I have started with the basics ..Scaledagileframework.com – clicked every icon and got lost in the Ocean of information and slept a few times 🙂
My Recommendations on the preparation journey for others would be as follows
- Try to understand each level starting from Team, Program, Large Program and Portfolio.
- Pay attention to the various roles at various levels of the framework.
- If you have worked in the environment, try to write down the names of the people from your organization who have played various roles in your organization. This will help you visualize the role, help you understand the interactions they had and the value they bring to the process.
- If possible, have a 10-15 minute conversation with the people who played those roles in your organization and specifically ask for the events/ceremonies they attend, the preparation they make before the event/ceremony and expected outcomes after the event/ceremony.
- Many companies “adapt” and form their own compromises. Keep an eye and watch out if any anti-patterns surface during the conversation. Always cross-check with the guide to make sure you remember the recommendations the book is making and not the compromises the company is taking. You are being tested/scored on the knowledge or proficiency you display on the recommendations of the book.
- If you have not worked in SAFe framework, but some kind of an agile framework or not, then I would recommend you visualize yourself to be a person in charge of bringing this framework into your organization and start visualizing the entire flow from the beginning to end from the Value stream perspective
- Remember, PI Planning is the main event and the whole SAFe framework is built around it. At any point in time, we are either ‘planning’ for a PI Planning, doing the actual PI Planning, or implementing the plan made during PI planning.
- Finally, try to slow down and digest the core concepts like SAFe core values, Lean-Agile mindset, Agile Manifesto and Principles behind them, SAFe Principles, House of Lean.
Some additional thoughts/notes on the actual exam:
- This website has Practice tests on SAFe in general
- I used SAFe flashcards created by other users on Quizlets. (I landed on them by doing a random google search)
- I read through the Workbook and my class notes a couple of times
- I have attempted the practice test couple of times to increase confidence over the material
I guess working in SAFe framework for the past 6-7 years helped in picking the right option during the test (Preparation for this certification was 8 days, hence I mentioned 8-1000 days of preparation:-)) Some trainers are really good like the one who trained our class. Sri Nallamani. Originally the class was scheduled to be an in-person session, but due to COVID-19, it was shifted to an online version. Not only she managed the class well but she also coordinated the group exercises well. Scaled Agile had also helped with the right tools for PI planning exercise. We used piplanning.io, which was an amazing tool and I highly recommend the same an organization of any size. The tool is developed by Rentouch.
I wish you all good luck for the test. Feel free to leave comments with your experience or ask a question and I will be more than happy to help out.
Author: Ravi Tuguddem is a seasoned Product and Project Manager. You can connect with him on LinkedIn