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How To Update Your Leading SAFe® 4.0 Certification To SAFe® 4.5 Version

Scaled Agile® has released its most current version SAFe® 4.5 on 22 June 2017. With the advent of a new version of SAFe®, SAFe® 4.5 has revamped with the exciting new features around Continuous Delivery, Lean UX and Lean Startup, Configurability, Implementation Roadmap, and Scalable DevOps.SAFe® 4.5 is also known as- SAFe® for Lean Enterprises. It provides a better way to improve alignment and implementation of Lean-Agile practices across the entire organization. After implementing SAFe® 4.5, the organization felt that SAFe® 4.5 is leaner, more Agile and an easily configurable framework that promotes better business results, faster innovation and improvements.  This newly configurable SAFe® 4.5 framework is the outcome of research from several implementations, feedback from the customer’s advancements in the knowledge base whereupon SAFe® is built. It can be configured as per your enterprise’s needs. The new version of SAFe® 4.5 allow companies to:Update and test the ideas rapidly using the feature called Lean Startup cycle and Lean User Experience (Lean UX)Deliver faster using Scalable DevOps and the Continuous Delivery pipeline featureSimplify governance and manage portfolio performance with the feature Lean Portfolio Management (LPM)Shape as per the enterprise requirementsExecute SAFe® faster and successfully with the Implementation RoadmapIf a company wants to scale its Agile teams, then the SAFe® framework is there to meet the associated challenges. The revamped features in Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) like Lean Startup and Lean UX, Lean portfolio Management (LPM), and Lean Budgets help to update and execute the strategy more quickly to get faster business outcomes. Whereas the features like Scalable DevOps and Continuous Delivery supports the ‘build-measure-learn’ cycle implementation for faster delivery.We, as a whole, realize that organizational change is easier said than done. It requires embracing new practices, leadership styles, and culture. SAFe® quickens Lean-Agile changes with the new Implementation Roadmap, which guides organizations consistently. To be aware of these latest features, you can attend the SAFe® certifications. With the advancement in SAfe® features, there must be an update in the SAFe® 4.5 certification. Let us check out how to update the certification to the SAFe® 4.5 version.The goal of the course:The objective of this course is to furnish you with the skills required to lead Lean-Agile transformation at the organization scale. The goal of the course is to provide a deep understanding of the SAFe® principles, educating Lean thinking and embracing Agility, plan, build and implement the Agile Release Train (ART) and values,  apply the SAFe® 9 Lean-Agile principles, construct the larger systems in the Lean-Agile environment and impart knowledge on how to execute the Agile portfolio. It also aims at training candidates on the necessary leadership skills and help them understand how to lead the next generation proficient employees smartly.Expertise Level:The expertise level needed to attend the SAFe® 4.5 certification training is-Intermediate to Advanced levelKey Learnings:An in-depth overview of the SAFe® principlesHow to embrace Lean-Agile thinkingHow the project is build using Lean, Systems Thinking, and AgileNine SAFe® principles for Lean-Agile development at an organizational levelWhat is Team level, Program level, Large Solution and Portfolio levelImplementing Agile Release TrainImplement Program IncrementBuilding large systems in the Lean-Agile environmentManage Agile portfolio efficientlyWho can attend the course?Below is a list of professionals who are eligible for attending the course-Executives, Managers, Consultants, Leaders, Program Managers, and Agile Change Agents;Anyone in an enterprise-level software development environment looking to achieve the business benefits of advancing Agile beyond a few teams or projects.Course Prerequisites:Following are the prerequisites for taking up the Leading SAFe® 4.5 training-5+ years of experience in software development, testing, business analysis, product or project management;Experience in Agile developmentLessons covered in SAFe® 4.5 training course:We are listing the most important lessons covered in the SAFe® 4.5 training course. It must, however, be noted that the overall course is not limited to the following-Introduction to Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®)How to embrace a Lean-Agile MindsetSAFe® principlesImplementing ARTHow to plan a Program Increment?How to explore, execute, and release value?Empowering a Lean portfolioBuilding the larger solutionsHow to lead the lean-Agile enterpriseUpdate in the exam pattern:There is no major update in the Leading SAFe® 4.5 examination pattern as of now.Requirements for attending the SAFe® 4.5 certification course:Since SAFe® 4.5 is backward compatible, so there is no need for formal training before taking the Leading SAFe® 4.5 certification.Certification Update cost:There is no cost to update to SAFe® 4.5 for individuals who have a SAFe® Community Platform membership.What if people (SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC) and SAFe® Program Consultant Trainer (SPCT)) are already certified prior to SAFe® 4.5 release?SPCs and SPCTs are automatically permitted to train on courses like Leading SAFe®, SAFe® for teams, and SAFe® Product Owner/Product Manager (PO/PM)If SPCTs are SAFe® 4 certified, then they are directly permitted to coach on implementing SAFe®.SPCs and SPCTs are urged to finish the Course Delivery Enablement (CDE) for each course they intend to train. They are additionally urged to finish- What's New in SAFe® 4.5 training which is available by means of SAFe® Community Platform.Concluding ThoughtsThe developing interest in making a career in SAFe® and the proven advantages found after embracing Leading SAFe® 4.5 implementation in all the business areas add all the more durable values to the Leading SAFe® 4.5 certification. As SAFe® 4.0 will be accessible until June 2018, in this way, it is smarter to reap the benefits by updating your SAFe® certification to Leading SAFe® 4.5.This might turn out to be the next big career move you are looking for!
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How To Update Your Leading SAFe® 4.0 Certification To SAFe® 4.5 Version

8921
How To Update Your Leading SAFe® 4.0 Certification To SAFe® 4.5 Version

Scaled Agile® has released its most current version SAFe® 4.5 on 22 June 2017. With the advent of a new version of SAFe®, SAFe® 4.5 has revamped with the exciting new features around Continuous Delivery, Lean UX and Lean Startup, Configurability, Implementation Roadmap, and Scalable DevOps.

SAFe® 4.5 is also known as- SAFe® for Lean Enterprises. It provides a better way to improve alignment and implementation of Lean-Agile practices across the entire organization. After implementing SAFe® 4.5, the organization felt that SAFe® 4.5 is leaner, more Agile and an easily configurable framework that promotes better business results, faster innovation and improvements.  

This newly configurable SAFe® 4.5 framework is the outcome of research from several implementations, feedback from the customer’s advancements in the knowledge base whereupon SAFe® is built. It can be configured as per your enterprise’s needs. The new version of SAFe® 4.5 allow companies to:

  • Update and test the ideas rapidly using the feature called Lean Startup cycle and Lean User Experience (Lean UX)
  • Deliver faster using Scalable DevOps and the Continuous Delivery pipeline feature
  • Simplify governance and manage portfolio performance with the feature Lean Portfolio Management (LPM)
  • Shape as per the enterprise requirements
  • Execute SAFe® faster and successfully with the Implementation Roadmap

If a company wants to scale its Agile teams, then the SAFe® framework is there to meet the associated challenges. The revamped features in Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) like Lean Startup and Lean UX, Lean portfolio Management (LPM), and Lean Budgets help to update and execute the strategy more quickly to get faster business outcomes. Whereas the features like Scalable DevOps and Continuous Delivery supports the ‘build-measure-learn’ cycle implementation for faster delivery.
SAFe 4.5 Best practices
We, as a whole, realize that organizational change is easier said than done. It requires embracing new practices, leadership styles, and culture. SAFe® quickens Lean-Agile changes with the new Implementation Roadmap, which guides organizations consistently. To be aware of these latest features, you can attend the SAFe® certifications. With the advancement in SAfe® features, there must be an update in the SAFe® 4.5 certification. Let us check out how to update the certification to the SAFe® 4.5 version.

The goal of the course:

The objective of this course is to furnish you with the skills required to lead Lean-Agile transformation at the organization scale. The goal of the course is to provide a deep understanding of the SAFe® principles, educating Lean thinking and embracing Agility, plan, build and implement the Agile Release Train (ART) and values,  apply the SAFe® 9 Lean-Agile principles, construct the larger systems in the Lean-Agile environment and impart knowledge on how to execute the Agile portfolio. It also aims at training candidates on the necessary leadership skills and help them understand how to lead the next generation proficient employees smartly.

Expertise Level:

The expertise level needed to attend the SAFe® 4.5 certification training is-
Intermediate to Advanced level

Key Learnings:

  • An in-depth overview of the SAFe® principles
  • How to embrace Lean-Agile thinking
  • How the project is build using Lean, Systems Thinking, and Agile
  • Nine SAFe® principles for Lean-Agile development at an organizational level
  • What is Team level, Program level, Large Solution and Portfolio level
  • Implementing Agile Release Train
  • Implement Program Increment
  • Building large systems in the Lean-Agile environment
  • Manage Agile portfolio efficiently

Who can attend the course?

Below is a list of professionals who are eligible for attending the course-

  • Executives, Managers, Consultants, Leaders, Program Managers, and Agile Change Agents;
  • Anyone in an enterprise-level software development environment looking to achieve the business benefits of advancing Agile beyond a few teams or projects.


Course Prerequisites:

Following are the prerequisites for taking up the Leading SAFe® 4.5 training-

  • 5+ years of experience in software development, testing, business analysis, product or project management;
  • Experience in Agile development

Lessons covered in SAFe® 4.5 training course:

We are listing the most important lessons covered in the SAFe® 4.5 training course. It must, however, be noted that the overall course is not limited to the following-

  1. Introduction to Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®)
  2. How to embrace a Lean-Agile Mindset
  3. SAFe® principles
  4. Implementing ART
  5. How to plan a Program Increment?
  6. How to explore, execute, and release value?
  7. Empowering a Lean portfolio
  8. Building the larger solutions
  9. How to lead the lean-Agile enterprise

Lessons covered in SAFe® 4.5 training course
Update in the exam pattern:

There is no major update in the Leading SAFe® 4.5 examination pattern as of now.

Requirements for attending the SAFe® 4.5 certification course:

Since SAFe® 4.5 is backward compatible, so there is no need for formal training before taking the Leading SAFe® 4.5 certification.

Certification Update cost:

There is no cost to update to SAFe® 4.5 for individuals who have a SAFe® Community Platform membership.

What if people (SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC) and SAFe® Program Consultant Trainer (SPCT)) are already certified prior to SAFe® 4.5 release?

  • SPCs and SPCTs are automatically permitted to train on courses like Leading SAFe®, SAFe® for teams, and SAFe® Product Owner/Product Manager (PO/PM)
  • If SPCTs are SAFe® 4 certified, then they are directly permitted to coach on implementing SAFe®.
  • SPCs and SPCTs are urged to finish the Course Delivery Enablement (CDE) for each course they intend to train. They are additionally urged to finish- What's New in SAFe® 4.5 training which is available by means of SAFe® Community Platform.

Concluding Thoughts

The developing interest in making a career in SAFe® and the proven advantages found after embracing Leading SAFe® 4.5 implementation in all the business areas add all the more durable values to the Leading SAFe® 4.5 certification. As SAFe® 4.0 will be accessible until June 2018, in this way, it is smarter to reap the benefits by updating your SAFe® certification to Leading SAFe® 4.5.

This might turn out to be the next big career move you are looking for!

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Agile Project Management Vs. Traditional Project Management

In this fast-moving world, project management has become one of the most important pillars that are helping businesses run without any glitch in their processes. Both small and large scale organizations around the world are exploiting technology and depending on project management systems to deliver the software development project successfully. Whether it is team workflow management or timing, these tools help to ensure that everything is going well without any obstacles. While there are tens of different project management approaches, Agile is considered one of the most practical and flexible software development mechanism that exist today. It is capable of executing a variety of tasks, but what sets it apart from others? Let’s find it out. Here’s a brief comparison of Agile management and traditional project management software:                                                                                                                    Traditional vs Agile Project Management Overview of Agile and Traditional Project Management What is Traditional Project Management? The traditional Project Management (waterfall) approach is linear where all the phases of a process occur in sequence. Its concept depends on predictable tools and predictable experience. Each and every project follows the same life cycle which includes the stages such as feasibility, plan, design, build, test, production, support, as shown in the figure above. The entire project is planned upfront without any scope for changing requirements. This approach assumes that time and cost are variables and requirements are fixed. This is the reason why traditional project management faces budget and timeline issues. What is Agile Project Management? When a traditional system focuses on upfront planning where factors like cost, scope, and time are given importance, Agile management gives prominence to teamwork, customer collaboration, and flexibility. It is an iterative approach that focuses more on incorporating customer feedback and continuous releases with every iteration of software development project. The basic concept behind Agile software development is that it delves into evolving changes and collaborative effort to bring out results rather than a predefined process. Adaptive planning is perhaps the biggest feature of Agile and one that makes it a crowd favorite among project managers. Scrum and Kanban are two of the most widely used Agile frameworks. They are very well known for encouraging decision-making and preventing time consumption on variables that are bound to change. It stresses customer satisfaction and uses available teams to fast-track software development at every stage. The table below shows the major differences between Agile project management and traditional project management.                                                                                Table: Agile project management vs traditional project management Why is Agile Preferred and why not the traditional project management? Agile is preferred by most developers and managers because of a variety of reasons. Let’s have a look at the most common ones: Project complexity Traditional: This method is the best fit for small or less complex projects as it follows linear approach. Sudden changes in the project or any other complexities can block the entire process and make the team go back to step one and start all over again. Agile: This is the best methodology to follow in case of complex projects. A complex project may have various interconnected phases and each stage may be dependent on many others rather than a single one as in simple projects. So, Agile methods are preferred for large complex projects, as they can respond better to such structures. Adaptability Traditional: This approach works with a belief that once a phase is done, it will not be reviewed again. So, it is not adaptable to rapid changes in the work plan. In case if any sudden situation arises or any change in the requirements from the client’s side, traditional approach fails to adapt to the new change. The only choice is to start from the very beginning once again. This wastes a lot of effort and time in the process. Agile: The adaptability factor is very high in this methodology since it is not linear. Complex projects consist of several interconnected stages, where a change in one stage can cause an effect on another. And the project managers can take calculated risks in such scenario, as there is a chance of high adaptability.  Scope for feedback and changes Traditional Each and every process is clearly detailed and defined at the start of the project in the traditional approach. It cannot deal with any big change or feedback that might require a change in the process. Mostly, the project delivery time and budget are fixed, allows change very rarely. Agile There is a high acceptance for feedback and change in this method. The process is very flexible and allows constant feedback that can help to provide better output within the fixed project delivery time. The main reason that managers or developers choose agile direction is for the flexibility it offers. Developers working with Agile management are able to respond to customer requests quickly as they are only addressing small parts of the project at a time and the customer validates each iteration or sprint before finalizing.   Some of the important characteristics of Agile development Breaks project into parts Agile divides a project into parts (called iterations) where the release is sent to the customer after every single iteration. Additionally, the success of the project can be easily foreseen through the success of these iterations. This removes the need for upfront planning completely. Self-organized As mentioned above, Agile uses a parallel mode of management. Employees of a company are not managed by a central line of control, but by groups. For example, in Agile, there may be eight teams working on a single project. Each team is managed by itself without external guidance. The teams only interact with each other for project discussion and process linking as they are otherwise not self-sufficient. Generally speaking, an Agile project consists of three parts: The product owner – the expert on the project (for which the product is being developed) and is the main person who oversees the projects The scrum master – this person manages the process involved in Agile. He/she looks after the iterations and its completion The team – individuals who play significant and minor roles in the software development process Customer Engagement In Agile, customer engagement is at the very top. The customer is regarded highly in its frameworks as after every iteration, feedback is generated and acted upon. Overall, Agile is clearly the winner among project management systems. When compared with other traditional approaches, Agile’s features come to the fore and reiterate why it is one of the top software used by companies globally. Can Agile Coexist with Other Approaches? This is a question asked by many project managers, and opinions of experts seem to be divided. While some say it is possible for Agile to coexist with traditional project management systems, they suggest being cautious and using them for different terms. For example, using two different approaches on the same project can be counter-productive and highly explosive. As Agile and most other frameworks are totally contrasting to each other, the projects may go for a toss. On the other hand, some experts believe that it is not possible for Agile and other tools to co-exist because of their contrast. Using them together can cause disorder in the entire company system, making the productivity to go for a toss. Agile vs Traditional- Adoption Growth According to a recent online survey of 601 IT and development professionals, it is proved that Agile is the new typical formula for project success. The majority of projects and development teams are now adopting this methodology, while the traditional waterfall approaches have many flaws.    Traditional organizations vs. #Agile organizations #SALC16 pic.twitter.com/bBgxkQB1fI — Scrum Alliance (@ScrumAlliance) January 20, 2016 Agile was first introduced about 15 years ago as a substitute for traditional software development approaches. Many people considered it as challenging to implement traditional approach practices and Agile adopters stated that this new style of software development improves team collaboration and is more customer-centric.  Though Agile method was present more than a decade ago, the vast majority of organizations have adopted the practice in the last 5 years. Moreover, the survey reported that agile adoption saw an inflection point between the year 2009-2010. As shown in the above figure, agile adoption seems to have slow incremental growth till 2008 and then its growth was accelerated after gaining traction in the market. Reasons for the transition to Agile Most of the organizations who transitioned from traditional to agile project management have listed the following reasons: Improves collaboration between teams- 54% Enhances the quality level of software in organizations- 52% Results in enhanced customer satisfaction- 49% Speeds time to market- 43% Reduces development cost- 42% The Verdict In the traditional software development, the customer involves only before the start of the development process. So, there might be a number of mistakes and a large amount of money needs to be spent to rework on them. Since in the Agile software development, the customer involves at each stage, the corrections can be made once the defects are detected. This helps us in saving cost. As we can see, Agile project management is really in-demand for teams. It helps the team to work on the top priority ones at the right time and allows them to walk through the risks much faster than they would with traditional project management tools.
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Agile Project Management Vs. Traditional Project M...

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5 Scrum Boards that perfectly depict project progress

Quite possibly, few tools are as simple – yet as powerful – as a Scrum task board. Teams that plan their work in sprints use these boards during each sprint to visually depict where they are at. Just by looking at the task board, it is possible to evaluate the progress and judge whether the sprint is on track or not. In its simplest form, a task board has a list of tasks that are categorized as yet-to-start, ongoing and completed. Over the years, Agile teams across the world have created their own adaptations of the traditional Scrum board….have a look, and decide which one will work for you! The Scrum wall                                    Photo credit: http://jalbum.net/blog/entry/getting-ready-to-launch-the-new-site Teams that use up the entire wall as a Scrum task board get extra space that can be put to good use. They can put down all their information in one place, with additional inputs like the overall calendar, backlog, decisions, comments and so on up there for everyone to see. Say it with Lego!                                                             Source: http://agilethings.nl/creative-planning/ We always knew Lego was versatile, but this gives the concept of versatility a whole new look! This team uses a Lego planning board, with rows depicting user stories and columns depicting weeks or sprints. Each team member is assigned one colour, and the numbers of bricks in that colour show the exact time availability of that member. A long 4 stud brick indicates a full day of work, while a two stud represents a half day. A fun and creative way to plan your sprints! Hourglass Scrum/Kanban board                                 Source: http://www.strongandagile.co.uk/index.php/the-hourglass-scrumban-board/ An hourglass is a fun way to depict the flow of tasks. Work in progress tasks are the ones at the neck of the hourglass; completed tasks are moved below and the pending ones are in the top half of the hourglass. Note that when the WIP tasks are limited to one in each story( as the space in the neck is narrow), they get more attention. Release Radar                                              Source: http://agileboardhacks.com/tag/portfolio-management/ By turning the traditional board into a circle, this team led by Daniel Aragao of Thoughtworks created a great way to deal with prioritising urgent tasks. Items in the outer rings of the circle are not urgently required, while those closer to the centre are needed asap. Each slice of the circle represents a project , which is identified by a sticky note on the outer edge. Scrum for Trello Teams that work in different locations and across various time zones need a virtual Scrum board to track work progress. Trello is often used to manage task boards and sprints, with a Firefox/Chrome extension called Scrum for Trello. Innovation is the key to success. What works for another Scrum team may not work as well for you; try out your own tweaks and quirks, and customise your own Scrum task Board. You can learn more about Scrum tools and techniques by attending a CSM Training from a certified trainer. Happy Scrumming!
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5 Reasons To Have Fixed-Length Sprints

Should the sprint length in Scrum be fixed or variable? It has been a hot topic of discussion for years but most of the experiences shared by Scrum Masters go in favour of fixed length sprints; and, I too follow the rule of fixed length sprints. According to Agile Cadences and Technical Debt Survey report, 68% Scrum Masters favoured fixed length sprints while 29% accepted to make infrequent changes in the sprint length. Only 7% Scrum Masters accepted to change sprint length frequently as and when required. No doubt, flexible sprint length releases work pressure on the members but this practice develops a number of undesired apparent or hidden snags pertaining to quality, cost, time and scope.  Here in this article, I will explore 5 more commonly accepted reasons to adopt fixed-length sprints framework.  1. Teams Benefits from a Regular Rhythm Regular time-boxed delivery is the core Scrum discipline; therefore, we can’t take the liberty to have flexible sprint lengths. In case of flexible sprint lengths, team members are unsure of schedule. The fixed duration sprint benefits the Scrum teams because each member has to be settled with a rhythm.   2. Sprint Planning Becomes Easier The fixed sprint length makes the sprint planning easier because the team members know how much work they are supposed to deliver in the forthcoming sprint.  3. Tracking Velocity Is Easier Tracking Scrum velocity is easier with same length sprints. You can’t be sure of completing twice the amount of work if the one-week sprint period is extended up to two weeks. The alternative practice may be to normalize the velocity on per-week basis, but it seems a needless and complex exercise if the Scrum sprints are kept at the same length.   4. On the Time Course Corrections It is very common to find a gap between the demand of the product manager and the amount of work delivered. Fixed-length sprints minimize that gap by bringing the product manager and engineers together at a fixed interval. The findings at each sprint guide the Scrum team to incorporate the required changes before the particular task is done, tested & documented.  5. Maximizes Responsiveness to Customer Fixed-length sprints improve the responsiveness to customer requests. True, instant turnaround to customer requests is not possible; yet, it can be addressed quickly at priority. The only way to satisfying the customer at the best is to deliver the new feature or to fix the bug quickly in short fixed-length sprint cycles.  How to Fix the Ideal Sprint Length – 5 Tips:   Ideally, sprint is a fixed time period of 1-4 weeks; it depends upon the team to schedule the sprint. The shorter Sprints spanned for one - two weeks help the Scrum teams identify the problems faster; but sometimes it seems uncomfortable. Many times, Scrum teams decide for the 3 - 4 weeks longer sprints to avoid indulgence towards these problems/ impediments; however, it is not a Scrum-like approach because Scrum principles guide to identify and deal with the problems at the earliest. So, the question is how to fix the ideal sprint length holding the balance between focus and opportunistic adaptiveness. The following 5 tips will help you optimize the sprints schedule:    1. Uncertainty may come in a variety of forms like not properly defined requirements, new technology, high-risk potential, difficult-to-implement interface etc. In case of significant uncertainty, you should go for shorter sprints - the most effective way to refine the project requirements or to try the new technology before getting set for solution development.  2. The volume of tasks and the expected time required affect the selection of sprint length. The team members should be comfortable to accomplish the task to complete a user story during the gap between the two sprints; and, as a Scrum Master, you should have a fair idea of the time required.     3. If you are facing a lot of disruptions, shorten the Sprint length to match the occurrence of disruptions.   4. The project duration is the key deciding factor for Scrum sprint duration. A short-period project such as one of three-month benefits from shorter sprints because of more reviews at shorter periods. If the project is long in duration, continue to look at the other factors. 5. Each Scrum sprint provides an opportunity to the Scrum Master to document the progress to stakeholders. Each sprint provides an opportunity to stakeholders to request for revisions. If you expect the stakeholders to provide input, prefer to set shorter periods for the sprints.   Setting your iterations too short in #scrum can have a damaging effect. "Failed" sprints and poor morale. #agile #teams — John Cutler (@johncutlefish) June 10, 2017 Concluding Thoughts:  Shorter Sprints are preferred because of many reasons as discussed above but these need to be scheduled perfectly at comfortable intervals so that the sprint planning, sprint reviewing, sprint retrospective can be meaningful. Instead of fixing the sprint length to fit the ‘Product Backlog Items’ size, it is better to make the items smaller. The Certifications like CSM and other project management training and courses provide the deep insights into the perfect sprint planning.  
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5 Reasons To Have Fixed-Length Sprints

Should the sprint length in Scrum be fixed or vari... Read More