Readers of the blog may know that I often write about Salesforce certifications. In this post I shall cover something slightly different. I’ve been studying for the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Agilist 6.0 Certification. Whilst it is not Salesforce specific, it covers many skills useful for any Salesforce professional.
In this post, I shall cover:
- What is SAFe? Why is it relevant?
- What is the SAFe Agilist Certification?
- Why is it relevant to Salesforce professionals?
- About the exam.
- Resources and tips to pass the exam.
What is SAFe? Why is it relevant?
If you work as a Salesforce professional, odds are you have seen how environmental forces influence businesses. For example, it could be legal or regulatory factors (e.g., GDPR), emerging technologies (e.g., AI) or changing customer needs. Whatever the force, they influence customers and the Salesforce solutions needed. This is where SAFe can help.
SAFe is an agile framework designed to help organisations achieve ‘business agility’. Business agility refers to a business being able to adapt and thrive in a dynamic, ever-changing environment. To achieve this, SAFe draws upon various bodies of knowledge. This includes Agile, Lean, Systems Thinking, DevOps, and identifying/managing Value Streams (see SAFe Core Values). These are brought together into a method. It helps businesses and teams work in a customer-focused, agile way.
What is the SAFe Agilist 6.0 certification?
SAFe, as a framework, has evolved, considering new best-practices. The current version is 6.0. To help individuals evidence their understanding, various certifications are available. The SAFe Agilist certification covers the foundations of the method. To earn this credential, you will need to study the Leading SAFe® course. This covers the topics for the exam, outlined below.
Why is it relevant to Salesforce professionals?
There are various Agile frameworks available (click here). I’ve only studied SAFe and do not have a basis for comparison. However, I believe SAFe is highly relevant. Some key take-homes include:
- Key roles/responsibilities: within teams.
- Ceremonies: Project events to improve engagement and reduce project risks.
- Customer-centricity: Heavy focus on customer centricity through design thinking.
- Lean-Agile Principles: such as systems thinking, assume variability, decentralising decision-making, taking an economic view, and rapid learning cycles. All helping value flow freely.
- SAFe Core Values: Values of alignment, transparency, respect for people and relentless improvement. All helping everyone pull together to fulfil customer needs.
- Value Streams: A focus on identifying value streams and supporting these to allow value to flow.
This is only a taster of the themes covered in the SAFe Agile framework. The overall reported benefits of SAFe include:
Salesforce, as a platform, can be a powerful enabler of value within a business. It crosses over many business areas. Many of the practices and principles outlined in SAFe can help you optimise Salesforce. Specifically, identifying priorities and focusing on alignment with stakeholder and business needs. It helps to avoid over-committing on work-items and focuses on delivering value frequently. Whilst this does not occur overnight, the principles covered can certainly help.
About the exam
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what SAFe Agilist 6.0 is, let’s briefly overview the exam and its format.
The format of the SAFe Agilist 6.0 exam is:
- Questions: 45 multi-choice/single select questions.
- Pass mark: 80% (36 out of 45).
- Duration: 90 minutes.
- Closed book (online).
- Cost: Included in course fee if completed within 30 days of the course. Retake charges apply.
For further information, please refer to the official Exam Study Guide.
The structure of the exam follows the official SAFe Agilist 6.0 course (see Resources to prepare). There are six sections with varying weightings:
|Topic||Weighting Range||References (Leading SAFe®)|
|Digital Age and Business Agility||12-14%||Lesson 1|
|Lean-Agile Leaders||29-33%||Lesson 2|
|Team and Technical Agility||6-8%||Lesson 3|
|Agile Product Delivery||29-33%||Lesson 4|
|Lean Portfolio Management||12-14%||Lesson 5|
|Leading the Change||6-8%||Lesson 6|
As you can see, two sections, Lean-Agile leaders, and Agile Product Delivery accounts for most of the marks available. However, as SAFe is a framework, components interrelate. It is prudent to study all topics to ensure you understand the method.
There are no pre-requisites to study for SAFe Agilist. Prior exposure to the bodies of knowledge (i.e., Agile, Lean, DevOps, etc.) is helpful.
To take the exam, you will need to attend the Leading SAFe® course. This will need to be delivered by an official training partner. Once completed, the training provider will grant you access to the SAFe Community. The community provides additional self-learning resources to help you prepare and refine your knowledge. It is also used to access the official Leading SAFe® workbook, as well as links to an official practice exam and the exam itself.
Resources and tips to pass the exam.
Scaled Agile has provided a significant body of knowledge for SAFe practitioners. In fact, the amount of information can seem slightly daunting! However, the materials will be invaluable in your SAFe journey.
Resources to prepare
The Scaled Framework website provides a wealth of knowledge. If your goal is to earn a certification, you will need to register for an official course. Fortunately, Scaled Agile provides a Training Calendar to see the options available.
From personal experience, I would recommend considering:
- Budget. Prices for the course can range significantly.
- Locale. There are many courses available located around the world. Training is often virtual, but some are in-person. The workshop usually lasts for 2 days.
- Value-added benefits. Some partners will have additional resources to help you prepare (e.g., additional practice questions). Shop around and see which partner will help you most.
- Official live training. If you prefer self-paced learning, unofficial courses are available on platforms, such as Udemy. You can also buy a ‘SAFe Foundational Membership’. However, to my knowledge, accessing the exam requires attending an official live course. This also includes SAFe Foundational Membership for a year.
- Leading SAFe Workbook. The workbook provides the official course content for the Leading SAFe® course. Each of the 6 thematic lessons map to exam objectives. Review carefully.
- Scaled Agile Community. After completing the official course, you gain access to ‘SAFe Studio’. This is an invaluable resource for the certification and continued professional development. It includes a ‘learning plan’, additional resources, as well as an official practice test.
Tips for the exam
Here are some tips for the exam:
- Take the exam soon after the course. Your exam voucher will lapse ~30 days after the course. Plan to take the exam as soon as possible, but give yourself sometime to prepare. I would probably recommend taking the exam within 1-2 weeks of completing the course. Do not leave it to the last minute.
- Use the practice exam. The practice exam is a fantastic resource. Use it to identify weaknesses in your knowledge.
- Read questions carefully. You have ~2 minutes per question. This is ample time, so read questions carefully. Compared to Salesforce certifications, questions are direct and to the point. However, some will test specific details of the framework.
- Skip questions (if in doubt). During my exam, there were a few areas I was uncertain of. You can ‘skip’ questions if you are stuck and come back to them later.
Is studying SAFe Agilist 6.0 worth it?
Learning more about SAFe has been a rewarding experience for me. The content has been intuitive, well-structured, and thought-provoking. Whilst SAFe is a business-wide framework, there is still value in the content, even if your business does not adopt SAFe fully.
This post has explored the ‘SAFe Agilist 6.0’ certification. It has provided a high-level overview of what SAFe is, details on the certification and some context on why I feel it applies to a Salesforce audience.
If you have found this post useful, be sure to follow SFDC Penguin on Twitter and LinkedIn for future updates.
Until next time, thanks for reading! 🐧
Bonus Penguin Fact
Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor), otherwise known as Little Blue or Fairy Penguins, are native to Australia and New Zealand. However, Chaka, a Little Penguin living at the Sea Life Centre, Weymouth (UK), made the headlines last month by becoming the first penguin to have an MRI scan!
Chaka has an unusually wobbly waddle. To be safe (no pun intended!), vets booked Chaka in for an MRI. Fortunately, the scan went well, and Chaka was fine. The MRI itself is a major milestone; providing researchers with unprecedented detail on the anatomy of a Little Blue Penguin. The information learned could well help conservation efforts in future.
To learn more, click here.
Found this article useful? Why not share!