Certified Scrum Master Exam

Certified Scrum Master ExamI’ve blogged before about Certified Scrum Master (CSM) status, and how I think Scrum Master Certification isn’t worth the paper it’s written on!

I’m not against CSM training. In fact I’d heartily recommend it to anyone. The Certified Scrum Trainer process is pretty rigourous, ensuring the quality of the trainers.

It’s the terms ‘Certified’ and ‘Master’ I have a problem with, when all that’s required to be labelled as a Certified Scrum Master is attendance on a 2 day course.

However, I’m really pleased to say that the Scrum Alliance has taken the first step towards putting that problem right, with the announcement of a Certified Scrum Master exam being introduced from 1st October 2009.

Credit to Scrum Alliance for listening and acting on feedback from the agile community. It’s definitely a step in the right direction…


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4 Responses to “Certified Scrum Master Exam”

  1. Mike Cottmeyer says:

    Kelly… yes a step in the right direction… but how is this test any better than the test I took to get my PMP? I bet it's not any better. Do we think it will yield any better results? I doubt it.

    That is the whole rub here… we put in a test to establish credibility… but a test only demonstrates knowledge. We need competence and I am not sure a test based on two days of material will demonstrate competence.

    Now we have someone who is supposed to be competent because they took a test… but they are not any more competent that if they took the 2 day class. It is just more of the same…

  2. Scott Duncan says:

    Unfortunately, from a certification perspective, I believe you will not be able to just take and pass the test. I believe you will have to have been trained by a CST to be allowed to take the test.

    This, then, suggests the certification isn't really about using the test to demonstrate knowledge. Otherwise, it would not matter how you acquired the required knowledge to pass the test.

    If there is something about getting training from a CST to acquire the knowledge that is superior to getting that knowledge elsewhere, then the Alliance should make that clear. If the CST training contains more than the test can/does validate, then the test is actually missing that material. If the test is sufficiently comprehensive, then it should not matter how you know enough to pass the test.

    This is something "in-bred" about this approach that is not true with, say, PMI's PMP, the ASQ CSQE, or the IEEE CS's CSDP. Having a certification test that you cannot take unless you show training from a group of people who pay the certification body money to be allowed to do the training is a conflict of interest matter in my view.

  3. Stefan Höhn says:

    I agree to all you. However I think the exam is a good addition because many doubted that getting a certificate without any exam would make sense. This is how the whole school systems works and there still havebeen few examples that make it different (see montessori education for example that has a lot in common with the way we are doing agile).

    The important thing is that everyone knows that a CSM-certificate doesn't represent the experience of the ScrumMaster but that he/she at least took some time to prepare him/herself in a guided or coached way.

    Hence, everyone should pick his/her ScrumMaster based on the experience of the SM and not the certificate itself only but isn't that the same with all consulting or coaching people you chose for staffing?

  4. John Luce says:

    Unfortunately, the Alliance has taken a stand that only courses they teach count. I was to take a course taught by a cPrime instructor and was told that it would not allow me to sit for the exam.

    It seems quite self serving to take such a stance.

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