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Which is the best CSM(certified Scrum Master) or Professional Scrum Master?
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CSM or PSM which is the best?
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The Scrum framework has been created by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland (the fathers of Scrum) based on the Agile Manifesto. Ken Schwaber was responsible for founding the Scrum Alliance and creating the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) programs and its derivatives. Ken resigned from the Scrum Alliance in the fall of 2009 after a deep disagreement with the board regarding assessments, certification, and a developer program. He subsequently founded Scrum.org the organization behind the Professional Scrum Master (PSM). At Scrum.org, he led the development of new courseware, assessments, and partnerships to improve the quality and effectiveness of Scrum.

To comparing CSM and PSM, you can find below some findings from Amit Verma on Whizlabs (with some additional information from Kiran Mithra):

1. How to Get the Certification

CSM certification by Scrum Alliance is easy to get by attending two days class/training. CSM is like a diploma course so you have your own choice of choosing an institute. You can enroll yourself in that institute, attend classes, and submit assignments. But, remember, you have only two attempts to pass this certification exam.

On the other hand, PSM certification exam by Scrum.org is not so easy. There are three levels of PSM certification – PSM I, PSM II, and PSM III.

You have to purchase a password from scrum.org to enroll yourself in PSM certification course. If you have a high level of scrum knowledge then you are able to take PSM I exam directly. But it is required to have a few years experience of implementing Scrum framework based on the real-life scenario.

2. Passing Rank

This is an important point of difference to consider while discussing PSM Vs CSM. For passing CSM certification exam, you have to score at least 69 % marks or you must give 24 correct answers out of 35 questions. But you have to score at least 85% marks to pass PSM certification exam. Thus, the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) certification has a low passing score as compared to Professional Scrum Master (PSM) Certification.

3. Exam Pattern

The exam pattern makes a big difference between PSM Vs CSM. While CSM only comprises of multiple choice questions, different levels of PSM certifications may comprise of multiple choice questions, multiple answer questions, true/false type questions, and essay type questions. So, have a quick look at the difference between exam pattern of CSM Vs PSM –

CSM: Multiple Choice Questions. Scrum Alliance CSM test has a passing score of 24 out of 35 questions, the exam is approximately 69% passing grade.

PSM-I: Multiple Choice Questions, Multiple Answer Questions, and True/False Questions ( most of the people do the PSM 1 only, see a breakdown of how many people hold certifications here the https://www.scrum.org/professional-scrum-certifications/count )

PSM-II: Multiple Choice Questions, Multiple Answer Questions, and True/False Questions

PSM-III: Multiple Choice Questions, Multiple Answer Questions, and True/False Questions, and Essay Type Questions

The passing grade for Scrum.org PSM assessment is 85%. You get 80 questions for the assessment in 60 minutes.

4. Exam Level

PSM certification exam is much harder as compared to the CSM certification exam. You can give CSM exam after taking 2 days training. PSM-I do not require any training if you have a complete knowledge of implementing Scrum. And, PSM-II and PSM-III exams are much harder as compared to PSM-I and need experience of few years in Scrum Methodology to pass these certifications. So, the comprehensive study of exam level of PSM Vs CSM specifies that the level of PSM certification exam is higher than CSM.

5. Certification Cost

CSM certification fee varies from the US $400 to the US $2500 depending on the institution and tuition fee. But if you fail to pass CSM exam on the first attempt then you can take it again within 60 days without paying any additional fee.

There is a standard fee for the different levels of Professional Scrum Master certification. The costs for PSM-I, PSM-II, and PSM-III certification exams are US$150, US$250 and US$500 respectively. Moreover, if you do not pass PSM-I assessment then there is a 2nd attempt within 14 days at no additional fee. So, the certification cost is the factor that makes a huge difference to choose from PSM Vs CSM.

6. Need for Renewal

The need for renewal is the main point required to be taken into account while deciding which one is better from PSM Vs CSM. CSM credential is valid for two years only. You have to renew this certification after every two years by paying $100 for every two years. The amount of renewal fee may also differ according to the institute you have chosen for the CSM certification exam. There is no need to renew PSM certification once you have passed the certification exam. The PSM certification is valid for the life without the need for any renewal.

7. Attainment of Certification

The attainment procedure is another factor that makes PSM Vs CSM certifications different from each other. One can attain CSM certification by the attendance i.e. by attending two days training at a recognized institute of his choice. The attainment of PSM certification is not done by the attendance, instead, it’s done with the assessments. You need to pass assessments/exams for each level of the PSM certification to become a Professional Scrum Master.

8. Reliability of the Exam Content

There are many institutes that are providing CSM certification training. So, the training content may vary from one institute to another, and one trainer to another; which makes the content inconsistent and thus, non-reliable. While in case of PSM certification, there is only one body which takes the certification assessments. Thus, the exam content remains consistent, only the interpretation of the trainers may somehow vary. Being consistent, PSM exam content is considered highly reliable while CSM is not.

CSM: No standard. Each Scrum Alliance trainers create their own courseware hence there may be inconsistency in Scrum knowledge delivered.

PSM: Standardized. One course-ware used by all Scrum.org Professional Scrum Trainers that is consistent with Scrum Guide that is defined by the founders of Scrum.

According to Ilia Pavlichenko, "If you look at the Scrum Core (Scrum Alliance) and Scrum Guide (Scrum.org), they're quite different. We consider Scrum Guide is the primary source of knowledge as it was created and sustained by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. Regarding the certifications, CSM is just a weak shadow of PSM-1. CSM can be compared with PSF (Professional Scrum Foundations). The PSM-1 course is more advanced level. Also, it's very hard not to pass the CSM exam and it's really hard to pass the PSM-1 exam."

https://youtu.be/WVSQkU5VaC8

Conclusion

To conclude, both the PSM and CSM certifications are highly appropriate for the Scrum Master. Both the certifications have their own significance. According to the above-mentioned point of differences, CSM can be considered less than the PSM but its antiquity makes it comparable to PSM. However, if you are focused to make a selection from PSM Vs CSM, the factors like no renewal, reliability, and cost makes PSM a better choice. On passing PSM certification, you will be recognized as a certified Professional Scrum Master.

References:

https://www.whizlabs.com/blog/csm-vs-psm/
https://www.thescrummaster.co.uk/scrum/psm-vs-csm/
https://www.scrum.org/forum/scrum-forum/5600/psm-versus-csm
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/right-scrum...nce2-psm-pspo-/
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1 reply by Rami Kaibni
Jun 07, 2018 10:58 AM
Rami Kaibni
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Excellent feedback Ibrahim. Very comprehensive and well detailed.
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A comprehensive review of the Scrum certifications Pavithra. I believe the PSM is the best Scrum certification today.
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1 reply by Rami Kaibni
Jun 07, 2018 10:59 AM
Rami Kaibni
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I agree with you Sante.
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Many here favor Scrum.org. A quick search within the community will provide access to several discussions and blog posts regarding the comparison.

Good luck on whichever path you take. Either way, professional development is the right direction, only a matter of which road you take.
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Pavithra -

There was a thread on this not too long ago which Sante had started: https://www.projectmanagement.com/discussi...SM--PSM-or-CSM-

Kiron
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Soon I need to to consider PSM
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I don't want to offend any of my colleague, but here is my take on this. Just my opinion.
If you have experience, understand Scrum, and have made the effort to obtain a certification, it matters less which certification you chose.
If you are looking for a new job. You send out your resume. The HR person is looking for certain words like Scrum Master. They see it on your resume and invite you in for an interview. In the interview, you regale them with your knowledge of Scrum. So at what point does whether it is a CSM or PSM matter.
When might it matter? If your current company advocates one over the other.
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3 replies by Andrew Craig, Joshua Render, and Sante Vergini
Jun 07, 2018 9:07 AM
Sante Vergini
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lol well said Dinah :-)
Jun 07, 2018 9:32 AM
Joshua Render
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Agreed.

The only reason I have a flurry of certifications this year (5 of my 6 have been earned since April of this year) is that I have realized I need to compete with others for jobs and others have these certifications and employers like them.
I know that I know what I know, but I have to prove it.

I have also tried to get certifications that I have felt prove the best that I know what I know.
My opinion on the PSM I is based on that potential ability to prove and not on an employer's recognition. I believe the PSM I has the greater potential to prove that you know something.

From an employer recognition standpoint, CSM seems to be in the lead, but PSM is catching up.
Jun 07, 2018 10:26 AM
Andrew Craig
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Or financial constraints
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Jun 07, 2018 9:00 AM
Replying to Dinah Young
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I don't want to offend any of my colleague, but here is my take on this. Just my opinion.
If you have experience, understand Scrum, and have made the effort to obtain a certification, it matters less which certification you chose.
If you are looking for a new job. You send out your resume. The HR person is looking for certain words like Scrum Master. They see it on your resume and invite you in for an interview. In the interview, you regale them with your knowledge of Scrum. So at what point does whether it is a CSM or PSM matter.
When might it matter? If your current company advocates one over the other.
lol well said Dinah :-)
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1 reply by Dinah Young
Jun 07, 2018 9:27 AM
Dinah Young
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I guess it all comes down to what someone is trying to accomplish with their certification.
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I have the PSM I, I am looking at the PSPO and SPS as my next certifications and maybe, eventually, the PSM II.

The PSM I is a hard test. If you can pass, you deserve it, it is clear you worked fairly hard for it. I think its biggest downfall is that it is not proctored; which to be honest isn't a huge downfall. The number of questions and their complexity mixed with the time limit doesn't really allow much of an ability to cheat. You could pay someone to pass it for you though. No one is verifying you are who you say you are. While probably not very likely, I wouldn't be surprised if it has happened.

I doubt most people who have no experience with Scrum could pass the PSM. It is possible, but it would be difficult.

As far as the CSM goes, most of what I know I have read about or heard from other people. It requires a class. An expensive in-person boot camp style class that would add costs to someone like me who lives far away from anyone certified to give the class. The questions on the exam are easier (and in the past, no exam was required) and the pass/fail rate is 65% compared to 85% for the PSM I. But the tests are apparently proctored.


My own opinion - the difficulty of the PSM I adds value, but I prefer proctored exams, I think proctoring adds a layer of reliability and integrity to the certification. I am not a fan of being forced to pay for a class to sit for the test. Knowledge can be attained in multiple ways and people have different learning styles. Boot camp learning doesn't work for me. The cost is also, in my own opinion, not worth it for the CSM.

If I were to rank the difficulty on certifications I have taken:

1. PMI-ACP
2/3. Green Belt and PSM I
4. ITIL
5. AgilePM
6. Certified Kanban Coach
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Jun 07, 2018 5:30 PM
Sante Vergini
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Good overview Joshua.
Network:2891



Jun 07, 2018 9:07 AM
Replying to Sante Vergini
...
lol well said Dinah :-)
I guess it all comes down to what someone is trying to accomplish with their certification.
...
1 reply by Sante Vergini
Jun 07, 2018 5:53 PM
Sante Vergini
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The letters Dinah, it's all about the letters...don't you know we are letter collectors? Nah, it's the fun of learning and being certified as a professional in a certain discipline of course...and the letters! ;-)
Network:238



Jun 07, 2018 9:00 AM
Replying to Dinah Young
...
I don't want to offend any of my colleague, but here is my take on this. Just my opinion.
If you have experience, understand Scrum, and have made the effort to obtain a certification, it matters less which certification you chose.
If you are looking for a new job. You send out your resume. The HR person is looking for certain words like Scrum Master. They see it on your resume and invite you in for an interview. In the interview, you regale them with your knowledge of Scrum. So at what point does whether it is a CSM or PSM matter.
When might it matter? If your current company advocates one over the other.
Agreed.

The only reason I have a flurry of certifications this year (5 of my 6 have been earned since April of this year) is that I have realized I need to compete with others for jobs and others have these certifications and employers like them.
I know that I know what I know, but I have to prove it.

I have also tried to get certifications that I have felt prove the best that I know what I know.
My opinion on the PSM I is based on that potential ability to prove and not on an employer's recognition. I believe the PSM I has the greater potential to prove that you know something.

From an employer recognition standpoint, CSM seems to be in the lead, but PSM is catching up.
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