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CSM, PSM, SSM, SASM - What Scrum Master Course Do I Choose?

A question our training team is often asked is “what Scrum Master course do I choose?” This article will walk you through the different Scrum Master courses available, comparing them based on various aspects such as course content, provider, cost, assessment type, certification and more.

To make your decision process easier, we have created a comparison matrix that puts the main Scrum Master courses side by side.

 

Scrum Master comparison table preview.png

Download now: Scrum Master Comparison Matrix


It’s not difficult to understand why we get asked this question. In the
11th Annual State of Agile Report conducted by VersionOne, Scrum was named as the most common Agile method and practice used - 58% of respondents indicated this is what their organisation was using. Pair this with 98% of the respondents achieving success with Agile projects, enabling organisations to manage changing priorities, increase team productivity and improving project visibility.


Choosing the right certification to provide you with knowledge and encourage competency in a role is really important, and ensures that the benefits Agile can bring to your team are maximised.   


However, with a number of different organisations now offering their own learning path to ultimately achieve certification, how do you decide which is right for you, your team and your organisation?


Within this blog we are going to compare what we consider to be the three main organisations offering Scrum Master certification: Scrum AllianceScrum.org, and Scaled Agile Academy.


CSM (Certified ScrumMaster®) - Scrum Alliance



Scrum Alliance Logo png.pngThe Scrum Alliance CSM learning path is usually considered the most well known and recognised Scrum Master certification available.


For this course, you must attend a two-day classroom-based Certified ScrumMaster®  (CSM) course with a Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Trainer. As Scrum Alliance has strict processes and regulations for licensing Scrum Trainers, the number of trainers is limited. However, this ensures that you will only get the highest-quality trainers who follow the exact Scrum Alliance guidelines.


In terms of the exam, an online exam is included as part of the cost, which takes about an hour to complete. You have a time slot of 90 days to take the exam with 35 multiple-choice and true/false questions. To pass, you need to answer at least 24 questions correctly. Should you fail, you have another attempt included in the course cost.


Your CSM training also comes with a two-year membership with the Scrum Alliance, offering you access to a wide community, resources, and networking opportunities. After two years, CSM certifications and Scrum Alliance membership need renewing.


Last but not least, CSM training also allows you to claim PDUs from the Project Management Institute (PMI), where Radtac is now pre-approved.

View CSM courses here


PSM (Professional Scrum Master™) - Scrum.org



Scrum.org-Logo_no_tagline_transparent.pngTo become a Professional Scrum Master, you don’t have to necessarily attend a training course - that is if you have enough knowledge about Scrum, and have the ability to apply it. However, you need to have a very good understanding of it, in order to take the online assessment.


The PSM comes with three levels of assessments - Foundation (I), Intermediate (II), and Advanced (III), which are based on the freely-available Scrum Guide.


The PSM I exam includes 80 multiple-choice and true/false questions. You need an 85% mark to pass the exam, and you need to know there are no other attempts included in the course cost, in case you fail the first attempt.


Unlike CSM certifications, PSM certifications do not need renewal. Important to mention is that you can not claim PMI PDUs for the PSM assessments.

View PSM courses hereDownload now: Scrum Master Comparison Matrix

SSM (SAFe Scrum Master®) - Scaled Agile Inc



Scaled_Agile_logo.pngIn this two-day course, you’ll gain an understanding of the role of the Scrum Master in a SAFe enterprise. Unlike traditional Scrum Master training that focuses on the fundamentals of team-level Scrum, the SAFe 4.0 Scrum Master course explores the role of Scrum in the context of the entire enterprise, and prepares you to successfully plan and execute the Program Increment (PI), the primary enabler of alignment throughout all levels of a SAFe organisation.


This includes learning the key components of scaled Agile development, how Scrum is facilitated throughout the enterprise, and how to execute iteration planning.


You’ll also discover how to build high performing Agile teams by becoming a servant leader and coach, and how to coach those teams to deliver the maximum business value that is achievable through SAFe.

The SSM exam includes 43 multiple-choice questions, and you need to get 31 (72%) right to pass. The first attempt is free within 30 days from course completion date. There is an annual renewal, from the date of certification, and the renewal fee is $100.


With this course, you may be eligible to apply for 15 PDUs toward your continuing education requirements with the Project Management Institute (PMI) for PMP and PMI-ACP certifications.


The SSM certification confirms that you are prepared to perform the role of a Scrum Master in a SAFe environment, increasing your value to teams and organisations that are implementing SAFe.

View SSM courses here

SASM (SAFe Advanced Scrum Master®) - The next step in the Scrum Master’s learning path



Scaled_Agile_logo.pngThis two-day course prepares current Scrum Masters for their leadership role in facilitating Agile team, program, and enterprise success in a SAFe®implementation.


The course covers facilitation of cross-team interactions in support of the program execution and relentless improvement. It enhances the Scrum paradigm with an introduction to scalable engineering and DevOps practices; the application of Kanban to facilitate the flow of value; and supporting interactions with architects, product management, and other critical stakeholders in the larger program and enterprise contexts.


The course offers actionable tools for building high-performing teams and explores practical ways of addressing Agile and Scrum anti-patterns in the enterprise.


Attending the class prepares you to take the exam and become a certified SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master (SASM).

Download now: Scrum Master Comparison Matrix

The SSM exam includes 82 multiple-choice, true/false questions, and you need to get 57 (70%) of these right in order to pass. The first attempt is free within 30 days from course completion date, and you have 120 minutes to complete the web-based, closed-book  exam. There is an annual renewal, from the date of certification, and the renewal fee is $100.


With this course, you may be eligible to apply for 15 PDUs toward your continuing education requirements with the Project Management Institute (PMI) for PMP and PMI-ACP certifications. 

 

Worth noting is that attendees of the SASM course are strongly suggested to have one of the following certifications: SAFe Scrum Master (SSM), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), or Professional Scrum Master (PSM).

View SASM courses here

Information sources for this article include scrum.org, scaledagile.com, scrumalliance.org.

Author

Jo Sharp

Jo Sharp

With a determination to succeed and great enthusiasm, Jo’s dynamic approach fits perfectly within our busy Business Support team. An Agile mindset has been key to combining her existing role as public training coordinator with undertaking new responsibilities to support our Finance Director as Accounts Assistant. Read more