ICAgile is a certification and accreditation body that specializes in all things Agile. They help companies implement accredited agile practices and get into the mindset of continuous improvement.
The following article will explore what it means to be an “agile” organization and how having an agile mindset (within an organization) is imperative in today’s volatile IT industry.
The Definition of ICAgile
An important detail to know right off the bat is that ICAgile is not a training company. Instead, they are a certification and accreditation agency. What does that mean?
According to ICAgile’s website:
“We work with course providers to accredit new or existing courses against our comprehensive and proven Learning Outcomes.”
The chief purpose of ICAgile is to ensure that Agile courses offered across the globe are up-to-date with the latest industry standards and developments. They collaborate with some of the leading practitioners, experts, and contributors in Agile to develop learning programs that meet the needs of today’s business environment. ICAgile then works with training companies to ensure that they are compliant and have high-quality Agile certification programs.
What they achieve through these partnerships is to build a developer community that better understands not just what it means to be agile but also how an organization can evolve its culture or practices for that transformation to occur.
Benefits of Being Agile
In today’s volatile business environment, an organization must be agile.
Organizational agility consists of many elements, including:
- Agility of mind
- Agility of culture and management style
- Agility of programs and processes
- Agility to change (with the business environment)
The word ‘agile’ here refers to the ability of an organization to adapt to changing circumstances. What is happening in the business environment? What are the opportunities and challenges that may await you in the future? What must you do now to prepare for these changes?
Agility, at its core, addresses these questions by striking a balance between strategic planning and decision-making while adapting to change.
The benefits that come from being agile within an organization are varied. Some notable ones include:
- Innovation and creativity
- Faster learning cycles
- Better management of change
- Healthier working relationships between stakeholders
- Greater employee satisfaction
- Greater ability to respond to changes in a business environment
ICAgile is designed to provide organizations with the tools and resources to shift into an agile mindset. What this means for companies is a faster way of arriving at solutions (in all aspects of their business) by embracing change, learning from mistakes, and quickly responding to new information.
Common Pitfalls on the Road to Agility
There are several common pitfalls that companies encounter when trying to become more agile.
Lack of Commitment
Leaders cannot commit fully to change because it requires time, energy, and resources. This amounts to a half-measure approach to change that doesn’t fully take advantage of the benefits that come with agility.
What should companies do to avoid such an unintended consequence?
An organization’s culture needs to be aligned with its goals for agility, which means engagement from top leadership (which can sometimes be the biggest challenge) as well as staff at all levels.
The organizational culture could be working against the goals of agility. The culture is set up in such a way that there are barriers to a more agile mindset and behavior.
What can companies do to avoid this?
To begin with, it is critical for senior management or those who have the power to impact organizational culture to change their own behaviors first.
Lack of Structured Approach
What is the best way to learn? How does one improve upon their skills? Is there a systematic process for doing so? What about getting feedback on performance or reviewing metrics against goals and objectives? As you can see, processes are essential. Missing internal systems or out-of-date systems that are no longer effective become a barrier to agility.
What should companies do to counter this problem?
A company must have a more formal, structured approach for learning and improving skills. This could be as simple as providing staff with an internal education and assessment program, or it may require creating new training programs designed by their in-house experts.
The Concept of Agility
An agile organization is flexible, fast-learning, and enjoys higher customer satisfaction.
But what does it mean to be “agile” in the first place?
The ICAgile team recognizes that agility is a necessary component of any successful business. The goal is not just about having one or two people within an organization to make decisions without oversight. To be fully “agile,” an organization needs commitment from all levels and departments for agile processes, tools, and methods to be adopted company-wide.
ICAgile Learning Outcomes
To ensure a standardized level of understanding in agile practices, ICAgile has developed a comprehensive list of Learning Outcomes. These outcomes are tried, tested, and discipline-specific. Each ICAgile-certified course is evaluated against these learning outcomes and results in an exceptional, measurable level of competence.
ICAgile Learning Outcomes are a vitally important part of the organization’s focus on continuous delivery and improvement of products and services to customers. They are divided into two major categories – business agility and agile delivery learning outcomes.
Business agility learning outcomes describe the knowledge and skills necessary to understand and drive business improvement by adopting agile processes, tools, and methods. It consists of the following segments:
- Leading with Agility
- People Development
- Adaptive Org Design
- Agility in Finance
- Agility in HR
- Agility in Marketing
- Agility in the Enterprise
- Business Agility Foundations
- Coaching Agile Transitions
- Expert Competencies for Enterprise Coaching
- Product Management
Agile delivery learning outcomes are related to an individual’s ability to deliver high-quality products using agile practices. They include:
- Product Ownership Track
- Agile Coaching Track
- Agile Engineering Track
- Agile Fundamentals
- Agile Testing Track
- Delivery Management Track
- DevOps Track
Where to Start
If you’re not familiar with agile processes, ICAgile recommends you take an Agile Fundamentals course accredited by them. This will give you a solid foundation for understanding agile principles and practices and allow you to decide if this is right for your organization or the project at hand.
Once you successfully complete the course, you will receive the ICAgile Certified Professional (ICP) certification.
Choosing the Right Track
After getting a solid foundation with Agile Fundamentals, you can continue to a more specified ICAgile certification program. Some of these were mentioned before:
- Agile Coaching Track – for Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Agile Project Managers, and even Analysts.
- Agile Engineering Track – for Software Developers, Test Engineers, Technical Architects, Development Managers, Technical Team Leads, and IT Consultants.
- Agile Testing Track – for those involved in software testing on any level.
- Delivery Management Track – for Project Managers and Operations professionals responsible for delivering products and services through the project management lifecycle.
- Business Agility Track – for anyone who wants to help with the transformation of a business by adopting agile processes, tools, and methods.
- DevOps Track – for those working as a Developer, Tester, Operations lead, Manager, Agile Coach, or are interested in becoming any of that in the department of DevOps.
- Enterprise Agile Coaching Track – for Agile Coaches who have completed the Agile Coaching Track and wish to expand their skills to the enterprise level and become a Certified Enterprise Agile Coach.
- Value Management Track – for anyone who wants to help with maximizing value at scale. Great for Business Analysts, Product Managers, Product Owners, Business Subject Matter Experts.
Every track has a different focus, but each is essential to organizational success when adopting agile methods. Even though the tracks are specific, you can still take multiple courses and programs to round out your knowledge.
What is unique about ICAgile is its focus on the whole project lifecycle – from beginning to end. They provide everyone in an organization with a common language and understanding of agile methodologies, making it easier to work on projects collaboratively and efficiently.
ICAgile is an accreditation body that ensures a high-quality standard for anyone adopting Agile practices and methods. The courses accredited by them are focused on all levels of an organization, from the individual contributor level to leadership positions.
Businesses that adopt an agile mindset can expect to be more successful by delivering a higher quality product faster. Additional benefits include:
- Employees that are happier, more productive, and have better job satisfaction. Increased ’employee engagement’ is a critical factor to increased productivity in any organization. A happier workforce translates into increased customer satisfaction which ultimately leads to an increase in revenue.
- With a higher level of employee engagement comes better quality products and services. The Agile practices and tools are focused on quality, and increased communication between teams and departments leads to a better overall product.
If you are looking to become an ICAgile-certified professional or would like your team to become Agile Certified, feel free to contact the i4Group. We offer an extensive list of ICAgile-approved courses and programs that can help you improve your organization’s agility. Reach out to us to learn more about our remote and local services in the Dallas and Fort Worth area!