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CSM vs CSPO: Which Is The Right Agile Certification For You?

Last updated on Jul 01,2020 11.3K Views

CSM vs CSPO: Which Is The Right Agile Certification For You?

Scrum is a very powerful framework for implementing agile processes in software development and many other iterative projects. Transitioning to Scrum brings with it a set of new roles and concepts that can seem a bit confusing at first. Two such roles are the Scrum Master and Product Owner. In this ‘CSM vs CSPO’ article, let’s check the key differences between two popular scrum certifications.

The Anatomy of a Scrum Team

Scrum is a lightweight agile framework that can be used to manage iterative and incremental projects of all types. It is defined by three key roles:

Scrum Team - CSM vs CSPO - Edureka

  • Product Owner is responsible for the work the team is supposed to complete. The product owner motivates the team to achieve the goal and the vision of the project.
  • Scrum Master ensures that all the team members follow scrum’s theories, rules, and practices. They make sure the Scrum Team has whatever it needs to complete its work, like removing roadblocks, organizing meetings, etc.
  • Development Team(Scrum Team)  is a self-organizing and a cross-functional team, working together to deliver products.

    With Agile becoming standard practice at most companies, scrum masters and product owners are in great demand. Scrum certifications are important for the advancement of your career. Two most popular scrum certifications that help you learn the foundation of the scrum framework and boost your career are:

    But the question is, which amongst these two is the best certification and how do you know which one to choose? To figure that out you need to learn a bit more about the differences among the certifications.

    Comparing CSM & CSPO

    We will be comparing these certifications on features:

      • Certification Basis
      • Demand
      • Certification Procedure
      • Exam Details

      Certification Details

      CSM is an acronym for Certified Scrum Master. The CSM certification covers the fundamental aspects of the Scrum framework and is designed to provide an individual with a strong foundation in Scrum. This certification is offered by the Scrum Alliance, specifically for the Scrum Master role.

      CSPO is an acronym for Certified Scrum Product Owner. CSPO certification is for anyone who is interested in the “business side” of projects. It helps you see the behind-the-scenes of your company’s product development, but you’ll also get to exercise your leadership skills. This certification is offered by the Scrum Alliance, specifically for the Scrum Product Owner role.

      Why consider CSM & CSPO?

      With agile quickly becoming the standard practice and scrum framework being most popular and widely followed Agile methodology worldwide, demand for both scrum masters and product owners is skyrocketing.

      Scrum Master is one of the most sought-after roles in today’s evolving time. The impact of Agile and its Principles is so fulfilling that these days companies are hiring Scrum Specialist’s and CSM is definitely one of them. According to Glassdoor, it is one of the 25 highest paying jobs in America. Check out the salary range that Scrum Masters are earning.

      • In the US, the Scrum Master earns an annual salary between $100,000 and $125,000 on average
      • According to payscale, in India, the Scrum Master earns an annual salary between INR 950K to INR 1550K on average

      From a business standpoint, one of the most vital roles of any Scrum team is the Product Owner (PO). It is a challenging role, one that requires the PO to make important business decisions about the product.

      • According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a Certified Product Owner is ₹20,31,986 in India.
      • Fortune 500 companies like SAP, Amdocs, Cisco, Dell, HP, etc are continually hiring CSPO professionals

      How to get Certified?

      How to get CSM Certified?

      The steps to follow to become a certified scrum master are:

      Step1: Register with scrum alliance, an official dealer for the Scrum.

      Step2: Attend in-person, two-day mandatory scrum course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer

      Step3: After successfully completing the course, you will need to take the CSM test.

      Step4: Upon successfully passing the CSM test accept the CSM License Agreement and to complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile.

      Step5: You will get your lifetime and international valid Scrum Master Accredited Certification Document instantly online in pdf format.

      If you fail the test, you can re-attempt it for free of cost twice within 60 days of your first failed attempt. After that, every time you retake a test you will have to pay $25.

      How to get CSPO Certified?

      The steps to follow to become a certified scrum product owner are:

      Step1: Attend a 2-day course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®).

      Step2: Read Agile Manifesto, Scrum Guide and also go through CSPO Learning Objectives.

      Step3: After successfully completing the course, accept the CSPO License Agreement.

      Step4: Complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile.

      Step4: There is no test to get CSPO certification. Scrum Alliance will email you the link to download the CSPO certificate.

      Step5: Maintain your CSPO certification by earning Scrum Education Units® (SEUs) and renewing your certification every two years for a fee of $100.

      Exam Details

      The CSM certification has about 50 questions that you should attempt within 60 minutes time limit. To pass the examination and to get certified, you must answer at least 60 percent of the questions correctly. Don’t let this bother you, as the success rate is usually 98%.

      There is no exam for the Certified Scrum Product Owner Certification. Attending two days of classroom training will fetch you CSPO certification.

      Which one is best for you?

      CSM Certification and CSPO Certification, both have their own merits and advantages based on the necessity as per the roles and responsibilities. But the decision lies in the interest of an individual. It would be appropriate for one to pursue the certification relevant to the role that interests them. Certified Scrum Master (CSM) certification is the basic scrum certification and acts as a stepping stone in the career of agile practitioner and best suited for Developers, Testers, Business Analyst and Scrum Masters. Certified Scrum Product Owner(CSPO) training and the certification can be particularly useful for Business Analyst, Product Owners, Product Managers, and Higher Management or anyone interested in the “business side” of project.

      This brings us to the end of this ‘CSM vs CSPO’ article. I hope after reading this article, you are able to figure out which certification is for you.

      Make sure you are well versed with the Scrum terminology before you start using it.

      Got a question for us? Please mention it in the comments section of this “CSM vs CSPO” article and we will get back to you as soon as possible.


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