Agile methodologies have gained widespread popularity recently for their ability to improve project management, foster collaboration, and drive results in various industries. 

Agile methodologies for teams

Team-based Agile methodologies, such as Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming (XP), focus on small, cross-functional teams working together to deliver projects iteratively and incrementally. These frameworks emphasize collaboration, adaptability, and continuous improvement to optimize team performance and ensure the delivery of high-quality products or services. By adopting these methodologies, teams can quickly respond to changing requirements, reduce development time, and improve customer satisfaction.

Agile methodologies for scaling

Scaling Agile methods are designed to help organizations apply Agile principles and practices to multiple teams or at the enterprise level. 

Scaling methodologies allow organizations to realize the benefits of Agile while addressing the challenges of managing complex, interdependent projects across different teams or departments. Examples include Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS), Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD), Nexus, and Scrum at Scale. 

Organizations should consider investing in Agile training for their employees to ensure that team members can effectively apply Agile practices and adapt to the fast-paced, ever-changing business landscape. With multiple training options available, including certified and customized training, organizations must carefully consider the most suitable approach to meet their specific needs and goals. 

Certified Agile Training

Definition of certified training

Certified training refers to standardized, structured courses recognized Agile training organizations provide. These courses follow a fixed curriculum and prepare participants for specific Agile certifications, such as Certified Scrum Master (CSM), SAFe Agilist, or ICAgile Certified Professional (ICP). Upon completing the training and passing a formal assessment, attendees receive an official accreditation recognized across the industry.

Overview of Agile training organizations and Certifications

  • Scrum Alliance: This non-profit organization offers a variety of Scrum-based certifications, including Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), and Certified Scrum Developer (CSD).
  • Founded by one of the co-creators of Scrum, offers various Scrum certifications, such as Professional Scrum Master (PSM), Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO), and Professional Scrum Developer (PSD).
  • Scaled Agile, Inc.: This organization is responsible for the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and offers certifications like SAFe Agilist (SA), SAFe Practitioner (SP), and SAFe Program Consultant (SPC).
  • ICAgile: This organization offers a wide range of Agile certifications based on different disciplines, such as Agile Coaching, Agile Testing, and Agile Project Management.
  • Others: Several other organizations and frameworks offer Agile certifications, including Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD), Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS), and the Project Management Institute’s Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP).

Pros of certified Agile training

  1. Fixed curriculum: Certified Agile training follows a consistent, structured curriculum, ensuring participants receive the same knowledge and skills across training sessions.
  2. Consistent quality: Agile training organizations that provide certified training usually maintain high-quality standards, as they are monitored and accredited by governing bodies.
  3. Official accreditation: Upon completion of certified Agile training and passing a formal assessment, attendees receive an official certification recognized by the industry, which can enhance their professional credibility and marketability.

Cons of certified Agile training

  1. The limited scope of learning: Certified Agile training courses typically focus on a specific Agile methodology or framework, potentially limiting the breadth of knowledge and skills attendees acquire.
  2. Missing out on alternative practices: By focusing on one particular framework, attendees may not be exposed to other Agile practices that could benefit their organization.
  3. Annual fees for certification maintenance: Some Agile certifications require yearly fees or periodic renewal through continuing education, which can be an ongoing cost for individuals and organizations.
  4. The market value of certifications: While certifications are within the industry, their actual market value and impact on career advancement can vary, depending on factors such as the specific certification, employer preferences, and industry trends. In reality, employers favor practical experience over credentials.

Customized Agile Training

Definition of customized Agile training

Customized Agile training refers to tailored learning programs designed to meet the specific needs of an organization or team. Instead of a fixed curriculum, customized training courses focus on the participants’ unique challenges, goals, and requirements, providing targeted, relevant knowledge and skills. 

How customized training differs from certified training

Customized training courses differ from certified training in several ways, including focusing on the organization’s specific needs, the absence of a standardized curriculum, and formal, standardized assessments or official certifications. Customized training courses can also incorporate multiple Agile methodologies and practices, providing a more comprehensive learning experience not limited to a single framework.

Pros of customized Agile training

  1. Customized curriculum for specific needs: Customized training courses are tailored to the unique needs and challenges of the organization, ensuring that the content is relevant and applicable to the participants’ work.
  2. Targeted and efficient learning: By focusing on the organization’s specific needs, customized training can be more efficient, as participants spend less time on irrelevant or unnecessary topics.
  3. Access to diverse processes and practices: Customized training courses can cover a wide range of Agile methodologies and practices, providing participants with a more comprehensive understanding of Agile principles and techniques.

Cons of customized Agile training

  1. Quality uncertainty: Since a recognized Agile training organization does not provide customized training courses, the quality of the training can vary depending on the instructor and the training provider.
  2. Lack of standardized assessment: Customized training courses typically do not include formal assessments or certifications, making it difficult to measure the effectiveness of the training or compare the skills of attendees with those who have completed certified training.
  3. Dependence on instructor and training provider quality: The success of customized training depends mainly on the expertise and skills of the instructor and the training provider, which can be difficult to assess beforehand.

Comparing the pros and cons of customized Agile training vs. Agile certifications

Comparing the pros and cons of customized Agile training vs. Agile certifications

Public vs. Private Agile Training: Pros and Cons

Understanding public and private training

  1. Public training: Open to the general public, with attendees from different companies and industries participating in the same class. This type of training allows individuals to gain exposure to various perspectives and experiences.
  2. Private training: A dedicated trainer is assigned to a specific company to deliver training exclusively to their employees. This approach allows for a more customized and focused learning experience tailored to the organization’s unique needs and context.

Pros of public Agile training

  1. Cost-effectiveness: Public training is often more cost-effective for small teams or companies sending only a few employees for training. Based on a per-seat basis, the pricing structure makes it a financially attractive option for those with limited budgets and small teams.
  2. Diversity of perspectives: Public training offers a rich and diverse learning environment by bringing together participants from various industries and backgrounds. This diversity enables attendees to broaden their understanding, enhance their problem-solving skills, and gain insights into different approaches and best practices.
  3. Networking opportunities: Attending public training sessions allows participants to establish connections with professionals from different industries and backgrounds. These networking opportunities can lead to valuable professional relationships and potential collaborations in the future.

Cons of public Agile training

  1. Generic content: Due to its nature, public training may not be tailored to your organization or industry’s specific needs and context. This could mean some content may not directly apply to your organization’s unique challenges and goals.
  2. Limited long-term relationship: In most cases, the relationship with the training provider usually ends upon course completion. This means there is less opportunity to develop a deeper, ongoing partnership with the provider that can lead to continuous improvement and alignment with your organization’s strategic objectives.
  3. Scheduling: With public training, the schedule is predetermined and non-negotiable. Participants must attend the training sessions on the specified dates and times set by the training provider. This can be challenging for organizations with time-sensitive projects or employees with conflicting schedules. The fixed schedule may also mean that employees must wait for the next available training session, which could delay their skill development and impact the organization’s progress.

Pros of private training

  1. Customized content: One of the key benefits of private training is that it can be tailored to your organization’s specific context, addressing your unique challenges and goals. This allows for a more targeted learning experience that can drive meaningful change within your organization.
  2. Long-term relationship: Private training offers the opportunity to develop a long-term relationship with the training provider. This ongoing partnership can lead to a deeper understanding of your organization, allowing the provider to refine their approach and better align their training and coaching efforts with your strategic objectives.
  3. A critical mass of knowledge: For larger companies, private training may be particularly beneficial in creating a critical mass of knowledge within the organization. By training a larger group of employees simultaneously, the organization can more effectively drive lasting change and prevent the dilution of the training’s impact as it is implemented across the company.
  4. Scheduling: One of the advantages of private training is the flexibility in scheduling. Since the training is tailored to the organization’s needs, it is also possible to customize the schedule to accommodate the employees’ availability and the organization’s priorities. This flexibility allows for better planning and coordination, ensuring employees can attend the training without disrupting ongoing projects or creating additional stress. A flexible schedule also enables organizations to provide timely training to address specific needs, ensuring employees have the right skills and knowledge when needed.

Cons of private training

  1. Cost: Private training can be more expensive than public training, especially for smaller teams or companies with limited budgets. To make financial sense, private training usually requires a minimum number of attendees (4-8).
  2. A minimum number of attendees: As mentioned above, private training often requires a minimum number of attendees to be cost-effective. This requirement may be challenging for organizations with smaller teams or fewer employees requiring training.

In conclusion, choosing between public and private Agile training depends on your organization’s size, budget, and specific needs. Public training offers cost-effective learning opportunities, diverse perspectives, and networking opportunities for small teams or companies with few employees attending the training. In contrast, private training can provide customized content, long-term relationships with training providers, and a critical mass of knowledge that can drive lasting change within larger organizations. By carefully considering the pros and cons of each approach, you can determine which option best aligns with your organization.

Comparing the Pros and Cons of Public vs. Private Agile Training

Comparing the Pros and Cons of Public vs. Private Agile TrainingCombining Agile Training with Hands-on Coaching and Facilitation

The 70-20-10 model for learning and development

The 70-20-10 model is a widely recognized approach to learning and development, which suggests that individuals acquire knowledge and skills through a combination of on-the-job experiences (70%), social learning from others (20%), and formal training (10%). This model highlights the importance of combining classroom-based training with hands-on coaching and facilitation to maximize learning outcomes.

70-20-10 Model for LearningBenefits of hands-on coaching and facilitation

Hands-on coaching and facilitation can significantly enhance the effectiveness of certified and customized training programs by allowing participants to apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills in real-world situations. This experiential learning approach enables individuals to receive direct feedback, guidance, and support from experienced coaches, helping them to refine their Agile practices and continuously improve their performance.

Strategies to integrate coaching and facilitation with training

To integrate coaching and facilitation with training, organizations can consider the following strategies:

  1. Embed coaching and facilitation sessions throughout the training program, allowing participants to practice and refine their skills as they learn.
  2. Offer follow-up coaching and facilitation sessions after the completion of the training program to reinforce learning and support the implementation of Agile practices.
  3. Develop internal coaching and mentoring programs to foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement within the organization.

The Value of Pre- and Post-Training Assessments

In addition to selecting the appropriate training approach, organizations should consider conducting an organizational or team assessment before and after the training program.

Benefits of pre-training assessments

  1. Identify gaps and areas for improvement: A pre-training assessment can help uncover weaknesses or gaps in the organization’s Agile practices, providing valuable insights to tailor the training program and address specific needs.
  2. Establish a baseline for comparison: Assessing the current state of the organization’s Agile practices allows for establishing a baseline, which can be used later to measure the impact of the training and coaching efforts.
  3. Align training with organizational goals: Pre-training assessments help ensure that the training program is aligned with the organization’s strategic goals and objectives, maximizing the return on investment.

Benefits of post-training assessments

  1. Measure training effectiveness: Conducting a post-training assessment allows organizations to evaluate the effectiveness of the training program and identify areas where further improvement is needed.
  2. Gauge the impact of coaching and facilitation: By comparing pre-and post-training assessments, organizations can determine the impact of hands-on coaching and facilitation on the team’s Agile practices and performance.
  3. Continuous improvement: Post-training assessments can provide valuable feedback to inform future training and coaching initiatives, fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement within the organization.

The Value of Long-Term Relationships with Training and Coaching Partners

Deep understanding of the organization

  1. Familiarity with business goals and challenges: A long-term training and coaching partner will gain a comprehensive understanding of your organization’s goals, challenges, and unique processes, enabling them to tailor their training and coaching approach to address your unique needs.
  2. Knowledge of the organization’s vision and strategy: By establishing a long-term relationship with a training and coaching partner, they will deeply understand your organization’s vision, mission, and strategy, which can help them align their training and coaching efforts with your strategic objectives.
  3. Connection with the people: A long-term training and coaching partner will get to know the people within your organization, allowing them to understand better the unique needs, strengths, and areas for the development of your team members. This personal connection can help to create a more engaging and effective learning experience.

Ensuring quality through an ongoing partnership

  1. Demonstrated quality and expertise: By partnering with a training and coaching provider over the long term, you can establish their quality and expertise based on your own experience, mitigating the uncertainty associated with the quality of customized training programs.
  2. Consistency in training quality: A long-term relationship with a training and coaching partner enables your organization to maintain a consistent level of training quality, as the partner continuously refines their approach based on their deep understanding of your organization’s culture, goals, and objectives.

Building a foundation for continuous improvement

  1. Establishing a strong foundation: A long-term relationship with a training and coaching partner lays a strong foundation for your organization’s Agile practices, ensuring that your team receives the most effective and relevant training and coaching over time.
  2. Adapting to organizational changes: As your organization grows and changes, a long-term training and coaching partner can help you adapt your Agile practices to meet new demands, maintain alignment with strategic goals, and drive ongoing performance improvements.


In conclusion, deciding between certified and customized Agile training depends on various factors, such as the organization’s needs, goals, and culture. Combining the chosen training approach with hands-on coaching, facilitation, and pre-and post-training assessments can help organizations maximize the impact of their Agile training efforts and drive meaningful, lasting improvements in their teams’ performance.

Further Reading

  • Scrum Alliance: Learn more about Scrum Alliance’s certifications and resources.
  • Discover’s various Scrum certifications and resources.
  • Scaled Agile, Inc.: Explore the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and its related certifications.
  • ICAgile: Investigate ICAgile’s wide range of Agile certifications and disciplines.
  • Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD): Delve into the details of the Disciplined Agile Delivery framework and certifications.
  • Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS): Learn about Large-Scale Scrum, its principles, and certifications.
  • Project Management Institute (PMI) – Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP): Understand PMI’s Agile certification and its requirements.
  • The 70-20-10 Model for Learning and Development: Gain insights into the 70-20-10 model and its application in employee development.
  • Agile Coaching Institute: Enhance your knowledge of Agile coaching and facilitation techniques.