PSM vs CSM vs Other


I agree with @ryan and @mccallam2 and believe the value of certifications is the learning and training that goes in to it. Certifications are one way to demonstrate you are a professional, dedicated to your craft, and value continuous learning. It’s not the only way of course to show these things, but it is one. I feel that the certs have a long way to go in terms of competing for market share from the scrum alliance certs. In my mind it doesn’t matter too much which certifications people have, but rather the fact that they have taken the time and devoted the energy to get them. Those of us in the industry know which ones are “harder” to get than others.


I just got my CSP from, so this topic is fresh in my mind. I’m excited as it is another phase in my Agile / Scrum journey. What I find interesting is the number people with CSM’s and other equivalent Scrum Master level don’t go to local Agile community events. I’m really disappointed in a number of “agile” companies in downtown Wilmington that don’t have like a minimum of 20 Scrum Master attend their local agile networking events. Most don’t charge - I like this organization best :slight_smile: - this group does a terrible job updating their site. It is a Penn State Great Valley thing. Here is their next workshop Sept 12th.

To get my CSP I had to earn 70 SEUs to apply, so it was a great excuse to go out, attend and learn so much from smart people. Know I’m one of those sick people that love to learn, so I go anyway. Professional Certs that require one to get involved are I think are the best. I know the dreaded PMI organization does this also, but it does help people stay up on new ideas or even rekindle old ones.

Now that I have my CSP, I have to stay engaged to retain it. It is not like you take a test and you are certified forever.

I guess if I was to interview someone I would ask two questions (1) what was the last Agile or Scrum event you went to (here I know if you are a CSP or a PMI-ACP you had to do something) and (2) Did you apply anything you may have learned to a scrum team?

If you really want to get me all active ask me about qualifications on being a real Project Manager or Program Manager. I have done that to, but I also worked in just about every functional area there is over my career. However, I love the Agile Dynamic.


@Gemphilly I tend to agree about the involvement in local agile collaboration, but I have stopped attending one of the groups you mentioned because the quality of the meet ups declined and I got left return for my time. The value was in collaborating with others. The good news is most of the others I spend time with started this board with me and regularly contribute. So we are now removing the geographic borders of agile meet ups and creating that ongoing global conversation. That said, it was nice meeting you last month at Agile DE :wink:


I was wondering if you were going to do this locally or globally. I guess the answer is Global.


Truthfully, the answer is"yes". I am a member of several global organizations, and quite honestly some of the most valuable learning I have acquired is in the interactions with folks in Spain, England, The Netherlands, India and Germany. We live in a global age where information and products have no more bounds, we should embrace this whenever possible. But I also love my hood. Philly is great, The Coalition would likely not exist if a few of us local agile peeps didn’t start running into eachother regularly at conferences (and the conference bars), so I will always have an affinity for the local arms too.


So what is going to make this coalition different enough from the global organizations, that you are already a member of, for everyone to join another global organization? Just asking.


The main global org I am referring to is Happy Melly. Its core focus is on improving management and organizations. While a key factor in transformation and agility, it does not delve into the fundamental and emerging issues in the agile space too deeply. I feel there is a stark operating difference with what we are planning here and the other existing agile groups - being free and framework agnostic for starters. We are working on a podcast and blog post to better clarify this if my rambling doesn’t make the point clearly :+1:


I saw this regarding a Coaching certification from Scrum Alliance. It was interesting what he said about the ego being blown up.


Just wrapped day one of the scrum fundamentals training with @Todd. A quick assessment is below:

Things I Like:

  • Core learning: In the CSM trainings, the instructor creates and curates their own training material. Now that content is approved (from my understanding) by the SA, but it is authored by one of the many CSTs. Contrasting that, the .org content is universal. It is managed in a central github repo that all trainers access. So I get the same training Peggy Sue gets in Vancuver, and Ben gets in London. There is one central message with purpose written learning objectives.
  • Focus on software: The .org training unapologetically focuses on improving the craft of delivering better software. There is less focus on building a brand, and much more on training attendees to be agents of meaningful change.
  • Hyper-fast immersion: from memory, my SA trainings spent the first hour or two giving the attendees fluff and history. Usually the instructor burned 20 minutes telling you about how they have been working in agile for 20 years “back before it was called agile”. Good context, but who do I care? Within the first hour of the training today, we were in teams writing code. And yes, even I was writing code today. That should not scare anyone, you don’t have to. I just felt inspired.
  • Engagement: the people in this training just seemed to care a lot. And Todd was great to quickly pull the curtain back to share how engaged the .org leadership crew is with improvement and separating certification from training. The people that want a certification can get it without going to training. That’s good for them, but better for the attendees. It weeds out the ones that are trying to check a box from the ones that want to acquire knowledge and interact with others in training.

So stoked for tomorrow!!!


I’ll Be Co-training the CSM with Dave prior in NYC on September 26th and 27th. Then I may do the CSPO class as well with him if he’s ok with it, which from the last time I think he will be.

If anyone is interested in CSM Dave teaches a great class and highly recommend it.


We just published a podcast on the topic of certifications. Take a listen and let us know your thoughts.


now that @Leanleff has taken the CSM and passed the PSM maybe he can shed some light on this subject again! (Honestly I am not sure what he is going to say, very curious)


I would love to hear if anyone has any feedback on the CSD (Certified Scrum Developer) certification.


I think I could type a novel at this point…

PSM… I did not take the class I just sat for the exam. I found the exam to be difficult. It challenged my knowledge as a working scrum master while having to keep true to Scrum. I think it dug in a bit deeper to working knowledge and how to apply the framework to a real world situation. keeping you centered and giving you the platform to stand on one needed. That is my very highlevel thought

CSM - I found great value in attending the class… I think much of that had to do with the instructors. (shout out to @troy) I loved the real world application and stories. It made it real and not text book. I have been practicing for a while so I really went in with a very open mind and not as an “expert” I wanted to learn and found that it gave me better context as to why we do certain things and why things should not be skipped or forgotten or bastardized. It helped me hone my skills and “sharpen the axe” The CSM test was pretty simple and was more based on text book test taking then applied knowledge. I think the CSM give someone starting out a good introduction to scrum do I think i would be prepared to be a scrum master after either class/Cert. My opinion no. Would I be better prepared to learn and learn quicker… YES…

I am now taking the SAFe4.0 course and will be sitting for my SPC… I am not finished the course yet but will say the past 2 days have been extremely intense and very “text” book focused. I will have to give more insight after the class has finished. It is a lot of information to consume but again having good instructors can make or break an individuals experience based on the type of learner you are.


Did you ever hear back about the CSD? I’m in the process of reviewing it for my developers. I like the topics in a CSD class, however, I’m still trying to figure out why Scrum Alliance wants people to get a CSM to earn a CSD.


I have not heard anything about the CSD yet. If you send developers I wouldn’t mind hearing how they liked it. I agree, the topics covered look like they would be very good. From the description it looks like it focuses on all of the things I’ve learned working on XP teams (TDD, refactoring, simple design, pair programming, CI, etc.). I wouldn’t mind sending some of my developers to it who are coming in without any experience with XP engineering practices. Just trying to figure out if there’s a benefit to going to the training over immersing them in our XP team and learning on the job.


Sometimes hearing the material come from someone else helps it sink in better. Plus many untrained teams have bad habits.


@Ryan - RE: Scrum .org’s “Focus on software: The .org training unapologetically focuses on improving the craft of delivering better software. …”

I got a kick out of that.

Back when I did my CSM with Ken Schwaber (prior to the big split :wink: ), Ken picked on me a little bit, probably since I was more experienced than most in the room. ( I’d been practicing Scrum since Ken wrote his little black book and already had my own agile consulting biz.)

Anyway, as soon as the course started Ken asked me to define Scrum and I defined it as a software focused framework. He grilled me for awhile… giving me (jokingly) a hard time about the fact that scrum was absolutely NOT software focused… :wink:

Interesting how the Scrum Alliance messages that scrum is not just for software but the folks are framing it with a scrum focus. :wink:



Anyone participate in coaching sessions? Any better that another?


@andycleff has a few times. Hopefully he comments.