The Global Network of SAFe Fellows Grows by Four

The Global Network of SAFe Fellows Grows by Four

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Our mission at Scaled Agile is to help enterprises achieve better business outcomes through adoption of Lean-Agile principles and practices based on SAFe. Since launching the Framework in 2011, a key aspect of our enablement strategy has been to equip change agents through SAFe Program Consultant (SPC) training and certification.

While support from SPCs is critical to implementation success, there are pivotal moments in many significant Lean-Agile transformations when the organization needs guidance from the ‘best of the best.’ In the early days of SAFe, this often meant calling in Dean and the Framework team. However, just as SAFe is focused on enabling excellence in scaling Agile, the pace at which it has become the industry standard has driven the need to ‘scale’ the pool of experts who are equipped to provide guidance for the most complex and challenging of implementations.

To that end, we grew the Scaled Agile Partner program, and in 2014 introduced the SPCT (SAFe Program Consultant Trainer) program to provide a means of recognizing individuals who demonstrate superior knowledge, competency, and in-depth field experience in SAFe. While this enabled one aspect of scaling, it didn’t fully accommodate the growing demand from enterprises needing support for the most challenging rollouts.

The SAFe Fellow Program

That’s where the SAFe Fellow program comes in. Established in 2015, the program recognizes a select number of individuals with both the depth and breadth of experience to work at the highest levels of complexity in enterprise strategy, and who have established themselves as thought leaders in the Lean-Agile space.

The program is different from other certification achievements offered by Scaled Agile. It goes beyond the 1–3 year qualification process required for SPCTs and identifies individuals with the highest possible level of mastery and thought leadership. ‘SAFe Fellow’ is a designation rather than certification, and requires years of practice and contribution. Prospective SAFe Fellows must be nominated by two existing Fellows, reviewed by all existing SAFe Fellows, and then finalized by the Nomination Committee. It is a multi-year journey.

The SAFe Fellow program represents the ultimate achievement for those looking to advance Lean-Agile methods at enterprise scale with SAFe. If we are in challenging situation—whether puzzling over the next generation framework, or struggling to optimize a SAFe implementation—the Fellows are the folks we turn to.”

—Dean Leffingwell, creator of SAFe, Chief Methdologist

After recognizing five of Scaled Agile’s most experienced experts as SAFe Fellows, we commenced a two-year search to identify the ‘best of the best’ in the field. Today, we’re delighted to welcome four new Fellows to the fold. Each has been hand-picked based on a combination of their ongoing contribution to the evolution of the Framework, their demonstrated success in a broad-range of implementations, and their willingness to share their expertise in the public arena through both writing and speaking.

Introducing Four New SAFe Fellows

We congratulate the following outstanding individuals:

Mark Richards, Context Matters

Mark Richards has been involved with SAFe since its inception, with a demonstrated commitment to remaining on the leading edge of the ART. Part of the first group of SPCs to be certified in 2012, he went on to coach Australia’s first SAFe implementation at Telstra and later became one of the first SPCTs. He has enabled successful implementations across the federal government, telecommunications, finance, insurance and education industries. Mark has also worked with a number of Tier 1 Systems Integrators as they respond to the changing needs of their customers implementing SAFe. A prolific blogger (The Art of SAFe), Mark is also the developer of the widely used SAFe City simulation and has contributed to a number of areas of the Framework, most recently in the areas of metrics for SAFe 4.5 and the ART Canvas in the Implementation Roadmap.

Em Campbell-Pretty, Context Matters

Em’s passion for business outcomes inspired her to launch Australia’s first Agile Release Train in early 2012. Since then, she has led transformations for public and private companies like RMIT University, Westpac, the Australian Taxation Office and ANZ. Her work has influenced the development of the Program Kanban System and fueled case studies. She’s an international keynote speaker, an avid blogger——and author of the book, Tribal Unity.

Eric Willeke, CA Technologies

Eric has worked with a broad range of Fortune 500 companies, thousands of practitioners, and key leaders in the technology, media, insurance, financial services, and healthcare industries. His personal vision—to “help everybody on a project sleep better at night”—has shaped his passion for continuous improvement and unlocking human potential. Eric speaks at conferences around the world, has contributed to the Framework and SAFe case studies, has served on the program committee for the Agile 201x conference series, and was the lead editor for the Proceedings of the LSSC conference series.

Harry Koehnemann, 321 Gang

Harry is Director of Technology for 321 Gang where he helps organizations in aerospace, defense, automotive, and medical adopt Lean-Agile methods and SAFe. He played a key role in the development of SAFe 4.0 for application to Lean systems engineering. More recently, Harry has worked with Scaled Agile on toolkits and white papers to provide practitioners with guidance on hardware and compliance concerns when adopting SAFe.

Learn more about the SAFe Fellows program here, including a full list of SAFe Fellows.

Welcome Em, Harry, Eric, and Mark to the global network of SAFe Fellows!

Stay SAFe!
—Drew Jemilo
Co-founder, Scaled Agile, Inc.
SAFe Fellow Program Director



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Drew Jemilo