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What is an Agile practitioner?

An Agile practitioner is someone who is highly skilled in Agile techniques. They have an Agile mindset, meaning they embrace new opportunities and adapt easily to change. Agile practitioners follow the values and principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto. They have a good knowledge of existing Agile frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming. They also understand the relationship between Agile and Lean project management.

Agile practitioners play a vital role in Agile transformation. They use their expertise to advise teams on Agile best practices and guide them as they navigate their new methodology. Agile practitioners are responsible for figuring out which Agile practices will best suit an organization. They will assess the team’s current working model and which areas they want to improve. They will also identify potential advantages and challenges before helping the team to implement an appropriate framework. An Agile practitioner’s goal is to ensure that organizations fully embrace Agile so they can experience all the benefits it has to offer.

There may be many practitioners involved in one transformation. As the Scrum Alliance notes, when large-scale organizations with thousands of employees make the switch to the Scrum framework, “it takes dozens to tens of dozens of trained practitioners to lead Scrum teams, cut unnecessary protocol, stimulate feedback, and ultimately usher in a new way of working.” 

Agile practitioners are well equipped to tackle unforeseen situations. They remain calm in periods of intense flux, constantly seeking ways to make improvements. They are non-egotistical people who are open to constructive criticism and are always willing to work as part of a team.

As noted by Ralph Hughes in ScienceDirect.com, Agile practitioners follow a strategy of “fail fast and fix quickly.” Unlike the proponents of traditional project management, they are not afraid to make mistakes. This is because they understand that the iterative approach of Agile allows for minor errors to be made in the early stages of the development life cycle. These errors can be corrected in later Agile iterations, meaning risks are minimized, and there is a higher chance of project success.

How to become an Agile practitioner

An Agile practitioner must lead by example. They must be well versed in all areas of Agile project management and keep track of current trends. They must also remain curious and be constantly willing to learn.

If you want to become a certified Agile practitioner, there are a number of Agile courses you can take. One of the most well-known courses is the PMI-ACP, offered by the Project Management Institute. A certification such as this can help you demonstrate your Agile knowledge and hone your existing skills. Once certified, you could potentially dive into a Scrum-specific role — for example, the Scrum Alliance states that the ScrumMaster certification is a suitable entry-level course for certified Agile practitioners. 

Many practitioners will continue their Agile journey and become Agile coaches. To read more about Agile coaching, click here.