I had a great opportunity recently to attend the Leading SAFe course, led by Dan and Phil at Add Agility.
Here are some of my thoughts about the two-day course, where attendees gain the knowledge necessary to lead a Lean-Agile enterprise by leveraging the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) and its underlying principles derived from Lean, systems thinking, Agile development, product development flow, and DevOps.
I have been working in and leading agile teams for a number of years, but in more recent months I’ve worked with customers that have decided to adopt SAFe as their framework of choice for conducting multi-team planning.
The course outline states:
Participants in the class gain insights into mastering Business Agility in order to thrive in the competitive market. They discuss how to establish team and technical agility and organise and re-organize around the flow of value. They also learn and practice the skills for supporting and executing PI Planning events and coordinating multiple Agile Release Trains (ARTs). Participants in the class explore the importance of adopting a customer-centric mindset and design thinking approach to agile product delivery. Learners also develop an understanding for implementing a Lean Portfolio Management function in their enterprise.ScaledAgile.com
Things I found:
- The course is full on. There is a lot of material to cover (over 400 slides in 2 days) and so make sure you have coffee on tap!
- A lot of the course content and principals come from other methodologies. If you have a good grounding in Scrum, XP, Lean etc you’ll do well.
- The course seems to be traditionally based around synchronising releases. I think of this like how it must have been to release software versions onto CD-ROMs. If you ‘missed the train’ your feature wasn’t going to customers until they bough the next CD. SAFe have clearly tried to leverage DevOps and push towards more regular releases
- Attending the course prepares individuals to take the exam and become a certified SAFe® Agilist (SA) – but not all the content is covered in the course. You should prepare to do some home study in order to complete the exam successfully.
Would I recommend it? Yes. If you’re interested in adding some governance around how you do agile at scale, this course could be really beneficial to you.