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CSPO Vs PSPO: Deciding Between the Two Scrum Certifications

A product owner is a leader responsible for maximizing the value of the products created by a scrum development team.Both CSPO and PSPO relate to the expertise of a product owner in Scrum framework.As Mike Cohn puts it:“The Scrum product owner is typically a project's key stakeholder. Part of the product owner responsibilities is to have a vision of what he or she wishes to build and convey that vision to the scrum team. This is key to successfully starting any agile software development project. The agile product owner does this in part through the product backlog, which is a prioritized features list for the product.”The expertise of product owner is centered around the following:It’s about the productIt’s about understanding product benefitsIt’s about customer experienceIt’s about design thinkingIt’s about collaborationCSPO and PSPO both relate to product ownership which in turn requires business acumen and competency on product vision and roadmap aspects.Both CSPO and PSPO courses offer a learning of wide array of principles, rules, practices, techniques and practical tools that help product owners become effective and successful.As Scrum.org puts it:“Product ownership is about more than mechanics: it’s about taking accountability and focusing on value in everything you do. The role of a product owner is to identify, measure, and maximize value throughout your entire product lifecycle.”If you’re someone who is comfortable with the "business side" of projects, you are probably the right person to aim for a Certified Scrum Product Owner® certification.-Scrum AllianceWhat is CSPO?As defined by the Scrum Alliance, a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) is someone who has been taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer about the Scrum terminology, practices, and principles that will enable them to fulfill the role of Scrum Product Owner.What is PSPO?PSPO stands for Professional Scrum Product Owner, a course and certification offered by Scrum.org. The Scrum.org mission is “To Improve the profession of Software Development”.Differences between CSPO and PSPOWhile it is quite easy for the people who are very involved in the Agile community to identify the most recognized certifications, but it is not a simple task for those who just arrived at the Agile world.Through this blog, I will provide you a short overview of the differences between CSPO and PSPO credentials to help you in making an informed decision.Note: Please note that these reflect my personal views only.The CSPO workshop is usually informative about Scrum and Agile although the quality may be variable and depends very much on the specific instructor and the materials they provide.The basic Comparison of CSPO and PSPOCSPOPSPOCSPO is offered through Scrum AlliancePSPO is offered through scrum.org CSPO has continuing education credit requirements every three years and is renewable. PSPO never has to be renewed Accreditation BodyThe accreditation body of the CSPO and PSPO certifications are as follows:PSPO - Scrum.orgCSPO - Scrum AllianceRenewal of CSPO and PSPO CertificationsPSPO - once earned, credential does not expire and does not require renewal.CSPO - once earned, credential valid for two years. Starting Feb 2019, renewal would require 20 Scrum educational units(earned in last 2 years only) and a renewal fee of USD 100 PricePSPO - 200 USD for certification license only. Attending the workshop could cost around 500 USD.CSPO - 500 USD. The cost varies based on the location from which you attend the workshop.Need of Course PSPO - No need to take up the course.CSPO - To earn CSPO certificate, you must attend 2 days CSPO classroom training from  a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) from Scrum Alliance.After Exam CertificationOnce you pass the PSPO exam, you will get industry-recognized "PSPO I" certification, along with a PSPO I logo that you can use to identify your achievement. Similarly, on clearing the CSPO certification exam, you will get a certificate from Scrum AlliancePassing ScorePSPO - 85%CSPO - None. Activities to be completed to achieve the credential is at trainer discretion. Time limit: PSPO - 60 minutesCSPO - NoneNumber of Questions: PSPO - 80CSPO - NoneFormat: PSPO - Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers and True/FalseCSPO - NoneLanguage: PSPO - EnglishCSPO - NoneDifficulty levelPSPO - IntermediateCSPO - NonePSPO has subsequent complexity levels in the form of PSPO I, II, IIICSPO has subsequent complexity level in the form of A-CSPO. Password Expiration DatePSPO - When you purchase a password, it is set up in Scrum.org system and emailed to you within one business day. All Students completing a PSPO course are emailed a password upon completion of the course (typically within 3-5 business days). No expiration date for passwordsCSPO - Depends on the online workflow set up by the Certified Scrum TrainerMembershipPSPO - Membership of Scrum.org and the membership does not expireCSPO - 2 Year Membership with Scrum Alliance. You are eligible to join local user groups and social networks, enjoy discounts on global events, search for careers on our online job board, and more.Other benefitsPSPO:  Once you get certified, your name will be listed on Scrum.org.CSPO: Once you receive the credential, your name is listed on Scrum Alliance portal.The verdict:The main aim of the CSPO certification is to understand the working of Scrum and the role of the Product Owner playing in a Scrum team. While the objective of the Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) certification is to develop a solid understanding of the Product Owner to maximize the value of the software products and systems.PSPO has a level of difficulty associated with it. The things which I like about PSPO certification is that the certification does not mandatorily requires you to attend an in-person workshop. You can prepare all on your own and directly proceed to the examination. Also, PSPO has a lifetime validity once acquired, no need to renew the certificate. To evaluate the value of any certification we need to consider:How knowledge or competency in a subject is evaluated and how rigorous is the assessment process. The cost involved with attaining the certification and the validity also play an important role.Before reaching any conclusion on which Scrum certification is better-CSPO or PSPO to choose, you must have heard somewhere that simply earning a skill is not enough, you need to prove your potentiality to the employers. Certification is just a way to reach to the recruiters. To get noticed by the potential employer, start looking for the various certifications options available to steer your success. 
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CSPO Vs PSPO: Deciding Between the Two Scrum Certifications

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CSPO Vs PSPO: Deciding Between the Two Scrum Certifications

A product owner is a leader responsible for maximizing the value of the products created by a scrum development team.

Both CSPO and PSPO relate to the expertise of a product owner in Scrum framework.

As Mike Cohn puts it:

“The Scrum product owner is typically a project's key stakeholder. Part of the product owner responsibilities is to have a vision of what he or she wishes to build and convey that vision to the scrum team. This is key to successfully starting any agile software development project. The agile product owner does this in part through the product backlog, which is a prioritized features list for the product.”

The expertise of product owner is centered around the following:

  • It’s about the product

  • It’s about understanding product benefits

  • It’s about customer experience

  • It’s about design thinking

  • It’s about collaboration

CSPO and PSPO both relate to product ownership which in turn requires business acumen and competency on product vision and roadmap aspects.

Both CSPO and PSPO courses offer a learning of wide array of principles, rules, practices, techniques and practical tools that help product owners become effective and successful.

As Scrum.org puts it:

“Product ownership is about more than mechanics: it’s about taking accountability and focusing on value in everything you do. The role of a product owner is to identify, measure, and maximize value throughout your entire product lifecycle.”

If you’re someone who is comfortable with the "business side" of projects, you are probably the right person to aim for a Certified Scrum Product Owner® certification.

-Scrum Alliance

What is CSPO?

As defined by the Scrum Alliance, a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) is someone who has been taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer about the Scrum terminology, practices, and principles that will enable them to fulfill the role of Scrum Product Owner.

What is PSPO?

PSPO stands for Professional Scrum Product Owner, a course and certification offered by Scrum.org. The Scrum.org mission is “To Improve the profession of Software Development”.

Differences between CSPO and PSPO

While it is quite easy for the people who are very involved in the Agile community to identify the most recognized certifications, but it is not a simple task for those who just arrived at the Agile world.

Through this blog, I will provide you a short overview of the differences between CSPO and PSPO credentials to help you in making an informed decision.

Note: Please note that these reflect my personal views only.

The CSPO workshop is usually informative about Scrum and Agile although the quality may be variable and depends very much on the specific instructor and the materials they provide.

The basic Comparison of CSPO and PSPO

CSPOPSPO
  • CSPO is offered through Scrum Alliance
  • CSPO has continuing education credit requirements every three years and is renewable.
  •  PSPO never has to be renewed 

Accreditation Body

The accreditation body of the CSPO and PSPO certifications are as follows:

  • PSPO - Scrum.org
  • CSPO - Scrum Alliance

Renewal of CSPO and PSPO Certifications

  • PSPO - once earned, credential does not expire and does not require renewal.
  • CSPO - once earned, credential valid for two years. Starting Feb 2019, renewal would require 20 Scrum educational units(earned in last 2 years only) and a renewal fee of USD 100 

Price

  • PSPO - 200 USD for certification license only. Attending the workshop could cost around 500 USD.
  • CSPO - 500 USD. The cost varies based on the location from which you attend the workshop.

Need of Course 

  • PSPO - No need to take up the course.
  • CSPO - To earn CSPO certificate, you must attend 2 days CSPO classroom training from  a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) from Scrum Alliance.

After Exam Certification

Once you pass the PSPO exam, you will get industry-recognized "PSPO I" certification, along with a PSPO I logo that you can use to identify your achievement. Similarly, on clearing the CSPO certification exam, you will get a certificate from Scrum Alliance

Passing Score

  • PSPO - 85%
  • CSPO - None. Activities to be completed to achieve the credential is at trainer discretion. 

Time limit: 

  • PSPO - 60 minutes
  • CSPO - None

Number of Questions: 

  • PSPO - 80
  • CSPO - None

Format: 

  • PSPO - Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers and True/False
  • CSPO - None

Language: 

  • PSPO - English
  • CSPO - None

Difficulty level

  • PSPO - Intermediate
  • CSPO - None

PSPO has subsequent complexity levels in the form of PSPO I, II, III

CSPO has subsequent complexity level in the form of A-CSPO. 

Password Expiration Date

  • PSPO - When you purchase a password, it is set up in Scrum.org system and emailed to you within one business day. All Students completing a PSPO course are emailed a password upon completion of the course (typically within 3-5 business days). No expiration date for passwords
  • CSPO - Depends on the online workflow set up by the Certified Scrum Trainer

Membership

  • PSPO - Membership of Scrum.org and the membership does not expire
  • CSPO - 2 Year Membership with Scrum Alliance. You are eligible to join local user groups and social networks, enjoy discounts on global events, search for careers on our online job board, and more.

Other benefits

  • PSPO:  Once you get certified, your name will be listed on Scrum.org.
  • CSPO: Once you receive the credential, your name is listed on Scrum Alliance portal.

The verdict:

The main aim of the CSPO certification is to understand the working of Scrum and the role of the Product Owner playing in a Scrum team. While the objective of the Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) certification is to develop a solid understanding of the Product Owner to maximize the value of the software products and systems.

PSPO has a level of difficulty associated with it. The things which I like about PSPO certification is that the certification does not mandatorily requires you to attend an in-person workshop. You can prepare all on your own and directly proceed to the examination. Also, PSPO has a lifetime validity once acquired, no need to renew the certificate. 

To evaluate the value of any certification we need to consider:

How knowledge or competency in a subject is evaluated and how rigorous is the assessment process. The cost involved with attaining the certification and the validity also play an important role.

Before reaching any conclusion on which Scrum certification is better-CSPO or PSPO to choose, you must have heard somewhere that simply earning a skill is not enough, you need to prove your potentiality to the employers. Certification is just a way to reach to the recruiters. To get noticed by the potential employer, start looking for the various certifications options available to steer your success. 

Meghana

Meghana Parwate

Blog Author

Meghana Parwate is a coach, mentor and trained several team members on Agile-Scrum, SAFe, etc. she has a consistent track record and a merit rank holder at HSSC. She also leads a 150+ people strong member team to deliver the next generation advanced visualization software with SAFe methodology with consistent achievement of 85%+ team goals every program increment. And she also Successfully delivered projects of variable team sizes with Agile-Scrums Scrums-of-Scrums and SAFe methodologies ranging from 1 to 20 scrum teams augmented with a blend of TDD and CI techniques.

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Scrum Master and Product Owner: Understanding the Differences

According to the State of Scrum report 2017-2018 based on the data collection initiated in 2013. This survey represents the real world implementations of Scrum.     Agile methodology imparts the easy and convenient path to work. Scrum is one of the renowned Agile methodologies. The agile methodology consists of 4 main roles, viz. Product Owner, Scrum Master, Scrum team and Stakeholder. Each role has its share of responsibilities. These roles are all about commitment.     Scrum Master and the Product Owner are the two vital roles in the Scrum software development methodology. Since they both are working on different areas of the project, they are indispensable for the project. Scrum Master is a mediator between the Product Owner (PO) and the Development Team.     Let’s see how a Scrum Master is different from a Product Owner. Difference between the Product Owner and Scrum Master-   Though the Product Owner and the Scrum master vary in their roles, they complement each other. Scrum master should support the Product Owner in every step possible. There should be an amicable relationship between the Product Owner and the Scrum master. Disputes may happen between them if the roles are not clarified. Let us have a look at the differences in roles between the Product Owner and the Scrum Master. The Scrum Master concentrates on the project success, by assisting the product owner and the team is using the right process for creating a successful target and establishing the Agile principles.     Skills of the Scrum Master (SM): Removes the impediments and keep the team on track The Scrum Master helps the team to strictly adhere to the Scrum practices and helps them in reaching the target. The Scrum Master find out the distractions that are hindering the team from delivering the product quality. The distractions include unwanted meetings, complexity in the procedure, work environment etc. Encourages Collaboration The Scrum Master notices the daily activities of the team members. Also, the SM share his/her experiences with the team members via meetings, conferences, and seminars. The Scrum Master encourages the collaboration through the stand-up meetings, the release of planning sessions, iteration planning, and demo sessions. Good listening and Communication power The Scrum Master should have good communication skills in order to discuss the ideas and plan with the team. Good communication helps to deliver messages to customers, teams, and target audiences. Also, listening to the team members will help them share their ideas with the Scrum Master. So, Scrum Master should be a good listener also. Mentors the team as a Coach A successful Scrum Master understands the importance of the team working in collaboration. He/She mentors the team members as a Coach to implement the Scrum practices.    Flexibility for adopting the change The Scrum Master should be flexible for adopting any change. While implementing the Agile methodology, the team members may face the problems. So, the Scrum Master should be able to help the team members to adopt the changes. The Scrum Master facilitates the daily Scrum meetings for the team members to discuss their issues that are hindering the project growth.     Partnership with the Product Owner Scrum consists of three roles – Product Owner, Scrum Team and Scrum Master. The Scrum Master acts as a mediator between the development team and the Product Owner. The two roles- Product Owner and Scrum Master are valuable for the team, as they build a perfect relation with the team and thereby delivering the best results. Servant Leadership quality The Scrum Master provides collaboration. Scrum Master is also known as a Servant Leader.  He/She guides the team members on how to follow the Scrum approach to motivate the team members to deliver the best. Responsibilities of the Scrum Master:   Scrum Master facilitates team for better vision and always tries to improve the efficiency of the teams. Scrum Master manages Scrum processes coordinating with the Scrum team in the Agile methodology. Scrum Master removes impediments for the Scrum team. Scrum Master arranges daily quick stand-up meetings to ensure quick inspection and proper use of adaptation processes. Scrum Master helps Product Owner to shape the product backlog and make it ready for the next sprint. Conducting retrospective meetings. Scrum Master organizes and facilitates the sprint planning meeting. Most importantly, the Scrum Master removes the impediments that hindering the project success. Scrum Master keeps the team away from the distractions. 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6 Steps To Scrum Adoption At An Indian Start-up

Adopting Scrum presents different challenges to di... Read More