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Top Scrum Certifications of 2021

A question that plagues most entry-level or even mid-career Scrum professionals is: “is a Scrum credential really worth it?” The answer—it most definitely is! According to the Salary Survey of Scrum Professionals 2017-18 , even entry level professionals, with just one scrum certification, earn much more than their non-certified counterparts. Scrum certifications were also the most requested certifications in 2020 with the Certified ScrumMaster being most in demand, according to employment website Indeed.com. Employers are more than ever before, looking at hiring certified Scrum professionals, a fact validated by  Indeed.com’s survey, which places the CSM above the Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential in its list. So, you know how to future proof your career. Get a Scrum certification!  SourceHere’s a list of the top paying Scrum certifications that will help you in career progression, leverage this hiring demand in 2021-2022 and earn high salaries.CSMCSPOPSMA-CSMPSPOSAFe Scrum Master CertificationPMI-ACPScrum Master by Scrum Inc.™ Certification1. Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)  This entry-level Scrum credential from Scrum Alliance, is a great starting point for professionals who want to gain an understanding of Scrum team roles and responsibilities, Scrum events and Scrum artifacts.CSM Demand: CSM, was the 9th most-requested certification this year in the Indeed.com survey. With an average salary of approximately $120K per annum and 24% expected job growth rate in the next 3 years, CSM is indeed the gold standard for Scrum certifications.   Source: Certified Scrum Master (CSM) Schools & Reviews | Indeed.com Benefits Of CSM Gain a high degree of proficiency in executing Scrum. Become an Agile change agent Be a servant leader. Create a highly motivated and high performing team. Open yourself to new opportunities. Earn high salaries. Average salary USD 118,353 Gets you a 2-year membership with Scrum AllianceTop companies hiring CSM professionals Retail E-commerce Energy & Utilities Financial Services such as Insurance and Investments Cos Advertising Marketing Government Institutions. Some of the top companies hiring CSMs includeIBM Tata Consultancy Services CapGemini Honeywell BOSCH Accenture DeloitteWhere to take training for certification: Aspirants must attend a course taught by a Global Registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance or by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST®). KnowledgeHut is a Global Registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance. Eligibility for CSM exam: Attending an in-person two day (16 hours) or live online (14 hours) Certified ScrumMaster® course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST®) is required, to be eligible for the exam. Who should take the CSM training for certificationSoftware Engineers Product Managers Project Managers Team Leaders Business Analysts Product Managers Software Developers Product Owners Software Development Managers Software Architects Software Testers Team Leads QA Managers Development team members Testers Anyone who would like to build a career as a Scrum Master Duration to get certified: Attending a 14-hour live online or 16 hour in-person course is mandatory for appearing for the exam. Once you complete the course, you should reserve some time for ensuring a thorough preparation before attempting the exam. If you successfully pass the exam, you will get your results immediately and you are a qualified CSM. The total duration in order to get CSM certified, including course, study time and exam should take you around a couple of weeks. Course fee for certification: Rs. 23,999/- in India, $ 1295 in the US Application fee for certification: NA Exam fee for certification: Included in course fee Exam Format: Online test comprising of 50 multiple choice questions. Duration: 1-hour Pass mark: 74%  Retake fee for certification: The second attempt is free if you attempt the exam within 60 days of course completion. The retake costs $25 after first two attempts.2. Certified Scrum Product Owner®(CSPO®) Another offering from Scrum Alliance, this credential is for professionals who want to cement their career as Product Owners and want to validate their expertise on Scrum terminology, practices, and principles. CSPO Demand: Product Owners have been recognised for their innumerable contribution to Scrum teams and their role as a bridge between business and development. With 90% modern teams using Scrum for product development, the Product Owner’s role as an intermediary who maximises value and motivates teams, is not lost on recruiters. Which is why the demand for product owner keeps rising and each day hundreds of open positions for product owner roles are added.  Benefits Of CSPO Enhance your knowledge of Agile practices Maximise value and enhance stakeholder satisfaction Grow your network and speak a global product owner language Get a 2-year membership with Scrum Alliance Earn lucrative salaries CSPO salary: $105,845.Top companies hiring CSPO professionals IT Telecom Healthcare Financial Manufacturing Education Some of the top companies hiring CSPOs includeGartner Intel Dell Bosch PayPal Mastercard Axis Bank SAP IBM Where to take training for certification: Aspirants must attend a course taught by a Global Registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance or by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST®). KnowledgeHut is a Global Registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance. Eligibility for CSPO exam: There is no exam. Aspirants need to successfully complete 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 to be certified as CSPO.  Who should take the training for CSPO certification 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 Duration to get certified: 14 hours or 16 hours or 25 hours, depending on the mode of training you choose.Course fee for certification: Training cost: INR 24999 in India, USD 1295 in US and CAD 1495 in Canada 3. Professional Scrum Master™ (PSM™)The Professional Scrum Master™ I is an offering from Scrum.org, a global organization founded by Scrum co-creator, Ken Schwaber. This credential with its high standards of training and exhaustive assessment, ensures that holders have mastery over the Scrum framework.  PSM Demand: According to the 2019 Scrum Master trends by Scrum.org, PSM I was among the top three certifications among survey participants. Scrum is by far the most commonly used agile framework and its popularity is not going to diminish any time soon.  PSM I is lucrative and career defining. Benefits Of PSM Lead a team of Scrum specialists who bring the benefits of Scrum to projects. Perform the responsibilities of a servant leader Resolve conflicts and tackle challenges to deliver the best at the end of every Sprint. Address organizational challenges in using Scrum effectively Display a high level of Scrum expertise Earn high salaries; upto USD 93,570 on average annuallyTop companies hiring PSM professionals Retail E-commerce Energy & Utilities Financial Services such as Insurance and Investments Cos Advertising Marketing Government Institutions. Some of the top companies that hire PSMs J.P. Morgan Chas & Co Capgemini IBM Sogeti USA LLC Northrop Grumman CorporationWhere to take training for certification: Aspirants must train under PSTs or from a Professional Training Network (PTN) member of Scrum.org. You can attend a face-to-face course taught by Professional Scrum Trainer (PSTs), a private coaching or complete 16 hours of live online training with a PST. KnowledgeHut is a Professional Training Network (PTN) member of Scrum.org. Eligibility for PSM exam: There is no eligibility criteria for appearing for the exam. But aspirants must possess a high level of Scrum knowledge.  Who should take the training for PSM certification Project Managers Scrum Masters Scrum team members Developers Product Owners Software development managers Software Architects Product Managers Software Developers Software Coders Software Testers Team Leads/Team Members Duration to get certified: Passing the assessment is mandatory to gain the certificate. Considering that the assessment is difficult, Scrum.org suggests a thorough preparation that includes attending a course, reading the Scrum Guide and other resources. In all, it may take you 20 hrs including course and study time to get PSM certified. Course fee for certification: USD 1299 Exam format:  80 multiple choice questions and True/False questions Duration: 1 hour Pass mark: 85%   Application fee for certification : NA Exam fee for certification: $150 USD per attempt Retake fee for certification:  Two attempts are permitted within 14 days after you receive your key, at no additional cost.4. Advanced Certified ScrumMaster℠ (A-CSM℠) This is the advanced level credential after the CSM and is offered by the Scrum Alliance. If you want to continue on your agile journey and show your commitment to continued excellence, then this is the right credential for you.   A-CSM Demand: The A-CSM helps you showcase your advanced Scrum implementation skills, and ability to facilitate better dialogue between the Scrum team and stakeholders. These advanced Scrum Master skills are in high demand across Fortune 500 companies, who are ready to pay high salaries for such skills.  Benefits Of A-CSM Enable high performance teams Lead and facilitate change Resolve impediments Manage multiple teams Earn high salaries upto $115K per year Top companies hiring A-CSM professionals Retail E-commerce Energy & Utilities Financial Services such as Insurance and Investments Cos Advertising Marketing Government Institutions Telecom Infrastructure Entertainment Some of the top companies hiring A-CSMs Google Walt Disney LinkedIn Roche BBC GE Adobe Microsoft Spotify eBay Twitter IBM Capgemini Accenture Deloitte Hewlett Packard BAE Systems Lockheed Martin ExxonMobil Verizon Walmart Dow Jones  Tesla  Where to take training for certification: Aspirants must attend a training offered by a Global Registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance. Eligibility for A-CSM exam  Hold a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification with the Scrum Alliance.  Attend a certified A-CSM educational offering to gain techniques and skills that go beyond the basics and mechanics of Scrum, expanding into interaction, facilitation, coaching, and team dynamics. Successfully complete all educator-designed components of an approved educational offering. This may include pre- or post-course work as deemed necessary by your approved educator to complete the learning objectives. Accept the A-CSM License Agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile. Validate at least 12 months of work experience specific to the role of Scrum Master (within the past five years).  Who should take the training for certification Scrum Masters Team Leads Development Managers Delivery Managers Project Managers Agile Coaches Duration to get certified: Once you have satisfied all the eligibility requirements mandated by Scrum Alliance including a minimum of 12 months of Scrum Master experience (within the past five years), you need to attend the 2-day A-CSM℠ course from a Global Registered Education Provider of Scrum Alliance post which you will get your A-CSM credential. KnowledgeHut is a Global Registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance. Course fee for certification: USD  775  Application fee for certification: NA Exam fee for certification: There is no exam for A-CSM Retake fee for certification: NA5. Professional Scrum Product Owner™(PSPO) PSPO stands for Professional Scrum Product Owner, a course and certification offered by Scrum.org. This credential helps you develop a solid understanding of the Product Owner responsibilities and maximize value of software products and systems. PSPO Demand:  Product Owner roles are the jobs of the future. Listed by LinkedIn and the World Economic Forum (Jobs of Tomorrow Report 2020) as being among the top emerging job trends, product owner roles are here to stay.  Benefits Of PSPO Own the product vision and maximize your team’s ROI Improve business value Motivate and lead Agile teams Demonstrate your proficiency in Scrum Grow your career in Scrum with confidence  Open yourself up to new opportunities Earn handsome salaries. Certified Product Owners earn $105,399, average salary, much higher compared to non-certified Product Owners Top companies hiring PSPO professionals Telecom Oil & gas Finance Government Healthcare Entertainment and more Some of the top companies hiring PSPOs includeSpotify Twitter Tesla Lockheed Martin Walmart Dow Jones ExxonMobil Where to take training for certification: Aspirants must take their training from a Professional Training Network (PTN) member of Scrum.org. KnowledgeHut is a Scrum.org™ Professional Training Network (PTN) member. Eligibility for PSPO exam: No eligibility requirements. Participants must possess high knowledge of Scrum.  Who should take the training for certification 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 Leadership Team  Duration to get certified: 2 days training plus additional study hours before attempting the exam.  Course fee for certification: USD 999 Application fee for certification: NA  Exam fee for certification: $200 USD Exam Format: 80 multiple choice questions and True/False questions Duration: 1 hour Pass mark: 85% Difficulty Level: Intermediate  Retake fee for certification: You are allowed two attempts within 14 days after you receive your assessment key from Scrum.org at no additional cost.6. SAFe® Scrum Master Certification The SAFe Scrum Master certification certifies an individual as being capable of performing scrum master responsibilities in a scaled agile environment. SSM certified individuals can lead Agile Scrum transformations, create high performing teams and ensure implementation of Scrum practices in the organization.  SSM Demand:  According to the 13th State of Agile Survey Report (2019), the Scaled Agile Framework is the most popular scaling method. With more and more organizations discovering the benefits of scaling agile and harnessing its potential on an enterprise-wide scale, the demand for hiring SAFe certified professionals has increased tremendously.   Benefits Of SSM Perform the responsibilities of a servant leader Successfully carry out Program Increment planning Facilitate Iteration execution Manage the Program Increment Coach a successful Agile team that is highly motivated and high performing Get the Certified SAFe Scrum Master Certificate (PDF format)  Get the Certified SAFe Scrum Master Digital Badge  One-year membership to the SAFe Community Platform Access to SAFe events and MeetUp Groups  Get access to various SAFe learning resources Open yourself to lucrative opportunities and high salaries—as high as $80,000 to $1,10,000 annually Top companies hiring SSM professionals Finance IT Service Industry FMCG Retail Insurance Banks  Some of the top companies hiring SSMs Cisco LEGO digital solutions Barclays Panera Bread Ericsson FitBit Where to take training for certification: Aspirants must attend a training facilitated by an authorized training partner of Scaled Agile.  KnowledgeHut is a Silver Training Partner of Scaled Agile.  Eligibility for SSM exam:  Experience working in a Lean-Agile environment and attending a two-day training delivered by a SAFe Program Consultant (SPC).  Who should take the training for certification Program or Project Manager Scrum Master Team Lead Release Train Engineer Business Analyst Agile Coach Portfolio Manager Consultant Architect Engineer Developer Director Quality Manager Product Manager Product Owner Delivery Manager Program Manager  Duration to get certified:  2-day training followed by study time. On passing the 90 minute SSM exam you will be a Certified SAFe 5 Scrum Master. You will receive your SAFe 5 Scrum Master PDF Certificate and Digital Badge within 5-7 working days.  Course fee for certification: Rs 55999, Cost in the U.S.: USD 1099  Exam format:  Exam type – Multiple choice; Multiple select Exam delivery – Web-based (single-browser), closed book Exam duration – 1.5 hours Number of questions – 45 Passing score – SSM 4 = 33 out of 45 (73%); SSM 5.0 =33 out of 45 (73%) Exam score for SSM 5.0 has been updated effective Feb 28 8pm MST. SSM 5.0 passing score prior to February 28 was 34 out of 45 (75%). Language – English Application fee for certification: NA Exam fee for certification: First exam attempt is included as part of the course registration fee if the exam is taken within 30 days of course completion. Retake fee for certification: $50 for each retake attempt 7. PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®The PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner, as the name suggests, is an offering of the world-renowned Project Management Institute.  This certification places rigorous standards on participants which is why it is highly acknowledged world over. Holders get a holistic view of carrying out project management practices in Agile environments.  PMI-ACP Demand:  According to a survey in SwarmOS, Agile adoption has helped 98% of organizations in reducing costs, enhancing bottom line margins and deliver successful products. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption rate of Agile and what these Agile organizations need are project managers who understand Agile in a variety of situations and are able to effectively steer projects by applying project management best practices. PMI-ACP professionals are therefore highly sought after by recruiters and organizations.  Benefits Of PMI-ACP Leverage the demand for Agile project managers by getting PMI-ACP certified Show your expertise in a variety of Agile methods like Scrum, FDD, Kanban, and more Make yourself more marketable  Earn lucrative salaries :  $108,000 on an average  Top companies hiring PMI-ACP professionals Aerospace Engineering Manufacturing Construction Pharma Banking Some top companies hiring PMI-ACPs Boeing Booz Allen Hamilton Visa American Express AT&T Wipro Where to take training for certification:  Aspirants must train from an Authorized Training Partner (ATP) of PMI. KnowledgeHut is a Premier Authorized Training Partner (ATP) of PMI.  Eligibility for PMI-ACP exam: General Project Experience 2000 hours of working on project teams within the last 5 years or having an active PMP®/PgMP® credential Agile Project Experience 1500 hours of working on Agile Project Teams or with Agile Methodologies, in addition to “General Project Experience” above; Training in Agile Practices 21 contact hours earned in Agile Practices Who should take the training for PMI-ACP certification Project Managers Project Planners Quality Assurance Staff Developers/Programmers Designers, Testers Project Controllers Product Owners Scrum Masters Scrum Team MembersDuration to get certified: Attending a training workshop of 3 days followed by intense exam preparation that can be from 100-150 hrs in duration is a conservative time to prepare for the PMI-ACP credential. Once you successfully pass the exam, you will be PM-ACP certified.  Course fee for certification: INR 10999, USD 1099 Exam Format:  120 MCQs, each question will have four choices Duration: 3 hours Application fee for certification : For PMI membership: USD $ 129 plus USD $10 for application fee. Exam fee for certification: $435 for PMI members, $495 for non-members Retake fee for certification: $335 for PMI members and $395 for non-members. 8. Scrum Master by Scrum Inc.™ CertificationThis highly regarded and recognised credential is offered by Scrum.Inc. This is the Scrum training developed and promoted by Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of Scrum, and helps participants implement Scrum practices to bring about innovation, value and project success. Scrum Master by Scrum Inc.™ Certification Demand: Considering that this certification has an agenda backed by the co-founder of Scrum, its demand in the industry is significant. The ability of certified professionals to create self-organized, high value and motivated teams is much appreciated by organizations. This has created a huge surplus of demand for Scrum professionals and this credential will put you in the market for these top roles.  Benefits of Scrum Master by Scrum Inc.™ CertificationDeliver high quality products and reduce costs Scale Scrum and enjoy enterprise-wide advantages Lead high performing teams Deliver products fast Earn high salaries: USD $97319  Scrum Master Certification – Getting Started & Comparison Guide 2021 (knowledgehut.com) Top companies hiring Scrum Master by Scrum Inc.™ professionals Financial Services Construction Engineering Pharma Data Analytics Education Tourism Government Agencies Some top companies hiring Scrum Master by Scrum Inc. Certified professionals Lockheed Martin PepsiCo Anthem Cisco Standard Chartered CapitalOne Thales FitBit Where to take training for certification: Aspirants must take the course from an authorized training provider of Scrum Inc.™. Eligibility for Scrum Master by Scrum Inc.™ exam: Attending a 16-hour Scrum Master course from an ATP of Scrum Inc™ is mandatory for taking the exam. Who should take the training (roles) for certificationProject Managers Scrum Masters Scrum Team Developers Product Owners Software Managers Software Architects Product Managers Testers Team Leads SAFe® practitioners interested in Scrum@Scale PMPs, PMI-ACP Team Leaders Professionals interested in Agile and Scrum methodologies Professionals who wish to explore how Scrum delivers twice the value at half the cost Duration to get certified: You need to attend a 16-hour course and spend some time for exam preparation. Once you take the exam and clear it, you will be Scrum Master certified.  Course fee for certification: $1995  Exam fee for certification: Included in training cost SummaryLinkedIn’s “Most promising jobs of 2017,” states that job openings for Scrum Masters grew 104 percent year-over-year from 2016, with a career advancement score of 8 out of 10; while Scrum Master was listed in the top 10 emerging Product Development jobs list by the World Economic Forum. Not just the number of jobs, but there is also steady increase in the base salary earned by Scrum certified professionals, and this increase based on the number of certifications that one holds.  So, more the number of certifications you add to your resume, the higher your salary goes. At the outset of 2021, there are still thousands of job openings for Scrum professionals. Equip yourself with one or more of these highest paying Scrum certifications and bring value to yourself and your organization.

Top Scrum Certifications of 2021

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Top Scrum Certifications of 2021

A question that plagues most entry-level or even mid-career Scrum professionals is“is a Scrum credential really worth it?” The answer—it most definitely is! According to the Salary Survey of Scrum Professionals 2017-18 , even entry level professionals, with just one scrum certification, earn much more than their non-certified counterparts. 

Scrum certifications were also the most requested certifications in 2020 with the Certified ScrumMaster being most in demand, according to employment website Indeed.com. Employers are more than ever before, looking at hiring certified Scrum professionals, a fact validated by  

Indeed.com’s survey, which places the CSM above the Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential in its list. 

So, you know how to future proof your career. Get a Scrum certification!  Source

Here’s a list of the top paying Scrum certifications that will help you in career progressionleverage this hiring demand in 2021-2022 and earn high salaries.

1. Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)  

This entry-level Scrum credential from Scrum Alliance, is a great starting point for professionals who want to gain an understanding of Scrum team roles and responsibilities, Scrum events and Scrum artifacts.

CSM Demand: CSM, was the 9th most-requested certification this year in the Indeed.com survey. With an average salary of approximately $120K per annum and 24% expected job growth rate in the next 3 years, CSM is indeed the gold standard for Scrum certifications.   

Source: Certified Scrum Master (CSM) Schools & Reviews | Indeed.com 

Benefits Of CSM 

  • Gain a high degree of proficiency in executing Scrum. 
  • Become an Agile change agent 
  • Be a servant leader. 
  • Create a highly motivated and high performing team. 
  • Open yourself to new opportunities. 
  • Earn high salaries. Average salary USD 118,353 
  • Gets you a 2-year membership with Scrum Alliance

Top companies hiring CSM professionals 

  1. Retail 
  2. E-commerce 
  3. Energy & Utilities 
  4. Financial Services such as Insurance and Investments Cos 
  5. Advertising 
  6. Marketing 
  7. Government Institutions. 

Some of the top companies hiring CSMs include

  1. IBM 
  2. Tata Consultancy Services 
  3. CapGemini 
  4. Honeywell 
  5. BOSCH 
  6. Accenture 
  7. Deloitte

Where to take training for certificationAspirants must attend a course taught by a Global Registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance or by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST®)KnowledgeHut is a Global Registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance. 

Eligibility for CSM exam: Attending an in-person two day (16 hours) or live online (14 hours) Certified ScrumMaster® course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST®) irequired, to be eligible for the exam. 

Who should take the CSM training for certification

  • Software Engineers 
  • Product Managers 
  • Project Managers 
  • Team Leaders 
  • Business Analysts 
  • Product Managers 
  • Software Developers 
  • Product Owners 
  • Software Development Managers 
  • Software Architects 
  • Software Testers 
  • Team Leads 
  • QA Managers 
  • Development team members 
  • Testers 
  • Anyone who would like to build a career as a Scrum Master 

Duration to get certifiedAttending a 14-hour live online or 16 hour in-person course is mandatory for appearing for the exam. Once you complete the course, you should reserve some time for ensuring a thorough preparation before attempting the exam. If you successfully pass the exam, you will get your results immediately and you are a qualified CSM. The total duration in order to get CSM certified, including course, study time and exam should take you around a couple of weeks. 

Course fee for certificationRs. 23,999/- in India, $ 1295 in the US 
Application fee for certification: NA 
Exam fee for certificationIncluded in course fee 

Exam Format: 

  • Online test comprising of 50 multiple choice questions. 
  • Duration: 1-hour 
  • Pass mark: 74%  

Retake fee for certificationThe second attempt is free if you attempt the exam within 60 days of course completion. The retake costs $25 after first two attempts.

2. Certified Scrum Product Owner®(CSPO®) 

Another offering from Scrum Alliance, this credential is for professionals who want to cement their career as Product Owners and want to validate their expertise on Scrum terminology, practices, and principles

CSPO Demand: Product Owners have been recognised for their innumerable contribution to Scrum teams and their role as a bridge between business and development. With 90% modern teams using Scrum for product development, the Product Owner’s role as an intermediary who maximises value and motivates teams, is not lost on recruiters. Which is why the demand for product owner keeps rising and each day hundreds of open positions for product owner roles are added.  

Benefits Of CSPO 

  • Enhance your knowledge of Agile practices 
  • Maximise value and enhance stakeholder satisfaction 
  • Grow your network and speak a global product owner language 
  • Get a 2-year membership with Scrum Alliance 
  • Earn lucrative salaries CSPO salary$105,845.

Top companies hiring CSPO professionals 

  1. IT 
  2. Telecom 
  3. Healthcare 
  4. Financial 
  5. Manufacturing 
  6. Education 

Some of the top companies hiring CSPOs include

  1. Gartner 
  2. Intel 
  3. Dell 
  4. Bosch 
  5. PayPal 
  6. Mastercard 
  7. Axis Bank 
  8. SAP 
  9. IBM 

Where to take training for certification: Aspirants must attend a course taught by a Global Registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance or by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST®)KnowledgeHut is a Global Registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance. 

Eligibility for CSPO exam: There is no exam. Aspirants need to successfully complete 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 to be certified as CSPO.  

Who should take the training for CSPO certification 

  • 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 

Duration to get certified: 14 hours or 16 hours or 25 hours, depending on the mode of training you choose.

Course fee for certification: Training cost: INR 24999 in India, USD 1295 in US and CAD 1495 in Canada 

3. Professional Scrum Master (PSM)

The Professional Scrum Master™ I is an offering from Scrum.org, a global organization founded by Scrum co-creator, Ken Schwaber. This credential with its high standards of training and exhaustive assessment, ensures that holders have mastery over the Scrum framework.  

PSM Demand: According to the 2019 Scrum Master trends by Scrum.org, PSM I was among the top three certifications among survey participantsScrum is by far the most commonly used agile framework and its popularity is not going to diminish any time soon PSM I is lucrative and career defining. 

Benefits Of PSM 

  • Lead a team of Scrum specialists who bring the benefits of Scrum to projects. 
  • Perform the responsibilities of a servant leader 
  • Resolve conflicts and tackle challenges to deliver the best at the end of every Sprint. 
  • Address organizational challenges in using Scrum effectively 
  • Display a high level of Scrum expertise 
  • Earn high salaries; upto USD 93,570 on average annually

Top companies hiring PSM professionals 

  1. Retail 
  2. E-commerce 
  3. Energy & Utilities 
  4. Financial Services such as Insurance and Investments Cos 
  5. Advertising 
  6. Marketing 
  7. Government Institutions. 

Some of the top companies that hire PSMs 

  1. J.P. Morgan Chas & Co 
  2. Capgemini 
  3. IBM 
  4. Sogeti USA LLC 
  5. Northrop Grumman Corporation

Where to take training for certification: Aspirants must train under PSTs or from a Professional Training Network (PTN) member of Scrum.orgYou can attend a face-to-face course taught by Professional Scrum Trainer (PSTs), a private coaching or complete 16 hours of live online training with a PST. KnowledgeHut is a Professional Training Network (PTN) member of Scrum.org. 

Eligibility for PSM exam: There is no eligibility criteria for appearing for the exam. But aspirants must possess a high level of Scrum knowledge.  

Who should take the training for PSM certification 

  • Project Managers 
  • Scrum Masters 
  • Scrum team members 
  • Developers 
  • Product Owners 
  • Software development managers 
  • Software Architects 
  • Product Managers 
  • Software Developers 
  • Software Coders 
  • Software Testers 
  • Team Leads/Team Members 

Duration to get certifiedPassing the assessment is mandatory to gain the certificate. Considering that the assessment is difficult, Scrum.org suggests a thorough preparation that includes attending a course, reading the Scrum Guide and other resources. In all, it may take you 20 hrs including course and study time to get PSM certified. 

Course fee for certification: USD 1299 

  • Exam format:  
  • 80 multiple choice questions and True/False questions 
  • Duration: 1 hour 
  • Pass mark: 85%  

 Application fee for certification : NA 

Exam fee for certification$150 USD per attempt 

Retake fee for certification Two attempts are permitted within 14 days after you receive your key, at no additional cost.

4. Advanced Certified ScrumMaster℠ (A-CSM℠) 

This is the advanced level credential after the CSM and is offered by the Scrum Alliance. If you want to continue on your agile journey and show your commitment to continued excellence, then this is the right credential for you.   

A-CSM Demand: The A-CSM helps you showcase your advanced Scrum implementation skills, and ability to facilitate better dialogue between the Scrum team and stakeholdersThese advanced Scrum Master skills are in high demand across Fortune 500 companies, who are ready to pay high salaries for such skills.  

Benefits Of A-CSM 

  • Enable high performance teams 
  • Lead and facilitate change 
  • Resolve impediments 
  • Manage multiple teams 
  • Earn high salaries upto $115Kper year 

Top companies hiring A-CSM professionals 

  1. Retail 
  2. E-commerce 
  3. Energy & Utilities 
  4. Financial Services such as Insurance and Investments Cos 
  5. Advertising 
  6. Marketing 
  7. Government Institutions 
  8. Telecom 
  9. Infrastructure 
  10. Entertainment 

Some of the top companies hiring A-CSMs 

  1. Google 
  2. Walt Disney 
  3. LinkedIn 
  4. Roche 
  5. BBC 
  6. GE 
  7. Adobe 
  8. Microsoft 
  9. Spotify 
  10. eBay 
  11. Twitter 
  12. IBM 
  13. Capgemini 
  14. Accenture 
  15. Deloitte 
  16. Hewlett Packard 
  17. BAE Systems 
  18. Lockheed Martin 
  19. ExxonMobil 
  20. Verizon 
  21. Walmart 
  22. Dow Jones  
  23. Tesla  

Where to take training for certificationAspirants must attend a training offered by a Global Registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance. 

Eligibility for A-CSM exam  

  • Hold a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification with the Scrum Alliance.  
  • Attend a certified A-CSM educational offering to gain techniques and skills that go beyond the basics and mechanics of Scrum, expanding into interaction, facilitation, coaching, and team dynamics. 
  • Successfully complete all educator-designed components of an approved educational offering. This may include pre- or post-course work as deemed necessary by your approved educator to complete the learning objectives. 
  • Accept the A-CSM License Agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile. 
  • Validate at least 12 months of work experience specific to the role of Scrum Master (within the past five years). 

 Who should take the training for certification 

  • Scrum Masters 
  • Team Leads 
  • Development Managers 
  • Delivery Managers 
  • Project Managers 
  • Agile Coaches 

Duration to get certified: Once you have satisfied all the eligibility requirements mandated by Scrum Alliance including a minimum of 12 months of Scrum Master experience (within the past five years), you need to attend the 2-day A-CSM course from a Global Registered Education Provider of Scrum Alliance post which you will get your A-CSM credential. KnowledgeHut is a Global Registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance. 

Course fee for certification: USD  775  

Application fee for certification: NA 

Exam fee for certification: There is no exam for A-CSM 

Retake fee for certification: NA

5. Professional Scrum Product Owner™(PSPO) 

PSPO stands for Professional Scrum Product Owner, a course and certification offered by Scrum.org. This credential helps you develop a solid understanding of the Product Owner responsibilities and maximize value of software products and systems. 

PSPO Demand:  

Product Owner roles are the jobs of the future. Listed by LinkedIn and the World Economic Forum (Jobs of Tomorrow Report 2020) as being among the top emerging job trends, product owner roles are here to stay.  

Benefits Of PSPO 

  • Own the product vision and maximize your team’s ROI 
  • Improve business value 
  • Motivate and lead Agile teams 
  • Demonstrate your proficiency in Scrum 
  • Grow your career in Scrum with confidence 
  • Open yourself up to new opportunities 
  • Earn handsome salaries. Certified Product Owners earn $105,399average salary, much higher compared to non-certified Product Owners 

Top companies hiring PSPO professionals 

  • Telecom 
  • Oil & gas 
  • Finance 
  • Government 
  • Healthcare 
  • Entertainment and more 

Some of the top companies hiring PSPOs include

  • Spotify 
  • Twitter 
  • Tesla 
  • Lockheed Martin 
  • Walmart 
  • Dow Jones 
  • ExxonMobil 

Where to take training for certification: Aspirants must take their training from a Professional Training Network (PTN) member of Scrum.orgKnowledgeHut is a Scrum.org™ Professional Training Network (PTN) member. 

Eligibility for PSPO exam: No eligibility requirements. Participants must possess high knowledge of Scrum.  

Who should take the training for certification 

  • 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 
  • Leadership Team  

Duration to get certified: days training plus additional study hours before attempting the exam.  

Course fee for certification: USD 999 

Application fee for certification: NA  

Exam fee for certification: $200 USD 

Exam Format: 

  • 80 multiple choice questions and True/False questions 
  • Duration: 1 hour 
  • Pass mark: 85% 
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate 

 Retake fee for certification: You are allowed two attempts within 14 days after you receive your assessment key from Scrum.org at no additional cost.

6. SAFe® Scrum Master Certification 

The SAFe Scrum Master certification certifies an individual as being capable of performing scrum master responsibilities in a scaled agile environment. SSM certified individuals can lead Agile Scrum transformations, create high performing teams and ensure implementation of Scrum practices in the organization.  

  • SSM Demand:  

According to the 13th State of Agile Survey Report (2019)the Scaled Agile Framework is the most popular scaling method. With more and more organizations discovering the benefits of scaling agile and harnessing its potential on an enterprise-wide scale, the demand for hiring SAFe certified professionals has increased tremendously.   

Benefits Of SSM 

  • Perform the responsibilities of a servant leader 
  • Successfully carry out Program Increment planning 
  • Facilitate Iteration execution 
  • Manage the Program Increment 
  • Coach a successful Agile team that is highly motivated and high performing 
  • Get the Certified SAFe Scrum Master Certificate (PDF format)  
  • Get the Certified SAFe Scrum Master Digital Badge  
  • One-year membership to the SAFe Community Platform 
  • Access to SAFe events and MeetUp Groups   
  • Get access to various SAFe learning resources 
  • Open yourself to lucrative opportunities and high salaries—as high as $80,000 to $1,10,000 annually 

Top companies hiring SSM professionals 

  1. Finance 
  2. IT 
  3. Service Industry 
  4. FMCG 
  5. Retail 
  6. Insurance 
  7. Banks  

Some of the top companies hiring SSMs 

  1. Cisco 
  2. LEGO digital solutions 
  3. Barclays 
  4. Panera Bread 
  5. Ericsson 
  6. FitBit 

Where to take training for certification: Aspirants must attend a training facilitated by an authorized training partner of Scaled Agile.  KnowledgeHut is a Silver Training Partner of Scaled Agile.  

Eligibility for SSM exam Experience working in a Lean-Agile environment and attending a two-day training delivered by a SAFe Program Consultant (SPC).  

Who should take the training for certification 

  • Program or Project Manager 
  • Scrum Master 
  • Team Lead 
  • Release Train Engineer 
  • Business Analyst 
  • Agile Coach 
  • Portfolio Manager 
  • Consultant 
  • Architect 
  • Engineer 
  • Developer 
  • Director 
  • Quality Manager 
  • Product Manager 
  • Product Owner 
  • Delivery Manager 
  • Program Manager 

 Duration to get certified:  2-day training followed by study time. On passing the 90 minute SSM exam you will be a Certified SAFe 5 Scrum Master. You will receive your SAFe 5 Scrum Master PDF Certificate and Digital Badge within 5-7 working days. 

Course fee for certification: Rs 55999, Cost in the U.S.: USD 1099 

 Exam format:  

  • Exam type – Multiple choice; Multiple select 
  • Exam delivery – Web-based (single-browser), closed book 
  • Exam duration – 1.5 hours 
  • Number of questions – 45 
  • Passing score – SSM 4 = 33 out of 45 (73%); SSM 5.0 =33 out of 45 (73%) 
    Exam score for SSM 5.0 has been updated effective Feb 28 8pm MST. 
    SSM 5.0 passing score prior to February 28 was 34 out of 45 (75%). 
  • Language – English 

Application fee for certification: NA 

Exam fee for certification: First exam attempt is included as part of the course registration fee if the exam is taken within 30 days of course completion. 

Retake fee for certification$50 for each retake attempt 

7. PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®

The PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner, as the name suggests, is an offering of the world-renowned Project Management Institute.  This certification places rigorous standards on participants which is why it is highly acknowledged world over. Holders get a holistic view of carrying out project management practices in Agile environments.  

PMI-ACP Demand:  

According to a survey in SwarmOS, Agile adoption has helped 98% of organizations in reducing costs, enhancing bottom line margins and deliver successful products. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption rate of Agile and what these Agile organizations need are project managers who understand Agile in a variety of situations and are able to effectively steer projects by applying project management best practices. PMI-ACP professionals are therefore highly sought after by recruiters and organizations.  

Benefits Of PMI-ACP 

  • Leverage the demand for Agile project managers by getting PMI-ACP certified 
  • Show your expertise in a variety of Agile methods like Scrum, FDD, Kanban, and more 
  • Make yourself more marketable  
  • Earn lucrative salaries :  $108,000on an average 

 Top companies hiring PMI-ACP professionals 

  1. Aerospace 
  2. Engineering 
  3. Manufacturing 
  4. Construction 
  5. Pharma 
  6. Banking 

Some top companies hiring PMI-ACPs 

  1. Boeing 
  2. Booz Allen Hamilton 
  3. Visa 
  4. American Express 
  5. AT&T 
  6. Wipro 

Where to take training for certification Aspirants must train from an Authorized Training Partner (ATP) of PMI. KnowledgeHut is a Premier Authorized Training Partner (ATP) of PMI. 

 Eligibility for PMI-ACP exam: 

  • General Project Experience 

2000 hours of working on project teams within the last 5 years or having an active PMP®/PgMP® credential 

  • Agile Project Experience 

1500 hours of working on Agile Project Teams or with Agile Methodologies, in addition to “General Project Experience” above; 

  • Training in Agile Practices 

21 contact hours earned in Agile Practices 

Who should take the training for PMI-ACP certification 

  • Project Managers 
  • Project Planners 
  • Quality Assurance Staff 
  • Developers/Programmers 
  • Designers, Testers 
  • Project Controllers 
  • Product Owners 
  • Scrum Masters 
  • Scrum Team Members

Duration to get certifiedAttending a training workshop of 3 days followed by intense exam preparation that can be from 100-150 hrs in duration is a conservative time to prepare for the PMI-ACP credential. Once you successfully pass the exam, you will be PM-ACP certified.  

Course fee for certificationINR 10999, USD 1099 

Exam Format:  

  • 120 MCQs, each question will have four choices 
  • Duration: 3 hours 

Application fee for certification : For PMI membership: USD $ 129 plus USD $10 for application fee. 

Exam fee for certification$435 for PMI members, $495 for non-members 

Retake fee for certification$335 for PMI members and $395 for non-members. 

8. Scrum Master by Scrum Inc.™ Certification

This highly regarded and recognised credential is offered by Scrum.Inc. This is the Scrum training developed and promoted by Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of Scrum, and helps participants implement Scrum practices to bring about innovation, value and project success. 

Scrum Master by Scrum Inc.™ Certification Demand: Considering that this certification has an agenda backed by the co-founder of Scrum, its demand in the industry is significant. The ability of certified professionals to create self-organized, high value and motivated teams is much appreciated by organizations. This has created a huge surplus of demand for Scrum professionals and this credential will put you in the market for these top roles.  

Benefits of Scrum Master by Scrum Inc.™ Certification

  • Deliver high quality products and reduce costs 
  • Scale Scrum and enjoy enterprise-wide advantages 
  • Lead high performing teams 
  • Deliver products fast 
  • Earn high salaries: US$97319 

Scrum Master Certification – Getting Started & Comparison Guide 2021 (knowledgehut.com) 

Top companies hiring Scrum Master by Scrum Inc.™ professionals 

  1. Financial Services 
  2. Construction 
  3. Engineering 
  4. Pharma 
  5. Data Analytics 
  6. Education 
  7. Tourism 
  8. Government Agencies 

Some top companies hiring Scrum Master by Scrum Inc. Certified professionals 

  1. Lockheed Martin 
  2. PepsiCo 
  3. Anthem 
  4. Cisco 
  5. Standard Chartered 
  6. CapitalOne 
  7. Thales 
  8. FitBit 

Where to take training for certification: Aspirants must take the course from an authorized training provider of Scrum Inc.™. 

Eligibility for Scrum Master by Scrum Inc.™ exam: Attending a 16-hour Scrum Master course from an ATP of Scrum Inc™ is mandatory for taking the exam. 

Who should take the training (roles) for certification

  • Project Managers 
  • Scrum Masters 
  • Scrum Team 
  • Developers 
  • Product Owners 
  • Software Managers 
  • Software Architects 
  • Product Managers 
  • Testers 
  • Team Leads 
  • SAFe® practitioners interested in Scrum@Scale 
  • PMPs, PMI-ACP Team Leaders 
  • Professionals interested in Agile and Scrum methodologies 
  • Professionals who wish to explore how Scrum delivers twice the value at half the cost 

Duration to get certified: You need to attend a 16-hour course and spend some time for exam preparation. Once you take the exam and clear it, you will be Scrum Master certified.  

Course fee for certification: $1995  

Exam fee for certification: Included in training cost 

Summary

LinkedIn’s Most promising jobs of 2017,” states that job openings for Scrum Masters grew 104 percent year-over-year from 2016, with a career advancement score of 8 out of 10; while Scrum Master was listed in the top 10 emerging Product Development jobs list by the World Economic Forum. Not just the number of jobs, but there is also steady increase in the base salary earned by Scrum certified professionals, and this increase based on the number of certifications that one holds.  

So, more the number of certifications you add to your resume, the higher your salary goes. At the outset of 2021, there are still thousands of job openings for Scrum professionals. Equip yourself with one or more of these highest paying Scrum certifications and bring value to yourself and your organization.

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

Author

KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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2 comments

Ravi Kumar 18 Jun 2019

Thanks for the information. I recommend everyone to follow Knowledgehut blogs

Deeksha 18 Jun 2019

I am searching for this type of article,finally i found it from your site,thanks for the article.

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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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What Is an Agile Environment? Explained With Examp...

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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.’ - planningpoker.com  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! 
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Planning Poker: An Agile Estimating and Planning T...

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