Upskilling Your Staff: Forbytes Member Earns SAFe 4.5 Certification

by Nathalie Nilsson
Content marketing and sales assistant

August 3, 2018
Reading Time: 4 minutes

You are no doubt familiar with how encouraging upskilling of your staff is a winning concept. Not only does it benefit your team members' career opportunities but it also improves the services you can offer. Because of this, Forbytes is happy to support our people when they want to acquire certifications from reputable sources.

​W​e have in the past celebrated when members of Forbytes receive a certification for their skills. Today is no different. Forbytes' ​business analyst Taras Mishak has just earned his certification in SAFe 4.5!​ So, we are going to take this opportunity to talk a little about​ ​upskilling and how it helps everyone involved.

​Upskilling as a solution

It should be a time of celebration when your business grows. However, it is often shadowed by doubt, stress and fear. If your business grows too big too soon you risk having it all come crashing down like a poorly balanced house of cards.

The solution ​is not necessarily to hire more people and consequently growing the business further. Outsourcing long term or short term might be an option. ​However, sometimes all you need to do to alleviate the burden of management is to invest in your current employees.

Experience reveals the need

Frequently it is not the CEO that sees the need for upskilling but the staff themselves. They have first-hand experience and understand what skills are required to improve performance. By encouraging upskilling within your company, you will ensure that your staff feels comfortable requesting time to learn new skills.

Forbytes empty meeting room encouraging upskilling staff

As a business analyst, it is Taras’ job to ensure that communication between our client-partners and developers runs smoothly. Since bad communication can be the death of any project, this role grows increasingly important the larger the company and the project are.

Before joining Forbytes, Taras worked on two projects where he observed regular problems with synchronizing large teams. With personal experience of the consequences, such as loss of productivity, he knew the importance of nipping such issues in the bud. Because of this, he took it upon himself to learn the SAFe framework when the opportunity presented itself. 

The SAFe 4.5 certification

SAFe stands for Scaled Agile Framework. It is designed to enable the synchronization of multiple teams' efforts and deliveries on a program level. The framework is scalable and intended to be adaptable to individual medium and large businesses. The certification itself is provided by author Dean Leffingwell and the organisation Scaled Agile 

The aspects of SAFe that primarily interest us is its framework to: 

  • ​Identifying business needs
  • ​Writing and managing requirements in order to define the required capability of the business, and
  • ​Prioritizing the work that needs to be done to best deliver value to the enterprise.

Though Forbytes has not yet worked with SAFe we find their belief that "better systems and software make the world a better place" promising. It is, in fact, one of our own core beliefs. 

The certification process

When working on a large project, being able to handle multiple teams that develop features with dependencies is essential for the efficiency of the project. If you think that sounds like a useful skill to have for your projects, then acquiring such a certification for yourself might be of interest. You should be forewarned that the examination process is not a simple one.

Forbytes developer earns SAFe 4.5 certification exam examination image

First Taras had to go through a two-day training period with a certified SAFe trainer. This took place ​in Lviv ​and with the goal to prepare him for the next step. After a month of individual work, came a mock test and a final exam. Unlike the training period, the exam is done digitally from home. By passing this exam, Taras earned himself a certification. 

The value of the certification

Certifications from reputable sources is a way for our potential and current client-partners to measure that our people are as skilled as we say they are. While you don’t need the certificate to work with the framework, the certification is a guarantee that you possess a thorough knowledge of it. 

The SAFe certification is only valid for one year. This ensures that people who have become certified do not rest on their laurels. It encourages you to keep up to date and ensures that you remain as skilled with the framework as the certification declares.

​The advantages of upskilling

The advantages are threefold. First on an individual level as Taras has acquired new useful skills. Second, our current and future client-partners stand to gain from this newly acquired expertise. Taras now has the tools to assist our client-partners’ product owners further. Additionally, he has brushed up on his Agile skills which will no doubt prove useful for the project he is currently working on. 

Finally, Forbytes stands to gain as well. As you may suspect, we already have well established processes and structures that we work with. However, nothing is set in stone. If we come across a better way to manage and deliver software solutions, we will always choose to improve. These days it is especially important to constantly re-evaluate our communication processes as our team grows to support our client-partners’ needs.

Therefore, we hope to be able to incorporate the best of SAFe into our own framework. Ideally it will allow our business analysts to help free up time for our client-partners’ product owners, so they can focus on their regular duties.

​If this sounds like something that might be able to help you and your company, do not hesitate to contact us. Should you instead be interested in earning a SAFe certification of your own, then do not hesitate. You can apply for it on their homepage. We wish you the best of luck!