Learning to be Agile - a snapshot of Agile training providers
Agile is an approach that focuses on high-bandwidth communication and creating self-organising teams. Will virtual training be beneficial to the uptake of Agile methods, or is the concept of virtual training anathema to an Agile organisation? What follows is a brief look at a sample of the face to face training consolidators and providers out there – far from comprehensive but a starting point for further investigation.
Scrum is probably the best known of the Agile techniques, and has a certification associated with its training. There are two levels of Scrum certification training, under the auspices of the Scrum Alliance. The Alliance restricts and accredits trainers who are allowed to offer certified Scrum training. A Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) is allowed to deliver training courses which they design; the course must address the basic Scrum structure and content. CSTs must pay an annual subscription fee of US$7500 to maintain their certified trainer status.
A CST is authorised to deliver the following Scrum courses:
Since 1 April 2009 the student must pass an exam to achieve ScrumMaster certification, and reaccredit every two years. Ongoing membership of the Scrum Alliance costs US$50 per year.
The Scrum Alliance maintains a list of CSTs and all the certified courses on offer.
The Scrum Alliance lists courses on offer all around the world.
A consolidator of Agile training in North America is the Agile University.
The mission statement of the Agile University is:
“To instill Agile principles, share knowledge of Agile practices and advance the adoption of Agile approaches. Through this collaborative effort, we manifest the power of people working together to perfect the art of software development”
The Agile University offers a variety of services to training providers.
- Listing a course in the schedule of available courses. Free of charge posting of course details and trainer bio, with a link to the provider’s web site.
- Student registration service. $75 per student; course listing, student registration and payment processing, student communications, billing and settlement and student feedback/trainer rating.
- Marketing and registration service. $125 per student plus a flat fee per course, all the registration services plus promotional services
- Full service option. $225 per student plus a flat fee per course, all the above services plus training venue selection & coordination, classroom logistics and production of course materials.
Agile University lists courses from a broad range of trainers, covering the whole gambit of Agile approaches. Agile luminaries such as Alistair Cockburn list their courses on the Agile University site.
The courses listed on the Agile University website are listed by the level of experience/prior knowledge – beginner, intermediate and advanced. They cover topics as diverse as Agile Engineering, Agile Project Management, Certified ScrumMaster and a variety of soft skills.
The Agile University courses are offered in North America.
InfoQ Virtual Training
In May, InfoQ anounced their expansion into the highly competative training marketplace, with the launch of InfoQ Virtual Training. The InfoQ offering is headlined as "High quality virtual training that focuses on topics that are in demand today. Affordable and accessible, you can attend these virtual events from the comfort of your home or office" How effectively can a new provider compete in this marketplace, and will virtual trainings from InfoQ (and other online training providers) be valuable to the Agile community?
Elsewhere in the World
Europe (United Kingdom, Benelux & Sweden)
An Agile approach with a lot of traction in the United Kingdom is the Dynamic Systems Development Methodology (DSDM) - the DSDM consortium oversees training and certification under the DSDM umbrella.
Similar to the Scrum Alliance, the DSDM consortium accredits training providers and a certification program. The consortium website maintains a list of training providers and their training offerings.
The antipodes are embracing Agile with the recent launch of the Agile Academy.
The Academy website states
Welcome to the Agile Academy, the next wave in Agile learning and collaboration. Designed for IT professionals, the Agile Academy is a knowledge hub that promotes Agile related learning, knowledge sharing and capability development across the IT industry. We offer an integrated curriculum of leading edge courses across the entire solution development life cycle, covering all roles at varying levels.
The Academy was founded in response to a recognised gap in the marketplace in the region when Suncorp, a large Australasian financial institution, made the decision to go Agile across the whole organisation. (The Suncorp Agile journey will be the subject of a later article).
Similar to the Agile University, the Agile Academy courses are not aligned with a specific Agile methodology, but cover a variety of subject areas, from leadership and project management to developer techniques and software testing.
The training providers listed above are certainly not all that are out there. Tell us about others and your experiences with them.
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