What are the steps to get SSM Certification ?

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StarAgile

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Sep 26, 2023

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14 mins

In today's business landscape, agility is the name of the game. To stay ahead of the competition, organizations are adopting Agile methodologies, and SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) has emerged as a leading framework for achieving business agility. If you're looking to advance your career in Agile project management, earning a SAFe Scrum Master (SSM) certification is a strategic move. This certification not only enhances your skill set but also opens doors to exciting career opportunities. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to obtain your SAFe Scrum Master certification.

Step 1: Understanding SAFe and SAFe Scrum Master Certification

Before we dive into the certification process, let's clarify what SAFe and SAFe Scrum Master certification is all about.
SAFe, which stands for the Scaled Agile Framework, is a comprehensive and adaptable framework for implementing Agile practices and principles at an enterprise scale. SAFe is designed to help organizations of all sizes, from small startups to large enterprises, effectively and efficiently adopt Agile methodologies to deliver value to their customers.
The SAFe Scrum Master, or SSM, certification is designed for individuals who want to lead Agile transformation at an enterprise level. It equips you with the knowledge and skills to effectively apply Scrum principles within a SAFe framework.

Step 2: Clear Prerequisites for SSM Certification

To embark on your journey toward becoming a certified SAFe Scrum Master, there are some prerequisites you need to fulfil:

  • Experience: You should have at least one year of experience in a Scrum Master role within an Agile environment.
  • SAFe Education: Completion of the SAFe Scrum Master course is mandatory. This course provides in-depth knowledge of the SAFe framework and Scrum principles.

Step 3: Enroll in SSM Training

Now that you meet the prerequisites, it's time to enrol in an SSM training course. Here are the key steps:

  1. Choose a Training Provider: Select a reputable training provider with certified SAFe instructors. You can find a list of authorized partners on the Scaled Agile website. StarAgile can be a wise choice for you. 
  2. Attend the Course: Participate in the SAFe Scrum Master training course. This course typically spans two days and covers essential topics, including Agile principles, SAFe framework, and Scrum Master responsibilities.
  3. Engage in Practical Exercises: During the course, you'll engage in practical exercises, group discussions, and simulations to solidify your understanding.
  4. Pass the Exam: To become a certified SAFe Scrum Master, you'll need to pass the SSM certification exam. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and is typically taken online.

Step 4: Preparing for the SSM Exam

Preparing for the SAFE Scrum Master (SSM) certification exam requires a structured approach and a thorough understanding of the SAFe framework and Scrum principles. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to prepare effectively:

1. Attend a SAFe Scrum Master Training Course:

The first step to SSM certification is to attend the official SAFe Scrum Master training course. This course provides in-depth knowledge of SAFe, Scrum, and the role of a Scrum Master within the framework. Ensure you select a reputable training provider with certified SAFe instructors.

2. Study the Course Materials:

Review the course materials provided during the training, such as the SSM Study Guide, handouts, and any supplementary resources.
Take detailed notes during the training sessions to reinforce your understanding.

3. Understand SAFe Principles:

Familiarize yourself with the core principles of SAFe, including customer-centricity, alignment, decentralization, and continuous improvement.
Understand how SAFe integrates Agile and Lean practices to deliver value to customers.

4. Learn Scrum Concepts:

Gain a solid understanding of Scrum principles, roles, ceremonies, and artefacts.
Know the Scrum Master's responsibilities and how they support Agile teams.

5. Practice with Sample Questions:

Access practice exams and sample questions related to the SSM certification. These resources can help you get a feel for the exam format and types of questions.
Practice answering questions under timed conditions to improve your time management during the actual exam.

6. Join Study Groups:

Consider joining or forming study groups with fellow certification aspirants. Discussing concepts and sharing knowledge with peers can enhance your understanding.
Participate in online forums and communities dedicated to SAFe and SSM certification.

7. Review the SAFe Big Picture:

Familiarize yourself with the SAFe Big Picture, which provides an overview of the entire framework. This will help you understand how different components of SAFe fit together.
Focus on the roles, activities, and artefacts relevant to the Scrum Master role.

8. Take Mock Exams:

Take full-length mock exams that simulate the SSM certification exam. This will help you gauge your readiness and identify areas where you need improvement.
Review your answers and understand the reasoning behind the correct choices.

9. Create a Study Plan:

Develop a study plan that outlines your study schedule, topics to cover, and milestones leading up to the exam date. Allocate more time to areas where you feel less confident.

10. Stay Calm and Confident:

On the day of the exam, make sure you are well-rested and relaxed. Confidence plays a significant role in exam performance. During the exam, read each question carefully, eliminate obvious incorrect answers, and choose the best option.

11. Register for the Exam:

Once you feel adequately prepared, register for the SSM certification exam through an authorized testing centre or online platform.

12. Continuous Learning:

Even after passing the exam, stay engaged with the Agile community, and attend workshops, webinars, and conferences to continue your learning journey.
Remember that the SSM certification exam is designed to assess your understanding of SAFe and Scrum concepts as they apply to the Scrum Master role within the SAFe framework. By following these steps and dedicating sufficient time to preparation, you can increase your chances of passing the SSM certification exam with flying colours. Good luck!

Step 5: Take the SSM Certification Exam

Once you're well-prepared, it's time to take the SSM certification exam. Here's what you need to know:

  • Online or In-Person: Depending on your preference, you can take the exam online or at a certified testing centre.
  • Duration: The exam typically lasts around 90 minutes, and you'll need to answer a predetermined number of questions correctly to pass.
  • Results: You'll receive your exam results immediately upon completion. A passing score will grant you SAFe Scrum Master certification.

Step 6: Maintaining Your SSM Certification

Congratulations! You're now a certified SAFe Scrum Master. But the journey doesn't end here. To maintain your certification, you need to:

  • Renew Annually: SSM certification requires annual renewal. To do this, you must complete 16 continuing education hours in SAFe and pay a renewal fee.
  • Stay Informed: Stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the SAFe framework and Agile methodologies by attending webinars, conferences, or workshops.
  • Network: Connect with other Agile practitioners to exchange ideas and best practices.

Conclusion:

Earning your SAFe Scrum Master certification is a pivotal step in your Agile career journey. It equips you with the knowledge and skills needed to lead Agile transformations in large enterprises. If you're ready to take the next step and become a certified SAFe Scrum Master, consider enrolling in StarAGile's SAFe Scrum Master certification training course. Our experienced instructors and comprehensive curriculum will help you ace the certification exam and open doors to exciting career opportunities in Agile project management. Don't miss out – sign up for StarAGile’s SAFe Scrum Master certification course today and take the first step toward a brighter future!

FAQs

Q1: How much does the SSM certification exam cost?

A1: The cost of the SSM certification exam varies depending on the training provider and location. On average, it ranges from $250 to $500.

Q2: Can I retake the SSM certification exam if I fail the first attempt?

A2: Yes, you can retake the exam. There is a waiting period, typically 30 days, between attempts. However, additional fees may apply for retakes.

Q3: What is the passing score for the SSM certification exam?

A3: The passing score for the SSM certification exam is 73%, which equates to answering approximately 36 out of 50 questions correctly.

Q4: Are there any prerequisites for the SAFe Scrum Master training course?

A4: Yes, you should have at least one year of experience in a Scrum Master role within an Agile environment.

Q5: Can I take the SSM training course online?

A5: Yes, many training providers offer online SSM courses, making it convenient for individuals with busy schedules.

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