Only 21% of companies use some kind of project system to complete large-scale projects. That’s a big reason why so many projects miss deadlines and go over budget.
As a project manager using the Lean/Agile methodologies, you know that there is a growing need for your work. More companies are looking at implementing Agile and SAFe.
You’re likely to look at different ways to grow your career. You can move up the corporate ladder at your company, change industries, or become a SAFe program consultant (SPC).
Does it make sense to become a SAFe program consultant? Keep reading to learn more about being a SAFe program consultant and why you should choose this career path.
What Does a SAFe Program Consultant Do?
Let’s take a quick look at the SAFe methodology of project management. SAFe stands for Scaled Agile Framework. It’s a way to scale the Agile methodology, principles, and processes to an entire enterprise.
It’s a way to help organizations break down silos between teams working on the same project. On large-scale projects, it’s entirely possible to have multiple teams working on a project using Agile. These teams don’t communicate with each other, leading to delays and cost overruns.
SAFe scales up Agile to apply to all teams working on the project. The result is that the various teams are all on the same page. There are improved communications, leading to a better outcome.
What’s your role as a SAFe program consultant? Your job is to be the leader within the organization and transform the organization into a fully operational Lean/Agile one.
Your main responsibilities are to design the implementation of SAFe, plan the transformation of the company, and create an Agile Release Train.
As you lead the organization through the transformation, you work with all stakeholders to make it happen. You serve as a coach and mentor.
SAFe program consultants also serve as trainers. You may work with a company on a temporary basis, and there is a continuous need for SAFe. Not only that, one person guiding an enterprise through a transformation needs support.
You’ll be able to train other SAFe program consultants to support your work during and after implementation.
5 Reasons to Pursue a SAFe Program Consultant Career
You may be knowledgeable in Agile, and you know how to be a scrum master and other roles in the framework. Should you take the step and become a SAFe program consultant?
Take a look at these benefits of becoming an SPC.
1. You Have a Deeper Understanding of Agile
For project managers that use Agile every day, your skills can get a little stale. It’s easy to overlook some of the finer points of Agile principles.
Getting certified as an SPC ensures that you revisit the core methodologies of Agile and learn much more about implementing Agile in an enterprise environment.
2. You Train Others
As a certified SPC, you can train others in SAFe. You can do this within your own organization, or you can choose to branch out and train at a certification company.
You can also be a trainer-for-hire, working with organizations to train their employees in SAFe.
3. You Get Paid
An Agile Coach averages about $126,000 a year. You can easily surpass that as an SPC.
The best part is that you don’t even have to work for another company. You can go out on your own as a consultant and trainer. It’s a great way to command a high income and call your own shots.
4. You Are in Demand
About 71% of companies plan to use Agile to manage projects. You’ll be positioned as a leader in the Agile field because you’re an SPC.
Your skills and knowledge will be in demand for years to come as companies try to figure out how to make Agile work.
5. You Challenge Yourself and Grow
It’s not easy to be a SAFe program consultant. You have to have a broad set of skills and you can’t just sit behind screen all day.
You will have to go outside of your comfort zone to develop the soft skills required to do the job. It’s worth it because you will be a better person and co-worker.
Becoming a SAFe Consultant
To become a SAFe program consultant, you need to have a certain amount of experience working with Agile. You should be able to teach the basics of Agile to newbies.
Communication skills are a must. As a SAFe program consultant, you’re going to communicate with all levels of an organization, from the CEO to the warehouse worker. You have to be confident in conveying ideas and processes.
Empathy isn’t a requirement to become certified, but it is necessary to be successful in your work. You have to be able to understand how the decisions you make impact other people in the organization.
People are generally resistant to change. The more empathetic you are, the more likely you’ll be able to get buy-in.
If you think you have the skills to move forward, then you’ll need to take a course called Implementing SAFe. This course gives you an idea of the work, the application of theory, and how to pass the exam.
The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions. You have two hours to complete the exam. A passing grade is 75% or 45 correct questions.
What happens when you pass your exam and you’re officially SAFe Certified? You’ll want to join the Scaled Agile Community. It’s a professional community of over 600,000 members.
You’ll be able to learn more about your craft and network. You’ll be able to get ideas to apply SAFe within the organization.
Kick Start Your Career as a SAFe Program Consultant
In the world of project management, there are many frameworks you can apply within your organization. With SAFe, you can apply the Lean/Agile methodologies to the entire enterprise.
As a SAFe program consultant, you’re the person leading the charge to become an Agile organization. You’re a mentor, coach, and trainer.
After your certification, you’ll be in demand and in a community of other highly-trained specialists. If you’re looking for more ideas to grow your career, take a look at the Education section of this site.