Xebia Academy has helped many individuals in securing Scrum Master Certification and continues to benefit aspirants in their professional advancement. While there are several types of Scrum certifications available, most people go for the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) course due to its wider acceptability.
The question that arises here is – if CSM simply a means to an end?
In this post, we analyze the usefulness of a CSM course in comparison to other Scrum Master certifications such as the Professional Scrum Master or the SAFe Scrum Master. These certifications do not exemplify an individual’s scrum implementation abilities. They represent the fact that the individual has a fundamental understanding of Scrum and the role of a Scrum Master. We will assess several parameters for comparison of Scrum certifications and the value derived from each one of them.
These parameters contain an analysis of competency, assessment process, eligibility requirements and cost of the program. On a personal level, we aim to answer important questions like:
- What is the role of Scrum certification?
- How does it help you achieve your immediate career/business goals?
- What are the long-term benefits of investing time and money in Scrum Master certification and training?
Please note that the answers to some of the questions above may vary, based on the type and quality of training you receive, as opposed to academic knowledge. For example, at Xebia Training Academy, we conduct hands-on training sessions that replicate real-world scenarios for scrum implementation. Such advanced level of training means that an individual gets greater value and experience of scrum application for achieving business goals.
So, let us have a look at the three scrum certifications from the value point-of-view first.
Certified Scrum Master
Becoming a Certified Scrum Master is a matter of attending two-day training session by paying the applicable fee. Initially, the certification was given solely based on the attendance. However, criticism from several quarters led to the introduction of an assessment due upon the attendance of the training sessions. The assessment is fairly easy to pass if you are attentive in the class and requires no additional charges as the fee is covered within the program cost.
The CSM certification course introduces you to the concepts of Scrum and Agile frameworks. If you are simply interested in becoming a part of a Scrum team with CSM certification, it may limit your career growth in the long-run.
Professional Scrum Master
The PSM is an advanced course that requires in-depth knowledge of Agile frameworks and Scrum. It is a 3-tiered course based on the Scrum Guide, which is available for free from scrum.org. The site also has an open assessment tool to help you determine your readiness for certification exams.
PSM I certification enables you to understand the Scrum terminology and approaches mentioned in the Scrum Guide. PSM II certification enables a deeper understanding of the Scrum principles and their application in different situations. PSM III certification enables an organizational level understanding of Scrum practices and values and team work.
Each level requires specialized study to master. Unlike CSM, you can receive the PSM certification without the attendance of the course. Due to the professional level of study material, tuition assistance is generally recommended before applying for PSM certification.
SAFe Scrum Master
This certification is a specialized one. Only few are aware of the SSM certification course. The Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe was created by Scaled Agile in a bid to provide enterprise-wide agile implementation. This unique framework can be placed over any pre-existing business structure. Hence, significantly shortening the time of Agile implementation.
The SSM certification requires official standardized training and assessment to ensure that individuals can work competently on a SAFe project.
The SSM certification is ideal for CSM and PSM holders whose organizations are moving toward SAFe, and offers a more practical knowledge of agile implementation tools, team building and leadership skills for scrum masters.
The SSM exam requires advanced knowledge to get through. Scaled Agile has also introduced a second level called SAFe 4.0 Advanced Scrum Master (SASM). To appear in the SASM certification exam, you need to have a CSM, PSM or SSM certification.
Differentiating between CSM, PSM and SSM Certifications
CSM is the accepted standard for Scrum Masters at the moment. It is also the most pursued course due to easy access and certification. PSM requires more effort to pass and it is generally opted by individuals with long-term goals in Scrum and Agile. The PSM certification will also cost less if you opt for self-study. The SSM represents a pragmatic step for individuals switching to SAFe environment and offer greater benefit for career professionals who already have a CSM or PSM certification.
Which Scrum Master Certification is right for you?
Well, it all boils down to the value a CSM, PSM or SSM certification adds to your career instead of simply being a credential.
- If becoming a Scrum Master is a secondary objective for you at the moment, and you want to get a certification because your employer requires one, CSM is the fastest and easiest way to get.
- If your aim is to become an innovator, Team Leader or Scrum training expert, then the PSM certification will serve you better in the long run.
- Finally, SSM is a perk at the moment, which you can opt for in order to get work in SAFe enabled environments.
Selecting the right Scrum training institute
One final thing before we conclude this post—the importance of choosing a training provider for Scrum certification. As mentioned earlier, selecting the right training partner can make a difference between a competent Scrum certification and just another CSM certification. Xebia Training Academy not only provides official Scrum certification in India, but also gives you the right classroom environment for learning the nuances of agile frameworks. Our team of Scrum professionals has a vast experience in Big Data and Agile frameworks. We provide practical training modules for replicating real-world application of Scrum modules.
For more information and guidance, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.