Public or Private Agile Training: Which Is Right for Me?

I’m often asked if someone should participate in one of our many public Scrum training courses or instead arrange a private Scrum & agile training session with their coworkers.

Each has its advantages.

Quick Overview Course Offerings

Before I dive into the differences between public and private, I want to give you some context around the types of courses Mountain Goat offers.

We offer both private and public Scrum certification courses. We also have a wealth of agile courses, including Better User Stories, that we present in multiple formats from public to on demand.

All of our courses feature best-in-class trainers and all of our live online courses are presented via Zoom using our proprietary collaboration software: Team Home.

Advantages of Public Training

We have always made our CSM certification and other Scrum and agile courses publicly available. We believe that a public class offers our clients several advantages not necessarily found in a private class.   Accessible Schedule

One advantage of participating in one of our public courses is that our training schedule includes two courses most weeks. Most courses are offered in US-friendly timezones, but we regularly offer Europe-friendly times as well.

This makes it easy to find the right agile certification or training for your role and then choose the public class option  that is most convenient for you.

Public agile courses: Affordable for Individuals and Small Groups

Public training also has the advantage of being cost effective for small groups and individuals seeking training. We also offer volume discounts when ten or more people are registering for the same course. 

In a Public Course: Hear How Others Have Solved Similar Problems

It’s common for each of us to think we’re the first team to encounter a certain problem. In a public course, you’ll learn that isn’t the case. You can benefit from hearing how others have overcome problems you’re facing. And you may be able to share how you’ve overcome problems they are now facing.

Public Courses: The Easiest Way to Earn Scrum Certification

Because they are affordable and easy to schedule, public courses are the easiest way to receive certified Scrum training. If you want to become a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) or Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), booking directly into one of our public courses is the fastest way to earn those certifications.

We also offer Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM) and Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO) courses for those looking to deepen their skills.

Advantages of Private Agile Training

Private training has unique advantages over public training. We offer private Scrum Master certification, Scrum product owner certification, and many non-certified Scrum and agile training classes and workshops either in person at a location you choose or live, online using Zoom.

Private Agile Classes Have Customizable Content

A big advantage of private training is that we can tailor most content to your exact needs. Our Working on a Scrum Team course, for example, is modular. We work with you to fine tune the course to achieve your objectives. Whether you want extra coverage of one topic or to skip a t topic entirely, we can accommodate you in most private courses.

The exceptions to this rule are Scrum Alliance-certified courses (CSM, CSPO, etc). These cannot be customized because each course must comply with tightly defined learning objectives.

If you aren’t sure what kind of training you need, we work with you to understand your needs and suggest the right combination of products to help you and your teams succeed.

We even have online tools to help you choose:

In a Private Course We Can Discuss Issues Freely

Another advantage of private training is that participants can discuss issues more openly than may be appropriate in a public course. Some organizations don’t want to share publicly anything they’re struggling with, or they may not want to share anything about a current project.

These concerns go away in a private course, where you’ve selected all the attendees.

Private Agile Courses: We Can Work Directly on Your Products

Most of our private courses include the opportunity to change some of the exercises so that groups are working directly on one or more of your products. For example, participants in one of our public Better User Stories courses write user stories for any of eight easy-to-relate to products. In a private course, those can be replaced with your own products or features.

Private Agile Training Is More Economical for Large Groups

Above a certain number of participants, a private course can actually be more affordable than sending multiple individuals to public courses.

Private Agile Training: Scheduled for Your Convenience

Private courses can be scheduled on the days–and times–that work best for all of your team members.

Combining Public and Private Training

Our courses have been carefully designed for participants to share the same experience regardless of instructor. The benefit to you is that you can arrange a private training for your current team and then send newer colleagues to a public course. Apart from course customizations you opted for and the evolution of a course over time, your new employees will  benefit from the same training as those who participated in the private course.

Comparing Course Types

Regardless of whether you opt for a private training for your entire organization or attend a public course on your own, our training will help you succeed with agile.


Public Training


Private Training
Offered frequently so easy for individuals to schedule Scheduled on dates and times best for the team
Affordable for individuals and small groups More economical for large groups
You hear how others have solved similar problems Discuss issues freely and can work directly on your products
Easiest and fastest way to become certified Customizable content on non-certified courses

We Can Help You Choose

If you’d like help choosing between a public and private course, or if you’d like to discuss arranging a private course, contact us. We’d love to help.

Succeed Faster with Private Training

Succeed Faster with Private Training

Accelerate your agile journey by working with experienced facilitators in privately-run agile courses, workshops, and mentoring engagements.

Mike Cohn

About the Author

Mike Cohn specializes in helping companies adopt and improve their use of agile processes and techniques to build extremely high-performance teams. He is the author of User Stories Applied for Agile Software Development, Agile Estimating and Planning, and Succeeding with Agile as well as the Better User Stories video course. Mike is a founding member of the Agile Alliance and Scrum Alliance and can be reached at If you want to succeed with agile, you can also have Mike email you a short tip each week.