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A Glimpse Of The Major Leading SAFe® Versions

A Quick view of SAFe® Agile has gained popularity in recent years, and with good reason. Teams love this approach that allows them to get a value to the customer faster while learning and adjusting to change as needed. But teams often don’t work in isolation. Many teams work in the context of larger organizations.  Often Agile doesn’t fit their needs. Some teams need an Agile approach that scales to larger projects that involve multiple teams.   It’s possible to do this. That’s where the Scaled Agile Framework, or SAFe®, can help.Why SAFe® is the best scalable framework?The Scaled Agile Framework is a structured Agile approach for large enterprises. It’s prescriptive and provides a path for interdependent teams to gain the benefits of using an Agile approach.Scaled Agile provides guidance not only at the team level but also at the Program and Portfolio levels. It also has built-in coordinated planning across related teams who are working in Release Trains.These planning increments allow teams to plan together to work with customers and release value frequently in a way that’s sustainable to teams.And it supports continuous improvement.It’s a great way for large companies to maintain structure and roll out Agile at a large scale. What is SAFe® 4.5? Scaled Agile, otherwise known as SAFe®, was initially released in 2011 by Dean Leffingwell as a knowledge base for enterprises to adopt Agile. Over the years it has grown and evolved. SAFe® 4.5 was released on June 22, 2017, to accommodate improvements to the framework. Following are some of the key improvements in SAFe® 4.5:Essential SAFe® and ConfigurabilityInnovation with Lean Startup and Lean UXScalable DevOps and Continuous DeliveryImplementation roadmapBenefits of SAFe® 4.5 to companies:Organizations who adopt SAFe® 4.5 will be able to gain the following benefits:1) Test ideas more quickly. SAFe® 4.5 has a build-in iterative development and testing. This lets teams get faster feedback to learn and adjust more quickly.2) Deliver much faster. The changes to SAFe® 4.5 allow teams to move complex work through the pipeline and deliver value to the customer faster.3) Simplify governance and improve portfolio performance. Guidance and support have been added at the Portfolio level to guide organizations in addressing Portfolio-level concerns in a scaled agile context. SAFe® 4.5 - Key areas of improvements:A. Essential SAFe® and ConfigurabilityFour configurations of SAFe® that provide a more configurable and scalable approach:Essential SAFe®: The most basic level that teams can use. It contains just the essentials that a team needs to get the benefits of SAFe®.Portfolio SAFe®: For enterprises that implement multiple solutions that have portfolio responsibilities such as governance, strategy, and portfolio funding.Large Solution: Complex solutions that involve multiple Agile Release Trains. These initiatives don’t require Portfolio concerns, but only include the Large Solution and Essential SAFe® elements.  SAFe® Full SAFe®: The most comprehensive level that can be applied to huge enterprise initiatives requiring hundreds of people to complete.Because SAFe® is a framework, that provides the flexibility to choose the level of SAFe® that best fits your organization’s needs.B. Innovation with Lean Startup and Lean UXRather than creating an entire project plan up-front, SAFe® teams focus on features. They create a hypothesis about what a new feature will deliver and then use an iterative approach to develop and test their hypothesis along the way. As teams move forward through development, they perform this development and test approach repeatedly and adjust as needed, based on feedback. Teams also work closely with end users to identify the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to focus on first. They identify what will be most valuable to the customer most immediately. Then they rely on feedback and learning as they develop the solution incrementally. They adjust as needed to incorporate what they’ve learned into the features. This collaboration and fast feedback and adjustment cycle result in a more successful product.  C. Scalable DevOps & Continuous DeliveryThe addition of a greater focus on DevOps allows teams to innovate faster. Like Agile, DevOps is a mindset. And like Agile, it allows teams to learn, adjust, and deliver value to users incrementally. The continuous delivery pipeline allows teams to move value through the pipeline faster through continuous exploration, continuous integration, continuous deployment, and released on demand. DevOps breaks down silos and supports Agile teams to work together more seamlessly. This results in more efficient delivery of value to the end users faster. It’s a perfect complement to Scaled Agile.D. Implementation RoadmapSAFe® now offers a suggested roadmap to SAFe® adoption. While change can be challenging, the implementation roadmap provides guidance that can help with that organizational change.Critical Role of the SAFe® Program ConsultantSAFe® Program Consultants, or SPCs, are critical change agents in the transition to Scaled Agile.Because of the depth of knowledge required to gain SPC certification, they’re perfectly positioned to help the organization move through challenges of change.They can train and coach all levels of SAFe® participants, from team members to executive leaders. They can also train the Scrum Master, Product Owners, and Agile Release Train Engineers, which are critical roles in SAFe®.The SPC can also train teams and help them launch their Agile Release Trains (ARTs).And they can support teams on the path to continued improvement as they continue to learn and grow.The SPC can also help identify value streams in the organization that may be ready to launch Agile Release Trains.The can also help develop rollout plans for SAFe® in the enterprise.Along with this, they can provide important communications that help the enterprise understand the drivers and value behind the SAFe® transition.       How SAFe® 4.5 is backward compatible with SAFe® 4.0?Even if your organization has already adopted SAFe® 4.0, SAFe® 4.5 has been developed in a way that can be easily adopted without disruption. Your organization can adopt the changes at the pace that works best.Few Updates in the new courseware The courseware for SAFe® 4.5 has incorporated changes to support the changes in SAFe® 4.5.They include Implementing SAFe®, Leading SAFe®, and SAFe® for Teams.Some of the changes you’ll see are as follows:Two new lessons for Leading SAFe®Student workbookTrainer GuideNew look and feelUpdated LPM contentSmoother lesson flowNEW Course Delivery Enablement (CDE) Changes were made to improve alignment between SAFe® and Scrum:Iteration Review: Increments previously known as Sprints now have reviews added. This allows more opportunities for teams to incorporate improvements. Additionally, a Team Demo has been added in each iteration review. This provides more opportunity for transparency, sharing, and feedback.Development Team: The Development team was specifically identified at the team level in SAFe® 4.5. The development team is made up of three to nine people who can move an element of work from development through the test. This development team contains software developers, testers, and engineers, and does not include the Product Owner and Scrum Master. Each of those roles is shown separately at the team level in SAFe® 4.5.Scrum events: The list of scrum events are shown next to the ScrumXP icon and include Plan, Execute, Review, and Retro (for a retrospective.)Combined SAFe® Foundation ElementsSAFe® 4.0 had the foundational elements of Core Values, Lean-Agile Mindset, SAFe® Principles, and Implementing SAFe® at a basic level.SAFe® 4.5 adds to the foundation elements by also including Lean-Agile Leaders, the Implementation Roadmap, and the support of the SPC in the successful implementation of SAFe®.Additional changes include:Communities of Practice: This was moved to the spanning palette to show support at all levels: team, program, large solution, and portfolio.Lean-Agile Leaders: This role is now included in the foundational level. Supportive leadership is critical to a successful SAFe® adoption.SAFe® Program Consultant: This role was added to the Foundational Layer. The SPC can play a key leadership role in a successful transition to Scaled Agile.Implementation Roadmap: The implementation roadmap replaces the basic implementation information in SAFe® 4.0. It provides more in-depth information on the elements to a successful enterprise transition to SAFe®.Benefits of upgrading to SAFe® 4.5With the addition of Lean Startup approaches, along with a deeper focus on DevOps and Continuous Delivery, teams will be situated to deliver quality and value to users more quickly.With improvements at the Portfolio level, teams get more guidance on Portfolio governance and other portfolio levels concerns, such as budgeting and compliance.  Reasons to Upgrade to SAFe® 4.5 Enterprises who’ve been using SAFe® 4.0 will find greater flexibility with the added levels in SAFe® 4.5. Smaller groups in the enterprise can use the team level, while groups working on more complex initiatives can create Agile Release Trains with many teams.Your teams can innovate faster by using the Lean Startup Approach. Work with end users to identify the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), then iterate as you get fast feedback and adjust. This also makes your customer more of a partner in development, resulting in better collaboration and a better end product.Get features and value to your user community faster with DevOps and the Continuous Delivery pipeline. Your teams can continuously hypothesize, build, measure, and learn to continuously release value. This also allows large organizations to innovate more quickly.Most Recent Changes in SAFe® series - SAFe® 4.6Because Scaled Agile continues to improve, new changes have been incorporated with SAFe® 4.6. with the addition of five core competencies that enable enterprises to respond to technology and market changes.Lean Portfolio Management: The information needed for how to use a Lean-Agile approach to portfolio strategy, funding, and governance.Business Solutions and Lean Systems: Optimizing activities to Implement large, complex initiatives using a Scaled Agile approach while still addressing the necessary activities such as designing, testing, deployment, and even retiring old solutions.DevOps and Release on Demand: The skills needed to release value as needed through a continuous delivery pipeline.Team and Technical Agility: The skills needed to establish successful teams who consistently deliver value and quality to meet customer needs.Lean-Agile Leadership: How leadership enables a successful agile transformation by supporting empowered teams in implementing agile practices. Leaders carry out the Agile principles and practices and ensure teams have the support they need to succeedSAFe® Agilist (SA) Certification exam: The SAFe® Agilist certification is for the change leaders in an organization to learn about the SAFe® practices to support change at all levels: team, program, and portfolio levels. These change agents can play a positive role in an enterprise transition to SAFe®.In order to become certified as a SAFe® Agilist (SA), you must first take the Leading SAFe® class and pass the SAFe® certification exam. To learn more about this, see this article on How To Pass Leading SAFe® 4.5 Exam.SAFe® Certification Exam: KnowledgeHut provides Leading SAFe® training in multiple locations. Check the site for locations and dates.SAFe® Agile Certification Cost: Check KnowledgeHut’s scheduled training offerings to see the course cost. Each course includes the opportunity to sit for the exam included in the cost.Scaled Agile Framework Certification Cost: There are multiple levels of SAFe® certification, including Scrum Master, Release Train Engineer, and Product Owner. Courses range in cost, but each includes the chance to sit for the corresponding SAFe® certification.SAFe® Classes: SAFe® classes are offered by various organizations. To see if KnowledgeHut is offering SAFe® Training near you, check the SAFe® training schedule on our website.TrainingKnowledgeHut provides multiple Scaled Agile courses to give both leaders and team members in your organization the information they need to for a successful transition to Scaled Agile. Check the site for the list of classes to find those that are right for your organization as you make the journey.All course fees cover examination costs for certification.SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master with SSM Certification TrainingLearn the core competencies of implementing Agile across the enterprise, along with how to lead high-performing teams to deliver successful solutions. You’ll also learn how to implement DevOps practices. Completion of this course will prepare you for obtaining your SAFe® 4 Scrum Master certificate.SAFe® 4 Advanced Scrum Master (SASM)This two-day course teaches you to how to apply Scrum at the enterprise level and prepares you to lead high-performing teams in a Scaled Agile environment. At course completion, you’ll be prepared to manage interactions not only on your team but also across teams and with stakeholders. You’ll also be prepared to take the SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master exam.Leading SAFe®4.5 Training Course (SA)This two-day Leading SAFe® class prepares you to become a Certified SAFe® 4 Agilist, ready to lead the agile transformation in your enterprise.  By the end of this course, you’ll be able to take the SAFe® Agilist (SA) certification exam.SAFe® 4.5 for Teams (SP) This two-day course teaches Scrum fundamentals, principles tools, and processes. You’ll learn about software engineering practices needed to scale agile and deliver quality solutions in a Scaled Agile environment. Teams new to Scaled Agile will find value in going through this course. Attending the class prepares you for the certification exam to become a certified SAFe® 4 Practitioner (SP). DevOps Foundation Certification trainingThis course teaches you the DevOps framework, along with the practices to prepare you to apply the principles in your work environment. Completion of this course will prepare you also to take the DevOps Foundation exam for certification.
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A Glimpse Of The Major Leading SAFe® Versions 4735
  • by Leigh Espy
  • 31st Oct, 2018
  • Last updated on 24th May, 2019
  • 12 mins read
A Glimpse Of The Major Leading SAFe® Versions

A Quick view of SAFe® 

Agile has gained popularity in recent years, and with good reason. Teams love this approach that allows them to get a value to the customer faster while learning and adjusting to change as needed.
 
But teams often don’t work in isolation. Many teams work in the context of larger organizations.  Often Agile doesn’t fit their needs.
 
Some teams need an Agile approach that scales to larger projects that involve multiple teams.  
 
It’s possible to do this. That’s where the Scaled Agile Framework, or SAFe®, can help.

Why SAFe® is the best scalable framework?

The Scaled Agile Framework is a structured Agile approach for large enterprises. It’s prescriptive and provides a path for interdependent teams to gain the benefits of using an Agile approach.

Scaled Agile provides guidance not only at the team level but also at the Program and Portfolio levels.


 It also has built-in coordinated planning across related teams who are working in Release Trains.
These planning increments allow teams to plan together to work with customers and release value frequently in a way that’s sustainable to teams.
And it supports continuous improvement.
It’s a great way for large companies to maintain structure and roll out Agile at a large scale.
 
What is SAFe® 4.5? 

Scaled Agile, otherwise known as SAFe®, was initially released in 2011 by Dean Leffingwell as a knowledge base for enterprises to adopt Agile. Over the years it has grown and evolved. SAFe® 4.5 was released on June 22, 2017, to accommodate improvements to the framework.
 
Following are some of the key improvements in SAFe® 4.5:

  • Essential SAFe® and Configurability
  • Innovation with Lean Startup and Lean UX
  • Scalable DevOps and Continuous Delivery
  • Implementation roadmap




Benefits of SAFe® 4.5 to companies
:
 Benefits of SAFe® 4.5

Organizations who adopt SAFe® 4.5 will be able to gain the following benefits:

1) Test ideas more quickly. SAFe® 4.5 has a build-in iterative development and testing. This lets teams get faster feedback to learn and adjust more quickly.

2) Deliver much faster. The changes to SAFe® 4.5 allow teams to move complex work through the pipeline and deliver value to the customer faster.

3) Simplify governance and improve portfolio performance. Guidance and support have been added at the Portfolio level to guide organizations in addressing Portfolio-level concerns in a scaled agile context.

 
SAFe® 4.5 - Key areas of improvements:


 SAFe® 4.5 - Key areas of improvements
A. Essential SAFe® and Configurability


Four configurations of SAFe® that provide a more configurable and scalable approach:

  • Essential SAFe®: The most basic level that teams can use. It contains just the essentials that a team needs to get the benefits of SAFe®.
  • Portfolio SAFe®: For enterprises that implement multiple solutions that have portfolio responsibilities such as governance, strategy, and portfolio funding.
  • Large Solution: Complex solutions that involve multiple Agile Release Trains. These initiatives don’t require Portfolio concerns, but only include the Large Solution and Essential SAFe® elements.  
  • SAFe® Full SAFe®: The most comprehensive level that can be applied to huge enterprise initiatives requiring hundreds of people to complete.

Because SAFe® is a framework, that provides the flexibility to choose the level of SAFe® that best fits your organization’s needs.

B. Innovation with Lean Startup and Lean UX

Rather than creating an entire project plan up-front, SAFe® teams focus on features. They create a hypothesis about what a new feature will deliver and then use an iterative approach to develop and test their hypothesis along the way.
 
As teams move forward through development, they perform this development and test approach repeatedly and adjust as needed, based on feedback.
 
Teams also work closely with end users to identify the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to focus on first. They identify what will be most valuable to the customer most immediately.
 
Then they rely on feedback and learning as they develop the solution incrementally. They adjust as needed to incorporate what they’ve learned into the features. This collaboration and fast feedback and adjustment cycle result in a more successful product.  

C. Scalable DevOps & Continuous Delivery

The addition of a greater focus on DevOps allows teams to innovate faster. Like Agile, DevOps is a mindset. And like Agile, it allows teams to learn, adjust, and deliver value to users incrementally.
 
The continuous delivery pipeline allows teams to move value through the pipeline faster through continuous exploration, continuous integration, continuous deployment, and released on demand.
 
DevOps breaks down silos and supports Agile teams to work together more seamlessly. This results in more efficient delivery of value to the end users faster.
 
It’s a perfect complement to Scaled Agile.

D. Implementation Roadmap


SAFe® now offers a suggested roadmap to SAFe® adoption. While change can be challenging, the implementation roadmap provides guidance that can help with that organizational change.

SAFe 4.5 Implementation Roadmap
Critical Role of the SAFe® Program Consultant

SAFe® Program Consultants, or SPCs, are critical change agents in the transition to Scaled Agile.

Because of the depth of knowledge required to gain SPC certification, they’re perfectly positioned to help the organization move through challenges of change.

They can train and coach all levels of SAFe® participants, from team members to executive leaders. They can also train the Scrum Master, Product Owners, and Agile Release Train Engineers, which are critical roles in SAFe®.

The SPC can also train teams and help them launch their Agile Release Trains (ARTs).

And they can support teams on the path to continued improvement as they continue to learn and grow.

The SPC can also help identify value streams in the organization that may be ready to launch Agile Release Trains.

The can also help develop rollout plans for SAFe® in the enterprise.

Along with this, they can provide important communications that help the enterprise understand the drivers and value behind the SAFe® transition.      
 
How SAFe® 4.5 is backward compatible with SAFe® 4.0?

Even if your organization has already adopted SAFe® 4.0, SAFe® 4.5 has been developed in a way that can be easily adopted without disruption. Your organization can adopt the changes at the pace that works best.

 SAFe® 4.5 vs SAFe 4.0
Few Updates in the new courseware 

The courseware for SAFe® 4.5 has incorporated changes to support the changes in SAFe® 4.5.

They include Implementing SAFe®, Leading SAFe®, and SAFe® for Teams.
Some of the changes you’ll see are as follows:

  • Two new lessons for Leading SAFe®
  • Student workbook
  • Trainer Guide
  • New look and feel
  • Updated LPM content
  • Smoother lesson flow
  • NEW Course Delivery Enablement (CDE)

 Changes were made to improve alignment between SAFe® and Scrum:

  • Iteration Review: Increments previously known as Sprints now have reviews added. This allows more opportunities for teams to incorporate improvements. Additionally, a Team Demo has been added in each iteration review. This provides more opportunity for transparency, sharing, and feedback.
  • Development Team: The Development team was specifically identified at the team level in SAFe® 4.5. The development team is made up of three to nine people who can move an element of work from development through the test. This development team contains software developers, testers, and engineers, and does not include the Product Owner and Scrum Master. Each of those roles is shown separately at the team level in SAFe® 4.5.
  • Scrum events: The list of scrum events are shown next to the ScrumXP icon and include Plan, Execute, Review, and Retro (for a retrospective.)

Combined SAFe® Foundation Elements

Combined SAFe® Foundation Elements

SAFe® 4.0 had the foundational elements of Core Values, Lean-Agile Mindset, SAFe® Principles, and Implementing SAFe® at a basic level.

SAFe® 4.5 adds to the foundation elements by also including Lean-Agile Leaders, the Implementation Roadmap, and the support of the SPC in the successful implementation of SAFe®.

Additional changes include:

  • Communities of Practice: This was moved to the spanning palette to show support at all levels: team, program, large solution, and portfolio.
  • Lean-Agile Leaders: This role is now included in the foundational level. Supportive leadership is critical to a successful SAFe® adoption.
  • SAFe® Program Consultant: This role was added to the Foundational Layer. The SPC can play a key leadership role in a successful transition to Scaled Agile.
  • Implementation Roadmap: The implementation roadmap replaces the basic implementation information in SAFe® 4.0. It provides more in-depth information on the elements to a successful enterprise transition to SAFe®.

Benefits of upgrading to SAFe® 4.5

With the addition of Lean Startup approaches, along with a deeper focus on DevOps and Continuous Delivery, teams will be situated to deliver quality and value to users more quickly.

With improvements at the Portfolio level, teams get more guidance on Portfolio governance and other portfolio levels concerns, such as budgeting and compliance.  

Reasons to Upgrade to SAFe® 4.5 

  • Enterprises who’ve been using SAFe® 4.0 will find greater flexibility with the added levels in SAFe® 4.5. Smaller groups in the enterprise can use the team level, while groups working on more complex initiatives can create Agile Release Trains with many teams.

  • Your teams can innovate faster by using the Lean Startup Approach. Work with end users to identify the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), then iterate as you get fast feedback and adjust. This also makes your customer more of a partner in development, resulting in better collaboration and a better end product.

Get features and value to your user community faster with DevOps and the Continuous Delivery pipeline. Your teams can continuously hypothesize, build, measure, and learn to continuously release value. This also allows large organizations to innovate more quickly.

Most Recent Changes in SAFe® series - SAFe® 4.6

Because Scaled Agile continues to improve, new changes have been incorporated with SAFe® 4.6. with the addition of five core competencies that enable enterprises to respond to technology and market changes.

 Recent Changes in SAFe® series - SAFe® 4.6


  • Lean Portfolio Management: The information needed for how to use a Lean-Agile approach to portfolio strategy, funding, and governance.
  • Business Solutions and Lean Systems: Optimizing activities to Implement large, complex initiatives using a Scaled Agile approach while still addressing the necessary activities such as designing, testing, deployment, and even retiring old solutions.
  • DevOps and Release on Demand: The skills needed to release value as needed through a continuous delivery pipeline.
  • Team and Technical Agility: The skills needed to establish successful teams who consistently deliver value and quality to meet customer needs.
  • Lean-Agile Leadership: How leadership enables a successful agile transformation by supporting empowered teams in implementing agile practices. Leaders carry out the Agile principles and practices and ensure teams have the support they need to succeed

  1. SAFe® Agilist (SA) Certification exam: The SAFe® Agilist certification is for the change leaders in an organization to learn about the SAFe® practices to support change at all levels: team, program, and portfolio levels. These change agents can play a positive role in an enterprise transition to SAFe®.
    In order to become certified as a SAFe® Agilist (SA), you must first take the Leading SAFe® class and pass the SAFe® certification exam. To learn more about this, see this article on How To Pass Leading SAFe® 4.5 Exam.
  2. SAFe® Certification Exam: KnowledgeHut provides Leading SAFe® training in multiple locations. Check the site for locations and dates.
  3. SAFe® Agile Certification Cost: Check KnowledgeHut’s scheduled training offerings to see the course cost. Each course includes the opportunity to sit for the exam included in the cost.
  4. Scaled Agile Framework Certification Cost: There are multiple levels of SAFe® certification, including Scrum Master, Release Train Engineer, and Product Owner. Courses range in cost, but each includes the chance to sit for the corresponding SAFe® certification.
  5. SAFe® Classes: SAFe® classes are offered by various organizations. To see if KnowledgeHut is offering SAFe® Training near you, check the SAFe® training schedule on our website.

Training

KnowledgeHut provides multiple Scaled Agile courses to give both leaders and team members in your organization the information they need to for a successful transition to Scaled Agile. Check the site for the list of classes to find those that are right for your organization as you make the journey.
All course fees cover examination costs for certification.

  1. SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master with SSM Certification Training

    Learn the core competencies of implementing Agile across the enterprise, along with how to lead high-performing teams to deliver successful solutions. You’ll also learn how to implement DevOps practices. Completion of this course will prepare you for obtaining your SAFe® 4 Scrum Master certificate.
  2. SAFe® 4 Advanced Scrum Master (SASM)

    This two-day course teaches you to how to apply Scrum at the enterprise level and prepares you to lead high-performing teams in a Scaled Agile environment. At course completion, you’ll be prepared to manage interactions not only on your team but also across teams and with stakeholders. You’ll also be prepared to take the SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master exam.
  3. Leading SAFe®4.5 Training Course (SA)

    This two-day Leading SAFe® class prepares you to become a Certified SAFe® 4 Agilist, ready to lead the agile transformation in your enterprise.  By the end of this course, you’ll be able to take the SAFe® Agilist (SA) certification exam.
  4. SAFe® 4.5 for Teams (SP) 

    This two-day course teaches Scrum fundamentals, principles tools, and processes. You’ll learn about software engineering practices needed to scale agile and deliver quality solutions in a Scaled Agile environment. Teams new to Scaled Agile will find value in going through this course. Attending the class prepares you for the certification exam to become a certified SAFe® 4 Practitioner (SP).
  5.  DevOps Foundation Certification training

    This course teaches you the DevOps framework, along with the practices to prepare you to apply the principles in your work environment. Completion of this course will prepare you also to take the DevOps Foundation exam for certification.
Leigh

Leigh Espy

Author

Leigh Espy is the author of Bad Meetings Happen to Good People: How to Run Meetings That Are Effective, Focused, and Produce Results. She has over 15 years of IT project management and portfolio experience. Additionally, she teaches Scaled Agile classes in the corporate world. She holds certifications as a project management professional (PMP), certified scrum master (CSM), SAFe Agilist (SA) and SAFe Program Consultant (SPC).

Leigh also coaches and mentors project managers and those making the move to a project management career. She writes about project management and leadership.You can also find out more at  ProjectBliss.net.

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1 comments

Deepika 13 Nov 2018

Very informative blog

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What is great about this manifesto is that it does not propose alternatives, but defining values, thus encouraging developers to pay attention to certain areas whilst not bypassing others.According to the Agile Manifesto, the four values are as follows:Individuals and interactions over processes and toolsWorking software over comprehensive documentationCustomer collaboration over contract negotiationRespond to change over following a planLet us see what these values individually have to offer and what we learn from them.Individuals and Interactions over processes and toolsThis stresses on the fact that although the right tools are vital to developing good software, it is very essential to have a cognitive unit to perform the task in the first place. A team of developers working together on a project with separate but unique tools in a single room will perform efficiently and quickly to deliver before or on the deadline day than isolated developers working with a well-defined process and a common set of state of the art and sophisticated tools in a huge office.We are not denying the fact that tools do not play an important part in creating good software. Of course, they do but we should bear in mind that tools do not work on their own and need people to make them work.And what are human beings in general?We are social beings and deliver quicker and with more efficiency when working together in a group. A cognitive unit of hard working and smart employees will work in tandem without any communication gap and make the flow of work smootherWorking software over comprehensive documentationIn the past, there were records of lots of time being spent on documenting the product for development and delivery under tight deadlines. Test plans, technical requirements, documentation plans, interface design documents, technical specifications, technical prospectus, and approval required; the list was endless and this caused long delays in development. Documentation is important and serves the purpose of making the end users or co-workers understand how the software works. But there are times when the developers of a company are left with an uphill task of doing the documentation even before the commencement of developing the software, and if the company follows Agile methodology, then they should remember that the primary aim of a software developing company is to develop software, not to engage in the documentation for the majority of their time.Here, Agile comes into play and makes things easier for the developers. It breaks down the requirements of the client in the form of documents as user stories and that is exactly what each developer would need to begin working on developing the software.Customer Collaboration Over Contract NegotiationYour customer is the key to your success. Logically speaking, customers are the ones who help you in making better software. And How? Well, that is easy to explain. Customers are the users who will end up using a particular software. Developing the same while taking feedback and inputs from them will help you focus on the prime objective of giving the customers what they really want. They might not help in providing you with the next breakthrough idea, one which you have to come up with, but working closely with them and listening to their input will help you create what your customers desire for and as a result, develop flexible and successfully developed software.Sometimes, legal contracts with customers act as a barrier for you in communicating with your customers. You will need to devise a plan to separate the legal bounding that you have with your customers from the product relationship.Contract negotiations will be there as a part of the deal, but forming a relationship with the customer to facilitate communication will help you interact with the customers with a human touch, failing to do which will not help in developing great software. Creating a relationship with the customers will help in knowing their preferences, thoughts, and opinions. This might be a difficult task for you, but in the long run, doing so will help you achieve much better results.Remember,There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.- Sam WaltonRespond to Change over Following a PlanChanges do happen in software development. Changes in technology, business trends and strategy, etc. Being flexible with the flow of change is what the fourth value of Agile all about.Following a project plan is fine. However, the same must be flexible and should have some room for changes or it will soon be forgotten as some misplaced faith of self-righteousness.This, on the other hand, makes the life of software testers difficult. Let me tell you why.The software testers analyse and test the functioning bits of the software after its development. However, due to sudden changes in the technical part, business plans or strategy, the testers are not aware of the sudden changes or updates that the developing team are made aware of and need to change their testing strategy accordingly.This results in communication gaps being formed between the testers and the developers thus putting the testers under tremendous pressure to deliver on time.In order to get this issue sorted out, you need to go back to the first value of Agile, which is communicating across teams to stay updated about the changes for a better and more effective workflow. It is more like an initiative to be taken by the testing team, that is, to communicate with the developers to stay in the loop of changes or a new course of action.Now that we have covered on the four values of Agile, let us move ahead to show you what the twelve principles of Agile have to offer and in what way they can help.Agile Manifesto PrinciplesThe twelve Agile principles form the ‘twelve commandments’ of the ‘Agile Movement’ methodology, ones which embrace change and consider the customer as the focal point. They also denote the movement’s intent, that is, to bring development into alignment with business needs, as described by one of the signatories of the manifesto, Alistair Cockburn.The twelve principles of Agile development include:Customer Satisfaction through Early and Continuous Software Delivery:The best way to make customers happy is by delivering the software early for testing and feedback, to let them know about the progress, the implementations, and acknowledge the delivery value by fulfilling their top priority requirements first. Each iteration has an outcome, a working code that can be applied to examine and respond to the ever-changing user requirements.Accommodate Changing Requirements Throughout the Development Process:This stresses on responding to change instead of staying strictly aligned to an approved plan. It involves a simplified version of handling change with the necessity of no formal documentation or approval. This is done to have control over change for the customer’s competitive advantage because it fastens the response to the latest changes in the business to bolster your advantage to emerging opportunities.Frequent Delivery of Working Software:This explains how to provide immediate value to the customers by delivering working features. Each iteration or Sprint must end up in yielding a product release. The teams ensure that each feature is fully developed, tested, customised, and styled according to the customer’s satisfaction before considering it as delivered. The structure of the project team can be bettered by focussing on the delivery of value with a fixed delivery timeframe.Collaboration between the Business Stakeholders and Developers throughout the Project:Agile development principles aim at keeping requirements and documentation light.The primary thought process is that it is fine and acceptable for changes to happen in software development. This results in close collaborations being given importance to clarify requirements on a timely basis to always keep all the team members notified during the development of the software.Support, Trust, and Motivate the people involved:Fruitful and competitive projects depend on focussed, trusted, and motivated individuals to get the job done. Team members are allowed to select the work they are most interested in by self-organisation with no interference of external management. Micromanagement and top-down approach is a strict no-no.Enable Face-to-Face InteractionsThis form of interaction is the best one of the lot. No other mode of communication could beat this one, especially when you need to get to the root of an issue. Feedback via face-to-face interaction or video conference (for the teams separated geographically) is always encouraged as it involves a smoother transfer of information amongst the members.Working Software is the Primary Measure of ProgressThis is done by collocating a number of teams in an open area and programmers are paired with each other at each workstation. So what that means is, each pair works in a symbiotic manner. The programmer at the keyboard, known as the ‘Driver’. The other one, known as the ‘Navigator’, actively works on the programming, thinking more about the overall direction. Normally, the job roles are to be switched to have a better understanding between each other.This results in better coding, as these symbiotic interactions help in clarifying the complexities and hidden details in the coding task in a better way. This also leads to a smoother exchange of information and knowledge amongst the team, hence reducing coordination efforts greatly, and improving the flexibility of the pair to interruptions.Agile Processes to Support a Consistent Development PaceThe Agile methodology aims at keeping the perfect work-life balance and never over exhaust the employees, thus keeping them happy. By maintaining close collaboration and being alert and creative, extended work after normal working hours is avoided, especially at the weekends, the time when people try to recover from their hectic lifestyle.Attention to Technical Detail and Design Enhances AgilitySelf-organising teams are the key to yield the best architectures, designs, and requirements. The team engages in retrospective meetings that hold discussions on the things needed in order to be more effective, after which a decision is made on the next course of action depending on the situation. This ensures that whatever is learnt during the project can be reapplied in the next iteration.SimplicityThis principle hints at the application of the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule. It means that as a matter of fact, 80% of the results may be achieved from just 20% of your efforts. What actually needs to be done is to focus on the ‘20%’ that will yield the majority of the results. You need to focus on the things that are important to add value to the project and customers. Ignore the things that do not add value, such as components, process, etc.Self-organizing teams encourage great architectures, requirements, and designsIn Scrum methodology, the team has complete control and is responsible to meet the target of each sprint, and on deciding how to achieve the same. Cutting long story short, the team knows the best way to carry out the task, the interference of the project manager or even the human resources department is not welcome.Regular reflections on how to become more effectiveTo get the right results, it is imperative for teams to work as a cognitive unit by focussing on working out new plans to be more effective, checking the requirements, tuning in to the change, and adapting accordingly. Changes do happen most of the time, so you will never come to know what changes in the requirements might emerge until the software is looked at and tested. And the external conditions might have changed while you spent lots of time analysing and reviewing the requirements and designing a solution.Purpose of Agile ManifestoThe basic ambition of Agile is to deliver better software, and that is achieved by presenting a structure which is transparent and direct by emphasising on iterative development, team collaboration and embracing change.Really, it is difficult to imagine how Agile Manifesto has given rise to numerous software and activity. Before the emergence of the same, developing software was not as quick as it is nowadays. This led to the cancellation of many projects because of the continual changes in business needs and was quite unsettling for the software developing industry.The Agile Manifesto is the heart of the Agile movement. Its twelve core principles and four values aimed at changing the process, speeding up productivity with quality and development time. It was noticed that Agile has been implemented even on fields outside software development. Agile stressed on lean manufacturing, collaboration, communication and quick development of smaller sets of features under the guidance of an all-inclusive plan whilst always adapting to changes.Agile Vs Scrum and other methodologiesEven though Agile and Scrum go along with the same system, they do differ in some aspects when compared with each other.While Agile explains a set of principles in the Agile Manifesto employing interactive development to build software, Scrum follows a specific set of rules when practising Agile software development. Agile forms the philosophy whereas Scrum is the methodology to implement the Agile philosophy.Scrum is one of the ways to implement Agile, so there is no surprise when both are similar in many aspects. Both base on delivering software sooner and at regular intervals. Both are iterative processes and have scope for changes too, not to forget their transparency and constant improvement.Here are the notable differences and similarities between Agile and Scrum:AspectsAgileScrumPhilosophyYesNoAdds processNoYesMethodologyNoYesAccommodates changeYesYesConstant improvementYesYesDeliver software early and oftenYesYesIterativeYesYesTransparencyYesYesWhen it comes to Agile and Waterfall, it can be said that Agile is much more flexible and ever-evolving while Waterfall is a rigid and inflexible process.The chances of finding similarities between these two are remote. As a matter of fact, Agile was brought into existence because of the shortfalls of Waterfall and is its polar opposite although they both strive at delivering quality products efficiently.Here are the notable differences and similarities between Agile and Scrum:AspectsAgileWaterfallSequentialNoYesRigid processNoYesFlexibleYesNoAccommodates changeYesNoContinually evolvingYesNoDeliver quality productsYesYesDefined requirementsNoYesOn comparing Agile with Kanban, although the latter implements the former in a visual manner, there are numerous differences and notable similarities, which are:AspectsAgileKanbanIterationsYesNoContinuous flowNoYesPhilosophyYesNoVisualisationNoYesContinually improvingYesYesCross-functional teamsYesNoTransparencyYesYesFaster deliveryYesYesSplitting projects into smaller segmentsYesYesUpfront planning is not necessaryYesYesEqually beneficial to all industriesNoYesNo project management methodology is 100% foolproof all the time. Different methodologies are introduced in different situations and prove useful too. It depends on the type of change you want to bring in your team. For example, Kanban is a better option if you want to introduce something on the top of existing infrastructure with small but incremental changes. However, Agile would be a better choice if your goal is to go for a bigger change.ConclusionSo, here we are, at the end of the line of this topic. We have discussed a lot about Agile Manifesto, its values and principles, and focussed on the benefits of its applications, not to forget about how different Agile is from the various methodologies.You can freely implement the magnificent set of values and principles of Agile to your own business or organisation. It will work wonders if followed religiously.All the best for your future!
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The Ultimate Guide to the Agile Manifesto

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What is Scrum Alliance® Membership?

The certification offered by Scrum Alliance® enables you to gain an understanding of the agile mindset and learn about Scrum roles, events, and artifacts. But what is Scrum Alliance®? It is a non-profit organisation that helps to create joyful, prosperous, and sustainable workplaces by inspiring and guiding the individual, leaders, and organisations with agile practices, principles, and values.Scrum Alliance® also has a strong membership community that gives an extra boost to your passion of agile journey. The membership fee which you need to pay is $50 and you need to renew your membership every year. It is an optional service which gives you access to benefits that are exclusively available for the members. The benefits include access to local user groups, deep discounts off Global and Regional Scrum Gatherings, AgileCareers job board, and more. Now let’s discuss the offerings of Scrum Alliance® Membership in details.Scrum Alliance® Membership perksAs we have already discussed above, you don’t need to purchase a one-year Scrum Alliance Membership in order to take up a Scrum Alliance® course or earn a certification. Also, you do not get direct access to the online CSM® test. But you receive a complimentary membership for two years once you earn an initial certification from Scrum Alliance®, like CSM®, CSPO®, CSD®.Now let’s take a look at the perks of having a Scrum Alliance Membership. They are:Earn discounts for Regional and Global Scrum GatheringsGrab the opportunity to join a User GroupWork as a volunteerYou can find a job or post one with AgileCareers.Benefits of having a Scrum Alliance® MembershipIf you are passionate about embarking on an exciting Agile journey, then registering for Scrum Alliance Membership will provide you with the required support for it. Sign up for a Scrum Alliance Membership and get an opportunity to connect with other Scrum practitioners around the world as a part of the largest, most established, and influential professional membership organisation in the Agile and Scrum community. Moreover, you can reap the following benefits out of the membership:1. ConnectGet an opportunity to learn and network with the industry experts by participating at in-person events, including Global and Regional Gathering. Need some extra membership benefits? Scrum Alliance Membership enables you to avail exclusive membership while registering for these events.2. CommunityOnce you become a Scrum Alliance Member, you get the opportunity to share knowledge and best practices by participating in 350+ User Groups as well as give back to the community through a wide range of volunteering opportunities.3. CareerGive a new direction to your career by getting exclusive access to the job board of Scrum Alliance i.e. AgileCareers.4. CalibrateScrum Alliance® offers you a plethora of new professional development resources. Get updates on new exclusive webinars, resources, insights, and research.5. CollaborateYou become eligible for special offers as soon as you become a Scrum Alliance Member. Transform and optimize your organisation by taking advantage of product and service benefits.Steps to renew your Scrum Alliance MembershipYour Scrum Alliance Membership lasts for only a year. You need to renew your membership at the end of every year by paying $50. The renewal of membership gives you access to local user groups, exclusive discounts on Global and Regional Scrum Gatherings, AgileCareer job portal, and more. But renewing your membership doesn’t renew your certification. Follow these steps to renew your Scrum Alliance Membership:Step 1:  Log in to your account.Step 2: In the next step, you need to click on ‘Hello, [Your Name]’ which you will find in the upper righthand corner.Step 3: Next, you need to select ‘My Dashboard’.Step 4: Now you need to look for the section labelled ‘Actions’.Step 5: In the next step, you need to click on ‘Renew Membership’.Step 6: Finally, you need to pay $50 for your membership dues as soon as you get redirected to PayPal.On a concluding noteScrum Alliance Membership opens your doors towards numerous benefits that you can reap while you continue with your Agile journey. It gives you access to regional as well as global learning opportunities with an extra benefit of availing discounts on registration for the events.Further, get an opportunity to mingle with 350+ User Groups to share knowledge and best practices. Also, grab the exclusive opportunity to find a new role for yourself to give your career a new dimension by getting access to AgileCareers.Hope this article helps you to make a wise move. All the best!
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What is Scrum Alliance® Membership?

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How to earn a Scrum Education Unit® (SEU®) from the Scrum Alliance

In the world of Agile, SEUs® stands for Scrum Education Units® (SEUs®), issued by the Scrum Alliance. It marks your participation, educational experience and continued proficiency in the underlying principles and practices of Scrum, while at the same time to maintain your certification. You can earn Scrum Education Units® (SEUs®) via completing various learning opportunities or educational training.  The process to earn SEUs® is easy and it will help you stay relevant as well as competitive in the market.Why do I need to earn SEUs®?SEUs® are required to renew foundational, advanced and professional-level certifications, which include CSM®, A-CSM®, CSP-SM®, CSPO®, A-CSPO®, CSP-PO®,  CSD®, and CSP®.SEUs® follow a ratio of 1:1, which means that for every hour spent in preparation or participation, you earn one SEU®.In order to maintain your certification for two more years, you need to submit an established number of Scrum Education Units® (SEUs®) along with a renewal fee.There are six categories from which you can choose from when selecting SEUs®, which has been discussed later in the blog.The following SEU® requirements have been in effect since February 4, 2019, with no change in the renewal fee.Certification TypeCertification (2-year term)SEUs RequiredRenewal Fee Per TermFoundationalCSM®, CSPO®, CSD®20$100AdvancedA-CSM®, A-CSPO®30$175ProfessionalCSP-SM®, CSP-PO®, CSP®40$250What are the different ways to earn SEUs®?There are six categories that you can choose from while selecting SEUs®:Category I: Scrum Alliance Scrum GatheringsParticipate in Scrum Alliance Global Gatherings, Scrum Alliance Regional Gatherings, Scrum Coaching Retreats, and Scrum Alliance-Sponsored Events, and Scrum Alliance-Endorsed User Group activities and events and earn SEUs®.Per day, a maximum of 8 SEUs® can be earned.The following are a few options for Scrum Alliance Scrum Gatherings:Attending Global Scrum GatheringAttending Regional Scrum GatheringAttending Scrum Alliance user group activityAttending Scrum Coaching RetreatAttending Scrum Alliance pre-event or post-event workshopAttending Scrum Alliance-sponsored eventAttending Scrum Alliance CSP Retreat  Category II: Scrum Alliance Courses or CoachingWork with Scrum Alliance CSTs, CTCs, CECs, and REPs to earn SEUs®. You can earn a maximum of 8 SEUs® after attending a full day training.Additional SEUs® can be earned by:Acquiring continuing education in advanced Scrum topics.Attending training courses conducted by CST®, like webinars, e-learning, recorded training, face-to-face courses.Attending training courses which are provided by Scrum Alliance® Registered Education Provider (REP).Participating in small or one-on-one group coachings provided by a CEC or CTC.Note: The CSTs, CECs, CTCs, or REPs should be verified as per the Member Directory on the Scrum Alliance website.The following are a few options for Scrum Alliance Courses or Coaching:Receiving CSM trainingReceiving CSPO trainingReceiving CSD trainingReceiving training from a CST (can be video training or eLearning)Receiving training from a Scrum Alliance REPReceiving coaching conducted by a CEC or CTCCategory III: Outside EventsYou can earn SEUs® by participating in other relevant events as well, other than the ones that are sponsored by Scrum Alliance. It includes Agile conferences, training from someone who is not a CST, regional meetings, or a REP course that does not fit according to the Category II.  Unlike Category II, activities in Category III include activities and services that you are receiving rather than providing.The following are a few options for Outside Events:Receiving face-to-face training outside of Scrum AllianceReceiving coaching or mentoring outside of Scrum Alliance vAttending user group events outside of Scrum AllianceAttending Scrum/Agile events outside of Scrum AllianceCategory IV: Volunteer ServiceScrum Alliance encourages you to give back to the community.  Therefore, you can earn SEUs® by providing non-compensated professional Scrum services, that is, you will be asked if you are not compensating for your volunteer work for your employer or another party.Category V: Independent LearningYou can earn SEUs® via independent learning activities such as preparing presentations, authoring relevant books, blogs or articles; watching a training video; reading books in-depth and then describing their benefits as a Scrum practitioner.The following are a few options for Independent Learning:Preparing a Scrum presentation (not delivering)Author a book, blog or articleWatch a Scrum/Agile video by an instructor other than a Scrum Alliance CSTRead a book on Scrum/AgileOther independent learningCategory VI: Other Collaborative LearningYou can earn SEUs® via various other collaborative learning activities with other Scrum practitioners. This category might not include submissions which belong to Category B or C.The following are a few options for Collaborative Learning:Co-training with the objective of learningReceiving training via live webinar which is delivered by any trainer other than a CSTOther collaborative learningWhat is the process for submitting SEUs®  for renewal? The following is the step-by-step process for SEUs® renewal:Log into your account on the Scrum Alliance page, https://www.scrumalliance.org/login.Click on the ‘My Settings’, which can be found on the upper right-hand area of your screen.Select ‘Certification Dashboard’.Under the ‘My Credentials’, go to the grey ‘Manage SEUs®’ button.Choose your SEU® category from the ‘Enter a Scrum Education Unit’  drop-down menu.Fill in all the details of all the required fields. Note: You cannot reuse an SEU® if it has been used to submit a prior renewal of certification or CSP® application.  Also, all of the SEUs® that is being used for renewal should be earned within the past two years. 
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How to earn a Scrum Education Unit® (SEU®) from ...

In the world of Agile, SEUs® stands for Scrum Edu... Read More