The Scrum methodology – which is a part of the Agile fashion of challenge administration – has been utilized in software program improvement for a few years and is gaining recognition in industries like advertising and monetary companies. It makes use of quick, outlined intervals of time, known as sprints, to get a challenge performed in items.

Colleagues brainstorming new business launch, beginnings, opportunity, infographics

(Getty Photos)

Scrums are led by Scrum masters, who don’t wield management over challenge crew members like a conventional supervisor who has hiring, firing and wage energy. They’ve to make use of totally different strategies.

“Their solely instruments are persuasion, perception, instructing and training,” says Timothy Korson, senior companion at QualSys Options and the lead Scrum teacher for Georgia Tech Skilled Training. “When a crew is satisfied of the way in which to do one thing and may see for themselves, it’s much more highly effective than simply doing what the boss tells them to do.”


Historically, a challenge supervisor is liable for the success or failure of a challenge, says Larry Apke, skilled Scrum grasp at Pacific Gasoline & Electrical Firm and chief Agile officer at The Job Hackers, a San Francisco-area nonprofit he co-founded that gives free coaching for unemployed individuals. “Within the Scrum crew, the individuals doing the work are those liable for the work,” Apke says. “That’s one of many essential variations.”

A Scrum grasp certification is necessary for anybody who plans to work in that function, regardless of the business.

“I can’t think about a critical firm placing somebody in a Scrum grasp place with out their certificates,” Korson says.

A certification usually turns into a baseline for employers, like a bachelor’s diploma.

“These certifications don’t inform me whether or not you are able to do the job or not,” Apke says. “However you may’t get a job with out them.”

There are a number of Scrum grasp certifications out there and loads of disagreement about which of them are most necessary. For entry-level certification, some favor the higher identified Licensed ScrumMaster, or CSM, certification. Others pursue the newer Skilled ScrumMaster, or PSM, or the Agile Licensed Practitioner, or ACP.

There are additionally extra superior certifications out there from a lot of the identical organizations that provide entry degree ones.

Here’s a take a look at the number of certifications provided for Scrum grasp:

Licensed ScrumMaster

The CSM is the most effective identified of the entry-level certifications. It was developed by the Scrum Alliance in 2002, seven years earlier than the PSM.

Earlier than you’re taking the CSM you should:

  • Attend a course led by a Licensed Scrum Coach, or CST, or obtain one-on-one teaching from a Licensed Agile Coach, or CAC.
  • Obtain 14 hours of on-line or 16 hours of in-person coaching with a CST, or 25 hours of interplay with a CAC.

Prices of the course, teaching and exams fluctuate, starting from about $700 to $1,300. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are numerous on-line choices and a few at a reduction. By signing up for a course, you obtain course supplies and a two-year membership to the Scrum Alliance.

The CSM has essentially the most rigorous curriculum and vetting course of for certifying instructors, says Korson, who’s a CST.

“From the Scrum Alliance, you’re going to get a coach who may be very skilled,” Korson says. “Each is allowed to make use of their expertise to craft their very own materials.”

When you go the course and earn your certification, you could earn 20 hours of Scrum Training Models to take care of your CSM certification, which should be renewed each two years. There’s additionally a $100 administrative payment.

Superior certifications out there via Scrum Alliance embody:

  • Superior Licensed ScrumMaster.
  • Licensed Scrum Skilled ScrumMaster.
  • Licensed Scrum Product Proprietor.
  • Licensed Scrum Developer.
  • Licensed Scrum Skilled.


Skilled ScrumMaster

The PSM certification was developed by Ken Schwaber. He was a co-creator of the Scrum framework within the mid-Nineteen Nineties and helped begin the Scrum Alliance earlier than leaving in 2009 to start out and create the PSM.

The one requirement of the PSM is to go the check, however it isn’t straightforward and often requires preparation lessons taught by licensed instructors. There are three ranges: PSM I, PSM II and PSM III. The PSM I certification signifies that you’ve got demonstrated a elementary degree of Scrum mastery, in response to

Apke, who leads PSM coaching lessons via The Job Hackers, says the PSM is extra rigorous than the CSM and is turning into higher identified within the enterprise world. “For me, there may be much more worth within the PSM,” Apke says.

There are greater than 340 skilled Scrum trainers worldwide who may help you put together for the check. They use the identical programs and supplies, which helps keep consistency. Coaching lessons by additionally embody a free follow check.

The PSM I check prices $150, and there’s no renewal requirement from Nevertheless, there are alternatives to advance your data, together with:

  • The PSM II, which exams your skill to use the Scrum framework to advanced, real-world issues. $250.
  • The PSM III, which exams your understanding of Scrum and whether or not you may coach and mentor individuals or groups adopting Scrum. $500.

Different certifications embody:

  • Skilled Scrum Product Proprietor, which has three ranges.
  • Skilled Scrum Developer.
  • Scaled Skilled Scrum.
  • Skilled Agile Management.

Agile Licensed Practitioner

The Agile Licensed Practitioner, or ACP, certification is obtainable via the Undertaking Administration Institute, or PMI, the highest affiliation for challenge managers and finest identified for its Undertaking Administration Skilled certification.

In response to PMI, the ACP is the group’s fastest-growing certification due to the rise in Agile challenge administration. The certification covers Agile approaches akin to Scrum, Kanban, Lean, test-driven improvement and excessive programming.

The ACP certification is probably going extra necessary in organizations which have a extra conventional challenge administration construction and are shifting towards agility, moderately than Agile-based organizations, Korson says.

Earlier than you may take the ACP, you could have a secondary diploma, 21 hours of Agile coaching, 12 months of basic challenge expertise up to now 5 years, and eight months of Agile expertise up to now three years.

The examination is $435 for members and $495 for nonmembers. To maintain your ACP, you could earn 30 Skilled Improvement Models, or PDUs, each three years in Agile matters.


SAFe ScrumMaster

Scaled Agile Framework, or SAFe, is a frontrunner in enterprise – or large-scale – agility and affords a number of certifications, together with the SAFe ScrumMaster, or SSM.

The course differs from extra standard Scrum grasp programs and certifications as a result of it focuses on the Scrum grasp’s function inside the total group, as an alternative of simply facilitating a crew. Members will learn to plan and ship on this system increment – which has to do with the aims of Agile groups throughout their dash cycle and is a crucial a part of a SAFe group.

To get the certification, you should take part in a two-day course. It’s finest in case you are conversant in Agile ideas and rules, perceive software program and {hardware} improvement and are conscious of Scrum, Kanban and excessive programming.

Programs vary from about $700 to $1,200 and can be found on-line.

Members obtain course supplies, a examine information and follow check. While you earn certification, you obtain a one-year membership to the SAFe Neighborhood Platform and different digitally based mostly advantages, akin to studying assets.

Members should take at the least 10 PDUs annually to resume the certification.

Further programs embody the SAFe Superior Scrum Grasp, which additionally requires a two-day course earlier than an examination.


The kind of Scrum grasp certification for you is dependent upon your function in your group and crew. It may additionally be contingent on the funds out there at your organization or personally.

In the end, it is dependent upon what the group you’re with desires you to get – and is prepared to pay for – or what your potential employer prefers.

“If you’re a challenge supervisor and your group is shifting extra towards agility, they’re going to ship you to some Agile coaching of their selection,” Korson says.

The Scrum Alliance has a powerful repute within the business, Korson says. Its number of certifications may be useful for managers on varied ranges, and the CSM may be seen as simply an introductory course for Scrum leaders.

He recommends that each member of a Scrum crew earn the CSM certification. This may assist them perceive how Scrum works and what’s anticipated of them.

Scrum leaders ought to pursue the Superior Scrum Grasp certificates, he says.

“If you’re a Scrum grasp you could know not solely what a Scrum grasp ought to do, however do it,” Korson says.

If a corporation is totally devoted to Agile challenge administration, managers might pursue the Licensed Scrum Product Proprietor certification. The Scrum Alliance’s Licensed Agile Chief certifications can be found for executives, akin to ones who want to vary insurance policies and procedures in an organization shifting to Agile challenge administration, Korson says.

The price of Scrum grasp certifications is dependent upon whether or not the certification check is predicated on a course or priced by itself.

For instance, the CSM and SSM certifications each require contributors to enroll in a two-day class that may price a number of hundred {dollars} to greater than $1,000. The prices for the CSM add up over time, as renewal is $100 each two years plus ongoing coursework.

The ACP prices nearly $500 for nonmembers and $435 for members.

The PSM is essentially the most inexpensive within the quick and long run – it prices $150 for the check, and doesn’t require renewal.

“I’d by no means inform anybody paying with their very own cash to get a CSM once they can get a PSM,” Apke says.

The quick monitor to certification is to enroll in a two-day course that precedes a check.

For instance, the CSM has no stipulations, so anybody can join the course and have an opportunity to go it. In distinction, you could present challenge administration expertise – particularly in Agile – to take the ACP.

Anybody can take the PSM, however pretest coursework is a good suggestion as a result of it’s troublesome to go the check with out preparation. affords a two-day course that features a free follow check, and there are different coaching alternatives.

For individuals in profession transition, The Job Hackers affords a free six-week class, three hours per week to arrange for the PSM. Apke says most contributors could be prepared for the check after the primary three weeks. They’re additionally requested to check outdoors of sophistication time, together with follow exams.

The PSM certification “is just not an enormous funding however your return may be massive since you received’t get a Scrum grasp job with out it,” Apke says.

Salaries for Scrum masters fluctuate fairly a bit throughout the nation, based mostly on price of residing and native demand for the place. For instance, a Scrum grasp seemingly earns greater than $100,000 in Silicon Valley, and an skilled Scrum grasp may attain twice that quantity, Apke says.

Corporations in bigger cities, akin to Chicago, may additionally pay Scrum masters round $100,000, with greater charges for extra expertise

Expertise is significant: An entry-level Scrum grasp might earn 25% lower than the typical, whereas a extremely skilled Scrum grasp may earn simply as a lot or greater than the typical.

If you wish to construct a profession as a Scrum grasp, at the least one certification – if not a number of, presumably at greater ranges on the identical group – is right.

“It’s an imperfect method to do it, however actually the precise factor to do in your profession should you’re employed and wish to earn more money and transfer up in your profession,” Apke says.

The necessity for Agile and Scrum will improve because the variety of data employees continues to climb. “That is the place Scrum excels,” Apke says.

Employers require certifications if workers want to – or have to – work in Agile challenge administration.

“You’ve acquired to at the least have the fundamentals,” Korson says.

If you wish to begin a profession as a Scrum grasp, it’s finest to go searching your organization to see which areas want to begin Scrum and get skilled. It’s very troublesome to get employed as a Scrum grasp from the skin, Korson says.

Software program improvement is the commonest business that makes use of Scrum. In response to Korson, others embody:

  • Something that software program touches, akin to cameras, vehicles and copiers.
  • Monetary establishments, akin to ones that need to change to team-based gross sales from particular person gross sales.
  • Advertising and marketing, akin to at built-in companies.

The rules of empowering a crew, and getting and offering speedy suggestions are relevant to many industries, Korson says. However not all of them use Scrum nicely – they could simply undertake a number of the terminology and construction however don’t make modifications that empower groups and alter procedures.

That’s why it’s so necessary for the management of an organization to get skilled on Scrum rules as nicely, he says.

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