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SAFe® Scrum Master Vs. Leading SAFe®

Nowadays, many organizations wish to achieve business agility. They intend to have a strategy that aids them in staying ahead of the competition. This is where Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe® comes into the picture. The Scaled Agile Framework enables agility with the help of DevOps and Lean-Agile and offers a wide range of certifications. Certified SAFe® Agilist and SAFe® Scrum Master are the most sought-after certifications among those offered by the Scaled Agile Framework. When discussing these two certifications, you will naturally be interested in comparing Leading SAFe® vs. SAFe® Scrum Master. Let us start with a fundamental understanding of these two certifications:

SSM Certification:
What SSM Course is About?

The SAFe® Scrum Master course instigates with an introduction to how Scrum fits within the Scaled Agile Framework. After that, the course defines the responsibilities and roles played by a Scrum Master in an organization. 

When you take this course, you will learn how to work within the cadence of Program Increments. Further, you will learn how you can complete an iteration and how to conclude a Program Increment. Moreover, the course defines the role of the Scrum Master within the Agile team.

Does the Course Suit You?

The SSM course is ideal for anyone interested in taking up the role of Scrum Master within an Agile Team that works in a SAFe environment. Also, this suits people working as Scrum Masters and looking for ways to improve. Team leaders who are ready to improve their skills in Scrum and looking for a transformation into the role of Scrum Master and Release Train Engineers can take up the SSM course.  As a result, they will become eligible to sit for the SAFe® Scrum Master examination conducted by Scaled Agile.

Leading SAFe®:
What Leading SAFe® Course is About?

The Leading SAFe®, also known as SAFe® Agilist (SA) certification, is an ideal introductory course for anyone interested in working in an Agile organization. To take up this course, you need not have any previous experience. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you have a minimum of five years of experience working in Scrum, either within the business analysis of project management or software development team. 

Within this course, you will get an introduction to the Scaled Agile Framework. You will also identify how you and your organization can become a leader in Agile and Lean Thinking methodologies. Also, you will get to know how your organization can create high-performing teams within highly adaptive atmospheres. This course will teach you how to plan and schedule work within Program Increments. Further, this course will teach you how to generate and manage an Agile portfolio. Moreover, you will understand the skills required for leading an Agile transformation in your organization. In addition, you will learn how to facilitate your organization into becoming a high-performing organization with the help of Agile principles.

In the Leading SAFe® course, you will see the essential SAFe® principles and many aspects of the Scaled Agile Framework. You will understand how your role will modify within the SAFe® context and ways to adapt yourself within the Scaled Agile Framework.

Does the Course Suit You?

The Leading SAFe® course is ideal for any individual working in an organization that follows Agile principles and moves into SAFe® methodologies of working. Irrespective of whether a person works as a team member, line manager, or executive professional, if you are working in an Agile organization, you can take up the Leading SAFe® course that will make you eligible to take up the examination. Successfully completing this test with the required score will get the Leading SAFe® certification from Scaled Agile Framework.

Difference Between SSM and Leading SAFe®:

Before you take one of these courses, you will be interested in understanding the difference between Leading SAFe® and SAFe® Scrum Master Certifications.

Through this, one can decide on the certification that suits their career. Here is a table to help you understand how these courses differ:


SAFe® Scrum MasterLeading SAFe®
CertificationCertified SAFe® Scrum MasterCertified SAFe® Agilist
Who Should Attend?
  • Solution Architects
  • Business Analysts
  • Portfolio/Project/Product and Program Managers
  • Product Owners
  • Consultants
  • Scrum Masters
  • Release Train Engineers
  • Agile Coaches
  • Executives, VPs, and CIOs
  • Portfolio/Project/Product and Program Managers
  • Solution Architects
  • Business Analysts
  • Software Developers/Testers
  • Agile Project Management Professionals
  • Product Owners, Consultants and Scrum Masters
  • Release Train Engineers and Agile Coaches.
Certification LevelIntermediateFoundation
Subjects Covered
  • Introduction to Scrum in SAFe®
  • Explain the characters of a Scrum Master
  • Experiencing Program Increment Planning
  • Facilitating the execution of an iteration
  • Completing the PI Planning
  • Competing in the digital age using Business Agility
  • Turning out to be a Lean-Agile Leader
  • Establishing Technical and Team agility
  • Developing solutions with Agile Product Delivery
  • Exploring Lean Portfolio Management
  • Forerunning the change
Who is Eligible?

Individuals falling under the categories listed below are eligible to take the SSM certification course:

  • Individuals with knowledge of software and hardware development processes
  • Those with prior knowledge and understanding of Scrum, XP, and Kanban practices
  • People with knowledge of Agile concepts and principles.

You are eligible to take the course for this certification if you meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • It is recommended to have a knowledge of Scrum
  • Five plus years of work experience in Agile product development, business analysis, and software testing.

Test PatternTo get this certification, you will have to pass the test conducted by the Scaled Agile Framework. The test will have 45. Multiple Choice Questions. It is a web-based test, and you should complete all 45 questions within 90 minutes. To pass, you should get 33 correct answers out of 45. For a pass, you need 73% of the marks.The test for this certification has 45 Multiple Choice Questions. But, the percentage required to be scored by you for a pass differs at  77%. It means that out of 45, you will have to get 35 answers right to get certified with SAFe® Agilist certification.
Choosing Which Certification Course to Take?

In comparing Leading SAFe® and SSM certifications, you should be interested in knowing which of these certifications to get. The fact to remember here is that both these courses carry their distinctive features.

If you are looking for ways to gain a broader knowledge and understanding of the SAFe® framework, you should opt for the Leading SAFe® certification. Nevertheless, if you wish to improve in your career as a Scrum Master, SSM certification from SAFe® can suit you. The reason is that the training sessions and syllabus covered help to improve your skills at the enterprise level. So, based on what you aspire to in your career, you can select one by comparing Leading SAFe® vs. SAFe® Scrum Master.


You might be aware that Agile Frameworks are not new. Nevertheless, industry leaders believe that candidates who have undergone instructor-led Agile training courses and got certified will help them improve the overall work environment in their organization. In the job market, curriculums like Scaled Agile courses are believed to spark the collaborative mindset around Agile methodologies. These courses instill the team-think approach among the software development teams. 

Not only for enterprise-level benefits but also you should take one of the SAFe® certifications for enterprise-level benefits for your personal career growth. Nowadays, many organizations intend to follow the Agile approach and wish to transform from the traditional waterfall approach. In reality, SAFe® is one of the few frameworks that has proven to bring together Lean and System thinking efficiently with Agile development practices. So, you can, without any doubt, gain a better edge among a pool of applicants for a particular job with one of these certifications.

  1. https://scaledagile.com/training/leading-safe/
  2. https://scaledagile.com/training/safe-scrum-master/



Is a passionate learner and blogger on Agile, Scrum and Scaling areas. She has been following and practicing these areas for several years and now converting those experiences into useful articles for your continuous learning.