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Is SAFe® 4.5 Certification Worth The Price?

In this decade where traditional methods for Project Development are on the verge of being obsolete, organisations are in dire need of Agile. Call for Agile experts has expanded in the IT business and is spreading to multiple areas of businesses also. This request triggers the requirement for certifications which enlisting organisations can manage an account with.These certifications range from the entry level to the advanced levels and are benefiting the software professionals in more ways than one. In the recent times, there has also been a need to upgrade Agile practices in organisations, and this, exactly, has given rise to the demand for scaled Agile. This has spurred the software professionals to take up Leading SAFe® certifications to enhance their career.This article will discuss the top Leading SAFe® 4.5 certifications and their career benefits.Benefits of the certificationGenerally speaking, certification will help you to get the following benefits-Better foresightBetter salaryBetter integrityKeeping pace with the current market approachTop 6 SAFe® 4.5 certifications1. Leading SAFe® 4.5 training (SAFe® Agilist)SAFe® Agilist(SA) certification will help you to empower your organisation’s success. SA certification will allow you not only to execute and deliver value through Agile Release Trains but also to lead a Lean-Agile transformation in scaled organisations. This certification will also let you build a continuous delivery pipeline even in a DevOps culture. Also, the course exhibits the power of coordinating with the larger solutions and promoting a Lean portfolio culture within the enterprise.Learning Objectives:As a SAFe® Agilist (SA), you should be able to-Exhibit how the combination of Lean, Agile, and Product Development shapes the SAFe® foundation.Apply SAFe® principles to scale Lean and Agile development in the organizationFind out and apply a Lean-Agile Mindset and principles accordinglyConsistently discover, incorporate, deploy, and deliver valueEngage with a Lean portfolioHarmonising for the development of the larger solutionsImprove Lean-Agile leadership skillsBolster a Lean-Agile transfiguration in the enterpriseFinish the SA training and lead to the certification exam What will attendees get? 2-Day Instructor-Led Classroom Training16 PDUs and 16 SEUsCourseware authored by Scaled Agile, Inc One year membership with Scaled AgileFree downloadable reference materials from Scaled Agile FrameworkThe course is for:Executives and Leaders, Managers, Directors, CIOs, and VPsDevelopment, QA, and Infrastructure ManagementProgram and Project ManagersProduct and Product Line ManagementPortfolio Managers, PMO, and Process LeadsEnterprise, System, and Solution ArchitectsPrerequisites:The course is free for the desired attendees. But, following prerequisites are needed to attend the SAFe® Agilist (SA) exam-5+ years’ experience in software development, testing, business analysis, product, or project managementExperience in ScrumExam Details:Time-span: Candidates have 90 minutes (1.5 hours), commencement of the examNumber of Questions: 45Passing Score: 34 out of 45 (76% passing score)Certification:On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-SAFe® 4.5 Agilist certificate1-year membership with the SAFe® Community Platform, which includes access to the SA Community of PracticeA variety of learning resources to support you during your SAFe® journey2. SAFe 4.5 for teams (SP)Today, SAFe® 4.5 certified practitioners are in huge demand for their ability to scale the Agile methodology within the enterprise. This course makes the team aware of the Scrum principles, Lean thinking tools, roles, and processes. New teams or Scrum teams seeking for the Agile adoption and scaling within the organization, will find this course much helpful. Learning Objectives:As a SAFe® Practitioner (SP), you should be able to-Demonstrate SAFe® Agile principles to the teamManage Agile teams on Agile Release TrainPlan sprint iterationsImplement iterations and deliver valueDevelop your teamCoordinate with other teams on the trainWhat will attendees get?16 PDUs and 16 SEUsFreely downloadable e-book100 Days’ Free Access to Agile and Scrum e-training The course is for:Team members who want to apply Lean and Agile principlesAll team members of an Agile Release Train (ART) preparing for the launchPrerequisites:The course is free for all attendees. But, following prerequisites are needed to attend the SAFe® Practitioner (SP) exam-Familiar with Agile principlesAware of Scrum, Kanban, and XPExperience in software and hardware development processesExam Details:Time-span: Candidates have 90 minutes (1.5 hours), once the exam has commencedNumber of Questions: 45Passing Score: 35 out of 45 (78% passing score)Certification:On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-SAFe® 4.5 Practitioner (SP) certificate3. SAFe 4.5 Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM)The SAFe® 4.5 POPM certification is intended to make Product Owners/Product Managers aware of the SAFe® principles, Lean-Agile tools, Agile development practices and SAFe® framework. Learning Objectives:As a SAFe® 4.5 (POPM), you should be able to-Implement SAFe® practices in the Lean enterpriseAttach SAFe® Lean-Agile principles and values to the PO/PM rolesCombine with Lean Portfolio ManagementImplement the Program Increment and deliver continuous valueCreate a PM/PM’s role action planWhat will attendees get? Training from a certified industry expertDownloadable courseware16 PDUs from PMI ® (PMI-ACP® / PMP® recertification)15 SEUs for CSPAttendee workbookMake you ready to attend the SAFe® 4 Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM) examOne-year membership to the SAFe® Community PlatformCourse completion certificateThe course is for:Product Managers, Product Line Managers, Product Owners, Business Owners, and Business AnalystsSolution Managers, Portfolio Managers, Program Managers, PMO personnel, and Process LeadsEnterprise, Solution, and System ArchitectsPrerequisites:The course is free to the desired attendees. But, following prerequisites are needed to attend the SAFe® 4.5 POPM exam.Leading SAFe® course attendeesWorking experience in the SAFe® environmentExperience with Lean, Agile, or other relevant methodsExam Details:Time-span: Candidates have 90 minutes (1.5 hours), once the exam has commencedNumber of Questions: 45Passing Score: 35 out of 45 (78% passing score)Certification:On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-SAFe® 4.5 Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM) certificate4. SAFe® 4.5 Advanced Scrum Master (SASM) courseThe SAFe® 4.5 Advanced Scrum Master (SASM) certification equips the candidates with the skills that can be applied to lead high-performance Agile teams. Also, candidates will learn to apply DevOps practices and Kanban techniques and managing the interactions between the teams, stakeholders, and the Product Managers.Learning Objectives: As an SASM certified professional, you should be able to-Apply SAFe® principles in a multi-team environmentBuild a high-performing team and enable continuous improvementUnderstand Agile and Scrum anti-patternsFacilitate program planning, implementation, and value deliverySupport learning through participation in Communities of Practice and innovation cyclesWhat will attendees get? 16 PDUs and 16 SEUsFreely downloadable e-bookCourse completion certificateAttendee workbookOne-year membership to the SAFe® Community PlatformThe course is for:Existing Scrum MastersTeam leaders, project managers, and an Agile Team facilitator in a SAFe®Agile coachesEngineering and development managers executing AgileAgile Program ManagersProspective SAFe® Release Train EngineersPrerequisites:The course is free for the attendees. But, having at least one or more of the following certifications is recommended to attend the SAFe® 4.5 ASM exam-SAFe® 4 Scrum Master (SSM) certificationCertified Scrum Master (CSM) certificationProfessional Scrum Master (PSM) certificationExam Details:Time-span: Candidates have 120 minutes, once the exam has commencedNumber of Questions: 60Passing Score: 42 out of 60 (70% passing score)Certification:On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-SAFe® 4.5 Advanced Scrum Master (SASM) certificate5. SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master with SSM certification trainingSAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master(SSM) certification will make you well-versed with the main components of the Scaled Agile Framework and allow you to lead high-performing Agile teams. This course will help you to improve quality of the products reducing time-to-market.Learning Objectives:As a SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master with SSM certification training, you should be able to-Discuss Scrum practices in a SAFe® implementing enterpriseFacilitate Scrum eventsFacilitate effective Iteration executionAssist DevOps implementationSupport effective Program Increment executionSupport continuous improvementTrain Agile teams to maximize business resultsAssist DevOps implementationWhat will attendees get?Prepare and support to clear the exam16 PDUs and 16 SEUs (under the category C)Course completion certificateThe course is for:New Scrum MastersPresent Scrum Masters, who wish to assume new roles in the SAFe® enterpriseTeam Leads who want to understand the Scrum Master roleSAFe® Release Train Engineers (RTEs) who want to coach for the role of the Scrum MastersPrerequisites:The course is free for the attendees. But, following prerequisites are a must to take the SAFe® 4.5 SSM exam-Familiarity with Agile principlesShould be aware of Scrum, Kanban, and eXtreme Programming (XP)Work experience in software and hardware development processesExam Details:Time-span: Candidates have 90 minutes (1.5 hours), once the exam has commencedNumber of Questions: 45Passing Score: 33 out of 45 (73% passing score)Certification:On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master (SSM) certificate6. SAFe® 4.5 Release Train Engineer (RTE) certification courseSAFe® 4.5 RTE course will educate you on building the high-performing ART and understanding the role of  the RTE in a Lean-Agile transformation. Also, the attendees will learn to mentor the Agile leaders, teams and the Scrum Masters and how to prepare, plan and execute a Program Increment (PI).Learning Objectives: As a SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master with SSM certification training, you should be able to-Apply Lean-Agile principles and tools to execute and deliver valueFostering continuous improvementConstruct a high-performing ART as a servant leader and coachPreparing an action plan to continue the learning journeyWhat will attendees get? Preparation and support for the SAFe® 4.5 Release Train Engineer (RTE) examCourse completion certificateOne-year membership to the SAFe® Community PlatformThe course is for:RTEs and Solution Train Engineers (STEs)Program and project managersScrum MastersLeaders and managersAgile coachesSAFe® Program Consultants (SPCs)Prerequisites:Following are the prerequisites required to attend the exam-Should have at least one current SAFe® certificationHave launched or participated in at least one ART and one PIExam Details:Time-span: Candidates have 120 minutes to complete the examNumber of Questions: 60Passing Score: 40 out of 45 (67% passing score)Each retake attempt costs $250Certification:On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-SAFe® 4.5 RTE certificateNote:For all the courses, the registration fee includes the first exam attempt if the exam is taken within 30 days of course completion. Each retake attempt costs $50.After any of these SAFe® 4.5 certifications, you will get a Digital badge to promote your accomplishment online.Summing It UpToday, the SAFe® 4.5 certification is considered as a standard for Lean-Agile endeavours. Over 70% of the US Fortune 100 companies are utilising SAFe and the call for the SAFe® certified experts is rising at an exponential rate. The competitors that are searching for the more prominent vocation ahead, can go for the Leading SAFe® 4.5 certifications, as many employers seek candidates with credentials that convey their capability to work inside a SAFe® environment (verified through a SAFe® certification).

Is SAFe® 4.5 Certification Worth The Price?

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Is SAFe® 4.5 Certification Worth The Price?

In this decade where traditional methods for Project Development are on the verge of being obsolete, organisations are in dire need of Agile. Call for Agile experts has expanded in the IT business and is spreading to multiple areas of businesses also. This request triggers the requirement for certifications which enlisting organisations can manage an account with.

These certifications range from the entry level to the advanced levels and are benefiting the software professionals in more ways than one. In the recent times, there has also been a need to upgrade Agile practices in organisations, and this, exactly, has given rise to the demand for scaled Agile. This has spurred the software professionals to take up Leading SAFe® certifications to enhance their career.

This article will discuss the top Leading SAFe® 4.5 certifications and their career benefits.

Benefits of the certification

Generally speaking, certification will help you to get the following benefits-

  • Better foresight
  • Better salary
  • Better integrity
  • Keeping pace with the current market approach

Top 6 SAFe® 4.5 certifications

Top 6 SAFe 4.5 Certifications

1. Leading SAFe® 4.5 training (SAFe® Agilist)

SAFe® Agilist(SA) certification will help you to empower your organisation’s success. SA certification will allow you not only to execute and deliver value through Agile Release Trains but also to lead a Lean-Agile transformation in scaled organisations. This certification will also let you build a continuous delivery pipeline even in a DevOps culture. Also, the course exhibits the power of coordinating with the larger solutions and promoting a Lean portfolio culture within the enterprise.

Learning Objectives:

As a SAFe® Agilist (SA), you should be able to-

  • Exhibit how the combination of Lean, Agile, and Product Development shapes the SAFe® foundation.
  • Apply SAFe® principles to scale Lean and Agile development in the organization
  • Find out and apply a Lean-Agile Mindset and principles accordingly
  • Consistently discover, incorporate, deploy, and deliver value
  • Engage with a Lean portfolio
  • Harmonising for the development of the larger solutions
  • Improve Lean-Agile leadership skills
  • Bolster a Lean-Agile transfiguration in the enterprise
  • Finish the SA training and lead to the certification exam 

What will attendees get?

  •  2-Day Instructor-Led Classroom Training
  • 16 PDUs and 16 SEUs
  • Courseware authored by Scaled Agile, Inc 
  • One year membership with Scaled Agile
  • Free downloadable reference materials from Scaled Agile Framework

The course is for:

  • 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

Prerequisites:

The course is free for the desired attendees. But, following prerequisites are needed to attend the SAFe® Agilist (SA) exam-

  • 5+ years’ experience in software development, testing, business analysis, product, or project management
  • Experience in Scrum

Exam Details:

  • Time-span: Candidates have 90 minutes (1.5 hours), commencement of the exam
  • Number of Questions: 45
  • Passing Score: 34 out of 45 (76% passing score)

Certification:

On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-

  • SAFe® 4.5 Agilist certificate
  • 1-year membership with the SAFe® Community Platform, which includes access to the SA Community of Practice
  • A variety of learning resources to support you during your SAFe® journey

2. SAFe 4.5 for teams (SP)

Today, SAFe® 4.5 certified practitioners are in huge demand for their ability to scale the Agile methodology within the enterprise. This course makes the team aware of the Scrum principles, Lean thinking tools, roles, and processes. New teams or Scrum teams seeking for the Agile adoption and scaling within the organization, will find this course much helpful. 

Learning Objectives:

As a SAFe® Practitioner (SP), you should be able to-

  • Demonstrate SAFe® Agile principles to the team
  • Manage Agile teams on Agile Release Train
  • Plan sprint iterations
  • Implement iterations and deliver value
  • Develop your team
  • Coordinate with other teams on the train

What will attendees get?

  • 16 PDUs and 16 SEUs
  • Freely downloadable e-book
  • 100 Days’ Free Access to Agile and Scrum e-training 

The course is for:

  • Team members who want to apply Lean and Agile principles
  • All team members of an Agile Release Train (ART) preparing for the launch

Prerequisites:

The course is free for all attendees. But, following prerequisites are needed to attend the SAFe® Practitioner (SP) exam-

  • Familiar with Agile principles
  • Aware of Scrum, Kanban, and XP
  • Experience in software and hardware development processes

Exam Details:

  • Time-span: Candidates have 90 minutes (1.5 hours), once the exam has commenced
  • Number of Questions: 45
  • Passing Score: 35 out of 45 (78% passing score)

Certification:

On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-

  • SAFe® 4.5 Practitioner (SP) certificate

3. SAFe 4.5 Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM)

The SAFe® 4.5 POPM certification is intended to make Product Owners/Product Managers aware of the SAFe® principles, Lean-Agile tools, Agile development practices and SAFe® framework. 

Learning Objectives:

As a SAFe® 4.5 (POPM), you should be able to-

  • Implement SAFe® practices in the Lean enterprise
  • Attach SAFe® Lean-Agile principles and values to the PO/PM roles
  • Combine with Lean Portfolio Management
  • Implement the Program Increment and deliver continuous value
  • Create a PM/PM’s role action plan

What will attendees get? 

  • Training from a certified industry expert
  • Downloadable courseware
  • 16 PDUs from PMI ® (PMI-ACP® / PMP® recertification)
  • 15 SEUs for CSP
  • Attendee workbook
  • Make you ready to attend the SAFe® 4 Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM) exam
  • One-year membership to the SAFe® Community Platform
  • Course completion certificate

The course is for:

  • Product Managers, Product Line Managers, Product Owners, Business Owners, and Business Analysts
  • Solution Managers, Portfolio Managers, Program Managers, PMO personnel, and Process Leads
  • Enterprise, Solution, and System Architects

Prerequisites:

The course is free to the desired attendees. But, following prerequisites are needed to attend the SAFe® 4.5 POPM exam.

  • Leading SAFe® course attendees
  • Working experience in the SAFe® environment
  • Experience with Lean, Agile, or other relevant methods

Exam Details:

  • Time-span: Candidates have 90 minutes (1.5 hours), once the exam has commenced
  • Number of Questions: 45
  • Passing Score: 35 out of 45 (78% passing score)

Certification:

On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-

  • SAFe® 4.5 Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM) certificate

4. SAFe® 4.5 Advanced Scrum Master (SASM) course

The SAFe® 4.5 Advanced Scrum Master (SASM) certification equips the candidates with the skills that can be applied to lead high-performance Agile teams. Also, candidates will learn to apply DevOps practices and Kanban techniques and managing the interactions between the teams, stakeholders, and the Product Managers.

Learning Objectives: 

As an SASM certified professional, you should be able to-

  • Apply SAFe® principles in a multi-team environment
  • Build a high-performing team and enable continuous improvement
  • Understand Agile and Scrum anti-patterns
  • Facilitate program planning, implementation, and value delivery
  • Support learning through participation in Communities of Practice and innovation cycles

What will attendees get? 

  • 16 PDUs and 16 SEUs
  • Freely downloadable e-book
  • Course completion certificate
  • Attendee workbook
  • One-year membership to the SAFe® Community Platform

The course is for:

  • Existing Scrum Masters
  • Team leaders, project managers, and an Agile Team facilitator in a SAFe®
  • Agile coaches
  • Engineering and development managers executing Agile
  • Agile Program Managers
  • Prospective SAFe® Release Train Engineers

Prerequisites:

The course is free for the attendees. But, having at least one or more of the following certifications is recommended to attend the SAFe® 4.5 ASM exam-

  • SAFe® 4 Scrum Master (SSM) certification
  • Certified Scrum Master (CSM) certification
  • Professional Scrum Master (PSM) certification

Exam Details:

  • Time-span: Candidates have 120 minutes, once the exam has commenced
  • Number of Questions: 60
  • Passing Score: 42 out of 60 (70% passing score)

Certification:

On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-

  • SAFe® 4.5 Advanced Scrum Master (SASM) certificate


5. SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master with SSM certification training

SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master(SSM) certification will make you well-versed with the main components of the Scaled Agile Framework and allow you to lead high-performing Agile teams. This course will help you to improve quality of the products reducing time-to-market.

Learning Objectives:

As a SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master with SSM certification training, you should be able to-

  • Discuss Scrum practices in a SAFe® implementing enterprise
  • Facilitate Scrum events
  • Facilitate effective Iteration execution
  • Assist DevOps implementation
  • Support effective Program Increment execution
  • Support continuous improvement
  • Train Agile teams to maximize business results
  • Assist DevOps implementation

What will attendees get?

  • Prepare and support to clear the exam
  • 16 PDUs and 16 SEUs (under the category C)
  • Course completion certificate

The course is for:

  • New Scrum Masters
  • Present Scrum Masters, who wish to assume new roles in the SAFe® enterprise
  • Team Leads who want to understand the Scrum Master role
  • SAFe® Release Train Engineers (RTEs) who want to coach for the role of the Scrum Masters

Prerequisites:

The course is free for the attendees. But, following prerequisites are a must to take the SAFe® 4.5 SSM exam-

  • Familiarity with Agile principles
  • Should be aware of Scrum, Kanban, and eXtreme Programming (XP)
  • Work experience in software and hardware development processes

Exam Details:

  • Time-span: Candidates have 90 minutes (1.5 hours), once the exam has commenced
  • Number of Questions: 45
  • Passing Score: 33 out of 45 (73% passing score)

Certification:

On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-

  • SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master (SSM) certificate


6. SAFe® 4.5 Release Train Engineer (RTE) certification course

SAFe® 4.5 RTE course will educate you on building the high-performing ART and understanding the role of  the RTE in a Lean-Agile transformation. Also, the attendees will learn to mentor the Agile leaders, teams and the Scrum Masters and how to prepare, plan and execute a Program Increment (PI).

Learning Objectives: 

As a SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master with SSM certification training, you should be able to-

  • Apply Lean-Agile principles and tools to execute and deliver value
  • Fostering continuous improvement
  • Construct a high-performing ART as a servant leader and coach
  • Preparing an action plan to continue the learning journey

What will attendees get? 

  • Preparation and support for the SAFe® 4.5 Release Train Engineer (RTE) exam
  • Course completion certificate
  • One-year membership to the SAFe® Community Platform

The course is for:

  • RTEs and Solution Train Engineers (STEs)
  • Program and project managers
  • Scrum Masters
  • Leaders and managers
  • Agile coaches
  • SAFe® Program Consultants (SPCs)

Prerequisites:

Following are the prerequisites required to attend the exam-

  • Should have at least one current SAFe® certification
  • Have launched or participated in at least one ART and one PI

Exam Details:

  • Time-span: Candidates have 120 minutes to complete the exam
  • Number of Questions: 60
  • Passing Score: 40 out of 45 (67% passing score)
  • Each retake attempt costs $250

Certification:

On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-

  • SAFe® 4.5 RTE certificate

Note:

  1. For all the courses, the registration fee includes the first exam attempt if the exam is taken within 30 days of course completion. Each retake attempt costs $50.
  2. After any of these SAFe® 4.5 certifications, you will get a Digital badge to promote your accomplishment online.

Summing It Up

Today, the SAFe® 4.5 certification is considered as a standard for Lean-Agile endeavours. Over 70% of the US Fortune 100 companies are utilising SAFe and the call for the SAFe® certified experts is rising at an exponential rate. The competitors that are searching for the more prominent vocation ahead, can go for the Leading SAFe® 4.5 certifications, as many employers seek candidates with credentials that convey their capability to work inside a SAFe® environment (verified through a SAFe® certification).

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

Author

KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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Agile UP defines features in the form of requirements and use cases.What are the characteristics of features?To be effective, a feature should always Offer measurable business value,   Contain enough information to allow for estimation of the work involved, Be small enough to be completed within a program increment or maximum of three months,   Be testable by the scrum team and the product management team.Feature breakdown structure (FBS)When getting into the nitty gritty of detailed planning, agile development uses a feature breakdown structure (FBS) approach that breaks down each feature into smaller, more manageable units of work. This allows easier communication between the customer and the development team, where both can understand each other well in a way that leaves no room for ambiguity. It also helps to track the progress of work against the value that is created. Over time and as the work progresses, the larger features can be broken into smaller features, instead of doing this breakdown all together in the beginning. This way, details are not fleshed out until the time when they are actually needed for design and delivery. Building an initial feature listAt the very start, before the release planning and iteration planning can happen, the team must sit together and list out as many potential features for the system as possible at this stage. Feature requests can come from many sources, and one person should be allocated to collate all these requests. While this could be the product manager, it could also be a customer proxy, a business analyst or someone who is responsible and accountable to the team. The team should refine these requirements, weeding out duplicate items, features that are not possible to implement, and requests that are very vague. As the features are identified, they are added to the list so that they can become a part of the planning processes. This initial feature list can be considered to be a preliminary outline that can be used as input to chart out the release and first iteration. It is not required to wait until all features are defined before getting started on the actual work, and it is also understood that the original list, descriptions, and priorities will evolve over time. Instead of waiting for everything to get detailed out at the outset, the team can get to work with the initial list without wasting any valuable time. As new features which could be critical get identified, they are simply added into the evolving release plan and will get delivered during a subsequent iteration. As the project progresses, the work adapts itself to accommodate new priorities, additional information from stakeholders, and the changing industry dynamics.Advantages of breaking down features into smaller user storiesUser stories, as we have learnt, represent smaller chunks of work while features represent fully formed functionalities of the product. There are many advantages to breaking down the features into functionalities, and the main ones are these: Stories narrow down the focus: Stories are small, doable portions of the work that do not overwhelm the developer. They represent an entire piece of functionality, however small it is, and so can measure incremental progress. Stories fit into a sprint: Features are too large to be completed within a sprint, but stories can be finished within this duration. This allows more efficient scheduling and planning of sprint tasks. Stories capture both intent and outcome: A product manager (who is not required to be technically fluent) can easily describe the outcome of a story to the developer, so that he or she can understand the intent. Stories mitigate the risk: As big stories come with a lot more complexity, they also involve more risk. When features are broken down into smaller stories, this risk is mitigated. Anny erroneous assumptions can be curtailed within a few days rather than several weeks into development. Feature vs. task planningFeatures come into play at a macro level of planning, and it is essential that at a later point they will need to be broken down into tasks and estimated. This is done during sprint planning and release planning.Feature planning and estimates help to schedule releases and iterations. Task planning and estimates help to allocate resources and plan the tasks within an iteration.Since the nature of agile project plans is always fluid and not very precise, feature estimates need not exactly map to a number of task estimates, but there should be a rough approximation between the two.
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How To Define Features in Agile Methodology?

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What Is a Safe Product Owner?

The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) is, in the words of Dean Leffingwell, Creator of SAFe: “a knowledge base of proven, integrated principles, practices, and competencies for achieving business agility using Lean, Agile, and DevOps.”  © Scaled Agile, Inc. Using SAFe, the process of scaling Agile across a large-scale enterprise can be streamlined. SAFe details out organizational workflows that enhance productivity and employee engagement and ensure customer delight through quick deliveries of quality products.  A key role on a SAFe team is played by the Product Owner. In this blog, you will understand the role of a SAFe Product Owner, and how it relates to that of a Scrum Product Owner. You will also understand the SAFe Product Owner’s role with respect to that of a SAFe Product Manager.What is a SAFe Product Owner?The SAFe Product Owner is the member of the team who works as the voice of the customer. He or she liaises with Product Management and other POs, besides other stakeholders, to define and list out stories in the Team Backlog and order them as per priority.  In an ideal situation, the SAFe PO is in the same office as the rest of the team. However, with today’s distributed teams, this does not always happen. One PO can support up to two Agile teams, at the most. The SAFe PO works with the SAFe Product Manager, who maintains the overall product vision. Key Role & Responsibilities of a SAFe Product OwnerThe main responsibilities of the SAFe PO extend across the team, and even beyond that to participate in Product Management events, where he or she will help to plan and create the Program vision and refine the Program Backlog. The following are the main responsibilities of the SAFe PO: 1. PI PlanningThe PO plays a significant role as a member of the larger Product Management team and has to participate in the events during Program Increment (PI) planning. The activity of program backlog refinement also requires every PO’s participation and close involvement. Before the event, the PO will keep the team backlog updated and will contribute to creating the vision and charting out the roadmap.When the planning event is in progress, the PO should be at hand to give clarity wherever needed. The entire SAFe team will work to map out the team’s PI objectives for the upcoming PI.2. During the IterationDuring the iteration execution, the PO holds extremely critical responsibilities:The PO builds, updates and maintains the team backlog, with updates from all stakeholders and the team. Reviewing and ordering the team backlog as a precursor to the Iteration Planning event is the responsibility of the PO. For this, they may need to coordinate dependencies with other POs.During the Iteration Planning event, the PO gives clarity of user story details, and is around to ensure alignment and concurrence on a final iteration plan. While the team elaborates on the backlog items and creates stories, the PO keeps track of the flow and maintains priorities. POs work with the team to flesh out each story, adding acceptance criteria and acceptance tests, applying Behaviour-Driven Development (BDD) practices. As the work progresses, the PO will work closely with the team to agree on the completion of accepted stories. and see whether they meet the Definition of Done and quality standards that have been laid down. The PO does not need to be a technical expert but should be able to understand the scope of the work that is coming up. He or she should collaborate with the engineers to assist in making decisions and sequencing the technological infrastructures that will enable the business functionality. During team demos, the PO coordinates between the team and stakeholders who are present.   They also participate in events such as the Iteration Retrospective and the Agile Release Train’s Inspect & Adapt workshop, providing the customer’s perspective on the work progress.3. During the Program ExecutionDuring each PI, the PO will connect with other POs to check and coordinate other dependencies, ensuring smooth work progress without any hiccups. They will sync up typically during weekly events. Additionally, POs play a valuable role in creating the System Demo for all the stakeholders involved in the program value stream. 4. Inspection and AdaptationThe Inspect and Adapt (I&A) workshop is held to address any large impediments to smooth progress. During this event, the PO works across teams to see how best to improve processes and increase team velocity and quality. During the I&A workshop, the PO participates in and holds the PI system demo for program stakeholders.SAFe Product Owner vs Scrum Product OwnerBefore we get into the differences in the roles and responsibilities of a SAFe Product Owner and a Scrum Product Owner, we need to also understand a third and more prominent role on a SAFe team: that of the SAFe Product Manager. The SAFe Product Manager is someone who works with several SAFe teams, typically two to four, and owns the Program Backlog—which gives him or her an overall view of the entire project (or the big picture).  The table below talks about the differences in the roles played by a SAFe Product Owner and a Scrum Product Owner.SAFe Product OwnerScrum Product OwnerBacklog ItemsA SAFe Product Owner undertakes the responsibility for the Team Backlog. This lists all the requirements (Backlog items) for the team.A Scrum Product Owner undertakes the responsibility for the Product Backlog. This is a prioritised list of all the requirements for the product.Number of teams they supportA SAFe Product Owner can serve, at most, two teams.A Scrum Product Owner can work with two or more teams.Vision and roadmapA SAFe Product Manager, not the SAFe Product Owner, defines the features and owns the vision and roadmap. A SAFe Product Manager is someone who works with two to four SAFe Product Owners. He or she will have an overall view of the entire program. As such, the SAFe Product Owner exerts less authority than the Scrum Product Owner.Scrum Product Owner defines the features and owns the vision and roadmap. So, as we can see, the Scrum Product Owner undertakes responsibilities that combine those of the SAFe Product Owner and the SAFe Product Manager (but to a smaller scale as the project is typically smaller).Who has the final say on the product?A SAFe Product Owner does not have a final say on what must be done for a certain Product. This is done by the SAFe Product Manager, who is the final authority and owns the vision and roadmap on a SAFe project.It is the Scrum Product Manager who has the final say on what needs to be done for the product.SimilaritiesJust like the Scrum PO, the SAFe Product Owner is also a core member of the team.  He or she is the customer proxy on the team, ensuring that the vision is always kept in focus.They have the responsibility of the Backlog- the Team Backlog in the case of the SAFe PO, and the Product Backlog in the case of the Scrum PO.Both POs work on prioritising the tasks that the team will take up next, guiding them on the relative importance of the stories.Again, both the SAFe PO and the Scrum PO work toward maximizing the product value.They keep an eye on the goal for the next iteration.They participate in reflections and inspect and adapt during and after each iteration.The two roles take part in the Planning, Retrospective and Review of an Iteration in SAFe/ Sprint in Scrum in a similar way.Can one person do both roles in SAFe; that of the Product Owner and Product Manager?The PO and the PM roles are completely distinct in SAFe, and each comes with its own set of responsibilities.There is a different focus for each role: The PM’s role is cantered on the benefits to the customer and the organisation. He or she is also the person with whom the business owners and members of the ART (Agile Release Train) connect. POs always have the needs of their own Agile team in focus.  Product Owners and Product Managers work together collaboratively to understand the customer’s needs and work toward fulfilling them. The flow of information is from the customer to the PM, and then down to the POs and their team members. The POs and PMs meet up at all ART or PO planning and sync up events and stay aligned with the same set of overarching goals. As we have seen, one person cannot undertake the roles of the SAFe Product Owner and the SAFe Product Manager at the same time. POs and PMs must at all times be connected, and work in tandem to deliver a successful product; however, having one person playing both roles is a sure route to disaster!  The last word… The SAFe Product Owner plays a role that is at the core of SAFe, setting up the product strategy, getting deep into customer requirements, and prioritizing the features as per their importance. They hold the responsibility of ensuring customer delight, even as they keep a pulse on the economic value that is to be derived from the product.  In the end, SAFe is all about giving the larger enterprise a framework for scaling Agile — to build better products, respond to volatile markets, and keep in step with emerging technologies — and without the Product Owner’s expertise, all this will fall short. 
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What Is a Safe Product Owner?

The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) is, in the... Read More

Scrum Software for the Ultimate Project Management

Technology has made our lives easier. The number of tools and devices we have at our disposal has made our lives more productive and our work more efficient. The Agile software development methodology has been adopted by several organizations to improve their adaptability, responsiveness, and productivity.  How can we improve the way we incorporate Agile Scrum into our projects? Scrum tools can be the answer. Just like the other gadgets in our lives, Scrum software and tools help improve the productivity of our teams, keep stakeholders happy and help us deliver better products. Before we jump into the use and needs of Scrum software and tools let us understand more about Scrum roles and how they work.Three essential roles for Scrum successThe Scrum Guide defines three pillars of a Scrum team, which include:The Scrum MasterThe Product OwnerThe Development TeamThe Scrum team is a small unit which is self-organised and works towards achieving the same goal; that is, the development and deployment of the product and customer satisfaction.The Scrum Product OwnerThe Scrum Product Owner is among the most essential roles in the Scrum team and acts as a bridge between the stakeholders and the development team. More involved with the business side of the software development process, the PO represents the customer and can be considered as their proxy.  The Product Owner defines the product vision, and, along with the Scrum Master and the development team works towards delivering a product that matches stakeholder needs.The Scrum MasterThe Scrum Master is the servant leader whose main responsibility is to ensure that the Scrum team can perform to the best of its abilities. They do this by overseeing the day-to-day activities of the Scrum team and removing any impediments that may hinder the productivity of the development team. The Scrum Master facilitates stakeholder collaboration along with the product owner and ensures that teams can handle complex environments and deliver projects successfully.The Scrum development teamThe development team generally consists of three to nine people, according to the Scrum Guide. These would include developers, testers, designers and more. The team is allowed to take decisions and decide the length of the sprint and how they will go about it. The development team collaborates to create a high-quality product increment at the end of each sprint that is as per the expectations of the stakeholders.Scrum ceremonies or eventsScrum has five formal events as defined by the Scrum Guide. These events help to validate the Scrum artifacts and implementing them helps enhance transparency. The events are also called ceremonies and are:Sprint PlanningDaily ScrumSprint ReviewSprint RetrospectiveThe SprintWhat Does A Scrum Tool Do?What would you need a good Scrum tool to do? Make your life easier by making processes more efficient and less cumbersome, help you deliver quality products without making a huge dent on your budget, right?  With Scrum topping the popularity charts for Agile project management methodologies, the need for efficient Scrum tools has risen. There are plenty of Scrum tools available that fit the bill and provide interfaces that help teams seamlessly follow Scrum processes and reap its benefits. These tools help:Increase productivityIn task management, daily scrum management  Increase team collaborationIn progress tracking and risk managementScrum Software for the Ultimate ProjectThere are several Scrum software tools that aid in project development using Scrum; not just in technical environments, but in non-technical sectors as well. Software like JIRA, Infinity, TargetProcess, QuickScrum, Wrike etc provide:User friendly GUICompetitive pricingProduct backlog managementTime tracking and calendar tools for schedulingScrum metrics and chartsSprint planning toolsThird party tools for integrationUser story mappingBurnup and Burndown chartsand many more features that will help Agile teams serve their customers better, improve return on investment, reduce costs, enhance collaboration and ensure stakeholder satisfaction. These tools help team uphold the values of Agile and make implementing the Scrum framework easier.Best Scrum ToolsHere are some of the best Scrum tools available in the market:1. JIRAJira is a popular tool used by large organizations to manage their Scrum projects. It has numerous features including customizable scrum boards, reporting features and more. Here’s how teams benefit from this toolCustomizable Scrum and Kanban boardsRoadmaps to communicate with team and with stakeholdersAccess to tools for Agile reportingView of code and deployment statusEnd to end DevOps visibilityEasy scalabilitySecure deploymentDeveloper tool integrationRich APIs to automate processes2. TargetProcessThis tool has been especially designed for teams that want to scale agile. It offers a number of customizable features that make it easy to work with scrum and agile.  Here’s how teams benefit from this tool(Source: Targetprocess Agile Portfolio and Work Management Tool)IdeationBuilt in reports to analyse data and uncover trendsGather ideas across sourcesCloud hosting and on-premise hostingEnterprise grade securityCollaborate across the enterprise  Collaborate with DevOps tools including GitLab, Azure DevOps, GitHub etc3. VivifyScrumThis tool is marketed as an all-in-one solution to manage projects, collaborate and track. Here’s how teams benefit from this tool (Source: Agile Project Management Software - VivifyScrum)Tools to manage agile projects—organize, manage, track and deliverCollaboration boards to effectively collaborate with team and stakeholdersCreate invoices to track and manage business and clientsManage teams and track tasks4. InfinityThis tool is among the most popular in Agile and Scrum organizations due to the many customizations and features it provides. Its various tools help reduce time to market, ensure better quality, improve collaboration and enable customer satisfaction.Here’s how teams benefit from this tool Source: Infinity | Customizable Work Management Platform (startinfinity.com)How Can Scrum Apps Benefit Your Team?The number of Scrum apps and software available in the market for Scrum projects is mind boggling. Which one you choose depends on the requirements of your team and project, and each comes with its own benefits. Some of these benefits include:They help teams, organizations and the product being createdThey ensure better quality by providing the right framework, support mechanism and the right processesAllow for continual improvement by putting in place a feedback loop and sprint reviews by stakeholdersHelp solve impediments and daily issues by incorporating daily testing and product owner feedback into the development processEnsure upfront documentation and help prioritise high value items in the product backlog, thus decreasing time to market.  Quick feedback also helps improve the product and thus helps in continuous improvement.The faster marketing of products increases return on investment, helps tap the market demand and ensures long term benefits for the customer and thus earns their trust for the organizationThe primary tenet of Agile is team collaboration. Scrum software tools help in high level collaboration between the Scrum Master, Product Owner and the development team. Teams can organise, review, plan and discuss everyday tasks, meetings, impediments and more.How to Pick the Best Tool for Your Team?With so many options available, choosing the right Scrum tool for your team can be a tricky task. What you need to do is go through the features of the best tools and see which one best fits your requirements. While the number of features you get will be directly proportional to the money you are ready to pay for the tool, there are some basic requirements your tool must satisfy.Backlog creation:  The very basic format of a Scrum project lies in the creation of a product backlog which sets the pace for the entire project. The backlog is primarily created by the Product Owner with assistance from the Scrum Master and the development team. The tool you choose should help you create the product backlog so that you can prioritise items, define the sprints and identify sprint goals.Implement feedback:  Scrum projects are based on the Agile values of continuous feedback. Your scrum tool should have features which will make your customer’s feedback and requirements easily accessible to you. This will help you implement these changes at the earliest. This continuous feedback loop will help keep customers happy.Sprint creation:  Scrum is iterative and adaptive and works by breaking down projects into small sized sprints. Your tool must aid you in the creation of sprints and burndown charts. These help you keep track of your progress on the project and are essential components of a Scrum project.The other things your tool should be able to do include:Plan and trackCustomise process templatesCustomise dashboards and reportsHelp in time managementHelp create epics and storiesProvide collab and reporting toolsProvide review toolsAnd just like you will create a product that is user friendly, the tool you use also needs to be user friendly for the team. If your team is happy using it, and it makes your life easier and your projects better, then you have the right tool!
Scrum Software for the Ultimate Project Management

Technology has made our lives easier. The number o... Read More

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