PSM or CSM – which is right for me?

Before I start answering the question of PSM or CSM, I would like to state the reason “Why” even came into existence. Ken Schwaber, co-creator of Scrum and founder of in his letter explains that the foundation of was shaped by two opposing forces – the desire to do the right thing and the desire to make more money. He chose the desire to do the right thing. A detailed genesis could be read here.

A bit more of history:

With the initial courses, workshops that were designed around Scrum, specifically around Scrum Master; there were no validations. People used to attend a two-day Certified Scrum Master classroom training and used to get the certification. Although, the certification only meant that they attended a two day training on Scrum; industry started looking up to these certified people as experts of Scrum. Result, too many bad Scrum implementations seen across the industry; implemented by Certified Scrum Masters who merely attended a two day training.

This does not mean that all CSM certified people were not capable. There were some who were competent enough and that was because of their experience with implementing Scrum besides the two day training, however many were not.

This all led to the need of having a certification which represents that a person having it is skilled at Scrum. This was around early 2009, which is when Ken Schwaber founded with the idea of improving the profession of software delivery.

Professional Scrum Courses:

All the Professional Scrum course, whether it is Professional Scrum Master series or Professional Scum Product Owner Series or Professional Scrum Developer they have their foundation rooted in the Scrum guide. Professional Scrum courses all about the desire to do the right thing.

Professional Scrum courses are curated by course stewards and are standardized and maintained by Ken Schwaber and 200+ trainers.

These 200+ Professional Scrum Trainers keep contributing towards the various courses as they learn more with their experiences. All the changes or ideas that are suggested are validated, added to the course material and made available to the larger PST community.

The differences in PSM and CSM:

Professional Scrum

Certified Scrum

Certifying Body Scrum.orgScrum Alliance
Training Not neededMandatory
Cost $150 per attempt$900 – $1300 approx
Course Material Curated by course stewards, maintained by Ken Schwaber and 200+ Professional Scrum Trainers Varies in content and quality; largely depends on the CST who has created the material.
Assessment Difficulty IntermediateBeginner
Assessment Pattern Multiple Choice
Multiple Select;
Multiple Choice
Assessment Details 80 questions;
85% passing score;
60 minutes.
35 questions;
68% passing score;
No time limit.
Certification Renewal NeverEvery two years; $100 renewal fee

I hope this article was helpful.
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