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Top Learning Outcomes of Leading SAFe 5 Certification

In any organization, the business decisions made by leaders play an integral role in determining its future. Their mindset, actions and strategies influence the functioning of the organization and workforce. True leaders continuously learn and upskill themselves to be on par with the changing times and stay ahead of the competition. This is where adoption of a Lean-Agile Mindset becomes crucial. It serves as an intellectual and leadership foundation for applying SAFe® principles and practices. A Lean Agile Mindset is undoubtedly the need of the hour for everyone and especially for professionals who oversee a company’s destiny.  This article briefly looks at SAFe® 5.0’s main offering – “Business Agility”, dwells on the foundational competency – “Lean Agile Leadership” and finally talks about how Scaled Agile Inc’s “Leading SAFe®“ course  is one of the front runners in providing knowledge and guidance for building SAFe’s foundational competency in an Enterprise.  What is SAFe®?  Enterprises span across multiple geographical locations, cultures and time zones. External stakeholders like Suppliers and Partners further add on to the organizational milieu. In spite of the scale, the enterprise has to be nimble and agile to keep up with ever changing customer needs and tough competition.Practicing Agile in an Enterprise has its very own challenges because of the scale at which it operates and the high stakes involved.SAFe® is an Agile Framework that recommends ways and methods for enterprises to implement, sustain and improve Lean and Agile Practices. SAFe®1.0 was introduced in 2011 and has evolved into the SAFe®5.0 version which was released in Jan 2020.What is new in SAFe®5SAFe®5.0 introduces quite a few things, of which we look at two important ones- Business Agility and the Dual Operating System.   John Kotter , thought leader of Change Management, famously describes the need for a Dual Operating System that combines the entrepreneurial capability of a network with the organisational efficiency of traditional hierarchy. SAFe® 5 recommends organizing a network around value streams, in addition to the traditional hierarchy, to create a dual operating system to achieve Business Agility.  Image source: Kotter’s Dual Operating SystemImage source: SAFe as a second organizational operating systemBringing agility within Engineering teams may not be enough to create products and solutions that are viable and saleable. Everyone who is involved in building solutions and products – Executives, Senior Leadership, Marketing, Sales, Finance, Engineering, Support, IT, Legal, Compliance, HR- has to be brought into the ambit of Lean and Agile Practices to achieve true Business Agility.The responsibility of making “Business Agility” a reality lies largely with the Leaders of the Organizations.Lean Agile Leadership CompetencySAFe® recommends seven core competencies to become a Lean Enterprise and achieve Business Agility.  “Lean Agile Leadership” is one of the foundational competencies of great significance.Without the buy-in, support and complete conviction from leaders in the organization, the SAFe® implementation cannot happen effectively.  Lean Agile Leaders play a key role in introducing, nurturing and sustaining the SAFe® transformation within the organization.What is required of a Lean Agile Leader?Growth Mindset: Leaders should have a realistic bent of mind to acknowledge a need for change within themselves as well as the organization. The leaders with the right outlook believe in the SAFe Core Values, the Lean-Agile Mindset, and SAFe Principles. Leading By Example: As the famous saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words”. So by walking the talk, leaders can influence scores of people to start adopting the Lean Agile practices, Values and Principles exhibited by themselves. Leading Change: Organizational transformation and change is a very difficult and rocky road to take. There are many thought leaders and researchers producing dedicated models, theories and books for bringing about change and sustaining it. A leader who sets himself on this path is aware of the challenges and is ready to lead the change successfully.   Image Source: Lean Agile Leadership CompetencyOne of the tools for leaders at the helm of bringing about change is having deep rooted knowledge, understanding and purpose about the practices they have to exhibit, and thereby influence the other employees in their organizations.Obtaining the Scaled Agile Framework’s “Leading SAFe®” Certification is the perfect way to start for Lean Agile Leaders. By getting themselves trained, leaders can begin the transformation journey armed with the necessary information.Leading SAFe® Course and CertificationLearning OutcomesThe 2 day long Leading SAFe® course results in the following learning outcomes:The knowledge and principles of Lean, Agile, DevOps, Lean Product Development Insights into achieving Business Agility through organizing around value Understanding of Lean Portfolio Management which emphasizes the need for Lean principles and Lean Budgeting The importance of PI Planning events, co-ordinating Multiple Agile Release Trains, establishing team and technical agility Customer-centric mindset and design thinking approach to Agile product delivery The importance of sustaining SAFe® transformation by creating Communities of Practice and fully empowered employees and teams. In short, the SAFe® Implementation Roadmap helps the leaders to chalk out their organization’s transformation journey. Who should take the Leading SAFe® Course? This course is just right for leaders who are in a position to influence employees, organizational structure and the future of products / solutions.  Executives of the organization that decide on the future course of business Business Unit Heads who are responsible for a Portfolio Heads of functions like Marketing/Sales/Product/IT/Engineering etc Agile Program Managers and Project Managers who steer programs and projects, Managers of teams Technology leaders like Enterprise and Solution Architects/ Distinguished Engineers/ Fellows who command a large sphere of influence on teams Leading SAFe® CertificationAttending the 2 day Leading SAFe® course is a requirement to write the exam, and participants will get access to all the study materials and the exam. Once the exam is   successfully completed, the candidate gets the below privileges as per Scaled Agile, Inc. Certified SAFe® Agilist PDF certificate Certified SAFe® Agilist digital badge to promote your accomplishment online One-year membership to the SAFe Community Platform, which includes access to the SA Community of Practice Access to Meetup groups and events that connect you with other SAFe certified professionals A variety of learning resources to support you during your SAFe journey Benefits of taking Leading SAFe®5 trainingEvery change starts with – what is in it for me? The Leading SAFe® course outlines a generic framework that is applicable to any enterprise. For an individual employee it is a learning for life and can be applied to any organization he/she is associated with.  The SAFe® Agilist Course and Certification is one of the prestigious achievements in the individual’s professional life earning him/her respect and recognition within the Agile Community.           A SAFe®5 certified professional is eligible for better prospects within their own organization or in other organizations, if and when there is a need for job change.  According to Forrester’s Q2 2015 Global Agile Software Application Development Online Survey-“The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) is the most widely adopted enterprise Agile approach according to most survey data, with 33% using it”. With more than 70% of US Fortune 100 companies actively employing SAFe®, it is clear that the demand for Leading SAFe® is on a constant rise. Benefits of Leading SAFe®5 Training for the organization:Leadership is the foundation on which the “House of Lean” is built. A strong foundation of Lean Agile leaders, Managers and Executives help to create a learning culture for the organization by exhibiting the Lean Agile Mindset. This, in turn, paves the way for enterprise-wide transformation. Having a strong army of Agilists that are trained and certified helps the organization to sustain the principles of Lean and Agile.Agile ManifestoCorporate training for the leaders of the organization from a reputed Training provider like Knowledge Hut will ensure that all leaders are on the same page, hearing the same message at the same time. The training will become an opportunity for collaboration and the discussions during the training facilitated by the trainer can be tailored to suit organizational needs.   Why KnowledgeHut for Leading SAFe®5 Course?KnowledgeHut is a leading training provider offering a variety of accredited training programs for Corporates and Individuals. KnowledgeHut is a preferred training partner for various corporates.  KnowledgeHut offers training across 70 countries in over 250 industry-recognized courses. This includes a wide range of Courses in Agile and SAFe®.  Scaled Agile, Inc is the only certifying authority for SAFe® and KnowledgeHut is a Silver Partner of Scaled Agile, having trained more than 4000 professionals in various SAFe® certifications.  The Trainers for Leading SAFe® courses are an elite panel of accredited SPCs who also have years of experience as active SAFe® practitioners.  Learning happens through experiential workshops by accredited industry experts who bring in vast real-world experience imparting knowledge through in-class activities and simulations. Please refer here for all the details and the value-added services offered by KnowledgeHut for the “Leading SAFe® 5 “course. In conclusion, Scaled Agile Inc’s Leading SAFe®5 from KnowledgeHut will be a unique learning experience that will set the stage for success in one’s professional life. This credential benefits equally the individual, the organization and the larger cause of increasing the number of Agilists and improving the Agile Community at large.

Top Learning Outcomes of Leading SAFe 5 Certification

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Top Learning Outcomes of Leading SAFe 5 Certification

In any organization, the business decisions made by leaders play an integral role in determining its future. Their mindset, actions and strategies influence the functioning of the organization and workforce. True leaders continuously learn and upskill themselves to be on par with the changing times and stay ahead of the competition. This is where adoption of a Lean-Agile Mindset becomes crucial. It serves as an intellectual and leadership foundation for applying SAFe® principles and practices. A Lean Agile Mindset is undoubtedly the need of the hour for everyone and especially for professionals who oversee a company’s destiny.  

This article briefly looks at SAFe® 5.0’s main offering – Business Agility, dwells on the foundational competency – Lean Agile Leadership and finally talks about how Scaled Agile Inc’s Leading SAFe® course  is one of the front runners in providing knowledge and guidance for building SAFe’s foundational competency in an Enterprise.  

What is SAFe®?  

Enterprises span across multiple geographical locations, cultures and time zones. External stakeholders like Suppliers and Partners further add on to the organizational milieu. In spite of the scale, the enterprise has to be nimble and agile to keep up with ever changing customer needs and tough competition.

Practicing Agile in an Enterprise has its very own challenges because of the scale at which it operates and the high stakes involved.

SAFe® is an Agile Framework that recommends ways and methods for enterprises to implement, sustain and improve Lean and Agile Practices. SAFe®1.0 was introduced in 2011 and has evolved into the SAFe®5.0 version which was released in Jan 2020.

What is new in SAFe®5

SAFe®5.0 introduces quite a few things, of which we look at two important ones- Business Agility and the Dual Operating System.   

John Kotter , thought leader of Change Management, famously describes the need for a Dual Operating System that combines the entrepreneurial capability of a network with the organisational efficiency of traditional hierarchy. SAFe® 5 recommends organizing a network around value streams, in addition to the traditional hierarchy, to create a dual operating system to achieve Business Agility.  

Kotter’s Dual Operating System

Image source: Kotter’s Dual Operating System

SAFe as a second organizational operating systemImage source: SAFe as a second organizational operating system

Bringing agility within Engineering teams may not be enough to create products and solutions that are viable and saleable. Everyone who is involved in building solutions and products – Executives, Senior Leadership, Marketing, Sales, Finance, Engineering, Support, IT, Legal, Compliance, HR- has to be brought into the ambit of Lean and Agile Practices to achieve true Business Agility.

The responsibility of making “Business Agility” a reality lies largely with the Leaders of the Organizations.

Lean Agile Leadership Competency

SAFe® recommends seven core competencies to become a Lean Enterprise and achieve Business Agility.  “Lean Agile Leadership” is one of the foundational competencies of great significance.

Without the buy-in, support and complete conviction from leaders in the organization, the SAFe® implementation cannot happen effectively.  Lean Agile Leaders play a key role in introducing, nurturing and sustaining the SAFe® transformation within the organization.

What is required of a Lean Agile Leader?

  • Growth Mindset: Leaders should have a realistic bent of mind to acknowledge a need for change within themselves as well as the organization. The leaders with the right outlook believe in the SAFe Core Values, the Lean-Agile Mindset, and SAFe Principles.
  • Leading By Example: As the famous saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words”. So by walking the talk, leaders can influence scores of people to start adopting the Lean Agile practices, Values and Principles exhibited by themselves.
  • Leading Change: Organizational transformation and change is a very difficult and rocky road to take. There are many thought leaders and researchers producing dedicated models, theories and books for bringing about change and sustaining it. A leader who sets himself on this path is aware of the challenges and is ready to lead the change successfully.   

Image Source: Lean Agile Leadership Competency

One of the tools for leaders at the helm of bringing about change is having deep rooted knowledge, understanding and purpose about the practices they have to exhibit, and thereby influence the other employees in their organizations.

Obtaining the Scaled Agile Framework’s “Leading SAFe®” Certification is the perfect way to start for Lean Agile Leaders. By getting themselves trained, leaders can begin the transformation journey armed with the necessary information.

Leading SAFe® Course and Certification

Learning Outcomes

The 2 day long Leading SAFe® course results in the following learning outcomes:

  • The knowledge and principles of Lean, Agile, DevOps, Lean Product Development 
  • Insights into achieving Business Agility through organizing around value 
  • Understanding of Lean Portfolio Management which emphasizes the need for Lean principles and Lean Budgeting 
  • The importance of PI Planning events, co-ordinating Multiple Agile Release Trains, establishing team and technical agility 
  • Customer-centric mindset and design thinking approach to Agile product delivery 
  • The importance of sustaining SAFe® transformation by creating Communities of Practice and fully empowered employees and teams. 

In short, the SAFe® Implementation Roadmap helps the leaders to chalk out their organization’s transformation journey. 

Who should take the Leading SAFe® Course? 

This course is just right for leaders who are in a position to influence employees, organizational structure and the future of products / solutions.  

  • Executives of the organization that decide on the future course of business 
  • Business Unit Heads who are responsible for a Portfolio 
  • Heads of functions like Marketing/Sales/Product/IT/Engineering etc 
  • Agile Program Managers and Project Managers who steer programs and projects, Managers of teams 
  • Technology leaders like Enterprise and Solution Architects/ Distinguished Engineers/ Fellows who command a large sphere of influence on teams 

Leading SAFe® Certification

Attending the 2 day Leading SAFe® course is a requirement to write the exam, and participants will get access to all the study materials and the exam. Once the exam is   successfully completed, the candidate gets the below privileges as per Scaled Agile, Inc. 

  • Certified SAFe® Agilist PDF certificate 
  • Certified SAFe® Agilist digital badge to promote your accomplishment online 
  • One-year membership to the SAFe Community Platform, which includes access to the SA Community of Practice 
  • Access to Meetup groups and events that connect you with other SAFe certified professionals 
  • A variety of learning resources to support you during your SAFe journey 

Benefits of taking Leading SAFe®5 training

Every change starts with – what is in it for me? The Leading SAFe® course outlines a generic framework that is applicable to any enterprise. For an individual employee it is a learning for life and can be applied to any organization he/she is associated with.  

The SAFe® Agilist Course and Certification is one of the prestigious achievements in the individual’s professional life earning him/her respect and recognition within the Agile Community.           

SAFe®5 certified professional is eligible for better prospects within their own organization or in other organizations, if and when there is a need for job change.  

According to Forrester’s Q2 2015 Global Agile Software Application Development Online Survey-“The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) is the most widely adopted enterprise Agile approach according to most survey data, with 33% using it”. With more than 70% of US Fortune 100 companies actively employing SAFe®, it is clear that the demand for Leading SAFe® is on a constant rise. 

Benefits of Leading SAFe®5 Training for the organization:

Leadership is the foundation on which the “House of Lean” is built. A strong foundation of Lean Agile leaders, Managers and Executives help to create a learning culture for the organization by exhibiting the Lean Agile Mindset. This, in turn, paves the way for enterprise-wide transformation. Having a strong army of Agilists that are trained and certified helps the organization to sustain the principles of Lean and Agile.

Agile Manifesto

Agile Manifesto

Corporate training for the leaders of the organization from a reputed Training provider like Knowledge Hut will ensure that all leaders are on the same page, hearing the same message at the same time. The training will become an opportunity for collaboration and the discussions during the training facilitated by the trainer can be tailored to suit organizational needs.   

Why KnowledgeHut for Leading SAFe®5 Course?

  • KnowledgeHut is a leading training provider offering a variety of accredited training programs for Corporates and Individuals. 
  • KnowledgeHut is a preferred training partner for various corporates 
  • KnowledgeHut offers training across 70 countries in over 250 industry-recognized courses. This includes a wide range of Courses in Agile and SAFe® 
  • Scaled Agile, Inc is the only certifying authority for SAFe® and KnowledgeHut is a Silver Partner of Scaled Agilehaving trained more than 4000 professionals in various SAFe® certifications.  
  • The Trainersfor Leading SAFe® courses are an elite panel of accredited SPCs who also have years of experience as active SAFe® practitioners.  
  • Learning happens through experiential workshops by accredited industry experts who bring in vast real-world experience imparting knowledge through in-class activities and simulations. 

Please refer here for all the details and the value-added services offered by KnowledgeHut for the “Leading SAFe® 5 “course. 

In conclusion, Scaled Agile Inc’s Leading SAFe®5 from KnowledgeHut will be a unique learning experience that will set the stage for success in one’s professional life. This credential benefits equally the individual, the organization and the larger cause of increasing the number of Agilists and improving the Agile Community at large.

Radhika

Radhika Subramoniam

author

The author is an Agile Consultant working in the areas of process consultation and Agile coaching and transformation. She has been part of the software product development industry spanning field service, fleet management, telecom billing and network management. 

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This course combines team-based exercises with instructions in order to teach the heart of the Scrum and Agile movement.Accreditation Body: Scrum.orgPrerequisites: The PSM course can be taken by any professional who wants to deepen their Scrum understanding. It is recommended to familiarize with the basics of Scrum to understand the overall framework perfectly in a shorter course of time.Who can take up this certification?This course is apt for professionals who are involved in product delivery using the Scrum Framework. It is particularly most beneficial for Scrum Master, Team members and managers, that is, those people who are accountable for getting the most out of Scrum.Job opportunities after Professional Scrum Master Training (PSM): After being a certified Professional Scrum Master, the candidate can apply for various fields, to name a few:Scrum MasterAssociate Scrum MasterProduct OwnerCoachMentorCost: Starts from  $150.Average Salary: $100,500CertificationProfessional Scrum Master Training (PSM)Accreditation BodyScrum.orgPrerequisitesBasics of Scrum to understand the overall framework perfectly in less time.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 80 questions within an hour.Passing score: 80 per cent.Career PathScrum Master, Mentor, Coach, Manager, Product Owner for big organisations.Average Salary$100,500Cost of Certification$1505. SAFe 4.0 Scrum Master (SSM)It is a two-day course, during which the attendees gain a proper understanding of the roles of a Scrum Master in the context of SAFe enterprise while at the same time, prepare them to plan and execute the Program Increment(PI) successfully. PI is an enabler of alignment for all the levels of a SAFe organisation, which includes the facilitation of Scrum in the enterprise and executing the Iteration Planning.This course will validate that you can now perform the role of a Scrum Master in a SAFe environment, which will help you increase your value to organisations and teams which are implementing SAFe.Accreditation Body: Scaled Agile.Prerequisites:Regardless of experience, this course can be attended by anyone. But it is recommended to have the following prerequisites for the ones who intend to take the SAFe® Scrum Master (SSM) certification exam:They should be familiar with Agile concepts and practices.Basic knowledge and awareness of Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP) and Kanban.Proper working knowledge of hardware as well as software development processes.Who can take up this certification?This course can be taken up by Scrum Master who are new to this and need to perform the role. While this course can also be taken up by the existing Scrum Masters who wish to know about their role as a Scrum Master in a SAFe environment.Other than them, Team leads who wish to understand the roles of Scrum Master can also take up this course.Job opportunities after SAFe 4.0 Scrum Master (SSM): Based on the candidates' experience, the candidate can apply for various roles. To name a few:Scrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterAgile Scrum MasterAgile Project ManagerAgile Project DirectorAgile CoachProduct OwnerCost: The first attempt of the exam is included in the course registration fee, provided the exam is taken within 30 days after completing the course. After that, each retake costs $50.Average Salary: $114,546CertificationSAFe 4.0 Scrum Master (SSM)Accreditation BodyScaled AgilePrerequisitesFamiliarity with Agile concepts and practices.Basic knowledge and awareness of Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP) and Kanban.Proper working knowledge of hardware as well as software development processes.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 45 questions within a duration of 90 minutes; out of which 33 should be answered correctly.Career PathScrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterAgile Scrum MasterAgile Project ManagerAgile Project DirectorAgile CoachProduct OwnerAverage Salary$114,546Cost of CertificationThe first attempt of the exam is included in the course registration fee, provided the exam is taken within 30 days after completing the course. After that, each retake costs $50.Renewal Cost$100; Every one year from the date of certification earned.6. Scrum Master Certified (SMC)The professionals who are certified as Scrum Master Certified (SMC) ensure that the Scrum team is working in an environment which helps them in completing their project successfully. The Scrum Master has the responsibility to ensure that the Scrum process is being followed. He guides the Scrum practices to everyone who is involved in the project.Accreditation Body: SCRUMstudyPrerequisites:There are no particular prerequisites for this certification, but a SDC™certified professional is more preferred.Who can take up this certification?This course is apt for professionals who are involved in product delivery using the Scrum Framework. It is particularly most beneficial for Scrum Master, Team members and managers, that is, those people who are accountable for getting the most out of Scrum.Job opportunities after Scrum Master Certified (SMC): After completion of the course, you can opt for the following job opportunities:Scrum MasterAssociate Scrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterCoach Scrum MasterProduct Owner/ManagerCost: $450 USDAverage Salary: The average salary for a Scrum Master Certified professional ranges between $100,00 to $130,00 USD.CertificationScrum Master Certified (SMC)Accreditation BodySCRUMstudyPrerequisitesThere are no particular prerequisites for this certification, but a SDC™certified professional is more preferred.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 100 questions within a duration of two hours.Career PathScrum MasterAssociate Scrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterCoach Scrum MasterProduct Owner/ManagerAverage Salary$100,00 to $130,00 USDCost of Certification$450 USDRenewal CostEarn 40 recertification credits every three years.7. Agile Scrum Master (ASM)The Agile Scrum Master certification combines scrum practices and agile methodologies with practical assignments. It tests the ability of the professional that is required to facilitate, enable and coach a cross-functional Scrum Team as a Scrum Master.Accreditation Body: Exin.Prerequisites: You are required to have successfully completed an EXIN Accredited Agile Scrum Master Training, which is mandatory.Who can take up this certification?This certification aims the managerial professionals who are in the fields of IT project management, business management, software development, and IT service management.Job opportunities after Agile Scrum Master (ASM): The professional can look forward to the following job opportunities after completing the Agile Scrum Master course:Scrum MasterAgile CoachAssociate Scrum MasterProgram ManagerCost: $260 USDAverage Salary: The average salary of an Agile Scrum Master ranges between $100,00 to $130,000 across the United States.CertificationAgile Scrum Master (ASM)Accreditation BodyEXINPrerequisitesThe candidate is required to have successfully completed an EXIN Accredited Agile Scrum Master Training, which is mandatory.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 40 questions within a duration of 90 minutes; Pass mark being 65%.Career PathScrum MasterAgile CoachAssociate Scrum MasterProgram ManagerAverage Salary$100,00 to $130,00 USDCost of Certification$260 USDWhat is Scrum?Scrum is a lightweight framework with the help of which people can address complex problems to deliver projects of the highest possible value. It is primarily used for software development processes by using iterative and incremental practices to work towards a well-defined goal.It is a subset of Agile as it follows the Agile Manifesto, which expresses a set of values and principles to help make decisions on how to develop higher-quality software in a quicker and better manner. Organisations have benefitted by Agile Scrum process as:It increases the productivity of the team.It increases the quality of deliverable products.Helps in getting a better grip of the project schedule.It provides a better estimate while less time is spent on creating themIt keeps the stakeholders and customers satisfied.How are Scrum and Agile related Scrum and Agile are related, but distinctly. Agile is a methodology that describes a set of guiding principles to build software through iterative development, which is described in the Agile Manifesto.Scrum follows a set of rules while practising agile software development. Even though these two models look similar and function in a similar manner, there are differences as well. Scrum aims for a product team with firm rules and guidelines. It is an incremental and iterative development methodology of Agile, that is, it can be said that it is an agile framework for developing software. Scrum does not state any detailed description or template of the process of software development, unlike many other software development methodologies. It states the desired outcome that is required, leaving it on the agile scrum team to determine the solutions to the problems that they are facing or will come across. It may be used for software maintenance projects or software development. Scrum increases the flexibility and speed of the process of product development. Organisations which have switched to agile processes like Scrum have experienced many benefits like higher stakeholder satisfaction, higher productivity, etc. The benefits experienced are further discussed in detail.Scrum Certifying Accreditation BodiesThe following is a list of a few Scrum Certifying Bodies.Scrum AllianceScrum.orgScaled AgileAPM Group InternationalSCRUMstudy1. Scrum Alliance: Scrum Alliance was founded in the year 2011. Being a globally renowned organisation, it supports Scrum adoption, research and networking, focusing on organisational transformations. It is the largest, most established organisation for Agile membership and certification that has trained more than 750,000 professionals worldwide.2. Scrum.org:Scrum.org provides training, assessments and certifications based on the principles of Scrum and Agile manifesto in order to improve software delivery. They empower people and organisations all around the world to achieve agility through Scrum. The global organisation was found in the year 2009 by Ken Schwaber.3. Scaled Agile, Inc. (SAI): Scaled Agile, Inc. (SAI) is the leading provider of SAFe® courses. Being a knowledge base for enterprises to adopt Agile, it uplifts the career growth of an individual as it offers various role-based courses and certifications.4. SCRUMstudy: SCRUMstudy is a globally acknowledged accreditation body for Agile and Scrum certifications. It has a large global partner network of ATPs, Authorized Training Providers, delivering training and certifications. The SBOK™ Guide has been authored by the SCRUMstudy, which is a comprehensive guide to deliver projects successfully using Scrum.5. EXIN: EXIN offers professionals certifications in a wide range of exams in the field of IT qualifications. It innovates in a continuous manner by developing exams in-house. They developed exams are both independent and with partners, which is done in order to enhance its portfolio as well as broaden the scope of the exams that are offered.Summary:Various accreditation bodies provide various Scrum Certifications around the globe. The main objective behind all the Scrum Certifications being making of a Scrum Master which will help his/her organisation achieve the goals following the Scrum framework. Choose the best certification course according to your requirements and make the best out of it!
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Top-paying Scrum Master Certifications to Consider...

Scrum Certification is a course and a series of ex... Read More

Understand the Importance of Having the Product Vision in a Scrum Team

Stories abound of products launched with much fanfare and failing miserably in the market. What does it take to build a software product that sells? Would the best technology, the best architecture and the best brains guarantee a product that will sell?A lot of energy is spent by the Engineering teams on building the product right – bug-free, scalable, reliable and secure. Throughout this journey the teams also need to be confident that they are building the right product – usable (fit for use), serves the purpose (fit for purpose), solves the customer’s problem and delivers value.A popular representation of this relationship is given belowA Product Vision is a well thought through “future state” of the product that serves the customer’s needs as well as furthers the organization’s product strategy. The product vision serves as the “guiding light” that the teams constantly refers, consults and steers towards.This article is about how a good product vision paves the way for scrum teams to build a good product. It is not the only step but definitely one of the first steps to build a product that will sell.Components of a Product Vision  A well thought through and finely articulated Product Vision includes the following components Purpose and Intent – Why are we building the product and what value it brings to the Customer? What problems is the product going to solve for the Customer? Target Market – Who is the Customer(s) / Market Segment that the product is meant for Business Goals – By building this product how are we aligning with the organization’s strategy and goals in the market. Every product offered by an organization should align with the larger goals and strategy so that it fits well with the organization’s product portfolio. Differentiating Factors – How and what features are we offering that is a differentiator in the market and which sets the organization apart from its competitors. Many a product fails to see the light of the day or serve the purpose of the customer if it has failed to justify on any one or more of the above components.  Creating the Product Vision Anyone who is connected to the Product can contribute to the Product Vision. Organizations usually have idea boards and forums to welcome innovative ideas from all employees. But the ownership of defining, communicating and nourishing the product vision lies with the Business Group or Product Management Group. Usually the vision is created through a Workshop involving the right stakeholders who have the expertise to contribute. The stakeholders represent Business, Engineering, Marketing, Sales, Support, Training etc.  Various techniques such as Brainstorming, Affinity grouping, Dot Voting can be employed in the workshop to come up with the final Product Vision. Prior to the workshop findings from Market research on target customers, competitors, information on Personas are made available to the participants so that they are well informed and bring the best to the table. Product Vision Formats The Product Vision board as recommended by Roman Pichler, leading Product Management Expert. The Product Vision Board A Simple template first introduced in the book Crossing the Chasm by Management Consultant and author Geoffery More.Communicating the Product Vision  A great Product Vision will not get realized into the final product unless it is communicated well, not just once but multiple times, to all the important stakeholders – the Senior Leadership, the Engineering teams, Sales, Marketing, Documentation, Training and Support. It is the responsibility of the Head of the Business (e.g Director of Product Management) to introduce and explain the Product Vision to the rest of the organization before the product development is started. A Kickstart All-Hands meeting usually happens when a new Product Vision is ready. The road map and strategy for the immediate future (every Quarter/Release) to realize the vision is also shared in this meeting. It is important that all stakeholders who are participating in building the product gets to hear the same information at the same time from the Head of Business. This All-Hands happens at a defined cadence (every Quarter /Release) where the changes to the product vision, strategy and road map for the next quarter /release is communicated. The Heads of Engineering would also present their plans for the Quarter /Release to further the product vision.  Heads guiding the team It should not be an open and shut communication for a day, but the Product Managers and Owners need to constantly refer and draw from the vision when interacting with the Scrum Teams. When requirements are refined into Epics and User Stories and prioritized the Scrum Teams need to be able to relate them to the Vision. Changes in the Product Vision  So is a Product Vision written on stone never to change? No, because that would defy Agile Principles of continuously seeking feedback, embracing and adapting change.  A learning organization has a pulse on the market and actively seeks feedback. It adapts the product vision according to the changing market, competition and customer feedback. It has a constant sense of Urgency to Fail Fast, has the Courage to Pivot when required and Persevere on the right track as part of the Organization culture.  There are stories of many organizations that have imbibed and practiced this culture and succeeded. Significance of Production Vision within the Scrum Teams A journey without a destination sounds exciting but not practical and not always fruitful. R&D engineers would not have any dearth of imagination to build products that are beautiful and perfect. But would these products serve the customer’s needs? Understand the Larger Purpose: Scrum teams need to understand the big picture and the larger purpose of their everyday work – for whom are they building, for what and most importantly why. During Backlog Grooming sessions, the Product owners can act as ambassadors for the Product Vision helping the teams to refine user stories with end goal in mind. The questions to be constantly asked and validated include  “Are we solving the customer problem?” , “Are we adding value?”, “Are we building the right product?” Product Strategy and Vision to Plan your roadmap Contribute in Product Strategy and Roadmap: Scrum teams can contribute effectively to the product strategy and roadmap if they know and understand the product vision.  Understanding the Priorities: Understanding the Product vision helps the team to identify with the priority put forth by the Product Owner. The Product Owner and the teams can make use of the product vision in the Sprint Planning and Backlog refinement meetings to streamline user stories.  Influence in Sprint Execution: Having the product vision in the back of their minds plays an important role in the story writing, refinement, acceptance criteria, coding and testing.  Knowing the customer problems and target market helps teams to build “just enough” and stop from over engineering and manufacturing unwanted imaginary requirements. Unwanted code is a waste that can cause unwanted testing, bugs and needs to be avoided. Knowing the target Customer / market, purpose and the problems that need to be resolved, helps the teams to  Refine and write better Epics and User Stories . Helps to identify the ‘Must Have’ and ‘Good to Have’ Acceptance Criteria. Helps to architect and design better knowing the immediate priority and the upcoming roadmap. Helps to code incorporating enough customization for reuse and extensions in future. Define and formulate the appropriate test scenarios and data Collaboration: Multiple teams come together to build a product. Having a common Product Vision to refer to improves their collaboration and serves as a good point of reference to manage conflicts and dependencies.  Alignment with the Organization’s Goals: There is also another very important piece of information within the Product Vision - How the Product Vision aligns to their organization’s overall strategy. This is definitely of interest to every employee of the organization. An engaged employee always is curious about how the product he is helping to build today fits and aligns with the organization’s goals. The fact that he/she is contributing towards furthering the Organization’s goals does instil a sense of pride and confidence. Adapting to Changes in the Product Vision: The changes to the vision has to be constantly communicated to all the stake holders especially the Scrum teams who are building it. The teams need to also be told why there has been a change in the Product Vision. Only then would they appreciate and embrace the changes. Tips for your Product Vision: Ideas can come in from unlikeliest of places. Inputs should be encouraged and accepted from all stakeholders and funnelled into the Product Vision creation workshop. Prior to the workshop, sufficient Market research has to be conducted to get information on target customer, personas and the competitor landscape. A vision not shared well remains only that and does not become a reality. Communicate at every opportunity – kickoff meetings, through posters and through dedicated ambassadors -Product Owners , Product Managers , Line Managers. Seek feedback and gauge the market continuously to adapt Do not fear to pivot if needed and change course. Failing early and fast is better. Do not try to address all the “How” and “When” in product vision, but the “What” and “Why”. In conclusion, a Product Vision plays a very important role in the working of a Scrum Team providing the larger purpose of what is being built by them everyday. Only through constant communication about the vision and about the changes to it can the Scrum Teams keep relating to the vision and make the vision a reality - a good product that sells. 
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Understand the Importance of Having the Product Vi...

Stories abound of products launched with much fanf... Read More

Struggles of Becoming Agile

    With the ever-shrinking timelines for delivering technical solutions, more and more IT companies are now compelled to shift from traditional delivery models to more Agile delivery approaches. Organizations are expected to quickly make the said transition in terms of their processes, practices, tools, and techniques while being capable of delivering more with an exact number of resources or even less. Transitioning into Agile delivery approaches is no easy task. Organizations and teams tend to struggle to make the necessary changes. So, what are some of the pertinent challenges in transitioning into Agile? Strategic misalignment Consider a plump of baby ducklings swimming in the water following the mother duck. The ducks will follow the mother duck following her cry. The mother duck sets the direction and sets an example by leading the team. If at all the mother duck loses focus the little ducklings go astray. An IT services delivery company shifting to Agile is exactly the same. The strategic objectives of the organization must directly be linked to the tactical decision of doing delivery using Agile approaches. Often what happens is that the C-level executives suddenly hear the latest buzzwords from the industry and blindly try to implement them within the company. If the leaders themselves embrace the principles and values in Agile and then motivate the staff in following the same, then the application of the new approach becomes more fruitful.  I once worked in an organization where the CEO of the company was one of the first individuals to become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM®) from the company. This ensured that the CEO himself understood the terminology and the dynamics in following Scrum and was better able to even onboard customers to get their solutions done using an Agile delivery approach. Receptiveness to change The success of any change depends on how receptive the individuals are for that change. Agile demands teams to move away from being process oriented to being more focused on collaboration, communication, and continuous improvement. Organizations who have been used to running projects in waterfall approach with well-defined plans and with tight processes often find it difficult to move away from their comfort zone.  Agile demands just enough documentation to execute projects and expects teams to figure out things on the go. Teams must be more hands on and be prepared to experiment and be ready to fail.  Clients too need to adapt to these changes by first being onboard to Agile contract types of Time & Material models and be receptive for a continuous definition of requirements and ever-evolving solutions. ‘We’ vs ‘I’ One of the common problems which most of the teams have is with regards to ‘groupthink’ and the ‘dominator’. Teams often tend to go with the ideas of the consenting majority even when an idea given out by one single individual seems most plausible. Similarly, there can be one person in the group who can be dominating and be able to influence the entire team.  Another side of this problem is where teams expect one person to be the superhero and be responsible for taking up a task and completing it all by himself. This is the traditional waterfall approach where the assignee is expected to be the sole owner of a task. Agile begs team members to be different where individuals are expected to pitch in whenever a task is pending or whenever a team member is stuck and be able to provide a solution to take the team forward. Thus, Agile teams are expected to be self-organizing and self-healing. This requirement for change in mindset often leaves new Agile teams scratching their heads for answers. In conclusion, a shift from traditional approaches to Agile requires shifts in the mindsets of both employees as well as the leaders. It is often a matter of getting the basics right and getting the consent of everyone to follow suit. However, this often is the toughest part in transitioning to Agile!!  
Struggles of Becoming Agile

    With the ever-shrinking timelines for ... Read More