The Definitive Guide To Becoming An ICAgile Certified Professional

The Definitive Guide To Becoming An ICAgile Certified Professional

Since its conception in information technology, Agile has become the de facto standard for delivering software projects with optimal speed, efficiency, and quality. Not only that, but the Agile methodology has found its way into other industries as well, with digital transformation being one of the biggest beneficiaries. This is because Agile allows for rapid delivery of new features and capabilities that drive engagement, adoption, and ultimately revenue growth.

Learning about the Agile mindset, values, and principles is the first step to becoming an Agile professional. The next step is finding a training provider, learning track, Agile certification path, or framework that aligns with the industry in which you work.

This blog post will explore a specific type of Agile training created by the International Consortium for Agile (ICAgile), called the ICAgile Certified Professional (ICP) training. We will go over the different ICP learning tracks and how to choose the right one for you.

Before we get started, let’s make one thing clear – no matter which certification you obtain, all of them are based upon a common set of core values that define everything Agile stands for. No matter which certification you pick, your skillset will be valued by the business community.

What is ICAgile?

The International Consortium for Agile (ICAgile) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and advancing agile software and other product development across the globe.

It is important to emphasize that ICAgile is not a training center. They do not offer classes or certifications; they simply accredit other training centers that teach Agile.

The process goes like this: an instructor or a training body first comes up with a training plan on how they intend to present the information on any of the Agile learning paths that ICAgile provides. After that, they can then submit their course for accreditation. If it passes review, it becomes an ICAgile-accredited learning path.

With this accreditation, ICAgile guarantees that their partners are teaching their material with the highest integrity and expertise and in accordance with ICAgile’s learning objectives and course guidelines.

What is an ICAgile Certified Professional?

The expert community at ICAgile has created over 25 different certifications that cover a wide array of Agile knowledge.

These certifications can be divided into two categories:

  • ICAgile Certified Professional (ICP) certifications
  • ICAgile Certified Expert (ICE) certifications

The majority of the certifications fall under the ICAgile Certified Professional (ICP) umbrella. These are meant for anyone who wants to start their journey into the world of Agile while at the same time not limiting advanced Agilists or subject matter experts from finding more in-depth knowledge on specific areas of expertise.

ICP training paths are designed for anyone interested in starting their career or developing their knowledge of Agile.

The ICAgile Certified Expert (ICE) certifications are meant for those who already have considerable industry experience and want to take it to the highest level. These practitioners will only benefit from these advanced courses if they are working directly with clients or customers since most of the training is targeted at managerial or supervisory levels.

The ICAgile certifications are broken down into the following twelve tracks:

  • Agile Engineering
  • Agile Testing
  • DevOps
  • Product Strategy
  • Product Ownership
  • Delivery Management
  • Agility in Leadership
  • Agile Finance
  • Agile Marketing
  • Agile HR
  • Agile Team Coaching
  • Enterprise Coaching

Before we start exploring each of these learning tracks, we should take a closer look at the two foundational courses of the ICAgile training program – Agile Fundamentals (ICP) and Business Agility Foundations (ICP-BAF).

Both are open to everyone, regardless of their knowledge or experience level.

The Foundation Courses

Agile Fundamentals (ICP) provides the necessary foundation for understanding how Agile works and is meant for those who want to get into the Agile mindset and work in the software development industry (including managers and leaders).

It covers everything that people new to Agile need to know in great detail. The course also offers a rough guide on the essential elements of adopting an agile process within an organization.

Business Agility Foundations (ICP-BAF) is a similar foundational course, only for those who work outside of the technical sphere (in business roles like marketing, finance, HR, etc.). As with the Agile Fundamentals (ICP), it covers the necessary foundation in terms of both theory and practice that people need to become effective Business Agility practitioners.

Agile Engineering

The Agile Engineering learning path provides training on Lean and Agile practices for software-related endeavors. It is ideal for software developers, technical architects, system designers, etc.

The subjects include iterative and adaptive software design, test-driven development, continuous integration, code refactoring, continuous delivery, and more.

Here are the three ICAgile engineering certifications:

Agile Testing

This learning path gets into the details of Agile testing strategies – when and how to test in an Agile environment. It is targeted at anyone who works with software components or testers (technical leads, developers, agile testers, test engineers, and similar).

The course teaches Agile testing strategies and covers the necessary foundation in Agile principles and practices that testers need to know, such as continuous integration, test automation strategy, etc.

The ICAgile certifications under the learning path are:

DevOps

The DevOps track is meant for professionals who wish to get into the DevOps mindset. It is an ideal learning path for system administrators, operations engineers, release managers, etc. This certification focuses on product deployment in continuous delivery, development automation, maintaining high performance in production, and more.

The three certifications in this learning path are:

Product Strategy

Moving on from the DevOps track, the Product Strategy learning path explores Agile product management. It is for product managers, executives, product owners themselves (technical and non-technical), and similar professionals who wish to get into this topic.

This certification track emphasizes understanding what business strategy means in an organization that uses agile practices, how to assess which product ideas to prioritize and why, and other essential topics.

Just like in other learning tracks, there are three certifications in this track:

  • Business Agility Foundations (ICP-BAF)
  • Product Management (ICP-PDM)
  • Lean Portfolio Management (ICP-LPM)

Product Ownership

Business analysts, product managers, and product owners who wish to learn how agile works from a practical point of view should go through this track.

It covers the most important topics that practitioners need to know, such as product backlog refinement, prioritization (by value and business impact), stakeholder management, etc.

There are three certifications in this learning path:

Delivery Management

Delivery managers and delivery team leads are large in number, but there are few learning resources available to truly learn how to embrace the Agile mindset.

The Delivery Management track aims at professionals who wish to learn this approach or those already familiar with it but wish to improve their craft further.

The certifications are focused on strategies for delivery management with an emphasis on planning and scheduling, communication management, communication approaches, estimating and tracking progress.

There are three certifications in this learning path:

Agility in Leadership

If organization leaders do not have a strong Agile mindset, it can negatively affect their employees – from high-stress levels to low morale at work.

To cultivate a more agile organization, these leaders need to understand what Agile values and principles are all about, how they correlate to the company’s goals, and how they apply practically in daily work. The Agility in Leadership track is for them.

This learning path has four certifications, three of which are ICP-level and one is ICE-level.

  • Business Agility Foundations (ICP-BAF)
  • Leading with Agility (ICP-LEA)
  • People Development (ICP-PDV)
  • Expert in Agility in Leadership (ICE-AL)

Leaders and emerging leaders will learn about agile values and principles, how to use them in product design and strategy, agile leadership styles, different coaching techniques, etc.

Agile Finance

Meant for accountants, procurement professionals, sales and finance professionals, and those who have business analyst, project manager, and delivery manager roles, this learning track focuses on the knowledge and skills needed to bring Agile practices to finance functions.

The certifications in this path are:

  • Business Agility Foundations (ICP-BAF)
  • Agility in Finance (ICP-FIN)
  • Lean Portfolio Management (ICP-LPM)

Participants can hope to learn about Agile practices from a financial perspective, including how to mitigate financial risk, manage portfolio investments and costs, ways to set up an agile finance function, etc.

Agile Marketing

Marketing in Agile is zeroed in on serving the needs of customers and prospects.

Marketing and sales teams need to work closely with product development teams and leadership to understand customer requirements and ensure they are taken care of quickly and cost-effectively.

The certifications in this learning path are:

Marketing professionals, managers, and leaders will learn how to approach the market from an agile perspective, setting up a program to get there and measuring their efforts throughout.

Agile HR

The ICAgile HR learning track emphasizes creating a human-centered organization. HR professionals are expected to use their skills in people management in a cross-functional environment, employee engagement, organizational development, etc., while also applying agile principles and values. This track is aimed at HR pros who want to learn how to serve employees better while benefiting the company as a whole.

As with most other ICAgile learning paths, there are three certifications within this one:

  • Business Agility Foundations (ICP-BAF)
  • Agility in HR (ICP-AHR)
  • Adaptive Org Design (ICP-ORG)

Agile Team Coaching

If you wish to become an agile coach, agile manager, or scrum master, this learning path is right for you. Agile Team Coaching covers learning objectives such as agile values and principles and how coaching helps implement agility in teams, different coaching styles, etc.

Participants in this track can receive four certifications:

Enterprise Coaching

Finally, this track will prepare you to coach people within the company on using Agile in their professional lives. The materials included in this path will show you what it means to be a coach and how to best approach these kinds of responsibilities.

The main difference between the Agile Team Coaching and this learning track is that Enterprise Coaching focuses more on teamwork, collaboration, and communication across the company as the company transitions from a waterfall structure to Agile.

There are four certifications possible in this learning path:

How to find the best ICP path

Now that we know what the ICAgile learning paths entail, we should discuss finding the best ICAgile Certified Professional path for you.

First and foremost, know that there is no wrong or right answer – it depends entirely on your personal goals and professional aspirations.

Here are some questions that can help you narrow down your choices:

  • How much do you already know? – If you’re largely unfamiliar with Agile, you should start with the foundational courses. If you’re somewhat experienced, you should consider a more advanced certification program.
  • What do you want to accomplish? – What are your goals with Agile? Are you a business owner or leader interested in turning your company agile? Are you a developer eager to make the most of Agile when building software or start working in an Agile environment? Do you want to become a scrum master or agile coach? Once you know your goals, you can choose a path that is more suited to them.
  • What type of organization do you work in? – Do you currently work in a very hierarchical company, or does your organization embrace more modern workplace values? Are you interested in using Agile solely within your team, or do you want to introduce the practices across the entire company?
  • What is your role in your company? – And are you happy with it? Do you intend to stay in that role or look elsewhere within your company? Maybe you want to change positions entirely and become a scrum master, product owner, agile coach, etc.

Taking a moment to answer all of these questions and figure out what you want to achieve will help you choose the best path for you!

How to find the best ICAgile training provider

Now that you’re familiar with all twelve ICAgile learning tracks and know which one you want to go for, it’s time to find the right ICAgile Certified Professional training provider.

Here is some straightforward advice that can help you choose the best training provider for your situation:

  • Do they provide the training you want? – Not every instructor or provider is accredited for all twelve ICAgile learning paths. Make sure the training provider you choose offers the courses and classes you’re interested in.
  • Make sure they are authorized – The ICAgile website maintains a list of all authorized training providers. Don’t forget to check if the one you’re considering is listed here.
  • Check out their materials – What type of training do they provide? Can you see any testimonials? How long has the company been offering courses and providing training? It’s always a good idea to research and find out more information about them before you commit to anything.
  • Decide the type of training you want (in person or online) – Some ICAgile Certified Professionals prefer real-life training, while others opt for online courses. Think about your learning style and find a provider offering what works best for you.
  • Ensure the course fits your schedule – ICAgile courses typically last a couple of days. Check to see if any available providers suit your schedule and allow you enough flexibility to complete the course.
  • Is the provider affordable? – This is another factor to consider when choosing an ICAgile learning provider. There are some training providers offering courses at affordable rates, while others charge higher fees. If your budget is tight, you can choose a more cost-effective option.
  • Are there any reviews? – Don’t forget to read what previous participants have to say about the providers that interest you. Perhaps they have written some detailed reviews on their website, or maybe there are comments from satisfied credential holders on social media sites.

Think about your particular learning goals and make a decision! Remember that Google is your best friend when it comes to finding out more information about different training providers. Get online and start reading, looking at pictures, checking testimonials, etc.

Conclusion

Becoming an ICAgile Certified Professional isn’t an easy task, but it is definitely achievable with a lot of hard work, determination, and the right training provider.

ICAgile has developed a whopping twelve different learning paths, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your goals and ambitions.

Once you decide which learning track you want to go for, find a suitable ICAgile Certified Professional training provider who offers the courses and classes that match your skills and interests. Think about how far you want to go with your ICAgile certification and choose the provider who best fits your particular learning needs.

Lastly, if you’re interested in starting (or continuing) your ICAgile journey, check out our list of upcoming ICAgile training events. If you have any questions about those courses or would like to know more about becoming an ICAgile Certified Professional, don’t hesitate to get in touch.