SAFe Scaled Agile Certified 🎉

That’s right, I’m officially a Certified Scaled SAFe 4 Agilist.

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Jeff Goldblum is a national global treasure.

I took the Leading SAFe Agile training a couple of weeks ago, which was two full days of training followed by me finally taking the exam after a week of vacation. A shocking amount stuck, mostly, I believe, because a lot of it just makes sense if you have any Agile-ish experience and any enterprise experience.

I should back up and explain what SAFe is. It’s Scaled Agile Framework, which just means it’s Agile-ish + the realities of enterprise workstreams. I say Agile-ish because while the academic thought experiments of Agile are compelling literally nobody actually follows all Agile and at least one creator of the Agile Manifesto now says developers should abandon “Agile” primarily because Agile, as practiced in real world workplaces, works really well for managers but is awful for developers.

I’m a big fan of Agile-lite, a breezy alternative to Agile that is still bringing regular updates to the business but doesn’t clog up a developer’s day with meetings. Meetings are currently the main activity I do at work , which really stresses me out since I still need to, like, you know….program.

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However much I appreciate running Agile-lite, I do understand that it would be very difficult or impossible to run that way in an enterprise, regulated space. Running one-off projects and insulated apps may work with Agile-lite, but enterprise apps require more communication, program level priorities, and clearly laid out releases.

For instance, if you’re working on a Sharepoint app and the enterprise Sharepoint team is working on new features or updates, then in an ideal world you would know about it weeks in advance so that you could plan around that release. Unfortunately, that rarely happens organically and instead using a framework such as SAFe would save you a lot of headache and trouble.

The trouble I see is that most of these pushes for Agile come from the bottom (individual contributor software developers) and only go up to the Director level. In my organization, that’s about ~5 levels below the VP of IT (if not more, tbh)

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SAFe does address this issue, stating that smaller teams and individual enterprise resources can see benefit from this framework, but the real Magic Sauce™️ comes from a division or the entire organization going into this.

I’m excited to see what my org can do with this! This training would help if for no other reason then having a shared vocabulary between developers, management, and business is valuable.

Some more resources to find out more about SAFe:
Cracking SAFe: https://techbeacon.com/app-dev-testing/cracking-safe-experts-take-scaled-agile-framework
SAFe – Good but Not Good Enough: https://ronjeffries.com/xprog/articles/safe-good-but-not-good-enough/
Reactions from my SAFe SPC Certification Class: http://rgalen.com/agile-training-news/2014/6/24/reactions-and-thoughts-from-my-safe-spc-certification-class

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