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Which SAFe® Certification Is Right For You?

If you’re aiming at gaining enhanced knowledge on Scaled Agile Framework and other product development principles, a SAFe® certification is definitely the best choice for you. A prior knowledge of Scrum and a 5-year experience in software development, project management, testing, business analysis, or product management will help with a better understanding in the course. Executives, managers, leaders, directors, and information officers across all industries will benefit from this course. After the completion of this course you will have a full-fledged knowledge on how to apply SAFe® and Agile on your projects, support an Agile transformation on your organisation, and keep your team members motivated throughout the project. Agile offers various courses for SAFe® certifications. But which is that one course that’ll actually make a difference in your career. Here’s a list of courses that you can choose to get SAFe® certified: Implementing SAFe® 4.0 With SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC4) Certification This course is best suited for internal Agile exchange agents and consultants who want to learn and implement SAFe® in their organisation. The main aim of this course is to lead a transformation of the enterprise through Agile, implement SAFe® in their enterprise, nurture managers and executives in leading SAFe®, act as a SAFe® Agilist, Train teams with SAFe® ScrumXP, and act as a Scrum practitioner. The first two days of the course gives you an expansive knowledge of Leading SAFe®. At the end of these two days, you will learn how to act as a certifying agent for SAFe® Agilists. You’ll also learn how to implement Agile into your existing projects and transform it through SAFe®. You’ll receive a thorough knowledge of how principles like Agile Programs, Agile Architecture, and Agile Program Portfolio Management can be used to enhance your team’s quality. The last two days deal with Agile Trains and how you can use them to identify, plan, and use, them with SAFe® programs. After the four days, you can attend further briefings with artifacts and templates, to identify value streams, plan and execute major events, prepare the enterprise, launch Agile programs, and implement effective processes and measures. Leading SAFe® 4.0 With SA Certification If you’re an executive, manager, or consultant looking to learn about applying SAFe® and lean in product development workflows, this course is ideal for you. Centred mainly around Lean and Agile practices of SAFe®, you will learn about SAFE®, how to embrace the values of Lean and Agile, implementing Release Trains, and learn how to plan and implement Agile in your projects, on the first day. The second day you’re exposed to execution and release of values, building of an Agile Portfolio, and leading an Enterprise with the principles of Lean and Agile. SAFe® 4.0 Advanced Scrum Master With SASM Certification ScrumMasters, team leads, managers, Agile coaches, facilitators, and process champions will get a maximum benefit from this course as they use their expertise and practical skills to provide their teams with an Agile/Scrum-friendly environment. With this course you’ll mainly learn to work with SAFe®, it’s values, Lean-Agile principles, Agile and Scrum anti-patterns, Kanban to provide a smooth workflow, quality engineering, DevOps, and Agile architecture. You’ll also learn how to build high performance teams, and get to attend Adapt and Inspect workshops. SAFe® 4.0 For Teams With SP Certification This job is tailored for stakeholders of Release Trains, who learn how to become an Agile team, and build backlogs and plan and execute iterations. You’ll mainly be briefed about SAFe®, and further taught how to build an Agile team, plan and execute iterations, and execute program increments. SAFe® 4.0 Product Manager/ Product Owner With PMPO Certification Best suited for product owners and managers, business owners, program managers, product line leaders, and business analysts, this certification gives you an understanding of how you can work together with associates in a Lean-Agile software enterprise. At the end of this course, you will be able to educate your team about the roles of Product Managers and Product Owners in the enterprise, Agile software requirements, and stakeholder management as well as how to manage backlogs and deliver features in the enterprise. In the end, you can choose an apt course with some amount of research. Depending on your current designation, the future role you’re aiming for in the organisation, and how you would like to help it grow are some of the factors that help you determine the best SAFe® course for you.
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Which SAFe® Certification Is Right For You?

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Which SAFe® Certification Is Right For You?

If you’re aiming at gaining enhanced knowledge on Scaled Agile Framework and other product development principles, a SAFe® certification is definitely the best choice for you.

A prior knowledge of Scrum and a 5-year experience in software development, project management, testing, business analysis, or product management will help with a better understanding in the course. Executives, managers, leaders, directors, and information officers across all industries will benefit from this course.

After the completion of this course you will have a full-fledged knowledge on how to apply SAFe® and Agile on your projects, support an Agile transformation on your organisation, and keep your team members motivated throughout the project.

Agile offers various courses for SAFe® certifications. But which is that one course that’ll actually make a difference in your career.

Here’s a list of courses that you can choose to get SAFe® certified:

Implementing SAFe® 4.0 With SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC4) Certification

This course is best suited for internal Agile exchange agents and consultants who want to learn and implement SAFe® in their organisation.

The main aim of this course is to lead a transformation of the enterprise through Agile, implement SAFe® in their enterprise, nurture managers and executives in leading SAFe®, act as a SAFe® Agilist, Train teams with SAFe® ScrumXP, and act as a Scrum practitioner.

The first two days of the course gives you an expansive knowledge of Leading SAFe®. At the end of these two days, you will learn how to act as a certifying agent for SAFe® Agilists. You’ll also learn how to implement Agile into your existing projects and transform it through SAFe®. You’ll receive a thorough knowledge of how principles like Agile Programs, Agile Architecture, and Agile Program Portfolio Management can be used to enhance your team’s quality.

The last two days deal with Agile Trains and how you can use them to identify, plan, and use, them with SAFe® programs.

After the four days, you can attend further briefings with artifacts and templates, to identify value streams, plan and execute major events, prepare the enterprise, launch Agile programs, and implement effective processes and measures.

Leading SAFe® 4.0 With SA Certification

If you’re an executive, manager, or consultant looking to learn about applying SAFe® and lean in product development workflows, this course is ideal for you.

Centred mainly around Lean and Agile practices of SAFe®, you will learn about SAFE®, how to embrace the values of Lean and Agile, implementing Release Trains, and learn how to plan and implement Agile in your projects, on the first day. The second day you’re exposed to execution and release of values, building of an Agile Portfolio, and leading an Enterprise with the principles of Lean and Agile.

SAFe® 4.0 Advanced Scrum Master With SASM Certification

ScrumMasters, team leads, managers, Agile coaches, facilitators, and process champions will get a maximum benefit from this course as they use their expertise and practical skills to provide their teams with an Agile/Scrum-friendly environment.

With this course you’ll mainly learn to work with SAFe®, it’s values, Lean-Agile principles, Agile and Scrum anti-patterns, Kanban to provide a smooth workflow, quality engineering, DevOps, and Agile architecture. You’ll also learn how to build high performance teams, and get to attend Adapt and Inspect workshops.

SAFe® 4.0 For Teams With SP Certification

This job is tailored for stakeholders of Release Trains, who learn how to become an Agile team, and build backlogs and plan and execute iterations.

You’ll mainly be briefed about SAFe®, and further taught how to build an Agile team, plan and execute iterations, and execute program increments.

SAFe® 4.0 Product Manager/ Product Owner With PMPO Certification

Best suited for product owners and managers, business owners, program managers, product line leaders, and business analysts, this certification gives you an understanding of how you can work together with associates in a Lean-Agile software enterprise.

At the end of this course, you will be able to educate your team about the roles of Product Managers and Product Owners in the enterprise, Agile software requirements, and stakeholder management as well as how to manage backlogs and deliver features in the enterprise.

In the end, you can choose an apt course with some amount of research. Depending on your current designation, the future role you’re aiming for in the organisation, and how you would like to help it grow are some of the factors that help you determine the best SAFe® course for you.

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Agile Project Management Vs. Traditional Project Management

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

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

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

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

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