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Is Leading SAFe® required before taking an Implementing SAFe® class?

A question that the training team and I are often asked is "do I need to have completed a Leading SAFe® class before taking an Implementing SAFe® class". It's so frequently asked in fact that we thought it was a worthy topic for discussion and have put together a short article to answer this burning question!

SAFe Program Consultant (SPC) certification asking the question is Leading SAFe required before an Implementing SAFe class?


The first advice we'd give, if you're thinking of participating in an Implementing SAFe course it's wise to review the Scaled Agile INC pre-requisites.

All stakeholders in a Lean-Agile transformation are welcome to attend the course, regardless of experience. However, the following prerequisites are highly recommended:

  • 5+ years of experience in software development, testing, business analysis, product, or project management
  • 3+ years of experience in Agile
  • One or more relevant Agile certifications

You'll see that the list of recommended pre-requisites for Implementing SAFe does not include prior attendance to a Leading SAFe class. In fact, when I took my Implementing SAFe class I had not previously attended a Leading SAFe class. In addition, I tend to find only about a third of Implementing SAFe class participants have attended a Leading SAFe course. previously.

What's more important is ensuring you have a background and experience in Agile because the Scaled Agile Framework is based on this body of work.

However, there is a BUT!

Essentially Implementing SAFe is a class of two halves; the first half we teach you how to teach SAFe and the second half you learn how to implement SAFe.

Therefore, if you have not participated in Leading SAFe before, in the first half you are having to operate in two modes; understanding SAFe AND learning how to teach SAFe. There is a lot to take in – you are trying to absorb the concepts AND also think about the narrative for teaching it.

It is demanding and you need to be aware but the vast majority will be in the same boat as you including me when I did it in October 2013!

To add to the initial question that this article looked to address. We are also often asked "I have done Leading SAFe do I need to attend for the first 2 days?" This one is easy to answer – yes!

The certification to become a SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC) demands a 4-day attendance plus as explained above you have to operate in ‘how do I teach this’ mode.

Plus, with SAFe v5.0 released in January 2020 many will not have seen the updates included in this latest version. Even if you have attended the latest version I still find new learnings every time I teach the class.


Explore Leading SAFe courses      Explore Implementing SAFe courses 


The team and I hope this article helps and look forward to seeing you soon on a Leading SAFe or Implementing SAFe course soon.

If you do still have question why not drop us an email, give us a call +44 (0) 203 811 0424 or chat with us online


Darren Wilmshurst

Darren Wilmshurst

With his strategic C-suite-oriented approach to IT leadership – and his infectious energy – Darren has successfully delivered multi-million pound business transformations for e-commerce sites, ERP implementations, outsourcing and offshoring, including multiple Agile transformations. Read more