Practitioner in Agile Quality (PAQ)

Practitioner in Agile Quality (PAQ)2019-05-03T13:13:10+00:00

Agile software development allows organizations to respond to changing market dynamics with speed and confidence and get to market faster with products that delight their customers’ and add value to their experience.

The Practitioner in Agile Quality (PAQ) immerses participants in agile practices with an emphasis on the key competencies essential for high performing agile teams working together collaboratively to increase value to the business and the customer. A Practitioner in Agile Quality can use agile as an effective pathway to accelerate the delivery of quality software.   

Agile quality is the collective responsibility of the whole team. PAQ certification is not just for testers but anyone, and everyone, in the team who needs to continuously deliver better products, services and user experiences using agile.

The course builds on existing testing, software quality management and agile theory inspiring and building confidence through hands-on exercises and experiential learning aligned to the PAQ Competency Framework. The final practical assessment ensures that PAQ holders have demonstrated that they can achieve the expected PAQ competency outcomes.

I’m a candidate
I’m a training provider

The PAQ Competency Framework is based on the underlying knowledge, skills and behaviors that candidates need to demonstrate during both the PAQ course and practical assessment.

Whilst these competencies and the framework look similar to learning outcomes and objectives found in many training courses, the critical difference is that the competencies are expressed in a manner that focuses on what a candidate ‘can do’ in terms of practical application of knowledge, skills and behaviors.

The framework has been structured as follows:

  • Competency Area – 6 areas that are aligned to key practical attributes of the Agile Manifesto and 12 Principles.
  • Competency Outcome – A statement for the Competency Area that defines what an Agile Practitioner is capable of achieving/demonstrating by meeting the competency requirements for that area. The areas and outcomes are listed below:

Agile Mindset

Faster Delivery

Build Quality In

Engineering Principles

Continuous Testing


  1. Agile Mindset: Prove that you can put into practice all the soft skills appropriate to the agile mindset aligned to the Agile Manifesto and principles.
  2. Faster Delivery: Optimise delivery through implementing efficiencies and effective practices, maximizing the work not done.
  3. Build Quality In: Implement the team activities to ensure the product quality objectives for each persona are met from inception throughout the product lifecycle.
  4. Engineering principles: Build the right product, right first time maximizing Business value using repeatable, auditable and adaptable processes, whilst minimizing technical debt.
  5. Continuous testing: Support the integration of code by iterating through a plan, build, test multiple times per day, in order to complete committed items aligned to acceptance criteria and the iteration definition of done.
  6. Scalability: Identify additional risks and changes required to effectively scale processes based on team size and/or distribution.

Expected Competency Requirements – a statement that can be prefixed by ‘can’ or ‘is able to’, expressing the specific skill and/or behaviour, that is being demonstrated either during the course or in the practical assessment. The underpinning knowledge is assumed from the prerequisites listed for the course which is augmented during the training.

The full list of the competencies is listed further below in this document.

Click here for the full PAQ Competency Framework.

PAQ is delivered as a 3-day training course – it is experiential and deeply immersive in the agile application of the PAQ Agile Competencies.

Participants will be evaluated against the soft skills and behaviors listed under the ‘Agile Mindset’ Competency Area. The PAQ course contains various exercises that will enable candidates to exhibit these characteristics. Qualified trainers will be able to observe these and provide any feedback to encourage candidates to improve their soft skills.

As such, the course is designed to engage with candidates with a view to help them exhibit the Agile Mindset competencies as opposed to a static observation of the skills and behaviors exhibited.

The soft skills evaluation is NOT part of the PAQ exam and as such is not assessed as a pass or fail. However, individual evaluation by the trainer will be provided to each candidate at the end of the course.

Note: Training providers may offer a 5-day course that includes 2 days of foundation level agile training that will ensure candidates hold the necessary prerequisites for PAQ.

The PAQ exam is in the form of a Competency Assessment that verifies the practical application of Agile principles. The assessment takes place at the end of the course, or it can be separately scheduled to be taken via remote proctor. Candidates who pass the assessment are awarded the PAQ certificate. Any candidate failing will have an opportunity to schedule a re-sit with their training provider.

The assessment is ‘hands-on’ on where candidates are given a product backlog release which includes user stories, associated design documentation plus a ‘multi-drop’ application seeded with defects. Candidates will be given instructions as to what is expected of them during the practical assessment and the opportunity to create the work products required.

Each practical assessment will contain 1/2 additional scenario-based questions requiring written answers (up to 5 questions in total) that cover a selection of competencies. These written answers will be marked along with the answers to the product backlog release by an independent assessor.

  • Assessment duration: 2.5 hours.
  • Total Credits: 100 (90 credits from practical and 10 credits from the scenario based questions)

To pass candidates must score 60 credits (60%) in total.

Accredited PAQ training is currently mandated to be eligible for the PAQ competency assessment.

This is a practitioner’s course. Candidates are expected to have met one of the agile knowledge prerequisites which can be demonstrated by holding certifications such as iSQI ® Certified Agile Essentials (CAE),  iSQI ® Certified Scrum Master Pro, ISTQB ® Foundation Level Agile Tester OR have two years professional experience working in Agile.

Due to the practical experiential learning approach to this course, there is assumed knowledge which, if not met, will make it difficult for candidates to complete the course and assessments within the timeboxed course. Candidates are expected to be able to already apply basic practices and techniques, such as:

  • Knowledge of Test Design – EP / BVA / State Transition / Decision tables /Exploratory
  • Basic test terminology
  • Understand the difference between functional and non-functional testing including the basic concepts of Performance and Usability testing
  • Perform all the activities associated with the fundamental test process


General Contact for Australia and New Zealand –

General Contact for UK –

PlanIT UK –

PlanIT Aus –

PlanIT NZ –


Leanne Howard, Sydney, Australia

Sarah Ireton, Melbourne, Australia

Maeve McNeela, Melbourne, Australia

Craig Riley, Sydney, Australia

Donna Wiltshire, Wellington, New Zealand

Kate Ellery, Auckland, New Zealand


General Contact for UK –



Rosie Sheldon

John Young

Training providers can license PAQ materials from iSQI. Trainers must pass the PAQ exam. Any trainers who hold an iSQI Certified Agile Tester accreditation have the prerequisite skills to train PAQ.

For more information contact us here.


For individuals

Hands-on, collaborative learning

Accelerated path to the practitioner

Prove your agile quality competency

Develop your agile mindset (soft skills)

Stand out from the crowd with a certification that shows you can do!

For Organizations

Accelerate quality in the organization with Agile Quality Practitioners

Develop agile competency within your organizations to leverage more benefits from agile

Demonstrate agile competence to internal and external customers

Get ahead of the competition with qualified PAQs who can do!

For the Team

Bring the agile team together with a focus on quality

Develop team competence, collaboration, and confidence

Motivate the team with a career path to the practitioner

Challenge the team to validate they can do with a practical certification!

For Training Providers

Boost your training portfolio with a highly practical course in agile quality

A course for anyone involved in testing but also the whole team

Practical assessment exam – a market differentiator

Soft skills focus plus strong agile quality content

Licensed materials available

Support your customers to develop their organization’s agile competency

Book Your Exam


Dolphins communicate, collaborate, synchronize, learn together, adapt and they are frequently visible – they are agile! A Practitioner in Agile Quality (PAQ) strives to deliver quality software and real customer value by being “above the surface” seeking and reacting to customer feedback early and often.