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Nov 28

SAFe Certified. Is it worth it?

SAFe certified software team

As a CEO of a software company I got certified by SAFe®. What it takes and what are the benefits? Is Scaled Agile Framework certification worth the time?

For whom is SAFe® certification?

Individuals get SAFe® certification, not organizations1.

1 Companies make partnerships with SAFe, e.g. SoftwarePlant is a Bronze Partner of ScaledAgile.

SAFe® certification is for (a) project managers and (b) those who work for large enterprises. SAFe® is reductively Scrum to the power of two2. Not just one team, but many.

2 We intentionally cut corners here, for SAFe® novices ;)

There are exceptions to the large enterprise rule of which we are an example. We are a software house, employing around 30 people. Certainly, we’re not a regular SAFe® client, but we develop software for enterprise-scale organizations. So, to design the software – our BigPicture, BigGantt, and the other Jira apps – we need to know the SAFe rules.

As a bonus, the Scaled Agile certificate, placed on a website header, will generate some publicity, even to a small or medium business.

Interestingly, Scaled Agile Inc. is not that big either…

The corporate home of SAFe® – Scaled Agile Inc. based in Boulder, Colorado is a relatively small business, too. They used to employ roughly 30 people, and only recently grew to approximately 60 employees.

My personal motivation for getting SAFe® certification

At some point, SAFe® attracted my attention and I became certified to verify its potential. Especially due to the fact that I had had a great deal of experience in project management with a variety of methodologies at that time.

How SoftwarePlant changed after SAFe® certification?

Michael Stump

Michael Stump of SAFe® running “my” SPC training in Helsinki.

No revolution occurred, but my SAFe® certificate brought some order to our processes. How?

  1. SAFe’s own term, architectural runway, means caring about invisible “features” en route, without the so-called Big Design Up-front (BDUF).
  2. Consistently not caring about the architectural runway would gradually pile up technical debt, too big to be repaid when eventually discovered.
  3. Items 1. and 2. helped us to increase scalability, security, clean code, reliability, and maintainability in our software – traits that clients are not keen on paying for3.

3 To be precise, medium and large clients are largely aware of the challenges of security and scalability in their software.

So, the Scaled Agile Framework in action is similar to a building’s foundation. Of invisible value, hidden below the surface, but preventing walls from being torn apart…

Further benefits

  • you’ll connect to other SAFe® certified managers through LinkedIn
  • you may have an opportunity to visit some remote yet appealing city. In my case, SAFe® training took place in Helsinki
  • your organization becomes eligible for partnership with SAFe. This, in turn, yields Partner Insider Call, the SAFe’s newsletter, direct access to SAFe experts


SPC SAFe logo

SPC – SAFe® Program Consultant certification – devised for change agents.

SPC, or SAFe® Program Consultant certificate in a nutshell

  • the 3-4-day training course (workshop style, SAFe® at a glance, a little bit too superficial)
  • Michael Stump of SAFe® ran the training course
  • in my case training was held in Helsinki, but as of 2017 they train in Warsaw, too (google “safe training calendar”)
  • expect experienced project managers as students
  • some 30 days of swotting up after that
  • an online exam
  • excellent SAFe® materials available after certification

Is the SAFe exam cumbersome? I took it during my holiday from a hotel room. But you need a dependable internet connection…


SAFe vs. non-SAFe management

Before its birth in 2011, SAFe’s predecessors were mainly classic management methodologies. The majority of them are inert, aimed at creating documentation, following a long-term plan, etc. Risk management is notably lean, sewn into processes, and efficient in SAFe® compared to those older methodologies.

Scaled Agile Framework has been made from scratch and by SAFE’s own admission:

  • has become the world’s leading framework for enterprise agility
  • 70% of Fortune 100 adopted SAFe® practices
  • 160k+ trained professionals work in 100+ countries


Safe training

Vibes of the SAFe® training.

You might also consider: obtaining Jira certification

About The Author

With his automotive background Marcin goes beyond the 'Jira + software development' standard. He likes simple, up-to-five-sentence answers to complex questions.