IPMA Agile Leadership

IPMA has developed a certification for experienced agile professionals who are able to successfully initiate change within a constantly transforming environment. The primary focus here is individual competencies – candidates are required to demonstrate that they possess a theoretical framework as well as practical experience. They are required to take a theoretical test, build a portfolio and take an assessment with 2 assessors. As such, the Agile Leadership certificate is complimentary to certificates for SAFe, scrum, etc.

Initially, we have developed the Agile Leadership certification for the Dutch market as The Netherlands has a pioneering role in the field of certification. IPMA International has accepted a pilot to embrace Agile Leadership and launch it internationally.


Update 11 October: New version (3.1) Experience document and Self-assessment

We released a new version (3.1) of the Agile Experience Document and the Self-assessment. The documents have been further improved and optimized. If you have not yet started we recommend you to use these new documents. If you have already started filling in the form, you can use your current version.

If you have any questions or feedback about the documents or about the course in general, please let us know.


What is leadership?

‘Leadership’ refers to many things. For instance, it may deal with content-based leadership – where vision and plotting a certain direction is paramount – as well as servant leadership: leadership which focuses primarily on people.


Who is it for?

The IPMA Agile Leadership certification is geared towards experienced agile professionals. The professional in question should be able to utilize the agile toolset in a broad context and on multiple levels within an organisational, situation-based context. An Agile Leadership certificate guarantees a professional who is experienced, transcends theory and subject matter, and who is sufficiently maneuverable with the necessary interpersonal skills to try out new things within a changing context. It shows that he/she is someone who helps others to improve – with individual as well as team/organisation-based competencies as a starting point.

The Agile Leadership certificate is meant for those that have demonstrated leadership within an agile context and have transcended their singular leadership role, such as product owners, scrum masters, managers, consultants, coaches, experts and agile project- and program managers.



IPMA Agile Leadership focuses on an agile professional’s competencies. An Agile Leadership candidate’s required competencies are outlined in various course objectives. The models and theories that the Agile Leadership candidate should know are outlined per requirement. Together, they form the basis for the theoretical examination as well as the assessment. The course objectives are in line with the ICB4 certification standards as much as possible. The competencies are split up between Perspective, People, and Practice – with 5 Perspective, 10 People and 13 Practice competencies.


Certification guide

The course objectives are detailed in the IPMA Agile Leadership certification handbook. The book is a must for anybody who wants to sufficiently prepare for the Agile Leadership certificate. In it you will find the relationship between the IPMA Competencies, course objectives, relevant agile field theory as well as the required mindset for the agile leader. As such, you will find that this book serves as a useful companion piece when developing your agile skillset. For this purpose, there is room for personal introspection after each course objective is outlined. The handbook is available for candidates digitally as well as in physical form. This book is digital available in English in your account after sign up for the course. The Dutch hardcopy version can be ordered from the order page.


Admission requirements

You have worked in an agile environment that required agile leadership skills  for at least 36 months in the past 6 years.

During the latter 12 months your role needs to have transcended the team environment. The last year is seen as defining for admission to the Agile Leadership program.


Program phases

The program is split up into 4 phases:

Phase 1: Submit Experience document and Self-assessment

Phase 2: Theoretical examination

Phase 3: Portfolio

Phase 4: Assessment


The program (including possible repeats) needs to be completed within 18 months of admission.


Phase 1: Experience document and Self-assessment

You will start by filling in two documents: the Experience document and the Self-assessment. In the Experience document, you will add your education, courses, employers as well as your work experience obtained during the past 3 years. Aside from that, you are required to provide 4 referents whom you have worked with during the past 3 years:

  • A fellow agile leader
  • A person working at senior management level
  • 2 people whom you have worked with in an agile environment

These referents should be able to assess the impact your work input has had in your organisation. After your report is approved, we will approach your referents with a brief survey via email consisting of 7 questions.

In the Agile biography you will describe the business unit/department you have been working for during the past year. Also, you will outline the department’s goal as well as its vision.

Additionally, you will describe your work during the past year from an organisational context. You will do this with the help of an organogram, a designated agile scaling model and the organisation of your teams.

After submission, we will assess within approximately 2 weeks if you are qualified for admission. When the results are deemed positive, you are allowed to take the theoretical exam.


In the ‘Self-assessment’ you describe the impact your work has had in the last year, based on competence elements. The competencies in question will be published in the near future.



Experience document IPMA Agile Leadership
Self-assessment IPMA Agile Leadership


Phase 2: Theoretical exam

In this phase you will take a theoretical test. We will assess your understanding of agile principles, theories and practices. The exam itself consists of open questions where you apply your knowledge of agile to specific cases. You will be tested randomly based on the 3 areas of competence.

The areas of competence are divided as follows:

  • Perspective: 20-35%
  • People: 35-55%
  • Practice: 20-35%

The exam consists of theoretical as well as practical and analytical questions. These questions are divided as follows:

  • Knowledge: 30-40%
  • Practical application: 40-50%
  • Analysis: 20-30%

The exam takes up approximately 3 hours.

To ensure you are optimally prepared, we offer a sample exam.

To find out what course material you need to master, please consult the course objectives.


Sample papers

IPMA Agile Leadership Exam Sample paper ENGLISH v1.1
IPMA Agile Leadership – Exam Sample Paper Answers ENGLISH v1.1


Phase 3: Portfolio

The portfolio is meant give the assessors insight into the way you apply agile in a practical, work environment, and furthermore to evaluate the impact your leadership has on your surroundings and your organisation. The portfolio consists of blogs you wrote yourself, presentations, pictures and/or videoclips of activities/interventions you yourself initiated or helmed.

The originality and authenticity of your portfolio is taken into consideration as part of your final assessment.

After approval of your portfolio, we plan a date for the interview in consultation with you.


Phase 4: Interview

The interview deals with the past year, as described in the Experience document and portfolio. Aside from that, we assess to what extent you have applied concepts as described in the theoretical exam into practice. The interview is conducted by two assessors and takes up no more than 90 minutes. If you are able to demonstrate during the interview that you have made significant impact, you will be recommended for certification.

Please bring documentation with you:
We ask you to bring tangible examples from your agile portfolio to the assessment. For example, a photo or video or other representation of examples:
– A photo or video or other representation of examples of how you set up visual management;
– A document that describes your vision on certain agile topics, such as a blog, an article or a presentation;
– A slideck or other representation of a course or workshop you have given;
– A video or other report of certain meetings or sessions that you have facilitated;
– Documentation that shows how the decision making in your environment went;
– A representation or example of how you have achieved impact or business value in your environment; etc.


More information and sign up

The cost for the IPMA Agile Leader amounts € 1.750 excluding VAT.


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