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14 Essential Skills for a SAFe Practice Consultant

essential skills required for a SAFe Practice consultant
Who is a SAFe Practice Consultant (SPC)?

SAFe Program Consultants (SPCs), called SAFe Practice Consultants since SAFe 6.0, play a critical role in the success of large-scale Agile transformations.

They guide organizations in adopting the SAFe framework and help train, mentor, and coach teams and leaders to work within the SAFe principles and practices.

Let’s delve deeper into the essential skills and qualities that SAFe Practice Consultants (SPCs) should possess to be successful in their roles:

Essential Skills For SAFe Practice Consultant

  1. Deep Understanding of SAFe

A comprehensive knowledge of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is foundational for an SPC. This means being familiar not just with the surface-level practices but also with the underlying principles and values. SPCs must be adept at understanding the nuances between different SAFe configurations and guiding organizations on which fits best based on their size and needs.

  1. Strong Facilitation Skills

An SPC’s role often involves facilitating workshops, training sessions, and large-scale meetings, such as the Program Increment (PI) planning events. Effective facilitation goes beyond just presenting information. It requires an ability to guide discussions, foster an environment of collaboration, and ensure that every voice is heard. A skilled facilitator can navigate the dynamics of large groups, ensuring alignment and momentum.

  1. Teaching & Coaching Ability

A distinction should be made between teaching and coaching. While teaching pertains to imparting knowledge about SAFe and its practices, coaching delves into helping individuals internalize and apply this knowledge in their contexts. It’s a more personalized form of guidance, often addressing mindset shifts and behavioral changes. A successful SPC seamlessly transitions between the roles of teacher and coach based on the situation.

  1. Change Management

Leading change, especially on a large scale, is challenging. Organizations have existing cultures, processes, and mindsets that can resist the shift towards Agile. SPCs need to employ change management techniques to ensure a smooth transition. This includes understanding the stages of change, predicting resistance points, and developing strategies to address them. It’s not just about introducing new processes; it’s about transforming the organizational culture.

  1. Leadership

The role of an SPC is inherently a leadership role. Whether guiding a team, advising executives, or navigating organizational politics, SPCs need to inspire trust and confidence. They should exhibit visionary leadership, setting the direction and inspiring others to follow, while also demonstrating servant leadership, empowering teams, and removing obstacles in their path.

  1. Stakeholder Management

In large organizations, the stakeholder landscape is complex. SPCs interact with everyone from team members to top-tier executives. Building relationships, managing expectations, and ensuring alignment across this vast spectrum is crucial. The ability to communicate the value of SAFe and address concerns at every level is a skill that differentiates successful SPCs.

  1. Deep Agile & Lean Knowledge

SAFe is a manifestation of Agile and Lean principles designed for large enterprises. A holistic understanding of Agile methodologies, such as Scrum and Kanban, as well as Lean thinking, is crucial. SPCs should be well-versed in the history of Agile, its various frameworks, and how they can be combined and customized within the SAFe umbrella.

  1. Problem-Solving Skills

Implementing SAFe is not a straightforward journey; there will be hurdles. These might be in the form of logistical challenges, resistance from teams, or misalignment among leaders. An SPC should be equipped with analytical and critical thinking skills to identify root causes and devise practical solutions.

  1. Excellent Communication

The ability to convey ideas clearly and persuasively is paramount. Whether it’s presenting to a room full of executives, writing training material, or having a one-on-one conversation, communication is at the heart of the SPC role. They need to tailor their message to different audiences, ensuring clarity and understanding.

  1. Empathy & People Skills

Implementing SAFe is as much about people as it is about processes. Recognizing the human aspect — understanding fears, reservations, motivations, and aspirations — is crucial. Empathy helps SPCs relate to individuals, making the transformation journey more inclusive and supportive.

  1. Continuous Learning

The domains of Agile and SAFe are dynamic. New practices emerge, tools evolve, and organizational needs shift. To remain effective, SPCs must commit to lifelong learning, staying updated with the latest in the field, and being open to adjusting their strategies.

  1. Conflict Resolution

With change often comes conflict. As SAFe is implemented, disagreements or tensions might arise between teams or departments. SPCs should be skilled mediators, facilitating constructive dialogue and finding common ground to move forward.

  1. Organizational Insight

Every organization has its unique culture, politics, and history. An effective SPC does their homework, gaining insights into these dynamics. This understanding allows them to tailor the SAFe implementation approach, ensuring it aligns with the organization’s values and objectives.

  1. Technical Insight

While not mandatory, having some technical knowledge can be a significant advantage. Understanding software development, integration, and delivery practices, or even concepts like DevOps, can help SPCs relate better to technical teams and address their specific challenges.


In conclusion, an SPC is a multifaceted role requiring a blend of technical knowledge, interpersonal skills, leadership, and adaptability. It’s about guiding organizations through complex transformations, and success hinges on a balance of hard skills and soft skills, expertise, and empathy.

Last Updated on September 12, 2023 by Krishna