What is Scrum?
The source of a correct definition of Scrum is the official Scrum Guide, authored and maintained by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schaber. Scrum has its roots in software development, but nowadays Scrum is applied in several contexts and industries.
From the Scrum Guide:
“Scrum is a framework for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products. Scrum is not a process, technique, or definitive method. Rather, it is a framework within which you can employ various processes and techniques. Scrum makes clear the relative efficacy of your product management and work techniques so that you can continuously improve the product, the team, and the working environment."
The latest update to the Scrum Guide also lists possible uses for Scrum:
- Research and identify viable markets, technologies, and product capabilities;
- Develop products and enhancements;
- Release products and enhancements, as frequently as many times per day;
- Develop and sustain Cloud (online, secure, on-demand) and other operational environments for product use; and,
- Sustain and renew products.
Let’s see these two certifying bodies in details and figure out the difference between the Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org.
Scrum Alliance- The CSM®️ certifying Body
Founded in 2001, Scrum Alliance® is the largest membership and certification organization in the Agile community. The Scrum Alliance is a non-profit organization and is governed by the Board of Directors. The Scrum Alliance has certified more than 750,000 practitioners worldwide, clearly contributing a lot to the spreading of Scrum worldwide. But, the Scrum Alliance is not simply a company providing training. The Scrum Alliance also organizes twice a year a global gathering and several regional gatherings and supports agile community events.
From the Scrum Alliance website:
"Scrum Alliance’s vision is to “Transform the World of Work” with a mission to guide and inspire individuals, leaders, and organizations with practices, principles, and values that create workplaces that are joyful, prosperous, and sustainable."
Scrum Alliance certifications
As there are 3 roles in Scrum, the Scrum Alliance offers 3 entry-level (foundational) certifications - there are CSM®️ (Certified Scrum Master), CSPO (Certified Scrum Product Owner), and CSD (Certified Scrum Developer). Next, you could apply for a Certified Scrum Professional (CSP), after indicating your practical experience with Scrum.
Recently, the Scrum Alliance has changed the certification path and added an "advanced" certification and course. Today, the Certified Scrum Professional is specific for either Scrum Master, Product Owner, or Developer.
These are the certifications:
Choosing between the best Scrum Master Certifications: CSM®️ vs PSM™
Agile and Scrum are today’s latest trends. Not only IT-based organizations but also non-IT organizations hire individuals who know the concepts of Scrum framework and its applications. Scrum is the Agile framework, focuses on the complex projects.
Initially, the Scrum framework was used for software development, but today it is used as any other projects to get the fastest results. So, there is a rising demand for Agile-Scrum professionals in the organizations.
CSM®️ and PSM™ are two major Scrum Master certifications. CSM®️ stands for Certified Scrum Master. CSM®️ is a certification issued by the Scrum Alliance. CSM®️ is a first (entry-level) certification for the Scrum Master. PSM™ stands for Professional Scrum Master. PSM™ is a certification issued by Scrum.org. PSM™ and PSM™ both are the entry-level certifications for the Scrum Master.
PSM™ by Scrum.org has a different approach than CSM®️ by Scrum Alliance in the following ways:
- According to Scrum.org, there's no need to attend a class, to be able to take an online test to get certified. A practice assessment is available online, called "Scrum Open"
- According to Scrum.org, a certification is a proof of knowledge and therefore has no certification date
Let’s see the differences between the CSM®️ and PSM™ in the tabular form.
|Certified Scrum Master (CSM®️)||Features||Professional Scrum Master (PSM™)|
|50 multiple-choice questions, usually with four possible answers||Exam Pattern||- Number of Questions: 80|
- Format: Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer and True/False
|Passing score: 74%||Passing grade||Passing score: minimum 85%|
|Time limit: 60 minutes||Exam duration||Time limit: 60 minutes|
|Every 2 years||Certification renewal duration||No expiration (Lifetime certification)|
|Fee: $1000 (cost of training and 1 attempt)||Certification cost||Fee:|
PSM I- $150
PSM II- $250
PSM III- $500
(1st free attempt is given to those who attend the PSM training)
|The exam is easy once you attend the two-day CSM®️ training program. Also, you can practice with CSM®️ practice test/mock test, to know which areas you need to improve and pass the test with a good score.||Level of the exam||Difficulty: Intermediate|
PSM assessments are difficult to pass. But, attending PSM training is highly recommended in order to pass the exam with a fair score, though it is not mandatory. Also, prepare with the Scrum practice tests to get a fair idea on this.
|Attending a 2-day CSM®️ course taught by a Scrum Alliance's Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)®️||Prerequisite||No prerequisite for taking the test|
|$119,040 per year||Salary||$100,500 per year|
A search on “Scrum Master”, in the job title with as prerequisite “Certified Scrum Master” gives more than 1000 jobs results. If you want to get an idea of what companies and organizations ask in terms of Certified Scrum Master, you can have a look at the AgileCareers website (by Scrum Alliance). (there are mainly USA based jobs listed)
This is all about the comparison between the CSM®️ and PSM™ and various certifying bodies like Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org that offer these certifications.
In the end, knowledge matters whether it is CSM®️ or PSM™ certification. Both certificates have the same value in the job market. Also, both programs are highly compatible. It is very crucial what you earned during the certification process and the trainer will definitely help you to make the difference there.
To know in-detail about the Scrum master certification benefits, roles, salaries and many more refer: Scrum Master Certification - The Definitive Guide
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