As a Scaled Agile Platform Partner we offer software products with tools to help you successfully navigate and act within SAFe® contexts. For that reason, we strive to continually increase our knowledge on implementing agile methods and we document this process through personal certifications.
Becoming a Certified SAFe® Agilist (SA) last year gave me a first taste of SAFe®. I decided I wanted more and resolved to take on the SPC certification. In the SA certification, you learn all the elements of the SAFe® framework and thus get a very good overview. The SPC course is then all about the implementation roadmap. You learn all about implementing SAFe® in companies and how you can support this process in the capacity of consultant.
Great idea, until Corona happened…
Given that SAFe® courses typically are quite interactive, with work in breakout groups, discussions and small tasks, I assumed that the whole thing would have to wait until after the pandemic.
Luckily, I was wrong and everything moved faster than I thought. Just as most of us have quickly adapted to working 100% from home office, the training providers quickly transitioned to online courses. And they did a great job.
The training materials, including snacks, drinks and small gimmicks arrived by mail promptly before the one-week course. Interestingly, the schedule didn’t change very much compared to a course in “physical” space.
An online course with many practical tools
The course began daily at 8 AM with a relaxed meeting in the Zoom conference room. This time was used for chatting over a cup of coffee about general things related to SAFe®. Then punctually at 8:30 the training started. After every hour there was a short break and we had an hour for lunch. At around 4 PM there was another round for general questions. A social event was even included. Instead of walking together to a beer garden on Wednesday after the training, we all met up in front of our screens for a cold drink. Everyone came.
Seventeen people participated in the training. It was led by two trainers and a colleague who took care of organizational tasks and any technical difficulties that came up. Zoom proved to be a great piece of software for the training, allowing the trainers to send trainees into smaller group breakout sessions. Thanks to this possibility, we were able to work on tasks together in small groups. After 5 minutes, time was up for the task, and everyone was transferred back into the main session. Super practical!
Offline SAFe® trainings make use of a lot of flip charts and stickers in order to hash out ideas or to simulate PI planning sessions. In the meantime, there are plenty of good online alternatives for this. Our training made use of the online whiteboard miro. The software runs on a desktop client or browser and allows everyone to work together on the virtual whiteboard. Each participant can see live what everyone else is drawing and writing and participate in the same way. This worked so well that I didn’t miss physical whiteboards. Another advantage to the digital whiteboard is that it’s not necessary to document things with a cell phone photograph. You can just export a pdf document.
Because the SAFe® training is a preparation for the certification test, a few fictional test questions are given after each section. This rounds out the topic in question and leads to discussion about possible answers. The SAFe® online training made use of mentimeter, an online tool that allows you to quickly and easily set up short quizzes. Super easy and entertaining!
My initial concerns about doing an online course for such an interactive training have since evaporated. I even have the impression that the online training gave me a better introduction than a normal course. The online certification test was still a challenge, but I felt very well prepared. And everything worked out great with the certificate afterwards.
What can I offer in conclusion? When you have the right tools for the task, the work is fun. And that’s also true of the tools we offer.
Get your SAFe® Roadmap started with objectIF RPM! In order to prepare you for the journey, starting this fall we’ll be offering SAFe® 5 Agilist (SA) courses with software support, thus giving you both the practical and theoretical sides of the world of SAFe®! You could also get to know objectiF RPM for SAFe® in our upcoming Webinar on September 18 at 11:00 AM (in German).
You can find more information about the SPC training at the website of Scaled Agile Inc: https://www.scaledagile.com/becoming-an-spc/
SAFe® and Scaled Agile Framework® are trademarks of Scaled Agile Inc. which publishes detailed documentation of the framework on its website www.scaledagile.com