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Leading SAFe vs SAFe POPM – A detailed Comparison

Leading SAFe vs SAFe POPM
In the fast-paced world of Agile and Lean methodologies, organizations are constantly seeking ways to streamline their processes, improve efficiency, and deliver value to their customers faster. Two popular certifications within the SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) ecosystem that address these needs are Leading SAFe (SAFe Agilist) and SAFe POPM (SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager).

While both certifications aim to enhance an individual’s ability to work effectively within a SAFe framework, they have distinct focuses and objectives.

In this blog post, we will dive into the key differences between Leading SAFe Certification and SAFe Product Owner/ Product Manager certification.

Leading SAFe vs SAFe POPM

1. Scope and Role

Leading SAFe Certification
– Scope:
Leading SAFe, also known as SAFe Agilist, focuses on the larger picture of scaling Agile principles across an entire organization. It’s designed for leaders, executives, and change agents who play pivotal roles in adopting SAFe at an enterprise level.

Role: Individuals with SAFe Agilist Certification are equipped to lead and facilitate the implementation of SAFe principles, providing guidance to teams and ensuring alignment with the organization’s strategic objectives.

SAFe POPM (Product Owner/Product Manager)

– Scope: SAFe POPM, on the other hand, narrows its scope to the product development aspect within a SAFe framework. It’s tailored for product owners, product managers, and business analysts responsible for managing and prioritizing the product backlog.

Role: SAFe POPM-certified professionals are trained to effectively manage product development by defining requirements, prioritizing features, and ensuring the product aligns with customer needs and business goals.

2. Target Audience

Leading SAFe Certification

– Audience: Leading SAFe is best suited for individuals in leadership roles, including executives, managers, and change agents who are steering organizational change and adopting Agile at scale.

– Skills: Participants are expected to gain a holistic understanding of the SAFe framework, including its principles, practices, and roles, to facilitate its adoption at the enterprise level.


SAFe POPM (Product Owner/Product Manager)

Audience: SAFe POPM is geared toward product owners, product managers, and business analysts who are directly involved in product development and management.

Skills: This certification focuses on equipping professionals with the skills necessary to excel in product ownership and management, including creating and managing product backlogs, defining features, and optimizing product value.

3. Certification Examination

Leading SAFe Certification

– Examination: The Leading SAFe Certification exam typically consists of multiple-choice questions and is aimed at assessing a candidate’s understanding of SAFe principles, and practices, and their ability to apply them in an organizational context.

– Passing Criteria: To pass the exam, candidates must usually achieve a score of 70% or higher.

SAFe POPM (Product Owner/Product Manager)

Examination: The SAFe POPM Certification exam evaluates a candidate’s knowledge and skills related to product ownership and management practices in a SAFe environment. It may include scenario-based questions and practical application assessments.

Passing Criteria: Candidates generally need to score at least 70% to pass the SAFe POPM exam.

4. Focus Areas

Leading SAFe Certification
– Focus Areas:
Leading SAFe places a strong emphasis on leadership and change management in the context of scaling Agile. Key areas of focus include Lean-Agile principles, SAFe roles and responsibilities, Agile Release Trains (ARTs), and the role of a SAFe leader.

SAFe POPM (Product Owner/Product Manager)

– Focus Areas: SAFe POPM dives deep into the intricacies of product ownership and management. Topics covered include creating a vision, defining a product backlog, prioritization techniques, market research, and ensuring alignment between the product and business strategy.

5. Career Path

Leading SAFe Certification

–  Career Path: Individuals with Leading SAFe Certification are well-equipped to take on leadership roles such as SAFe Program Consultants (SPCs), Release Train Engineers (RTE), or other leadership positions within the SAFe framework.


Also Read: SAFe Agilist Certification Cost
Also Read: SAFe POPM Certification Cost


In summary, while both Leading SAFe Certification and SAFe POPM offer valuable knowledge and skills within the SAFe framework, they cater to different roles and career objectives.

Leading SAFe focuses on scaling Agile across an organization and is suitable for leaders and change agents, whereas SAFe POPM hones in on product ownership and management, tailored for those directly involved in product development.

Choosing between these certifications depends on your current role, career aspirations, and the specific skills you want to acquire.

Whether you’re steering organizational change or driving product development, SAFe offers a certification path to help you excel in your Agile journey.

Ultimately, the choice between Leading SAFe and SAFe POPM should align with your professional goals and the specific needs of your organization.