CSM, PSM, SSM, SASM - What Scrum Master Course Do I Choose?

Scrum adoption is growing very fast and companies are looking for well qualified Scrum Masters. This is one of the main reasons to consider Scrum certification. One simple way to present your excellence is the Scrum Master certification that is perfectly tailored to the industry requirements, and of course, to your career trajectory. Currently, there are 4 primary Scrum Master certifications available. You might be in a confusion regarding the best course to take up for a superior career growth. Question yourself on some of the essentials before actually choosing the course: What does the particular certification mean?What are the prerequisites for this certification?What is the cost of this certification program?What will I achieve by taking this certification?Will this certification offer the biggest benefit for me? In this article, we will help you in choosing the best certification that suits your profile by comparing all the courses based on different aspects. All the 4 certifications are competing equally in the Scrum world. The above certification comparison demonstrates multiple facets of the in-demand Scrum certifications. Experts need to choose the course wisely based on their targets. For example, the target can be whether to:Get benefits in their job change or career orReach greater heights in Scrum role by gaining in-depth knowledgeJust choosing the right course is not enough for a better career growth, but choosing the right training provider will have a great impact on the success of a course. KnowledgeHut as a Global Registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance offers the best training from Certified Scrum Master Training approved by Scrum Alliance.All the best for your future Scrum endeavours! Want to get certified? Check out our latest CSM® training course and get the skills required for the future.

CSM, PSM, SSM, SASM - What Scrum Master Course Do I Choose?

CSM, PSM, SSM, SASM - What Scrum Master Course Do I Choose?

Scrum adoption is growing very fast and companies are looking for well qualified Scrum Masters. This is one of the main reasons to consider Scrum certification. One simple way to present your excellence is the Scrum Master certification that is perfectly tailored to the industry requirements, and of course, to your career trajectory. Currently, there are 4 primary Scrum Master certifications available. You might be in a confusion regarding the best course to take up for a superior career growth. 

Question yourself on some of the essentials before actually choosing the course: 

  • What does the particular certification mean?
  • What are the prerequisites for this certification?
  • What is the cost of this certification program?
  • What will I achieve by taking this certification?
  • Will this certification offer the biggest benefit for me? 

In this article, we will help you in choosing the best certification that suits your profile by comparing all the courses based on different aspects. 

Difference between Scrum Certifications

All the 4 certifications are competing equally in the Scrum world. The above certification comparison demonstrates multiple facets of the in-demand Scrum certifications. Experts need to choose the course wisely based on their targets. For example, the target can be whether to:

  • Get benefits in their job change or career or
  • Reach greater heights in Scrum role by gaining in-depth knowledge

Scrum certifications

Just choosing the right course is not enough for a better career growth, but choosing the right training provider will have a great impact on the success of a course. KnowledgeHut as a Global Registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance offers the best training from Certified Scrum Master Training approved by Scrum Alliance.

All the best for your future Scrum endeavours! 

Want to get certified? Check out our latest CSM® training course and get the skills required for the future.




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Suman 11 Feb 2019

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ITIL vs Agile: Make Right Choice for Your DevOps Career

Speed, agility and efficient use of technology has always been a challenge across organizations with complex IT environments. There is an unarguable need to go digital, and to do that, enterprises find that they must scale up and align the scope of their IT services—while at the same time managing to stay on top of the evolving business landscape. Agility and IT go hand in hand. Business agility cannot be achieved without innovative and agile infrastructural support, and organizations must put in considerable effort to upgrade their IT services and boost their tech capabilities. DevOps practices have been proven to alleviate the challenges associated with making IT work to realize business objectives. By integrating processes, people and tech to generate continuous value, DevOps has succeeded in increasing capabilities of delivering high-quality products and services quickly. The  DevOps global market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.6 % to reach USD 12.85 billion in the next 5 years (Grand View Research) and DevOps engineers are much in demand across industries and sectors. If you’re seeking a career in DevOps, which certification should you undertake: ITIL® Vs Agile? Let’s find out. What Is ITIL?Source Link: axelos.comTIL (an acronym for Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a framework that codifies the best practices, processes and mindsets required for a software organization to deliver value through IT services. It deals with an end-to-end operating model that encompasses the creation, delivery, and continual improvement of IT services and products. ITIL has gone through many successive revisions, and the most recently updated version is ITIL 4. ITIL 4 is based on seven guiding principles that include:  Focus on value Start where you are Progress iteratively with feedback Collaborate and promote visibility Think and work holistically Keep it simple and practical Optimize and automate These principles guide all ITSM decisions and actions, and are the basis behind ITIL’s suggested best practices. ITIL 4 incorporates new practices that have been adopted in the decade since the last version refresh; such as Agile, DevOps and Lean IT.What Is Agile?Source Link: invensislearning.comA methodology that is fast growing in popularity, Agile is an iterative approach to project management and software development that helps teams to succeed in the face of volatile markets, delivering quality products and services to their customers. The work is carried out in small iterations, and requirements and plans are inspected and evaluated at the end of each cycle so that changes can be factored in as and when needed. Agile is built upon twelve foundational principles that were first outlined in the Agile Manifesto. These principles encapsulate the thinking behind Agile. They are: The highest priority of Agile teams is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. The customer is at the centre of all processes. Agile teams welcome changing requirements, even if they come in very late in the development journey. Agile processes harness change and can adapt in order to deliver competitive advantage. There is frequent delivery of working software, through iterations that range from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. The shorter timescale is always preferred. Agile emphasizes collaboration, and businesspeople and developers must work together daily throughout the project. Projects are built around motivated individuals, who are empowered with the environment and support they need and are trusted to get the job done. Face-to-face conversation is the most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team. Progress must be measured and communicated, and working software is the primary measure of progress. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a consistent pace through the project. Agility enables continuous improvement, with a focus on technical excellence and good design. Agile teams have simplicity at their core. Simplicity is defined as the art of maximizing the amount of work not done and prompts just-in-time development. Teams are self-managed and cross functional. The Manifesto states that ‘the best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. The team sits together at regular intervals to inspect the work done and reflect on how to become more effective. They then recalibrate and adjust their behaviour accordingly. There are many methodologies that come under the Agile umbrella, such as Scrum, Kanban, XP and DSDM. All these methods follow the Agile values: Individuals and interactions (are preferred) over processes and tools  Working software (is preferred) over comprehensive development  Customer collaboration (is preferred) over negotiations  Responding to change frequently (is preferred) to following a plan ITIL Vs Agile – the Key Differences In the DevOps world, the choice between ITIL and Agile has become a topic that is hotly debated. Both methodologies are quite different, even though they have the same end goal: that of creating and delivering value, while optimizing resources.  As ITIL has now transitioned from Version 3 to ITIL 4, it has kept a pace with the speed of today’s businesses. There is, therefore, a visible shift from rigid processes to more flexible, seamless experiences. ITIL 4 has embodied the principles of Agile and offers a more holistic frame of reference to ITSM. The key differences between ITIL and Agile are laid out in the table below:ITILAgileFocuses on processes and practicesAgile is a group of practices based on core values and principlesITIL follows predefined traditionsAgile is innovativeITIL 4 is in sync with Agile practicesAgile embraces and responds to changeITIL does not seek feedback from end usersAgile teams believe in continual feedback, and improve their processes and the product after each iterationITIL requires comprehensive documentationAgile believes in minimal documentation, only when needed and just enoughITIL lays more emphasis on processes than on the customer, and believes that customer value is created by following the right methodology to fulfil SLAs (service level agreements)Agile is customer-focusedITIL creates a stable and sustainable IT environmentAgile has a flexible environment that supports changeHead-to-Head Comparison Between ITIL and AgileITIL and Agile are both essential to the creation of business value. However, while Agile looks at improving the delivery of products or services, ITIL is focused on streamlining processes and practices. Both are complementary components of DevOps, which works to seamlessly integrate the interaction and flow between the two IT functions of development and operations. By blending together the key points of both frameworks, a successful DevOps culture can be built.Can You Integrate Agile and ITIL?As technologies keep evolving and organizations step up to stay ahead of these advancements, IT teams find themselves at the centre of transformations. Technologies like cloud computing, AI and IoT have fuelled innovative ways of working, which require agility in order to embrace the transformative changes necessitated by the industry.  Both Agile and ITIL have always focused on building products or services that meet customer needs and deliver high quality. They believe in keeping processes simple, acting quickly and streamlining value delivery—together offering a blueprint that maximizes the creation of value. With the advent of ITIL 4, the ITIL framework had added Agility to the framework, in a transition that has proven to be a gamechanger. ITIL 4 embraces Agile and DevOps ways of working, and encourages a collaborative, iterative, and customer-centric approach to ITSM. ITIL 4 nudges teams toward a new frame of reference that is customer-centric and adapts more easily to what teams need, and how they work. The most radical change that ITIL 4 has brought about to enable this shift is the concept of the Service Value Chain (SVS), which represents the interlinked set of activities that must be undertaken to create highly valuable products and services that are closely aligned to customer expectations. Along the way, inefficiencies, redundancies and bottlenecks are eliminated, improving delivery speed and optimizing resource allocation. Value and value-based tools are given an overarching emphasis in ITIL 4, with Lean thinking driving co-creation of value. By seamlessly aligning Agile and ITIL to drive DevOps, organizations can pave the way to quality services with quick turnaround times. The Last Word Today’s businesses are in a state of constant change with advancements in technologies also happening at warp speed. This unpredictability needs to be reined in to create stability, while at the same time allowing for enough flexibility in order to adapt to the evolving changes. A combination of ITIL and Agile offers the best solution for business service management solutions. A DevOps approach that merges ITIL’s best practices with the smooth change management enabled by Agile, offers the perfect recipe for business success in an uncertain world. 
ITIL vs Agile: Make Right Choice for Your DevOps C...

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What Is an Agile Environment? Explained With Example

As more and more companies choose to go the Agile way, there is growing appreciation for the many transformational benefits that this innovative suite of methods can provide.Agile represents a radical deviation from traditional, siloed project management processes. It does away with legacy systems and processes, infusing flexibility and the willingness to embrace change. With a network of cross-functional teams working in tandem to deliver products and services that are closely aligned to the changing expectations from the market, Agile is guaranteed to deliver fast, optimize resources and maximize value. The first step in adopting an Agile operating model is to set the stage, laying a foundation where flexibility, innovation and adaptability can thrive—the Agile environment. How can your organization create a fluid environment that fosters the Agile mindset and easily aligns itself with change? Let’s find out. Being AgileAt its core, Agility is much more than a set of principles and processes; and in order to reap the benefits of this methodology, it’s very important to get everyone on board with the Agile mindset. What this means, is that in order to do Agile, you must first be agile. What, exactly, does this mean? The dictionary defines Agility as ‘the ability to move quickly and easily’. And this is indeed the essence of what being Agile is all about.  Simply stated, Agility in project management is the ability to move quickly, easily and adapt to changing circumstances. When project requirements change, the team must analyse the change and course-correct as needed so that they can keep on top of customer needs.  In order to do all this, they must be on board with the Agile mindset. As Steve Denning, author of the book The Age of Agile, put it: “(Agile) is a shift in mindset from a top-down bureaucratic hierarchical approach to a very different way of thinking about and acting in organizations. If you have don’t have the Agile mindset you are going to get it wrong.” What this entails is a complete shift in the ways we think and the ways we do things. When the team blindly follows processes without understanding and internalising the core Agile values, the Agile transformation is unlikely to succeed. What Makes an Agile Environment? Agile follows four values, which inform and guide all the processes and practices in an Agile environment. These are: Individuals and interactions over Processes and tools Working software over Comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over Contract negotiation Responding to change over Following a plan As stated in the Manifesto, it's not that the items on the right are not valued! It's just that the items on the left are valued more, and that’s what brings about agility. An agile environment, therefore, is one that fosters and supports a culture that encourages teams to work collaboratively toward achieving goals, while implementing the Agile framework and following its values and principles.  Agile environments help teams to be nimble, accept change and adapt to evolving requirements, thus bringing in innovation and creativity in the development lifecycle. An Agile environment will ensure that Agile values are followed.Characteristics of Agile EnvironmentsFocus on customerAgile approaches have the customer squarely in focus at all times. Customer needs are emphasized and the team’s highest priority is to satisfy the customer through quick, early deliveries of incremental value. Stakeholder feedback is solicited at every stage and is incorporated into subsequent iterations. By keeping all those who matter in the loop, customer satisfaction is guaranteed.Embracing changeAgile is all about embracing change. Even late in the development cycle, if there is a change in requirements or features, the team should retract their steps and accommodate the change, rather than stick to a rigid, predefined plan. The team is required to be nimble, adapt and pivot to embrace new, evolving circumstances.Leaving room for innovation Agile does not apply a cookie cutter method to project management; rather, it allows room for flexibility and innovation. Agile teams work in close collaboration, brainstorming to find solutions and working as a team to come up with innovative ideas. Agile fuels new ways of thinking, and comes up with brilliant, ingenuous products and services that are a cut above the competition. Focus on process improvement Agile methods are a natural choice for projects where high quality is a key focus. Agile techniques help teams to improve their processes in a continual cycle, where they inspect, reflect and adapt themselves at the end of each iteration. Process improvement events such as Reviews and Retrospectives are built into each cycle, and teams enhance and deliver value at every stage. Working in iterations The iterative approach taken by Agile focuses on delivering incremental value in stages, rather than all at once in the end as was the case with traditional processes. Each iteration is timeboxed, typically with 2-week cycles, and there is a release of value at the end of each cycle. The product is therefore successively refined and its quality is continually enhanced. Collaboration Agile teams all work together collaboratively toward a shared common goal. They do this through shared responsibilities and accountability to deliver products of value and high quality, as a team. Right from defining tasks and estimating effort to developing, testing and releasing, the team is closely aligned with each other in meeting the shared objectives.Examples of Agile EnvironmentsAn example of an organization that has successfully adopted the concept of an Agile environment is Google. Google’s Mountain View office houses workspaces that are fluid, with plenty of space for functional collaboration. With less space allocated to individuals and more space designed around collective teams, Google teams have a positive, exciting workspace that is fluid and dynamic and supports creating value together. Communal tables in open spaces encourage stand-up meetings, while project rooms on the periphery have tools for group workshops. Teams can use dedicated team rooms with writable wall surfaces and display areas where brainstorming sessions can take place. Facebook, LinkedIn, Airbnb, Salesforce and other forward-thinking organizations have also recognized the importance of providing their employees with creative, collaborative infrastructure and spaces that will help foster innovation and fuel productivity.How to Create an Agile Physical Environment An organization that wants to go agile can start by offering a conducive environment; one that equips its workforce with the right physical infrastructure and tools. They can do this in several ways:  By collocating the teamA collocated team that is able to hold face-to-face conversations is in the best position to collaborate well. When teams are in the same physical space, trust is enhanced, communication is encouraged, and transparency is the result. A workspace should ideally have no hierarchy at all, with open-plan workstations that allow people to collaborate more easily. They can get clarifications at once instead of waiting for online responses, and can help each other when they find themselves in a tough spot. However, in today’s world collocation of teams is not always an option. Teams that are distributed across geographies and time zones can take advantage of online collaboration tools such as Teams, ProofHub, Trello, Asana and so on to stay on the same page and keep in touch on a real-time basis. Set up a dedicated physical space Teams that are in the same location will perform better when they have a dedicated team room where they can work together in close proximity. One wall can be set up with whiteboards and pin up boards for team collaboration, mapping of tasks and so on. The space can be set up to boost productivity; workstations around the edge of the room and a conference table in the middle will work well. Keep the team safe from distractions Any outside distractions, such as interference from management, consults on other projects, and so on will throw the team off track and greatly hinder progress. It is the Scrum Master’s responsibility to smoothen any and all such obstructions, and some of the ways in which this can be done are listed here: Avoid multitasking Work on one goal at a time Let the team figure out who works on what Block any outside distractors Distractions will drain the team’s focus and result in wasted time, energy and effort.  Equip the team with the right tools There is no dearth of productivity-enhancing tools that can help a team stay on track with respect to schedules, budget and resources. Some tools that will enhance the team’s productivity and boost progress are: Zepel Jira Github Wrike Trello Conclusion As hundreds of organizations have found to their delight, an Agile transformation results in real and lasting positive impact. When done right, Agile can empower organizations to outpace the competition, adapt to changing market scenarios, work on innovative solutions to everyday problems, and continuously maximize value.  
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Planning Poker: An Agile Estimating and Planning Technique

One thing that all Agile teams have in common is their capacity to have fun while they work.  are creative, flexible and think out of the box; and working on an Agile team is a far cry from working on a dreary, process-heavy waterfall project. By building in collaborative team activities and doing away with excessive documentation and rigid mandates, Agile team members are always on their toes and passionate about their work.  One of the innovative ways in which they work is by planning Poker, a consensus-based game that helps to arrive at estimates and work out timelines for releases. Let’s find out how to play Poker!  What Is Planning Poker? Definition and Process‘Planning Poker® is the secure, fun way for agile teams to guide sprint planning and build accurate consensus estimates.’ -  There’s no doubting it; Agile estimation is very hard. A project in which the requirements are continually changing is definitely going to have volatility in terms of timeframes, budgets and schedules. How, then, can the team chalk out a roadmap and figure out milestones and releases? Arguably the most popular way to estimating schedules on an Agile project, Planning Poker is a technique that allows each team member to weigh in on the planning process for each user story.  Here’s how the process plays out: The team uses a deck of Planning Poker cards which have values printed on one side, say  0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40 and 100. These values represent the units in which the team will be carrying out the estimation, which could be (for example) story points or ideal days. The Product Owner describes a feature that needs to be developed. The team asks doubts, discusses the feature and gets the required clarity. Each estimator holds a set of Planning Poker cards and selects one card in private. The number on this card will indicate their estimate for the work on the feature. They place the card face down on the table. All the cards are revealed at the same time, so that no one is influenced by another person’s decision. If everyone has the same value, that is chosen as the estimate.  If not, outliers are discussed, and another round of estimation is carried out. This process is continued till the team arrives at a consensus for the estimate. The estimates for subsequent features are taken up one by one, in a similar manner. Common PitfallsThe process is not completely intuitive, and while it is simple it could take a newbie some time to get used to the concept. Teams that are new will, therefore, often fall short of the estimate or go too long. However, with experience they will be able to arrive at more accurate estimates. For a sprint with many features, this process could take longer than expected as each estimate might run into multiple rounds of consensus building. If there is one experienced member who is very dominating, he or she might lead the discussions and quell the opinions of others on the team (who might be saying the right thing but might not be heard). Again, this method does not always work well with distributed teams, as for the process to work well, they should ideally be in a face-to-face session. If the story is not fleshed out well, the estimate might not be accurate.Expected BenefitsThe most significant advantage of Planning Poker is that every team member’s voice is heard. This increases team morale and build the right rapport. The group gets into the rhythm of discussing and collaborating on the project, which will hold them in good stead for the rest of the journey. These discussions help to give clarity on the features to be built, and dispel any ambiguity around the user stories. This ‘game’ builds commitment and accountability. As each team member has contributed to the estimate, they will work toward achieving it wholeheartedly. Last but not least, Planning Poker is fun!  Agile Estimation – Relative Vs AbsolutMost of us are used to absolute estimates. Let’s take an example. If you’re asked, for instance, how long you would take to walk three rounds of a park, you’d probably say that you can walk one round at a brisk pace in 8 minutes. You are not going to tell them your answer in relative terms, for example, you would never tell them that you can walk one round in four fifths of the time it would take X to do the same! In Agile, however, we prefer to work with relative estimates, as this offers more flexibility. Story points are determinations of the effort needed to complete task A, relative to the effort needed to complete task B. As there is a lot of uncertainty around the requirements, and the team does not want to spend too much effort estimating on a task that might change very soon, story point estimation is the perfect way to arrive at a rough and ready calculation of the level of effort needed for a task. When Should We Engage in Planning Poker?Typically, a Planning Poker session will be held just after the initial product backlog is written. It could take up to a few days, and is useful in creating initial approximate estimates that will be used to determine the scope, and plan and size the entire project. In an Agile project, it is only to be expected that product backlog items get added as the project unfolds. It would therefore make sense for the team to hold subsequent agile estimating and planning sessions during every iteration. These sessions can be held a few days before the end of the iteration, or whenever the team feels it is most convenient. How Does Poker Planning Work with a Distributed Team?Planning Poker always works best with a team that can sit across a table and hold discussions. However, this is not always possible, especially when teams span geographies and work across different offices.  In such cases, Planning Poker can work over a conference call or a Skype session. A Product Owner could share a set of items that have to be estimated, and the estimators log in at a prescheduled time and pick and show their cards over the video call, in much the same way as they would in a face-to-face session. There is a moderator, usually the Product Owner, who leads the discussions and makes notes. Does Planning Poker Work?Yes, it certainly does, and teams that use this method report that they are able to arrive at more accurate estimates more consistently than when other methods are used. Averaging individual estimates will always lead to better results.The reason for this is that when team members are all allowed to weigh in on the planning process, everyone’s opinion is heard. This is not the case when estimation is carried out by a project manager who does not take the team’s opinions into account. Since it is the team members who are ultimately working on the project, they will have the best sense of the effort needed to finish each task.Tips for Planning Poker in ScrumPlaying Planning Poker for the first time? Here are some tips from the pros, to help you get your game going! While it is definitely a game, it’s a serious game and not to be taken lightly. Each member must carefully evaluate the feature and calculate the time they feel it would take to complete it in its entirety. If they have any doubts, they should get them clarified. The discussion that ensues will help the team to get going in the right direction during the development phase, as it clears the air and removes any ambiguity. Agile estimates are relative and should not be converted to work hours. This will negate the value of using flexible Agile story points. The estimate is team-level and not on an individual level, as the team drives the work. If your opinion differs from that of others, make sure that you speak up. Your understanding of the feature may be the right one. It’s also important to note that the team should never suppress the voice of each individual; rather they should hear what everyone has to say with patience and understanding. Keep the card sizes small. Most teams like to use numbers smaller than 13, as larger stories will not fit into one sprint. If the story is too large, it should be broken down into a manageable chunk of work. Even if someone on the team is new to Planning Poker, make sure that they are not excluded. The entire team must be engaged. Keep expectations realistic. Point value creep, which is a condition where the estimates of stories inexplicably become larger over time, leads to unrealistic expectations and too much pressure from stakeholders. This causes stress and burnout in the long run. In the End.... As with everything to do with Agile, Planning Poker is a process that sounds easy enough but might take time and experience to get right. Take our tips to heart and be wary of the potential pitfalls that we have listed out, and your team will be able to get the most benefit from this tool! 
Planning Poker: An Agile Estimating and Planning T...

One thing that all Agile teams have in common is t... Read More

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