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Building a successful career as a SAFe Program Consultant

building your successful career as safe practice consultant
In today’s fast-paced business environment, organizations are constantly seeking ways to stay competitive and deliver value to their customers more efficiently. Agile methodologies have proven to be transformative, enabling companies to adapt to change and enhance their products and services rapidly.
The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) has emerged as a popular approach to scaling agile practices across large enterprises.
As a SAFe Practice Consultant (SPC) – formerly known as SAFe Program Consultant, my journey in this dynamic field has been a rollercoaster of challenges, learning experiences, and profound growth. In this article, I’ll share my personal experiences, insights, and practical tips to help you build a fulfilling and successful career as a SAFe Program Consultant.

Embrace the Agile Mindset:
At the heart of any successful SAFe Practice Consultant (earlier known as SAFe Program Consultant) lies a deep understanding and appreciation for the agile mindset. Before diving into SAFe, it is crucial to grasp the foundational principles of agility.
For instance, one of the fundamental tenets of the Agile Manifesto is “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.” Embrace this concept by fostering a collaborative and transparent work environment where team members can thrive.

lean agile mindset

Example: I worked as a Scrum Master for a software development team. Embracing the agile mindset, I encouraged open communication and regular feedback sessions. This created an atmosphere of trust, leading to higher team morale and increased productivity.

Gain Hands-on Experience:
While theoretical knowledge is essential, nothing compares to the value of hands-on experience. Seek opportunities to work in agile environments and immerse yourself in various roles within agile teams.
Whether you serve as a Scrum Master, Product Owner, or Agile Coach, each role offers unique insights and challenges that will enrich your understanding of agile practices.
I volunteered to take on the role of a Product Owner for a critical project. This experience exposed me to the intricacies of managing stakeholder expectations and prioritizing features.
It also helped me understand the challenges faced by Product Owners, fostering empathy and better collaboration with them as a SAFe Practice Consultant (earlier known as SAFe Program Consultant).
Invest in SAFe Certifications:
SAFe certifications not only validate your expertise but also provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the framework. Start your journey with the SAFe Agilist (SA) certification, which lays the foundation for understanding SAFe principles and practices.
As you progress, aim for the SAFe Practice Consultant (earlier known as SAFe Program Consultant) certification, a significant milestone in your career.
I enrolled in a Leading SAFe training course to earn my SA certification. This training not only reinforced my existing knowledge but also connected me with like-minded professionals, leading to valuable networking opportunities within the SAFe community.
Later, I enrolled as SAFe Practice Consultant (earlier known as SAFe Program Consultant), which helped me boost my career as a consultant to implement SAFe across layers.

Be a Continuous Learner:
The agile landscape is constantly evolving, and as a SAFe Practice Consultant (earlier known as SAFe Program Consultant), it is crucial to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices.
Engage in continuous learning by attending conferences, webinars, and workshops conducted by agile thought leaders and experts.
I regularly attended agile conferences and joined webinars hosted by renowned SAFe practitioners. These events exposed me to cutting-edge concepts, real-world case studies, and innovative approaches to solving complex challenges within SAFe implementations.
Build Strong Relationships:
In the consulting world, relationships are the cornerstone of success. As a SAFe Program Consultant, your ability to build trust and rapport with clients, team members, and stakeholders is paramount. Listen actively to their concerns and address their needs with empathy.
During a challenging PI Planning session, I faced resistance from a few stakeholders who were sceptical about adopting SAFe. Instead of dismissing their concerns, I took the time to listen and understand their reservations.
By addressing their fears and explaining the benefits of SAFe, I was able to foster a more collaborative atmosphere, leading to a successful planning session.

Foster Effective Communication:
As a SAFe Practice Consultant (earlier known as SAFe Program Consultant), you will frequently find yourself facilitating workshops, coaching teams, and presenting to leadership. Effective communication is a critical skill that will help you convey complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner.
While leading a SAFe implementation for a financial services organization, I facilitated a Release Train Engineer (RTE) training workshop. To ensure that all participants grasped the concepts, I utilized interactive exercises, visual aids, and real-world examples.
This approach fostered engagement and made the training session more impactful.

Showcase Your Leadership:
As a SAFe Practice Consultant (earlier known as SAFe Program Consultant), you are a catalyst for change and an advocate for the agile mindset. Demonstrate leadership qualities by taking ownership of initiatives, guiding teams through challenges, and inspiring others to embrace the agile way of working.
During a particularly challenging transformation, I noticed that the teams were struggling to adopt new agile practices effectively.
I stepped up as a servant leader, providing one-on-one coaching to team members, identifying and removing impediments, and celebrating their achievements. This hands-on leadership approach boosted team morale and accelerated the transformation journey.

Embrace Challenges:
Building a career as a SAFe Practice Consultant (earlier known as SAFe Program Consultant) will present you with a myriad of challenges. Embrace these obstacles as opportunities for growth and learning. Each experience, positive or negative, will shape your expertise and contribute to your journey as a successful consultant.
In one of my early SAFe implementations, I encountered resistance from senior leadership who were sceptical about the benefits of agile at scale. Instead of becoming disheartened, I engaged in detailed discussions, presented data-backed evidence, and shared success stories from other organizations.
Over time, their scepticism transformed into enthusiasm, leading to full support for the SAFe transformation.

Be a Lean-Agile Leader
Be authentic while implementing SAFe. Don’t follow shortcuts to get quick results OR to avoid fixing some complex problems. Lead by example by being Authentic, so the rest of the enterprise learns and follows you.
Implement SAFe values and principles as defined without a compromise.
Lead the organization by example through learning, authenticity, courage, growing others, and decentralizing decision-making.
career as safe program consultant
The path to becoming a successful SAFe Practice Consultant (earlier known as SAFe Program Consultant) is paved with dedication, continuous learning, and an unwavering passion for agile principles.
Embrace the agile mindset, seek hands-on experience, invest in SAFe certifications, build strong relationships, and communicate effectively. Showcase your leadership qualities and embrace challenges as stepping stones toward growth.
By following these personal insights and examples, you will be well-equipped to make a profound impact on organizations undergoing agile transformations, building a thriving, and fulfilling career as a SAFe Practice Consultant (earlier known as SAFe Program Consultant).