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Comparing POPM and Implementing SAFe: Which Agile Framework Fits Your Organization?

Updated: May 29, 2023

Certification courses for agile professionals vary depending on the specific needs of the industry or field it is related to. Product Owner / Product Manager and Implementing SAFe Certification are two distinct certifications designed for individuals seeking to gain proficiency in Agile practices and principles.

For most industries, courses are mandatory to meet compliance and regulatory requirements. And so, candidates getting certified can improve their chances of joining a big firm to advance their career goals. And if you are seeking to get certified with any of the above-mentioned certifications, then keep reading this article.

In this blog post, we are going to take you through the most popular POPM and Implementing SAFe certifications in the realm of agile product management. We will be discussing the differences, topics, and skills covered by these certifications in detail to help you choose the right certification that suits your career goal.


1. Certification Focus

The POPM stands for Product Owner/Product Manager. This course covers the strategic responsibilities of Product Owners and Product Managers in the product development process. On the other hand, Implementing SAFe certification goes beyond the individual role of a POPM. It focuses on a broader level of guiding individuals to become a leader in SAFe organizations. This training program helps candidates to develop a comprehensive knowledge about each role within the organization responsible for transformation.

· Product Owner / Product Manager: The POPM course includes the regular activities of Product Owners and Product Managers. It teaches individuals about collaborating with engineering teams and stakeholders. It guides on how to keep the focus on the customer while building a design and test process. And also, the methods for preparing and leading PI Planning.

· Implementing SAFe: This certification course centers on guiding individuals about identifying the Value Streams which are crucial for designing an implementation plan. The candidates can also learn to establish agile release trains, facilitate Program Increment Planning, apply OKRs to define the targeted results for the SAFe transformation, practices, and principles of Agile product management and product delivery. Certainly, Implementing SAFe helps organizations to achieve Business Agility.

2. Level of Application

POPM is primarily responsible for managing a single product or project. They play a vital role within the agile team. Conversely, Implementing SAFe applies to organizations seeking to scale agile practices across multiple teams and portfolios.

3. Organizational Impact

Primarily the impact of POPM is limited to agile teams and stakeholders engaged in product development. Whereas, Implementing SAFe has a wider impact as it involves regular changes in processes, culture, and structure to align various teams and business units toward a common objective. Implementing SAFe-certified candidates can lead the implementation of SAFe.


1. Professional Development

Obtaining POPM and Implementing SAFe certifications shows an individual’s commitment to professional growth and continuous learning in the related field. These advanced courses help candidates with enhanced skills, knowledge, and understandings related to product ownership and SAFe transformation.

2. Credibility and Recognition

And many organizations value and recognize agile certifications while hiring candidates for their companies as certifications mainly serve as a quality assurance mechanism. It indicates that the candidates have undergone a rigorous assessment process to maintain quality standards and will adhere to industry practices. And so, earning a POPM or Implementing SAFe certification can increase the chances of entering a bigger firm and standing out from other candidates who do not possess the formal agile certification or training.

3. Collaboration

Both training program equips candidates with adequate knowledge and tools to effectively coordinate with stakeholders, cross-functional teams, and clients. The POPM certification helps Product Owners and Product Manager Roles to align their product vision, manage the product backlog, and prioritize features in a customer-centric manner.

4. Continuous Learning

Both POPM and Implementing SAFe certifications promote continuous learning and professional development. These popular courses help individuals stay updated with the latest advancements, regulations, and trends within the industry and also encourage ongoing growth and improvement.


In conclusion, POPM and Implementing SAFe are two popular courses in product management. While POPM concentrates on the specific roles of the Product Owner and Product Manager within an agile team, Implementing SAFe Certification focuses on training each role in a SAFe organization to lead the agile transformation. So, by understanding concepts, differences, and their implications, candidates can wisely choose the right course depending on their specific needs and career goals.


1. Does POPM certification cover the knowledge of Implementing SAFe?

The POPM certification course does not cover the in-depth knowledge of Implementing SAFe as it specifically focuses on the Product Owner and Product Manager roles in an agile team. However, the PO/PM can have a basic understanding of SAFe principles and practices to understand the other roles better.

2. Is it necessary to choose between POPM and Implementing SAFe, or can they complement each other?

Both POPM and Implementing SAFe can complement each other. But they are not mutually exclusive. While POPM focuses on developing Product Owner and Product Manager role within an agile team, Implementing SAFe focuses on providing a better understanding of the SAFe framework for scaling agile practices across the organization. It enhances the abilities of the team to manage dependencies and align their work.

3. Can Implementing SAFe be used in organizations with only one Agile team?

Implementing SAFe is mainly designed for large-scale enterprises. In cases of one agile team, the elements of the framework can be used and implemented in organizations. But it is not necessary to implement the entire SAFe framework.

About Advance Agility

We, at Advance Agility, are the new-age Agile Coaching, Consulting, and IT services company. We enable end-to-end Digital Transformation. Agile execution is integral to our being. We are doing SAFe implementation with small, medium, and large organizations across the globe.

Our vision is to be the leading Agile execution player globally. To keep adding value at every process stage. We are on a mission to empower our clients and move from concept to cash in the shortest sustainable lead time by adopting the human-centric approach to business agility. Embracing change is in our DNA.

Things that keep us apart are Quicker and Seamless execution with End to end gamut of services. Our Global presence and Stellar Track Record give us an edge over our competitors.

Connect with us at to learn about SAFe and SAFe implementation. Write to us at for any agile training or consulting needs. We are always looking for competent agile trainers as well. So if you are the one or want to become one, do get in touch with us to that we can learn, grow and achieve together.



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