Having a rigid hierarchy within an organization is largely becoming a thing of the past. In this era of rapidly changing business environments, companies are looking to speed up their performance in order to remain competitive by embracing the Agile mindset. As with any critical change to an organization’s structure or process, it becomes important for internal experts and leaders to undergo appropriate training.
Training is especially pertinent in the Agile methodology due to the focus on cross-functional teams that need to work closely together to be fast and flexible. A highly sought-after approach to the Agile manifesto comes from ICAgile, the International Consortium for Agile.
This blog post will explain what ICAgile is and how to find the right training for you or your team.
What is ICAgile?
The International Consortium for Agile is a non-profit organization to promote the adoption of Agile in both big and small businesses. ICAgile seeks to help companies and professionals become better at applying lean methodologies in their work, including how to deal with common obstacles that may arise.
The Consortium consists of a wide range of experts in the agile community. These experts developed the certifications required to become an ICAgile Certified Professional (ICP).
Does ICAgile offer training?
A vital piece of information we need to point out right away is that ICAgile itself does not provide training. This is something many people are unsure of when looking into ICAgile. There are no courses you can sign up for on their website.
Instead, ICAgile partners with training providers that offer courses for certification in Agile. These courses vary depending on your experience level and can be customized to fit the needs of a specific organization. To receive ICAgile certification, students must fulfill the learning objectives after completing a course with their training provider of choice.
ICAgile, therefore, is an accreditation body. They ensure that the training offered by their partners is up to par with ICAgile standards.
What does it mean to be ICAgile certified?
Each training provider for any ICAgile certification (including the foundational, Agile Fundamentals certification) must be approved by ICAgile and go through an annual audit to ensure that they uphold the highest standards.
This means that, after they finish crafting their course offerings following ICAgile’s guidelines, the Agile coach will receive ICAgile accreditation for that course. The courses are then offered to students who want to be certified at their own company or organization (or as an individual, if they so choose).
Like any other industry certification, becoming an ICAgile-certified trainer requires dedication and hard work. But it also offers organizations across industries the assurance they need that ICAgile-certified instructors have the skills and knowledge to help their teams succeed.
How do I know if a training provider is approved?
The best way to determine whether ICAgile has approved a provider is to check the ICAgile Verify Credentials tool. It lists all of the providers that offer courses for Agile certification, along with their accreditation status and other important details.
This tool is extremely helpful in preventing any potential issues for an organization looking to have some of its members certified. It also offers a way to verify the quality of courses before they send employees out for training.
Tips for finding the right training provider
There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the right ICAgile-certified professional to train you, your team, or your entire organization.
- What courses are you interested in?
Not every provider offers courses in every subject. For example, some might only offer training in Agile Engineering, Agile Testing, Agile Test Automation, or DevOps. In contrast, others could be more focused on Business Agility, Agile Product Ownership, or Agile Project Management.
Find the courses you need and narrow down your list of potential providers based on what they offer. Their training might be a good fit for some organization members, but not everyone in your team will have to take the same course. For example, an agile tester wouldn’t benefit from Agile HR classes, while a business analyst wouldn’t understand much of Agile Software Design.
- What are the prerequisites?
ICAgile sets high standards for all of its courses. This means each Agile course will have a set number of learning objectives that students must demonstrate after finishing the course to receive certification. Some providers require certain experience or knowledge levels before allowing you to participate in their courses. These prerequisites are often recommended by ICAgile itself.
- What is the cost of a class?
Training for certification can be expensive, especially if you’re sending many people to the same course. The cost varies between providers, so it’s important to find a range that fits your budget and reflects the value you’ll be getting out of the training.
- Online or in-person training?
Fortunately, in this COVID-19 era, online training has practically become the norm. This comes with a range of benefits, such as lower cost because of no travel and accommodation fees.
Additionally, there’s the added convenience of being able to take the courses from the comfort of your home or office – especially if you’re working full-time and can’t always get out of the office for extended periods.
With better access to online Agile training content, organizations need to ensure that their members take high-quality courses.
- What do others say?
Once you have a preliminary list of potential providers, it’s also a good idea to check what other people have to say about them online.
ICAgile covers just about every corner of the internet-from general discussion forums and social channels like LinkedIn and Quora to more specific professional community sites such as Stack Overflow.
Taking a few minutes to look at their reputation across the internet will give you a better idea of whether or not these providers are worth looking into any further.
- What is the provider’s cancellation policy?
There’s a good chance you’ll have to pay some fee if you have to cancel your registration for a training course at the last minute. This can be especially infuriating if a provider does not offer a way to receive a full refund on your class fee.
As always, read the fine print and make sure you’re aware of the provider’s policies before signing up for a class.
- Do the classes fit with your schedule?
Finally, this last tip may seem like an obvious one, but it’s still worth mentioning-make sure the training courses fit your schedule.
Whether you’re looking for in-person courses taught by local trainers or remote webinars, make sure they’re held at a time that works well with the rest of your team. ICAgile courses typically last a couple of days – depending on the class you’re taking, they may even run over a weekend.
If you’re expecting to send some members of your Agile team out of town or schedule remote participation for an online course, make sure there are no conflicts with any other important events at work or in your personal lives.
Remember to stay flexible; the more options you have, the easier it will be to find a date that works for everyone.
If there are specific dates you’re looking for, let your training provider know. Most of them should accommodate custom requests if you give them enough notice.
Is there an exam at the end of the training?
ICAgile does not require an exam to obtain certification. However, some trainers do need their students to take an exam at the end of training. This is up to each specific trainer.
Make sure you know what the requirements are before signing up for training.
How long are ICAgile certifications valid for?
You’ll be pleased to know that ICAgile’s certifications do not expire. Once you’ve earned it, your certification is valid for life.
That being said, ICAgile encourages you to continue learning and practicing Agile throughout your career. As a concept, Agile has been through many iterations in the last few years, and it will likely continue to evolve in the future.
It’s always a good idea to keep your knowledge up-to-date, even though it won’t have an impact on your certification status. (Unless you wish to become an ICAgile Certified Expert.) There are many benefits to continue learning – for example, keeping abreast of new Agile practices can help you with your career advancement or perhaps even give you a leg up over your peers.
With better access to online training content, organizations need to ensure that their members take high-quality courses.
While ICAgile itself does not offer training, many different providers are available, with options ranging from local training courses to full online certification programs.
Before signing up for any classes, make sure that you read the fine print and check what others have to say about their experiences. Don’t forget to take a look through the provider’s reputation on the internet as well as their cancellation policy before committing. Finally, it’s important to consider your schedule-will you be able to attend class at a time that works for everyone?
Once you’ve chosen a training provider and completed your course, be sure to continue learning throughout your career – and with ICAgile’s certification valid for life, there’s no rush!
Interested in taking an ICAgile course? Sign up for one of our upcoming training sessions! They’re fully online, provided by our ICAgile-certified instructors, and a great opportunity to learn more about Agile methodologies.