I have decided to go after my Scrum certification and have been reading just about every industry post on which is the “best” certification to obtain. There are more than I can possibly list here, all having their pluses and minuses attached to them. So, my question was not should I get a Scrum certification, but which one was going to do me the most good?
The number of Agile certifications seems to grow exponentially each day. Obviously, a certified Agile Practitioner from PMI (PMI-ACP) carries the weight of the PMI behind it. But I was specifically looking for Scrum possibilities. It is impossible to list all of the growing number of Agile based certifications out there and in doing so, you would probably find that many listed won’t be around by the time you go look them up. However, there does appear to be a few (in addition to the ACP) that seem to carry some weight. Let’s look at a few and why they do.
The thing to remember is that many of these “new” certifications are on a track to failure because of the conflict of interest. A large chunk of them out there are simply offered by training providers as a way to promote their very expensive courses. Many of them don’t have any kind of testing to prove you understand the concepts and skills. So, my first basis of comparison was if there was a test required to pass to ensure you had an understanding of the skill-set behind Scrum.
The three big ones I found where offered by Scrum Alliance, Scrum.org and SCRUMstudy. Srcum Alliance offers the Certified Scrum Master (CSM); Srum.org offers the Professional Scrum Master (PSM); and SCRUMstudy offers the Scrum Master Certified (SMC). There are variations of this offered by each of these entities but I opted to concentrate on those most desired by a PMP in regard to Scrum, so that is how I came up with this shortlist.
The two I really concentrated on where the CSM and the SMC as both were assessed on knowledge and testing of skills gained.
The CSM is one of the largest in terms of numbers of certifications, so it almost makes you wonder if that would make you stand out in a crowd in regard to being a job candidate. But the real thing I was looking for was the proper framework to understand the Scrum and its proper and practical execution in a real world environment.
Here is how I came down to my decision based upon CSM and SMC. The SMC preparation course gave me 16 PDUs toward my PMP certification process. A must when taking any kind of continuing education for me. It offers an overview of a rapidly changing and growing Agile framework and really seemed to have real world applications for making Agile methodologies, including Scrum principles, work effectively in projects. A two hour knowledge test is given to obtain it as well. The CSM seemed to focus only on “pure” Scrum and the test was much shorter. Not that a longer test is necessarily better, but the SMC covers more of the entire Agile process of the Scrum Master, the Product Owner, team members etc. Also it requires recertification units (40 every two years) to continue to be certified. With the rapidly changing Agile space, I thought this was an excellent added bonus.
However, the item that really led me to SMC was the Scrum Body of Knowledge (SBOK Guide). While not officially the PMBOK (sanctioned by PMI), it is the same in principle in that it is a body of knowledge with set standards that continues to evolve and adapt as the tools of the profession do. It was this continuing body of knowledge in addition to keeping up with the addition of said knowledge that leads me to believe that this certification carries enough significant weight, but more importantly gives a solid foundation of Scrum principles. Finally, the SCRUMstudy path is standardized course methodologies and study materials where the others I looked at did not seem to offer this.
So, I take the course in a few weeks and I will let you know if I feel the material was or was not beneficial. I have already had a good working knowledge of Scum and Agile through PMI, but I am excited to see how the knowledge translates in this course and certification.