Becoming a SAFe Agilist

This week, I passed my Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Agilist certification, with a score of 89% (46 questions out of 52 right). Whilst I am happy to have added a better understanding of another approach to scaling agility in large organizations, not everyone shares my enthusiasm.

Hardly a day goes by without this luminary or that thought leader firing a salvo off against the perceived regressive step of adopting SAFe. Why is this?

Unfortunately, most of what I see is those complaining about SAFe are those who have competing approaches and who want to promote their own.

Nothing wrong with different approaches, I like to have a toolkit of options to pick from. However, I am turned off by those who promote their product by being negative about the competition. They risk accusations of old-time snake oil sales themselves. Their product should stand out by its own strengths.

I have written before about this (see Sandals and Gourds as an example). It goes against the value of “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools” to spend so much energy focusing on this framework over that one and less on collaborating. The spirit of Snowbird seems to have been lost in the chase of the almighty dollar.

The Scaled Agile Framework has grown and grown. While the Scrum Alliance used to be happy to promote SAFe to their members, when they decided that they were competition they went dark. Over at they have never been keen. They are selling the concept and training in their own models, Scaled Professional Scrum and Enterprise Scrum.

Read the freely available material on the Scaled Agile website, and you will see that they underpin the whole framework with lean / agile principles. They have designed it to be scalable, from a simple two-tier model, depending on size, complexity, and dependencies. They have also designed it to be adaptable; it is not intended to be a straitjacket, it is meant to be a set of principles and outcomes that you adapt to your own needs.

Never take the word of sales people, trainers, or consultants alone. Whether for Scaled Agile or against. They all have money and/or ego invested in convincing you for or against.

Think for yourself. Do your own research.

If you feel that SAFe is not for you, that’s cool. Please don’t cast anyone as a simpleton or manipulator because they want to adopt a SAFe framework at their organization.

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