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July 19, 2013

How Much Does Agile Training Cost?

5 mins read

As Agile training providers, we’re often asked, “How much does Agile training cost?”  While many recognize Agile as a buzzword, often people are unclear on what Agile training entails and what type of training could be of the most value to their teams and organizations.

It is possible to spend a lot on training and not get much out of it – so it is important to make sure that you use training dollars where you will get the most value.  A credible trainer should always try to guide you to the type of training that is right for you and your team.

This post will explore how to pick the right Agile training for you, and how much you can expect that it will cost.

Before You Buy

Before selecting an Agile trainer or course, first consider what you really need.  Start by asking yourself these questions:

  1. Are you currently using Agile?
  2. What level of Agile training do you need (a high-level overview, a deep dive into a particular aspect of Agile, etc.)?
  3. Who should participate in the training (decision makers who need to buy into the Agile approach or practitioners who will be using Agile methods)?

For example, if the answer to the first question is, “no”, then you may want to consider sending a few key decision makers to an Agile or Scrum overview course rather than spending a lot to send an entire team to training.  This will provide you with an overview of how Agile might best fit the needs of your organization before you make a larger training investment.

Of course, if your team has already adopted Agile that may change the types of courses you choose and which team members are involved.  Do you need more technical support?  Perhaps you are expanding and need to train additional ScrumMasters and Product Owners.  Answering questions #2 and #3 will help lead you down the right path.

Your Agile trainer should be able to help guide you in selecting the best course for you.  If the trainer is not asking you a lot of questions and trying to understanding your needs OR if you feel like you are getting a one-size-fits-all approach, it may be time to look elsewhere.

Evaluating Options

Once you have decided to pursue Agile training, you have many options.  When deciding what training is best for you, look at your options like you would any other major business decision:

  • Get recommendations from your network the Agile community is tight knit.  If you are in the IT community, you likely know Agile practitioners and can get recommendations on where to find the best training and what sort of training will fit your needs.
  • Interview trainers if you don’t have recommendations, talk to providers, and analyze what they are offering you.  Remember, good Agile training is tailored to the needs of the participants – if a training provider is trying to sell you on a prescriptive training regimen without a deep understanding of your needs, they probably care more about selling you work than making sure you get the training you need.
  • Look for proper credentials  if you want to take a certified Scrum course through Scrum Alliance, be sure to use a trainer who has received his or her Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) certification.  This certification helps ensure that your instructor is knowledgeable and best positioned to help you.

Note:  If you want a different or specific type of Agile training, we still recommend participating in a course taught by a CST or companies with CSTs that are leaders in the industry.  CSTs guarantee that they have training experience, which generally ensures a better classroom experience.

The Numbers 

Now that you know what to ask yourself and how to evaluate your options, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty:  the cost of Agile training.  We will look at three popular courses currently offered in the marketplace.

  1. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) course is the most common type of Agile training course available.  For a public course like the CSM course, fees of $1000 – $1600 per person are the standard.  Depending on the course and the provider, you could use hours toward Project Management Institute (PMI) Professional Development Units (PDUs) to earn your Project Management Professional (PMP) or PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification.  You may also be able to take the Certified ScrumMaster evaluation upon completion to earn your CSM certification.
  2. Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) course cost about the same, somewhere from $1000 – $1600 per person.  Again, depending on the provider, you can use hours toward PMI PDUs for the PMP or PMI-ACP, or become a certified CSPO.
  3. An Agile or Scrum Overview course, which gives an overview of the Agile or Scrum methodology and is often a great starting point for executives, costs about $500 – $1000 per person.  Hours from this course could also be used for PMI PDUs for the PMP or PMI-ACP.

Private classes, which are even more finely tailored to your group’s needs, can be a better value.  The rates can be lower per person because you are buying in volume.  Costs here will vary based on the vendor, the scope, and the number of participants involved.

Don’t Forget: Ask for a Discount!

If you have narrowed down your selection to one provider or a small handful of providers, many organizations are willing to provide a discount.  If you are a student, make sure to mention that as discounts are often given to students.

What prices have you seen in the market for Agile training?

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