Agile/Scrum Certification

Agile Scrum CertificationMore than 15 years after the introduction, Agile and Scrum are still in the spotlight. Started as an innovation in software development, the methodology is on the increase in other domains, including in non-software environments. And of course a variety of training- and certification organizations have picked up on this trend.

Candidates can earn their much-wanted certificate by taking an exam. However, there are many different certificates, and many will find it cumbersome to make the right choice. In addition, an objective assessment of the whole choice of training institutes is difficult as well. To help you to find your way, please find an overview of the most important Agile/Scrum certifications below.

Certified Scrum Master Certificate

The Certified Scrum Master exam is organized by the Scrum Alliance. To earn the internationally accepted CSM certificate, it is mandatory to take one of the accredited 2-day CSM training courses. After passing the CSM test, the candidate receives the official CSM certificate plus Scrum Alliance membership for one year. Every two years, the Scrum Alliance expects a contribution of $ 100 for prolongation of the certificate and the membership.

The Scrum Alliance has also certificates for Certified Product Owner (CSPO) and Certified Scrum Developer (CSD), also in combination with 2-day training. A current holder of a CSM, CSPO and/or CSD certificate can apply for the Certified Scrum Professional certificate when the candidate has sufficient and approved amount of hands-on Scrum experience.

Cost from € 1.500 (tied selling with a 2-day CSM course)
Format a supervised, written test
Language English
Size 35 multiple-choice questions
Pass Score at least 24 answers must be answered correctly
Duration 30 minutes
Info Scrum Alliance

Professional Scrum Master Certificate

The Professional Scrum Master exam is offered by Scrum.org, the enterprise of the initiators of Scrum. The PSM I examination can be rather hard, and requires a sincere preparation. The point of departure is the official Scrum Guide, which candidates must study thoroughly. Taking a scrum training class is recommended, but is not mandatory. On the scrum.org site, candidates can take an open assessment as a foretaste, with a number of sample questions reflecting the nature of the real examination (which is harder).

Candidates with a number of years practical scrum experience can take the arduous PSM level II essay-based exam. Scrum.org has also certifications for Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO I en II) and Professional Scrum Developer (PSD I).

The Professional Scrum Master certificate is an internationally accepted and valued diploma. The certificate is known in the traditional IT world, but has a stronger recognition in technical automation and (international) software development organizations.

Cost € 150
Format an open-book, on-line test
Language English
Size 80 multiple-choice questions
Pass Score at least 64 questions must be answered correctly
Duration 60 minutes
Info Scrum.org

The Agile Foundation Certificate

The Agile Foundation certificate is issued by the Agile Consortium (a division of the British DSDM Consortium). The Agile Foundation exam tests the Agile principles and methods in the more traditional IT environment in 7 categories, and has therefore a broader (and also a somewhat vague) scope compared with the Scrum Master examinations that are focused on the formal definitions and practices of scrum methodology. Nevertheless there is a certain overlap in exam material.

The Agile Consortium is based in the Netherlands, and organizes open-enrollment examinations a number of times each year. The Agile Consortium has also exams for Agile Practitioner and Agile Master.

For a group of minimal 5 candidates, an in-company examination can be carried out by an examiner of the Agile Consortium.

The Agile Foundation certificate is well known in traditional IT circles (banks, insurance-companies, government, etc.), since that is also the home of the Agile Consortium. The Agile Foundation certificate is issued in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Romania and The Netherlands. Therefore – in contrast with the internationally accepted Scrum Master certificates – the Agile Foundation certificate has a more regional recognition.

Cost € 175
Format traditional closed-book, supervised test
Language English
Size 60 multiple-choice questions
Pass Score at least 42 questions must be correctly answered
Duration 60 minutes
Info Agile Consortium

The Agile Scrum Foundation Certificate

Recently the Dutch examination institute EXIN has introduced the Agile Scrum Foundation certification as part of the EXIN qualification program. The scope of this exam is both the Agile body of thought and the Scrum principles and practices.

Candidates will have to answer multiple-choice questions on 5 categories: Introduction of Agile and Scrum, Scrum practices, Scrum planning, Monitoring Scrum projects and Advanced Scrum concepts.

The EXIN exam has the lowest threshold (a score of at least 65%), and therefore appears to be easier than the Agile Foundation exam (70% score) and the Professional Scrum Master exam (80 %).  Although EXIN is a known Dutch examination institute, their Agile Scrum Foundation certificate must yet prove itself.

Cost € 170
Format written or on-line test, supervised and closed-book
Language English
Size 40 multiple-choice questions
Pass Score at least 26 answers must be answered correctly
Duration 60 minutes
Info EXIN

This overview of agile / Scrum Certifications is written by Erik Philippus, owner of ImprovemenT BV, specialized in Agile Scrum Foundation training programs following a blended learning concept. More info to be found at: www.scrum-training.eu.

Last updated on November 5, 2015.

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