The ICAgile organization was founded to help businesses develop a more structured and efficient way of working. The goal is to have all the tools needed for agile project management so that an organization can be successful in its work. The ICAgile certification process helps individuals learn how to successfully use these tools and become certified professionals or experts in their field.
This article will discuss what ICAgile is, what certifications it offers (ICP – ICAgile Certified Professional and ICE – ICAgile Certified Expert), and how you can get certified through the different learning tracks.
Let’s start with the basics – the definition of ICAgile and the benefits of becoming an agile professional.
ICAgile: The Breakdown
So, what is ICAgile?
The International Consortium for Agile (ICAgile) is an international group that supports and helps businesses use agile practices to manage their projects more efficiently. They are a certification and accreditation body without offering any training or courses themselves. Instead, you can find a list of ICAgile-accredited course providers on their website.
An ICAgile-accredited course supports their comprehensive Learning Outcomes. ICAgile utilized the experience and expertise of global thought leaders in Agile to help develop this extensive list of Learning Outcomes. ICAgile continually collaborates with Agile practitioners and contributors to ensure that their standards are met and up to date. Then they work with training providers worldwide to review their courses and check that they cover the required Learning Outcomes.
The ultimate goal of ICAgile and its accreditation and certification is to help businesses in their agile practices. The idea is to make sure that any business can find courses or training providers that are ICAgile-accredited to be successful with Agile projects.
Benefits of Being Agile
In today’s rapidly changing markets, an organization has no other choice but to become agile.
Here is a list of the most significant benefits of an agile company:
- The company can quickly respond to market changes.
- The company takes on less risk (fewer mistakes).
- The employees are more engaged and happier in their jobs.
- The organization is quick, efficient, and effective with its projects.
These benefits all lead to a higher level of customer satisfaction, leading to increased profitability for the business.
Agility, by definition, represents mindset. The agile mindset is a set of attitudes and behaviors that help the organization constantly move forward to take advantage of opportunities without being slowed down by fear or insecurity in today’s fast-paced world.
The ICAgile certification process is designed to ensure that individuals have this agile mindset when working with projects themselves as well as teaching others how to move forward with agility.
Common Mistakes on the Road to Agility
The process of becoming an agile business is not an easy one. The list below is a compilation of the most common mistakes organizations make on their road to agility. The ICAgile certification process has been designed with these pitfalls in mind:
- Ignoring agile principles
- Expecting quick fixes or silver bullets for every situation
- Focusing only on what the executives want instead of focusing on and understanding the customer’s needs
- Trying to do everything at once instead of breaking the project down into smaller, manageable tasks
- Leaders that don’t fully commit to agile principles – keeping the status quo and resisting new ideas
- Having unclear goals or not having a clear vision for where the company is going to be in five years
Any of these mistakes can lead an organization down a path that does not maximize its potential. The ICAgile certification process is one way to help organizations avoid these mistakes and ensure success.
Through its course providers or member organizations, ICAgile offers two types of certifications:
- ICP (ICAgile Certified Professional)
- ICE (ICAgile Certified Expert)
The ICP is a knowledge-based certificate. It emphasizes the importance of adopting an agile mindset as opposed to focusing on any specific agile methodology. An essential advantage of ICAgile courses and certifications is that they are methodology-neutral, meaning that the trainings can be applied to any methodology, such as Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Scrum @Scale, LeSS, Nexus, or Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD).
Earning an ICP is based on completing a course or training program and demonstrating an understanding of the agile principles that form the foundation for all ICAgile courses. These are time and effort-intensive courses, but the result is a professional who is agile-minded and has exceptional knowledge of how to apply that mindset in different situations.
The ICE is a competency-based certificate with more stringent prerequisites than ICP. An individual can apply for an ICE only when they have completed the entirety of an ICAgile Learning Track and earned all of the ICP within that specific path.
The ICE is also based on demonstrating knowledge and competency in implementing agile practices, as well as teaching other people how to do it. Each ICE challenge is different and will demand the utmost commitment to complete.
Overall, the ICAgile certification process is a challenge worth pursuing. The reward is more than worth it: an agile-minded professional who has cutting-edge knowledge on how to utilize agile techniques in different contexts.
ICAgile Learning Tracks
ICAgile offers over twenty knowledge-based ICP certificates. They are organized into Learning Tracks, with each track focusing on a different field of work. At the end of each learning track is an ICE certificate that one can obtain if they’ve displayed exceptional knowledge and ability in that area.
Before you embark on a track that meets your needs, you should start with an Agile Fundamentals course.
The foundation of all ICAgile learning tracks is the Agile Fundamentals course. This course aims to prepare learners by teaching them about different practices in an agile setting. It is centered around “being agile while doing agile” instead of teaching the intricacies of agile methodologies (such as Kanban, XP, Scrum, and similar).
The most important thing that you learn from this initial ICAgile course is how to be a more effective team member when on projects. The Agile Fundamentals course teaches you how to identify and deal with everyday communication issues, how agile teams must make decisions in the face of uncertainty, and why it is crucial for team members to be self-organizing rather than relying on a single leader.
The result is someone who can contribute equally, whether they are an IT professional, project manager, or someone else entirely. The Agile Fundamentals course is designed to be the first step in ICAgile’s learning tracks, and it should not be skipped.
At the end of this course, participants earn their first ICP certificate. They can then choose which learning track to pursue based on their goals and interests.
Agile Coaching Track
The Agile Coaching track is the ICAgile course that teaches individuals how to coach others. The goal of this ICP certificate is not only for team members but also managers or anyone else who wants to improve their coaching skills in a professional setting.
Topics covered in this track include agile facilitation practices, the different roles of an agile coach, working in new agile teams, and helping a team reach self-organization. The end result is a coach who has a deep understanding of how agile processes and teams work and what it takes to be effective in this type of environment.
At the end of this learning track, learners have two ICP and one ICE certificate:
- ICAgile Certified Professional – Agile Team Facilitation (ICP-ATF)
- ICAgile Certified Professional – Agile Coaching (ICP-ACC)
- ICAgile Certified Expert in Agile Coaching (ICE-AC)
Agile Engineering Track
If you are working in software development or are heavily involved in the technical side of a project, then the Agile Engineering Track may be for you.
Topics covered in this course include: how agile engineering teams work and collaborate, characteristics of simple design, testing patterns that help with reaching technical excellence, and continuous integration and continuous delivery. Engineers on this learning track are taught how to design with simplicity, write tests that allow for better code quality, and work on the parts of a project that are most important when deploying. The end goal is someone who has deep knowledge of agile engineering practices.
At the end of this learning course, learners will have the following certificates:
- ICAgile Certified Professional – Agile Programming (ICP-PRG)
- ICAgile Certified Professional – Agile Software Design (ICP-ASD)
- ICAgile Certified Expert in Agile Engineering (ICE-AE)
Agile Testing Track
Without a tester, an agile team cannot function. This track is designed to help those who want to become a tester on an agile team.
Topics covered include identifying common mistakes made by testers and what can be done to prevent them, how stress affects work performance and what testing techniques and automated principles and strategies can be used. The result is someone who has the knowledge needed to become a useful tester on a new agile project.
After completing the Agile Testing track, participants could have these certificates:
- ICAgile Certified Professional – Agile Testing (ICP-TST)
- ICAgile Certified Professional – Agile Test Automation (ICP-ATA)
- ICAgile Certified Expert in Agile Testing (ICE-AT)
Delivery Management Track
Agility in delivery management is essential for any project to be successful. The Delivery Management track is specifically designed for those who are not technical but need a deep understanding of leading an agile team and delivering products successfully.
This course covers effective stakeholder management, the different types of sprints (iterative or time-boxed), delivery planning techniques that allow for flexibility and responsiveness, and effective use of an agile project management tool. The result is a leader who can work with an agile team in different settings and manage the needs of various stakeholders.
At the end of this learning track, learners will have two ICP and one ICE certificate:
- ICAgile Certified Professional – Agile Project and Delivery Management (ICP-APM)
- ICAgile Certified Professional – Delivery at Scale (ICP-DAS)
- ICAgile Certified Expert in Delivery Management (ICE-DM)
DevOps stands for “development” and “operations,” which are two groups that traditionally work on separate parts of a project. The DevOps track is designed to help those who want to get into this growing field and bridge the gaps between these teams.
Topics covered in this course include: how software development can be more effective with constant feedback from operations, different tools that can be used to monitor new and existing software from a DevOps perspective, and how IT automation is essential when it comes to agility. The goal of this track is for those who are in the field or want to get into the field to understand how they can work together effectively.
The DevOps track offers three different certificates:
- ICAgile Certified Professional – Foundations of DevOps (ICP-FDO)
- ICAgile Certified Professional – Implementing DevOps (ICP-IDO)
- ICAgile Certified Expert in DevOps (ICE-DO)
Product Ownership Track
Being a product owner for an agile team is one of the most challenging jobs. The Product Ownership track is designed to help those who want to become product owners on an agile project or get better at what they are already doing.
Topics covered in this course include: how understanding and managing stakeholder needs can be crucial for success, techniques for adaptive planning and product road-mapping, the principles of organizational alignment, and progressive elaboration. The goal of the Product Ownership track is for participants to gain a deep understanding of how they can become effective product owners.
The certificates offered at the end will help them stand out from other candidates in their field and get started on this career path:
- ICAgile Certified Professional – Agile Product Ownership (ICP-APO)
- ICAgile Certified Professional – Enterprise Product Ownership (ICP-EPO)
- ICAgile Certified Expert in Product Ownership (ICE-PO)
Now that you are familiar with the basics of ICAgile and its learning paths, let’s talk about how to get certified.
Step One: Finding the Right Course
The first step is finding the right course for yourself. The ICAgile website has an online search that will help you find what type of learning track and certificate would be best suited for your needs or interests.
Consider whether you prefer an in-person course or an online one. Each has its pros and cons.
If you are the type of learner who does well in a group, then an in-person course would be the best choice for you. The added opportunity to discuss and learn from your peers will give you a chance for more questions and opportunities to ask instructors real-life scenarios that may not be covered in the curriculum.
On the other hand, if you prefer learning at home or don’t have time to dedicate to an in-person course, the online option would be better for you.
Step Two: Attending the Course
ICAgile recommends that their ICP courses last at least two full days of instruction and activities. If needed, more time can be allocated for the new concepts in Agile and that are introduced.
However, ultimately, it is up to each course provider to decide on the course structure.
During the course, make sure that you are clear on everything that’s mentioned. Take notes and ask questions. The instructors want to make sure that you are able to remember the topics so you can apply them when needed in your workplace environment.
If you receive study material before the course, at least skim through it. This will give you a better idea of what will be covered, your knowledge gaps, and what you need to pay special attention to.
Step Three: Receiving the Certificate
Typically, ICP courses don’t have a final exam. The instructor evaluates the participants based on the activities and exercises completed throughout the course. The instructor will decide when to give feedback on how well participants understood the material, as well as whether they can be certified or not.
Once your instructor is satisfied with your work, you can register for your certificate on the ICAgile website.
ICAgile certification is ideal for learning more about Agile and agile practices in business and product development. An agile company enjoys many benefits:
- Quick adaptation.
- The ability to evolve gracefully with market changes.
- An increased sense of self-reliance.
Even though ICAgile doesn’t offer any training itself, it accredits a wide range of training providers and courses that cover various Agile topics. It has six learning tracks tailored to suit various needs, from beginners who want to learn the basics to those with experience who wish for more advanced knowledge.
Once you adopt the agile mindset, you and your team will be empowered to take on challenges with a sense of creativity and confidence. The Agile Fundamentals certification is the first step in developing your agile skillset, but it doesn’t end there! It will require dedication from you and your team if you want to create a permanent agile culture.
If you’d like to become ICAgile certified, take a look at our ICAgile-accredited courses. The i4 Group has you covered when it comes to all things Agile, either remotely or locally in the Dallas and Fort Worth area.