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Nov 19, 2021

Why SPCTs Are More Than SPC Trainers

You could be an SPC for years and it might never occur to you. Or, you might discover it’s what you were made for: to become a SAFe Program Consultant Trainer - the select class of people that train the SPCs. Scaled Agile’s own Deema Dajani, herself a seasoned SPCT and an advisor to aspiring SPCTs explains why there is much more behind the role.

First off, for those not in the know: SAFe Program Consultants (SPC) are the change agents who facilitate the SAFe implementation. The rise of SAFe as the leading framework for Lean Agile businesses has led thousands of people to seek the SPC certification and bring the change to their own companies or as consultants.

Then there are the SAFe Program Consultant Trainers (SPCT). “A select class of transformation catalysts, sharing their vast industry expertise and skills through teaching, coaching, and handling the most challenging SAFe implementations.” as Deema Dajani describes, over a video connection from her home in San Antonio, Texas.

Community that contributes to SAFe

So they aren’t just ‘trainers of SPCs’, then? Or just a higher level for SPCs to grow to? “Not at all,” says Deema. “SPCTs go through a curated learning and experience journey with Scaled Agile. Much of the evolution you’ve seen in SAFe over the past decade – Design Thinking, Lean Portfolio Management, et cetera - has benefited from SPCT inputs and iterated upon with the help of this community. It’s a lot of how we stay in tune with ‘what’s next’.”

Seven SPCTs at Gladwell Academy

So if the SPCTs have such an impact on the Scaled Agile Framework and the community, how many of them are there currently? Deema checks the numbers: “Currently there are only around 95 certified SPCTs active world-wide. The nomination process has very high standards and not everyone will get in. Being nominated alone means you have achieved an exceptionally high level of experience and understanding of SAFe.”

Being nominated alone means you have achieved an exceptionally high level of experience and understanding of SAFe.

With the criteria so demanding, how is it that no less than seven of those 95 SPCTs work at Gladwell Academy? After all, when our own world-class SPC trainer Eduardo Alvim goes for his SPCT validation he will be joining Niels Groen, Sathya HR and Ali Hajou, Anand Murthy Raj, Eelco Rustenburg and Michael Stump. Deema isn’t very surprised at this: “Gladwell Academy has been quite successful at nurturing Lean-Agile learning in general and SAFe in particular for several years now. It isn’t strange to see a network effect emerge.”

SPCTs: validated consultants

What do you get when you hire an SPCT as opposed to an SPC? Quality in transformation consulting that is acknowledged by Scaled Agile itself, for one. As according to a recent Gartner publication: Do not rely on certifications alone as a measure of the skills of a consultant or prospective employee. A notable exception to this is the SAFe Program Consultant Trainer (SPCT) certification, which does require demonstrated experience with agile, software development or product management, training and consulting. If you’re hiring someone who has [an] SPCT certification, you can be confident that they do have experience in these areas, as well as experience with SAFe implementation at multiple organizations.’

Validation by Scaled Agile

Gladwell Academy is an authorized Scaled Agile Gold Partner and offers the full course portfolio.

So the SPCT isn’t just a ‘higher level SPC’. Deema: “Correct. As part of the validation process, we invite all SPCT candidates to ‘Immersion week’ where they demonstrate what they’re capable of as trainers, and interact directly with the Framework authors. But we go a lot further.

The demands can be extensive, in terms of acquiring proven experience with launching ARTs and organising around value, and successful SAFe implementations with clear business outcomes.”

She continues: “Quite surprising that Eduardo Alvim actually completed these requirements so quickly – he already had almost everything he needed under his belt by the time he applied for the SPCT Program. But then, he has many years of SAFe transformations behind him indeed.”

Pairing with a fellow SPCT

The final phase of the Program involves training a complete four-day Implementing SAFe together with a fellow SPCT, the SPCT guide. For Eduardo, his fellow guide is none other than Deema Dajani herself. “We’ll both be teaching parts of the course. I’m looking forward to Eduardo’s experience stories, and treatment of the Lean Portfolio Management material, because it’s an area I‘m heavily involved in evolving in fact. I’ll be teaching several chapters myself, as well as supporting Eduardo and making it a fantastic experience for everyone.”

Witness Eduardo’s experience first-hand!

Would you like to see Deema Dajani and Eduardo Alvim in action?

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Written by Gladwell Academy, but most of our content is created by trainers and partnering experts!