Experienced SAFe Practitioners, Consultants, and Trainers
At OST, we have a long history of success in software development, connected products, design, delivery management, and coordinating complex enterprise projects across multiple vendors. One reason for that success is our use of Agile processes and the Scaled Agile Framework for enterprises (SAFe).
We advocate for the SAFe approach across organizations because it has been proven to deliver tangible benefits:
- Accelerated time to market
- Increased productivity
- Improved quality
- Rising employee engagement and satisfaction
Interested in SAFe? Let’s Talk.
We have been using SAFe to deliver work to our clients for years, we are a Scaled Agile Silver Transformation Partner, and our certified SAFe consultants can bring their expertise to your organization. Our most popular Agile and SAFe service offerings include the following:
Shifting to Agile can mean a lot of changes related to enterprise transformation, finance, budgets, and more. At OST, we have been there ourselves, and we have helped a wide variety of clients overcome the challenges of effectively implementing Agile on individual teams and throughout organizations. If you’re struggling to fully deploy Agile or if you’re not seeing the benefits you expected, an Agile coach from OST can help assess your approach, provide guidance, and support you on your journey.
Enterprise Transformation Coaching
For organizations that are evaluating Agile and SAFe, we can help you determine if the SAFe methodology will enable your teams to deliver value faster. We’ll be the first to let you know if SAFe doesn’t seem like a good fit for your organization. But if it is, our Agile Engagement Team is ready to work with your teams to build a SAFe implementation roadmap and guide you through it step by step.
OST’s Service-Focused Approach
Every client who works with our Agile Engagement Team at OST benefits from the hallmarks of our service-focused approach:
- Our real-world experience allows us to share stories, provide context, and help you deliver value faster.
- We will meet you where you are. Whether you are launching a new framework, tweaking an existing one, or just learning about Agile—we can help.
- Every step of the way, our goal is to fully enable you and your team to be self-sufficient and thrive.
If you’re ready to speak with one of our experts, complete a quick online form and we’ll get back to you right away. We look forward to hearing from you!
Below, you can learn more about Agile, SAFe, the courses we offer, and much more.
SAFe Courses Offered by OST’s Agile Engagement Team
Below, we have outlined OST’s current and upcoming course offerings. At the current time, we offer public courses based on demand, and we can come on-site for group courses or host them at our primary office locations in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Detroit, Michigan.
You can connect with one of our SAFe experts about your needs at any time, so let’s talk.
SAFe for Teams
Associated Certification: SAFe Practitioner (SP)
Lean-Agile team members or anyone seeking an understanding of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) will benefit from this course. This SAFe class provides an overview of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and Agile Release Train (ART) with a primary focus on teambuilding and effective iteration execution. Some topics covered in this SAFe training include why your organization should adopt SAFe, the different roles in SAFe, ceremonies, user stories and features, program increment planning, and much more.
SAFe Advanced Scrum Master
Associated Certification: SAFe Advanced Scrum Master (SASM)
This course goes beyond the essentials to prepare scrum masters for team, program, and enterprise success. This course offers an introduction to SAFe DevOps and engineering practices and discusses how to best utilize Kanban. It also focuses on cross-team enablement as well as working with architects, product management, and other stakeholders. Lastly, the course will help you address Agile and scrum anti-patterns in the enterprise.
SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager
Associated Certification: SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM)
SAFe product owners advocate for customers among teams. They work with stakeholders and other members of the product management team to maintain the team backlog(s), define and elaborate on stories, producing system demos, and more. SAFe product managers work at the larger program level to maintain the program backlog, prioritize features, and guide work through the program Kanban, and more.
This course will help product owners and product managers understand and become more effective in their roles. It will help them apply Lean-Agile values and principles, understand economic prioritization, and develop skills writing and managing features and stories within the context of SAFe. This course also demonstrates how the roles of product owner, product manager, solution manager, and epic owner drive the delivery of value in the SAFe enterprise.
Associated Certification: SAFe Agilist (SA)
This course will help change-initiative leaders develop a Lean-Agile mindset and apply the principles and practices of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). It outlines the role of various leaders within SAFe as well as activities at the program level and that ensure alignment and keep your release train(s) on track. This course also includes a discussion about how to make the shift to servant leadership within an Agile organization.
SAFe Scrum Master
Associated Certification: SAFe Scrum Master (SSM)
This course provides an in-depth understanding of the scrum master role in a SAFe enterprise. It explores the role of scrum in the context of the entire enterprise and prepares scrum masters to guide teams, successfully plan and execute program increments, and facilitate team and program-level events for successful program execution. We also emphasize how to build high-performing Agile teams that deliver maximum business value through servant leadership and coaching.
Associated Certification: SAFe DevOps Practitioner (SDP)
The concept of DevOps is defined differently by nearly everyone you ask. Broadly, DevOps involves the close collaboration between both development teams (those who develop a solution) and operations (those who manage the solution after it is developed), and it is a natural extension of the Agile approach.
In the SAFe DevOps course, we explore the concept of DevOps within the context of SAFe. Our focus is on developing the skills needed to accelerate time-to-market and improving the flow of value end-to-end through the continuous delivery pipeline.
SAFe Release Train Engineer
Associated Certification: SAFe Release Train Engineer (RTE)
For SAFe Release Train Engineers (RTEs) to enhance their knowledge and skills as a servant leader and coach, effectively plan and execute a PI Planning event, foster relentless improvement in their enterprise, and continue their learning journey. SAFe RTEs can facilitate and enable end-to-end value delivery through ARTs and large solutions in an enterprise SAFe environment.
This Course Is Coming Soon!
What Do You Get?
Each of our courses includes a comprehensive workbook, and upon completion, attendees receive:
- A course completion certificate
- One year of membership to the SAFe Community Platform
- Eligibility to take the associated Scaled Agile certification exam
Where Are OST’s SAFe Courses Offered?
OST offers SAFe training courses near all our primary office locations, and we can also offer both public and private courses at your location.
- Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Detroit, Michigan
Which SAFe Course Is the Right One for Me?
We recommend that anyone interested in Agile or SAFe begin their professional development with our SAFe for Teams course.
With that foundational understanding of Agile, SAFe, and more, you can then pursue a more in-depth course that relates to your specific role at your organization and within a larger SAFe enterprise. And if you’re not quite sure where you fit, that’s okay! We’re happy to talk with you about what path forward makes the most sense for your specific needs.
What Is Agile?
Agile began as an approach to software development. But it has expanded into almost every other occupation, from general project management to connected product design, content marketing, healthcare delivery, and many others.
In 2001, a group of software developers outlined the core values and principles of the Agile methodology in their Manifesto for Agile Software Development, and it’s easy to see why it has become such a popular strategy across disciplines.
Core Agile Values
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working products over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
The basic gist of the Agile approach is that work on a project is broken into small iterations, commonly known as “sprints.” Each sprint pulls together a cross-functional team to accomplish a specific goal that typically involves creating new functionality or a working product. At the end of each sprint, the team moves closer to the final goal of a larger project.
Over the years, many different Agile styles have arisen. Below are some of the most popular types:
- Scaled Agile Framework for Enterprises (SAFe)
- Extreme Programming (XP)
- Feature-Driven Development (FDD)
How Does All This SAFe Stuff Work?
Without spoiling all the fun of our courses, SAFe is a way of leveraging the Agile approach at scale across a complex enterprise. SAFe has a unique vocabulary that can be intimidating and difficult to understand, so we have broken down some of the most important high-level concepts below for the essential elements of SAFe.
For many businesses, launching Agile Release Trains (ARTs) is a major focus for rolling out or expanding their Scaled Agile efforts. An Agile Release Train is comprised of multiple smaller teams, and it creates “solutions” (products, services, etc.) associated with a particular value stream at your organization. Some ARTs are responsible for a single solution, while other ARTs may own multiple solutions.
On a basic level, delivering those solutions requires that features need to be built first. These features are built during time periods known as “program increments” (PIs), which typically last between eight and twelve weeks. Within those PIs, shorter “iterations” of work are undertaken by smaller teams to contribute features or parts of features. Those shorter iterations usually last anywhere between one and four weeks.
How do teams know what to work on? That’s where “stories” come in. User stories are short descriptions of functionality written in the voice of a potential user. And they are typically formatted in a standard way:
- As a (role), I want (description) so that (value).
- As a manager, I want to know what each SAFe course is about to identify professional development opportunities for my team.
Stories are added to a pool known as a “backlog,” and teams pull from that backlog as they plan their upcoming “iteration.” A team may take on one story to achieve during their iteration. A team may take on ten stories. A team may split stories into smaller parts and only take on one of those smaller stories.
Regardless of how much work they are trying to accomplish, each team will follow a pattern during their iteration: plan, do, check, and adjust. It’s called the “PDCA cycle.” Iteration planning helps to align the team on objectives and the path forward. And a central component of many teams’ planning is a daily standup meeting to go over what each team member is working on and if any roadblocks exist. This helps keep the “iteration execution” (the work everyone is doing) moving forward.
At some point, the team is ready to demonstrate their progress. This is where they check to see if they have, in fact, achieved what they had been striving for. If they have, their new functionality can be incorporated into the feature or solution. If they have not, then they can adjust their path forward for the next iteration.
While there’s a lot more to SAFe, this brief outline illustrates one of its most important concepts: continuous delivery. The work of individual teams rolls up to the work of Agile Release Trains in order to continuously improve the solutions your business is delivering to consumers.
If you’re ready to learn more, let’s talk!
When Should I Consider Implementing or Evaluating SAFe?
Any organization or team can benefit from Agile transformation for the reasons we mentioned earlier. Often, our clients come to us for SAFe consulting and coaching because they know they have a large project ahead that will stretch their current capabilities. Implementing a new ERP, launching a new product line, developing a connected product, and a wide variety of other projects involve individuals and teams across an organization.
When companies face initiatives like these, they come to OST to help them evaluate their current framework, discover new efficiencies, and succeed—on time.
Common issues that clients raise when they are looking into SAFe include:
- How to get better visibility into the roadmap
- How to release to production more frequently
- How to improve the team’s morale
- How to launch by a deadline
- How to identify risks and dependencies earlier in the development process
So if you’re hoping to accelerate time to market, boost productivity, improve quality, increase transparency, raise morale, and more, let’s talk about SAFe transformation.
Go Beyond SAFe Training With OST
Experience is at the center of everyone’s personal and professional lives. Innovations in tools and technologies have revolutionized experiences for consumers. That shift has raised expectations of the businesses we purchase from and the employers everyone works for.
To stay relevant and compete, your team needs to reorient your business practices to meet these new expectations. That requires a deep understanding of both consumers and employees as well as alignment across teams to deliver meaningful experiences to them. And that’s probably why your organization is interested in SAFe in the first place.
To accelerate business growth, it’s not enough to simply deliver your products and services. It’s not enough to continue business as usual. You need to think bigger and connect with customers and employees in meaningful ways by creating meaningful experiences.
At OST, we are uniquely qualified to help you overcome the challenges slowing down and blocking your success in this new, experience-driven digital landscape. And that goes beyond offering SAFe training. We have a full range of delivery management services as well as expertise in connected products, digital experiences, and more.
Where Do You Begin?
We can jump in at the beginning, or anywhere along the journey.
Let’s discuss how connected products can have the biggest impact your business.