Microsoft and Scaled Agile team up to give back to veterans
When I learned about Microsoft’s new program, Agile for Good, I was honored that a few passionate SPCs and others at the company interested in helping our veterans wanted to provide SAFe® Scrum Master training to military veterans and their spouses, free of charge. We jumped at the chance to give back to this community by donating the course licenses.
Microsoft decided to offer the course during its 2019 hackathon in July for a few reasons. One, it can be difficult for veterans to return to civilian life and start new careers. Two, Microsoft wanted to help them be more prepared with valuable skills, excel in their new roles, and learn how to work better across teams. Three, this new role could be something these students choose to specialize in to differentiate themselves and earning a SAFe certification can help open job doors.
The two-day class was held on the Microsoft campus in the Puget Sound area and taught by Microsoft’s very own SAFe-certified instructors. In addition to the training, the students connected and networked with each other and with the Microsoft volunteers. We had a chance to talk to a few of the students and they had some great things to say.
Robert Kelly, a major with 15 years of service said, “The SAFe certification builds my confidence and provides me with a highly valuable skill going forward. While I’ve acquired a wide range of skills in the Army, it’s difficult to explain them to hiring managers. Being able to now say that I am a certified SAFe Scrum Master bridges that gap. I am incredibly grateful to Scaled Agile and Microsoft for providing this jump-start to employment in my new career.”
Isaac Burke, an Army Finance Officer, completed the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy and is starting a master’s program in cybersecurity. As he’s preparing to take the SAFe 4 Scrum Master certification exam, he feels that his new SSM skills will be very helpful. Isaac also noted that there are a lot of programs offered to veterans returning to civilian life, adding that the SAFe training and certification is by far one of the most valuable.
Additionally, we spoke with one of the instructors who contributed to the overall vision of the Agile for Good program; she noted that this was one of the more engaged groups of students she has taught. “I was amazed at how easily the class picked up on the key concepts of SAFe, and soon realized that there is a natural fit between the skills that our veterans learn while in the military to those used in SAFe,” said Angie Apperson, Microsoft SPC. “The military holds servant leadership in high regard, and goes to great lengths to enable their troops in focusing on continuous improvement, becoming experts at working at scale in fractal organizations, and being skilled at adapting to different situations. Our veterans learn to do many things that support SAFe, but don’t often have the civilian language to describe these valuable skills when they get out of the military,” she added.
We wish these veterans the very best in their new careers and we are looking forward to finding a way for Scaled Agile to continue participating in more programs like these.