SAFe Training

Over the past 10 months I had the opportunity to participate in two SAFe courses; Leading SAFe, and SAFe Advanced Scrum Master.

Leading SAFe:

SAFe recommends that everyone should take this course prior to the start of a SAFe initiative. I absolutely agree. With that said, it can be somewhat frustrating when you’re bombarded with concepts and terminology that are unfamiliar to you. However, the upside is that you’re able to experience those “ah ha” moments when you come across these concepts in your SAFe journey.

Due to scheduling conflicts it can be difficult to start with this course. In fact, I’ve worked with some people that went through an entire Program Increment (PI) before they took this course. Since the organization should be staffed with SAFe Program Consultants (SPCs), my recommendation is that this course should be part of the on-boarding process.

Finally, it is my belief that anyone who takes the course (as required by the organization) should be required to take and pass the exam. The organization has made the investment in training and the human resources should be required show that they made an effort to understand the concepts and hopefully apply them. The added benefit to the course attendee is that they achieve the SAFe Agilist certification.

SAFe Advance Scrum Master:

Due to my Agile experience I decided to forego the SAFe Scrum Master course and jump right into this one. This course is typically not offered at organizations and may require travel. The added complexity is that it is not highly sought after so it can be difficult to find an offering that does not end up getting canceled.

After a few attempts, I was able to find an offering in Chicago. I took the two-day course over a weekend. There were seven attendees most of whom were not currently “doing” SAFe. I found this odd that they were taking an advanced course on something they currently were not practicing.

The majority of the course re-iterated the concepts form Leading SAFe. It was definitely a good refresher. But the course also focused on key XP practices like Test Driven Development (TDD) and Pair Programming. We did not actually perform those techniques but the idea was that Scrum Masters should advise/teach/coach their teams on these valuable techniques.

Soon after the course I took the exam (and passed) which was much harder than the SAFe Agilist exam.

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Pluralsight

Pluralsight is an online provider of training videos.  But aren’t there lots of them out there? So what’s the big deal?

You’re probably thinking I can get webinars or product demos from YouTube.  If I’m studying for a certification I can use Transcender or one of many other sites.  So why do I even need Pluralsight?  The answer is that Pluralsight is none of those.

Pluralsight videos are taught by industry experts.  These are not 5-10 minute videos on how to solve a particular annoying problem.  These videos are typically 4 hours in length so they go deep and teach you the theory in addition to practical.

At $29 US per month, I feel it is fairly priced.  Even if you only watch one video per month, I truly believe you’ve got your money’s worth.  The information you obtain is difficult to obtain elsewhere.  Sometimes you can get it from reading a book.  But reading a book and watching a video are two very different forms of learning and everybody learns differently.

Their library of videos is quite exhaustive and it applies to different roles in IT.  Maybe you’re a hardcore developer who wants to learn the latest about Node & Angular.  Or maybe you’re really into DevOps and you want to learn about Continuous Integration.  There is so much information.

Pluralsight also has an app which I take advantage of quite often.  If I have some time to kill while I waiting for some work to be done on my car, I can hit play on my tablet.  The videos are modularized with sub sections that are short in duration.  This really helps when I only have a few minutes here and there.  Pluralsight can be problematic on public WiFi but then again what app isn’t.  As a result, you may find yourself hitting refresh at the end of each sub section.

I’ve been using Pluralsight for over a year and a half.  My only regret is that I didn’t discover it sooner.