CSM vs. CSPO: Which Scrum Certification to Choose?

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Last updated on
23rd Nov, 2022
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16th Feb, 2017
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CSM vs. CSPO: Which Scrum Certification to Choose?

If you are a Scrum/Agile professional, then you are in the right place! Scrum roles such as Scrum Master and Product Owner have consistently topped the job ranking surveys and are among the highest paid jobs in the industry right now. Scrum certifications are valuable additions to your existing experience and go a long way in elevating your career. To know the difference in psm vs csm certifications, click here.  

Here, we look at two of the most popular Scrum certifications-- the Certified ScrumMaster® and the Certified Scrum Product Owner®, both guaranteed to add to your skills, open up employment opportunities and make you eligible for higher salaries.

Find out which one suits you best by looking at the eligibility, skills you can gain, the key learning outcomes of each and their respective training and exam costs.

Scrum Alliance

Both the CSM and the CSPO are offerings of the world-renowned certification body Scrum Alliance® (SA).

Founded in 2001 by Ken Schwaber, the co-creator of Scrum, Scrum Alliance is the largest and most established professional certification body in the Agile community. Its vision is to promote Agile by guiding individuals and professionals in the practices, values and principles of Agile.

What is CSM?

What is CSM?

CSM is the most widely recognised Scrum Master certification. This entry level credential is a great way to start and maintain your career in Scrum. It validates your expertise in Scrum values, principles and practices and empowers you to lead a Scrum team that is primed for agile success.  The CSM certification training journey helps you understand the Scrum team accountabilities, Scrum event, Scrum artifacts and everything else that you can apply immediately in the real world.

What is CSPO?

What is CSPO?

The CSPO is undoubtedly the most popular Product Owner certification. Through CSPO certification training you learn the intricacies of Scrum, the scope of the Product Owner’s role and become empowered to maximise value and your team’s work. This credential is the perfect opportunity for you to expand your horizons, seek better job opportunities and begin your journey of continuous improvement.

CSM vs CSPO: Detailed comparison matrix

 Certification Provider, Trainer Credentials, Training ModeCost, Renewal, ValidityEligibilityLearning Objectives, CurriculumBenefits of Certification
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)Certification Provider

www.scrumalliance.org
Instructor-Led Virtual Training by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST).
  • Training cost: INR 23999 in India, USD 1295 in US and CAD 1195 in Canada
  • Exam fee included in training cost
  • Renewal: Certificate valid for 2 years; 20 SEUs required; renewal cost: $100
  • Training: No prerequisites. Basic knowledge of Scrum in real-world context helpful, though not mandatory.
  • Exam Prerequisites: 2-day in-person or 14 hours of live-online training by authorized training provider mandatory
Learning Objectives
  • Learn to become a good facilitator and coach, and enable high team performance
  • Learn to lead change in any environment or industry and drive results by applying Scrum principles and techniques in the right way
  • Improve efficiency at your workplace and motivate others to support your Scrum efforts.

Curriculum

 

  • Agile and Scrum overview
  • The three roles in Scrum
  • Scrum ceremonies
  • Scrum artifacts
  • Sprint execution
  • Daily Scrum and Sprint Retrospective
  • Definition of Done and Acceptance criteria
  • Definition of ready
  • Release planning
  • Sprint burndown chart
  • Release burn-up chart
  • Product planning
  • User stories

Agile estimation
Planning poker

  • Validates your commitment to continued excellence and quality
  • Demonstrates your proficiency in Scrum
  • Helps you get noticed at interviews or for promotions
  • Command a higher salary than your non-certified peers
  • Network with industry leaders and Agile professionals
  • Qualify for the A-CSM® certification
CSPO

Certification Provider


www.scrumalliance.org

Instructor-Led Virtual Training by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST).

  • Training cost: INR 24999 in India, USD 1295 in US and CAD 1495 in Canada
  • Renewal: Certificate valid for 2 years; 20 SEUs required; renewal cost: $100
  • Training: No prerequisites. Basic knowledge of Scrum in real-world context helpful, though not mandatory.
  • Attend a 14 hour live online or 16 hours of in-person training with a CST, or 25 hours of face-to-face interaction with a Certified Agile Coach.
Learning Objectives:
  • Understand the core concepts of Scrum, Scrum flow, etc. and enhance your skills as a Product Owner
  • Understand the scope of Product Owner and Scrum Master and lead, motivate Agile teams and team members.
  • Facilitate transparent, smooth communication channels between the stakeholders and the Scrum team
  • Learn how to improve on the implementation of Scrum functionality like Sprint.
  • Learn how one can create practical efficiency-oriented plans and schedules and work better.
  • Learn about methods to mitigate risks through predictive pre-planning.
  • Learn ways and methods to improve business value and ROI and how to implement them.
  • Learn ways to ensure maximum high-velocity within time and budget frames.
  • Understand and learn Scrum foundations and the role of the Product Owner on a high-performing team

Curriculum:

  • Scrum Basics
  • Roles & Responsibilities
  • Product Vision
  • Estimating
  • Product Backlog
  • Prioritizing
  • Release Management
  • Sprints
  • Widen the scope of your career with the knowledge of popular Agile practices.
  • Gain in-demand Scrum skills and demonstrate your Scrum knowledge.
  • Actively engage with the community of Agile practitioners dedicated to continuous Scrum practice and improvement.
  • Create a better product by leading and implementing Scrum in the team.

CSM vs CSPO: Eligibility comparison

ParameterCSMCSPO
Can anyone take this courseThis course can be taken by:
  • Software Engineers
  • Product Managers
  • Project Managers
  • Team Leaders
  • Business Analysts
  • Development team members
  • Testers
  • Anyone who would like to build a career as a Scrum Master
This course can be taken by:
 
  • Project Managers
  • Developers
  • Product Owners
  • Managers-Software development
  • Architects-Software development
  • Product Managers
  • Software developers
  • Software testers
  • Team leads/Team members interested in learning Scrum
Can I take the certification exam directly without taking the course?No. Attending a 2-day in-person/14 hours of live-online training from a Certified Scrum Trainer is mandatory to appear for the examNo. CSPO has no exam but attending a 2-day in-person/14 hours of live-online training from a Certified Scrum Trainer is mandatory to get certified
Is prior knowledge of Agile, Scrum or any other methodology necessary?It is recommended that you have basic knowledge of using Scrum in a real-world context, in order to get the most from the training. Although not mandatory, having a good command over Scrum basics will prove effective in understanding the Product Owner’s role at an enterprise level. 
Is prior work experience mandatory?No, this is an entry level certificate and does not require prior work experienceNo, this certification does not require you to have prior work experience

CSM vs CSPO: Benefits comparison

CSMCSPO
Helps you gain Scrum Master skills par excellenceValidates your expertise as a Product Owner who can manage stakeholders and drive value
The CSM is your first step towards becoming an Agile coach and mentorHelps you gain conflict resolution skills to manage situations or escalations that may arise with stakeholders or development team members.
Helps you gain organizational skills to manage teams and allocate work to smoothen processesHelps you gain prioritization skills so that you can ably prioritise items on the backlog
Helps you understand Scrum in its entirety so that you can guide teams and promote Scrum in the enterpriseHelps you understand Scrum values, principles and processes so that you can guide the development team and help stakeholders understand the value of Scrum
Helps you qualify for Qualify for the A-CSM® certificationHelps you qualify for Qualify for the A-CSPOSM and Certified Scrum Professional®-Product Owner (CSP®-PO) certification
Opens you up to new opportunities and lucrative salariesDisplays your commitment to continued excellence and helps you land lucrative job roles
Makes you eligible for high salaries. CSM salary: in India: ₹1,450,000. In USA: $97319.  In Canada: CAD 85,000Makes you eligible for high salaries. CSPO salary: in India: ₹1,760,015. In USA: $105,845.  In Canada: CAD 87,716
Gets you a  2-year membership with Scrum AllianceGets you a  2-year membership with Scrum Alliance

CSM vs CSPO: Cost comparison

Training costs can vary based on region and the training provider. 

RegionCSMCSPO
IndiaINR 23999INR 24999  
United States of AmericaUSD 1295USD 1295
CanadaCAD 1195CAD 1495

CSM vs CSPO: Exam comparison

CertificationCertifying BodyExam/Certification EligibilityExam Format, duration and passing markProcess to get exam resultsRenewalExam/Certifying fee
CSMScrum Alliance2-day in-person/14 hours of  live online training by authorized training provider mandatoryExam Type: Online, Closed Book Test
Question Type: MCQs
Total Questions: 50 MCQs
Passing Score: 74%
Time Limit: 60 min
On passing the CSM test, instantly download the CSM® certificate.Certificate valid for 2 years; 20 SEUs required; renewal cost: $100Included in training cost
CSPOScrum Alliance  Attend a 14 hour live online or 16 hours of in-person training with a CST, or 25 hours of face-to-face interaction with a Certified Agile CoachNo examOn successfully completing the course with a CST, you will receive the CSPO credential from Scrum AllianceCertificate valid for 2 years; 20 SEUs required; renewal cost: $100Included in training cost

CSM vs CSPO: Steps to get certified

CSMCSPO
  • Step 1: Register with a Global REP of Scrum Alliance (SA).
  • Step 2: Take the 2-day in-person/14 hrs live-online CSM course and get instructed by Certified Scrum Trainers® (CSTs).
  • Step 3: SA will send you a link to create login credentials on successful completion of course.
  • Step 4: Click on the link received from Scrum Alliance and create your own login credentials.
  • Step 5: Take the 1-hour online CSM® test which comprises of 50 MCQs by using those credentials.
  • Step 6: Get 37 out of the 50 questions right, within the 60-minute time limit.
  • Step 7: Once the test is cleared, you will be requested to accept a license agreement.
  • Step 8: After accepting it, you will receive CSM designation & a 2-year membership from SA. Also, refer to our getting started guide: How To Become A Certified Scrum Master.
  • Step 9: You have to renew the certification once every two years.
  • Step 1: Sign up with a Registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance.
  • Step 2: To understand fundamental Scrum concepts and terminology go through the Scrum Guide and Agile Manifesto to prepare yourself for training.
  • Step 3: Attend the 2-day in-person/14-hrs live-online CSPO course and get instructed by Certified Scrum Trainers® (CSTs).
  • Step 4: After completing the course, the Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) will update your details to the Scrum Alliance website.
  • Step 5: Scrum Alliance will send a welcome email to log in to your Scrum Alliance account and accept your CSPO license.
  • Step 6: Login through this link to reset your Login credentials and accept your license.
  • Step 7: Download your CSPO certificate by accepting your license.

CSM vs CSPO: Training Comparison

ParameterCSMCSPO
Training TypeIn-person or live onlineIn-person or live online
InstructorCertified Scrum Trainer (CST)Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)
Duration2 days/14 hrs2 days/14 hrs
Training CostIn India: INR 23999  
In Canada: CAD 1195
In USA: $1295
In India: INR 23999  
In Canada: CAD 1495
In USA: $1295
Training EligibilityNo prerequisites. Basic knowledge of Scrum in real-world context helpful, though not mandatory.No prerequisites. Basic knowledge of Scrum in real-world context helpful, though not mandatory.

Summary

CSM vs CSPO: which is the right choice for you?  This question may plague your mind when you are looking at enhancing your career prospects with a credential. What certification to pursue will depend on where your interest lies, the job role you are currently pursuing and the trajectory you wish your career would take as you grow. But what is certain is that both the CSM and the CSPO can elevate your career and maximise opportunities that come your way.

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