validated by the Product Owner who orders the product backlog. Conclusion The Scrum Master and the Product Owner have mostly overlapping roles and responsibilities as well as overlapping skills.    The Scrum Master ensures project success, by assisting the product owner and the team in using the right Scrum processes for creating the end product and establishing the Agile principles. The Product Owner interacts with the users and customers, Stakeholders, the Development team and the Scrum Master to deliver a successful product.    The Product Owner and the Scrum Master are both invaluable members of a Scrum project team, as they build the perfect relation with the development team and strive to deliver the best results.
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Product Owner vs Scrum Master: Key Differences

Scrum Master vs Product Owner: The two most import... Read More

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