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SAFe Program Consultant:
Everything you need to know about SPC certification

Vision and steady hands are essential ingredients for the changes in big organizations. Well, for the successful implementation of the Lean-Agile SAFe transformation you have to become a SAFe Program Consultant (SPC). You must have the capacity to take the responsibility of setting up the new organizational structure and making your organization successful in their disruptive marketplace. By training your teams, helping your colleagues and moving your organization in the right direction. In the four days of SPC training, you will learn how to lead a Lean-Agile transformation by using the practices and principles of the SAFe along with the five core competencies of the Lean Enterprise. Those who are working with the SAFe daily for them this course will be a deeper understanding of the principles and practices. Moreover, you will gain deep knowledge about the course and the practices of how to coach the program, initiate ART, forming a continuous Delivery Pipeline with the help of DevOps culture and building a Lean Portfolio.

Key Features of SAFe Program Consultant (SPC) Certification
4-day classroom training
You will be trained by an SPCT
One-year certified membership as an SPC
Access to the SPC Community of Practice
Certification usage guide with SPC certification marks
Access a variety of learning resources
Note: –
4 day of classroom training experience sharing session rather than the theoretical classes
Our trainer shares real-life examples. Rather than a training session, it is more of knowledge sharing.

Why (SPC) certification?
By doing the SPC certification you will be able to stand out the competition in the market. By completing your SPC certification you will be able to:
Upon validation, you will be allowed to lead your SAFe classes
In an exclusive Community of Practice, you will get the chance to learn
You can earn more PDUs by attending the monthly webinar and even enhance your knowledge in SAFe
You will get access to the toolkit and resources that are required to become an effective SAFe coach and transformation leader.

Topics Covered
Introducing the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)
Becoming a Lean-Agile Leader
Creating High-Performing Teams and Trains
Experiencing Program Increment (PI) Planning
Releasing on Demand with DevOps
Building a Lean Portfolio
Leading the Transformation
Reaching the SAFe Tipping Point
Designing the Implementation
Launching an ART
Coaching ART Execution
Extending to the Portfolio
Sustaining and Improving
Becoming a SAFe 4 Program Consultant (SPC)
About the exam

SPC Prerequisites
Those want to take up SPC certification following criteria must be fulfilled
Must have over 5 years of experience in the field of business analysis, testing, software development, product, or project management;
Need to have over 3 years of experience in Agile
one or more relevant Agile certifications.

Who can attend the course?
Course attendees typically include:
Professional Services Consultants
Internal Change Agents, Lean-Agile Center for Excellence, Agile Working Groups
Business and Technology Executives and Leaders, Managers, Directors
Portfolio Managers and Fiduciaries, Project/Program Management Office (PMO) personnel
Development, QA and IT management
Program and Project Managers
Product and Product Line Managers
Process Leads and Lifecycle Governance personnel
Enterprise, System and Solution Architects

What are the exam prerequisite skills or Knowledge?
The prerequisites or knowledge which is needed to successfully qualify the SPC exam are:
Must have over 5 years of experience in the field of business analysis, testing, software development, product, or project management;
Need to have over 3 years of experience in Agile
one or more relevant Agile certifications.

How you will get your SPC certification?
Participants are highly requested to attend the four-day SPC workshop to get SAFe SPC certification. Then they have to qualify the online exam at the end of the course.



Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) – Achieving Business Agility

The Need Of Scaled Agile Framework


20 years back, when Agile and Scrum was introduced, the need was for a team to work together and deliver value to the customer frequently. However, there is a drastic change in the industry that demands not just agility, but there is a clear need for scaling agility to a large program of 100+ people and beyond.

In today’s world, agility is required at the team level else we will be out of business. HOWEVER, IS THAT ENOUGH? Definitely No. Except for startup teams where the one team builds a product end to end, most of us work as a large team to build and release a product to our customer. So, Agility ALONE is not enough. We need to think about how to scale agility and sustain it.

The Challenge

There are 2 basic challenges in Agile frameworks when required to Scale.

Scrum is for 1 single team:

The moment more than 2 or 3 teams start working together to build one product, the Scrum framework doesn’t know how to execute it. Scrum is all about 1 team delivering value to customers often. While Scrum is one of the best agile frameworks for a team, it doesn’t know how to execute a program when more than 3 teams need to work together.

Failure reasons in scaling agility

Failure in Scaling agility happens due to predominantly 2 reasons.

Agility is not in place at a team level. What does it mean? The team doesn’t follow agile in terms of processes and practices – ex., Scrum not followed as defined, engineering practices like automation / TDD / review / DOD are not implemented, etc. When the agility is not in place, scaling will be a disaster. Scaling agility will fail when the foundation (Agile) is not set right

Even if the teams are good agile teams, the chances of failing in Scaling is still high. What if the teams working together don’t collaborate on dependencies? What happens when the definition of quality is not common for all the teams (DOD)? What if the backlog is common for the program and each team goes on their priority?… Like these examples, there are many situations that good agile teams can still fail if scaling is not taken care of.

So, the summary is – Chances of failing in Scaling agile is much higher and much more expensive than a single agile team failing.

What is the solution?

The only good option to resolve scaling agility is following a very robust, proven framework in the industry. Agility is not enough. We need to bring the best practices from other proven industries like the automobile. SAFe is the best and proven “Lean-Agile” framework for scaling projects/programs.

How do you achieve business agility using SAFe?

SAFe Agilist Certification - SAFe is not just an Agile framework. It’s a “LEAN-AGILE” framework, which brings a lot of great lean practices into product development. Here are few examples of lean and agile execution in SAFe, that bring in true business agility in a scaled environment.

Value delivery through Value Stream focus:

Lean is all about value delivery and SAFe has borrowed this wonderful concept of Value delivery focus. It’s all about delivering value in a sustainably shortest lead time. This also helps to look at the entire system (systems thinking) and improve the value stream. For ex., look at the below picture that depicts the release cycle of a single feature.

Achieve business agility using safe
Total lead time for a feature is 6 months and 3 weeks
Total time for execution is 3 weeks
However, total time in waiting is 6 months

Looking at the situation, where should we focus on to improve the release cycle? Not on the execution effectiveness, but on the waste removal (the red items). Just by focusing on waste removal, the product release cycle can be improved by multiple times.


SAFe mandates building DevOps culture to achieve the fastest delivery culture.

Effective Program Execution through Systems Thinking


Though the teams are good agile teams, we need to bring common disciplines across the program so all the teams under the program work together effectively. Here are a few examples of effective program execution.

Align Cadence and synchronize teams – All the teams working under the SAFe program align with the same release/sprint cadence and collaborate constantly on common points like managing dependencies, feature delivery cycle alignment, manage common risks across teams and eliminate them, etc. These will improve the efficiency & effectiveness of the program to multi fold.

Execution of Common agreements – Teams under the SAFe program has common agreements like common Definition of Done (DoD), backlog structure (ex., user story format), common architectural guidelines for all the teams (architectural runway), common engineering practices (like automation strategy), etc. This is critical for the program to be successful.

Program roles to focus on program execution – SAFe defines very clear program roles to bring systems thinking at the program level to bring effectiveness and efficiency.

Product Manager (PM) role focuses on building vision, roadmap and program level backlog.

Release Train Engineer (RTE) focuses on bringing agile practices effectiveness and program increment (PI) execution. Architect focuses on building long-term architectural runway as an intentional architecture that guides the team to take correct design decisions. System Team focuses on the end-to-end system integration and makes sure the system is working as-a-whole. Built-in-Quality

SAFe drives built-in-quality right from the team till solution integration. For ex., DoD is defined at various levels like Story DoD, Feature DoD, Solution DoD, etc. At each level, the quality is validated thoroughly before it goes to the next level of structure. This enhances the product quality to be very stable right from unit-level till the end to end solution.

The other example of quality is backlog quality. SAFe makes sure that backlog is of high quality with clear vision, roadmap and with absolute clarity at least for 1 Program Increment (PI).

Common Engineering practices drive quality common across the program.

Team Agility – the best way to build product incrementally

SAFe strongly drives agility at the team level as Agile is the way to go for building products incrementally. Team level agility is key to building products incrementally within and at the end of every sprint. Every team in a program follows a 2-week iteration that has all the events – iteration planning, iteration review, iteration retrospective, and daily stand-up.

This builds WE culture, Incremental Delivery culture and Fail fast culture at each team.
Summary

The above list is not the final list of reasons for bringing the agility, they are a few of the key reasons to bring business agility in a scaled environment.

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