SAFe certification is a boon for organizations that want to implement agile software development practices. This certification process can be challenging, however, and implementing it successfully requires more than just following the steps outlined in the SAFe guidebook. Achieving SAFe certification is like any other organizational change: It involves changing the way people work and communicating these changes across multiple layers of management. In this post, we’ll explore some of the common challenges faced by organizations trying to get their teams certified as SAFe-certified.
SAFe certification is hard to implement
You may be wondering why SAFe certification is so hard to implement, and the answer is simple:
- It’s a big change for your organization.
- It’s a big change to your culture.
- It’s a big change to your processes.
- It’s a big change to your team.
- And it’s also a big change for all members of leadership teams, who must now lead differently than they did before SAP introduced SAFe in 2012.
Your organization may be siloed or matrixed
It’s important to understand that many organizations are siloed or matrixed, meaning employees work in departments with little overlap with other groups. This can create confusion, inefficiency, and even animosity among teams. It can also make implementing SAFe certification more challenging because you need to make sure that everyone is on board with the new methodology.
One of the most critical elements of SAFe is leadership. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: SAFe is a shared responsibility, which means that leaders from all levels in the organization are responsible for driving results.
Leadership is an essential part of SAFe; it’s a continuous process and an ongoing activity. Leaders create structures, processes, and systems that enable people to work together effectively toward their goals. They also establish culture by defining values and principles—and by demonstrating them in their own behavior.
Implementing SAFe is about more than just the tools and frameworks. It’s also about establishing a new way of thinking about how you do your work, and that includes a focus on value streams.Value streams are the heart of how we structure our work. They’re where all the value (and waste) in your organization occurs, and they are key to implementing SAFe because they help us visualize our existing working practices as well as plan for improvements.
Your company may have too many management layers
When it comes to implementing your SAFe certification, you will need to be aware of how many layers of management there are in your organization. In most cases, the more layers of management there are, the harder it can be for an organization or department to make decisions. The more layers of management there are, the longer meetings will take and the less effective those meetings will be (because everyone has input).
The more layers in an organization or department also means that employees won’t feel as motivated because they don’t have direct access to those in charge who can reward them for their work or punish them when needed.
Finally, if an employee doesn’t feel like they’re being heard by upper-level management then they may think about looking elsewhere—and not just because they aren’t getting paid enough!
Your organization could already have too many processes in place
As you’re likely aware, SAFe certification comes with a set of processes that must be implemented. When adopting SAFe, it’s important to remember that there is a finite amount of time and resources available to your organization. When implementing too many process-centric activities, you risk:
- A lack of focus on your strategic goals and initiatives (unless the new processes are tied back to these objectives)
- A lack of efficiency in achieving your internal goals because working groups have to juggle multiple priorities at once
- An inability to innovate effectively within the constraints provided by existing operational procedures and policies
- The inability to respond quickly when faced with new opportunities or threats in the marketplace due to being locked into pre-defined methodologies for performance management, quality assurance/testing and release management
Your team may not be ready for a change of this magnitude
The first thing to consider is whether your team is ready for a change of this magnitude. It’s not uncommon for people to be resistant to change, especially if they are heavily invested in their current processes and systems. As a result, they may not be able to make the shift into SAFe easily.
Something else to think about: your employees may not have all of the skills needed for SAFe certification. If there are gaps in their skill sets—for example, if some members don’t know how to use Agiloft or Jira—they’ll find it much harder than others will.
Organization-wide change is hard
- Change is hard. You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth repeating. People don’t like change, even if the change is positive and beneficial to them in the long run. They are resistant to change because they don’t know how it will affect their day-to-day lives or what they need to do differently in order for the organization as a whole to succeed with its new process or idea.
- All changes are not created equal: some are easy and some are difficult; some take longer than others; some require more planning than others; etc. This can make implementing SAFe certification into your organization a daunting task—but it doesn’t have to be! It’s important that you understand where you’re starting from on this journey so that you have realistic expectations about what needs doing next and how long things might take (or might not).
We hope this blog post has given you some insights into how to start your SAFe journey. While the certification can be a big change for your organization, it’s important to remember that it’s not all or nothing. You can implement small changes at first and build up from there as you get more comfortable with the process!