A comparison of the PMI-ACP℠ and the Certified Scrum Master and Certified Scrum Professional

A comparison of the PMI-ACP, CSM, and CSP

I am often asked how the PMI ACPsm and the Certified Scrum Master compare.  So here is a stab at what the differences and similarities are between the two certifications. 

I would love to make this comparison robust so please leave comments to help make this a valuable resource for people.

Both the CSM and PMI-ACPsm are important certifications in the industry. The CSM is designed to promote and expand scrum in the industry, to train new people and get them Started (quoting the Scrum Alliance Website):

A CSM Course is Only the First Step. Becoming agile is a lifelong journey. Incorporating Scrum principles and practices into your world of work takes diligence, patience, and a commitment to continuous improvement.

The PMI ACPsm is not intended to be a training tool or a first step. Is for people who want to (quoting the PMI site):

  • Demonstrate to employers your level of professionalism in Agile practices of project management.
  • Increase your professional versatility.
  • Hold a certification that is more credible than existing entry-level, training or exam-only based offerings

The CSP is not intended to be a training tool or a first step eithre. The following is what the SA has to say about the CSP (quoting the Scrum Alliance site):

In today’s competitive job market, primary credentialing is an important way to identify industry professionals with a full understanding of Scrum and how to apply its principles in the workplace.

The intent behind the CSP certification program is to offer a clearly defined and well-respected credential in the Agile community, recognized as the primary credential for Scrum Professionals and sought by the employers who hire them.

How is the PMI-ACPsm Different from the Scrum Master Certification and Certified Scrum Professional?

Certified Scrum Master® (CSM)


Certified Scrum Professional (CSP)

Purpose: Clarifying and promoting Scrum Purpose: Codify & standardize what “agile” means across organizations  Purpose: to offer a clearly defined and well-respected credential in the Agile community, recognized as the primary credential for Scrum Professionals and sought by the employers who hire them.
Covers: Scrum Terminology, Practices, and Principles Covers:  Principles, practices and tools and techniques across agile methodologies (Scrum, kanban, XP, lean, DSDM, TDD, ATDD and more) Covers: The Art of Scrum in greater Depth
Deep Understanding of Scrum is required Broad Understanding of Agile and lean is required Deep understanding and experience with Scrum is required
Developed by the Scrum Alliance and validated by the global Scrum community Developed and independently validated by global groups of agile professionals Developed by the Scrum Alliance and validated by the global Scrum Community
Software industry focused Intended to be industry agnostic Software industry focused
No Experience Required 2 day Scrum Master class 2000 hrs Project Exp1500 hrs Agile Exp (non-overlapping)21 hrs Agile Training 2000 Hours Current holder of CSM, CSPO or CSDCurrent Scrum Alliance Membership
Pass/Fail Exam (New 9/1/2012) Pass/Fail Exam  Pass/Fail Exam
Exam administered by Castle Worldwide Exam administered by ProMetric Exam administered by Castle Worldwide
35 Question Exam (New 9/1/2012)  120 Question Exam  150 Question Exam
CSM Class: May ONLY be taught by Certified Scrum Trainers. Certified by the Scrum Alliance Required agile training (21 hours): may be taught by anyone, (PMI recommends obtaining PDUs from Registered Education Providers) None. Requires that you be an existing CSM, CSPO or CSD Which do have training requirements
Currently CSM does not expire Must maintain Credential in 3 year cycles.PMI-ACPsm credential holder will need to earn 30 PDUs in agile project management per three-year cycle  2 year cycles.  Recertification will require maintaining some level of PDUs. The Scrum Alliance traning program will be in place no later than January 2013
Fees:CSM classes typically cost between $1000 – 2000. However, some organizations offer “Pay what you can” options.There is no additional cost for the exam.You can not take the exam without taking the class. Fees:Classes to get 21 PDUs: 0-$2500+ There are a lot of free and paid classes available.Member Computer based: $335Non-Member computer based: $435Member paper based:  $270Non-Member paper based:  $370 Fees: $300 Registration feeRequires membership in Scrum Alliance: $100 / 2 years


Different courses, different objectives. I hope this helps you decide if you want to take a CSP, CSM or if ACP is something you might want to pursue.

[important]I would love to make this comparison robust so please leave comments to help make this a good resource for people.  [/important]

* See comments

PMI-ACP is a service mark of the Project Management Institutes

By | 2017-03-31T23:33:03+00:00 January 3rd, 2012|agile, PMI ACP, scrum master|58 Comments

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  1. Michael James January 4, 2012 at 6:50 am - Reply

    This isn’t too far off. A few ScrumAlliance trainers (myself included) administer a failable exam during class time, with the option of reviewing and retaking afterwards for the minority of participants who don’t do well the first time.

    Also, the ScrumAlliance is updating its online exam to be failable, with retake options. I will keep running a paper test during my own class due to gaps and misplaced priorities in the official ScrumAlliance exam.


  2. Mark Levison January 4, 2012 at 7:47 am - Reply

    Joseph an interesting comparison. Some small details:
    – the existing exam is taken on line and not administered by the trainer

    As of early Jan there is a new exam and the details are much closer to the PMI-ACP model. In particular the exam will be administered by a testing company (via their website) and the CSM will require renewal every 2-3 years.

    Finally the CSP would a better item to compare to the PMI-ACP.

    Mark Levison
    Agile Pain Relief Consulting

    • Joseph Flahiff January 4, 2012 at 7:51 am - Reply

      Good points Mark,
      I am planning to add a column for the CSP, it is more like the ACP but that isn’t the comparison I keep hearing people ask about. 🙂
      I will work on that comparison today.


  3. Gene Gendel January 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Joseph, I am taking my responses from the email trail to this blog:
    Of course, we can compare anything side by side, and your approach is good. But as far as purpose of why people prefer one exam over another, why certain companies look for candidates with certain credentials and why certifying bodies come with various exams, to me… is a much bigger question.
    If we peel back the onion and really look deep down under the hood then we should who is doing what….Granted. PMI has a well oiled certification process, using Prometric to administer it and structuring the exam based on areas of expertise, sections, slices etc…
    But I must say that ScrumAlliance is really stepping up the plate… I was a part of the process that verified validity of CSP multiple choice examination and must say that this is also taken very seriously.
    The truth of the matter is that not how well a candidate passes an exam: there are some great multiple choice test takers and some poor ones. There people who have a lot of prior expertise going into an examination and vice versa. There are also multiple combinations for the two factors above. To what you have for ‘purpose of CSM’ or any certification by ScrumAlliance, I would add PRACTICING, not just clarifying and promoting. Why do I say this? Because what I would expect from any ScrumAlliance certification holder is to aggressively promote agile transformation at a company. At least, this is my expectation. This is what I do.
    What I expect from PMI ACP is that it will attract a large number of PMs who want to get agility as a notch on their belt (you are right, the coverage of agile there is much broader but yet very superficial) from the same body that they got their PMP from. This is just my personal observation.
    I want to see how you will put up CSP and CSC next to the two above
    This is a very good discussion thread. Thanks Joseph.

    Gene Gendel
    Agile Transformation & Coaching

  4. Doug Brophy January 5, 2012 at 8:30 am - Reply

    I think it would be helpful to list the $ cost as well.
    Doug B

    • Joseph Flahiff January 5, 2012 at 11:23 am - Reply

      Good call. I will work on adding that. It is complicated,as the training required to qualify for the PMI-ACP is not necessarily part of the ACP “cost” but overall it could be. On the other hand there are lots of places to get free PDUs… so I will work on how to frame it up fairly.

      thanks for the comment.

      • Ryan February 3, 2012 at 5:39 am - Reply

        Can you recommend a few places to get free PDUs?

        • Joseph Flahiff February 27, 2012 at 4:35 pm - Reply

          Well here are a couple places:
          The PMI-Community of Practice
          Donna Reed’s database of webinars at http://www.agilistapm.com/
          My FREE Monthly Webinars https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/517640214

          You can also get PDUs for volunteering, the Community Of Practice is in need of people who know agile to help out. Ping me if you want to help with this. I am on the ACP support team.

          Hope that helps.

  5. Ari Brown January 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    I find it distressing but not surprising that PMI, after seeing their raison d’etre being flushed down the drain with the popularity of waterfall project management has now created a certification that once again attempts to be the more desired credential and requires both way more classes and money to get and sustain.

    Of course experience and knowledge matter but I feel like the CSM lives in a world of open learning and sharing (as do the Agile Open conferences) whereas anything that comes from PMI is designed to make money for PMI.

    • Joseph Flahiff January 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      Hi Ari!
      Interestingly Waterfall has not gone down the drain. YES it has in the IT community, as well it should. But there are contexts in which it makes good sense to use a sequential approach, construction for example. Lean construction is a very important movement but it still is a linear approach. I speak at a lot of PMI Chapters and IT is not the only industry represented there. I spoke at one local chapter here in the Northwest where, there was only one person who was in IT. the rest of the people were in the Oil and Gas refinement industry. They work on multi-year $100-500 Million dollar projects that are totally waterfall. The technology for gas refinement doesn’t change that much. I spoke on agile. but I had to tweak the talk to focus on the soft-side of agile, the management approach of servant leadership, because many of the practices didn’t apply.

      I know that isn’t the point you were making but it is important to keep in mind that PMI is a global and industry agnostic organization.

      Have a listen to the interview with Frank, PMI didn’t even think they would have a certification it was the board (the mostly non-PMI member board) that decided, YES, there should be one.

      As far as CSM being not in it for the money. Hum. CSM can only be taught by a CST. A CST can only be certified by the Scrum Alliance. they also have to pay a hefty fee. Actually the finances of the CST are one of the things that drove Ken Schwaber to break away from the alliance.

    • Benjamin Yahoonet November 22, 2012 at 12:11 pm - Reply

      “not surprising that PMI, after seeing their raison d’etre being flushed down the drain with the popularity of waterfall project management has now created a certification that once again attempts to be the more desired credential and requires both way more classes and money to get and sustain. ”
      Just wanted to let you know that this sentence is so impregnated with horse crap. Best go into mushroom farming.

  6. Ajay Kabra January 10, 2012 at 11:22 am - Reply

    I do not agree with the comparison on a simple note that attending a class for 2 days qualifies one to be a SCRUM MASTER, we all know the level and importance of this role in SCRUM Teams. The exam is really laughable at the best for me, One could open Google on one end and have the SCRUM ALLIANCE website open on the other tab and give answers.

    For it had lost its creditability for all practical purposes. Secondly the knowledge one gains from attending the CSM course is all depended on the instructor, I have seen classed of CSM, where you have 40+ participants, Not sure , how effective is the communication between the inststructor & the participants.

    PMI ACP is sure to shake up a few threads in our industry and hopefully we shall be able to take weeds out.

    I have experienced myself people who are CSM and have little or no clue on what happens as a SCRUM MASTER or what the role would do …. and they have attended the classes and GUESS what they are CSMs ….

    I am very much sure that these comments of mine are going to attract a lot more attention …. but that’s the MOMENT OF TRUTH for all of us to face and understand ….

    I am glad that SCRUM ALLIANCE is planning to revamp the CSM program, happy that they did CSP

    My 2 cents

    • Michal Vallo February 2, 2012 at 10:42 am - Reply


      I think you missunderstood concept of CSM. Its not about to declare somebody being guru, it is only declaring that an individual obtained complete knowledge. There is too many opinions on what agile and scrum is, most of them vague and incomplete. I propose my article about the topic – Does „certified“ driving license matter? http://www.agilia.cz/2011/06/potrebujeme-certifikovany-vodicsky.html

      I also think the comparison ignores fact that Agile is primarily about people engagement. Linking Agile to a set of process techniques seems to me inapropriate.

      • Joseph Flahiff February 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm - Reply


        Thank you for taking the time to reply. I do not think I misunderstand the reason for the CSM. If you read the post, it clearly states the purpose of the CSM. Which, I am afraid, is not to “declare that an individual has obtained complete knowledge” The Scrum Alliance states that, “A CSM Course is Only the First Step. Becoming agile is a lifelong journey. Incorporating Scrum principles and practices into your world of work takes diligence, patience, and a commitment to continuous improvement.” To say one has complete knowledge is to say that they have arrived. however I am going to chalk it up to language differences.

        I agree Agile is largely about people, and both certifications put a large focus upon that.

        • Prasanth Gopi April 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm - Reply

          I think probably the name Certified “Scrum Master” is to blame here. It projects an idea that the person is already an expert where as in truth ha has just begun. frankly before reading this comparison I actually thought CSM was an exam that you need to pass and I expected CSMs to be really knowledgeable!

    • vicki March 8, 2014 at 5:26 pm - Reply

      I have to agree with this one. The ONLY reason I got PMI’s ACP cert is because after I took the online CSM exam and could use a search engine to fine the answers, I felt that most employers that knew this wouldn’t think very highly of the CSM cert. To be certified at something, you should have to earn that certification and looking answers up during the exam is not a display of knowledge. Instead, it just indicate the person may be good at searching. I like the fact that PMI does require real life experience on an agile team. That said, i may go ahead and get the CSP just to have that as well. I think I would be a really good coach – to bad the costs of that certification is outside of what I am willing to spend.

  7. Sampath Prahalad January 15, 2012 at 4:50 am - Reply

    The difference in the way the Exam is administered is a big one.
    The CSM can be taken at the End user’s home or office or anywhere which means that the user can get help to answer a question from the internet, other people, etc.
    The PMI-ACP being conducted by Prometric creates a controlled environment which ensures that the exam result is based solely on the candidate’s skill and knowledge.

    I think that the list of differences that you have pointed out more or less is complete.

  8. Diana Lilla February 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm - Reply


    Thank you! I like the comparison you have offered, it is informative and confirms in my mind that CSM/Scrum is software industry specific. Some of what is scrum existed by other names in other industries before software industry started using scrum, so SM has sometimes seemed confusing as I have tried thinking about it for the business which software is created for.

    I like how you bring in the industry agnostic thoughts. It would be extremely useful to organizations if a lot of the confusion about agile terminology could be cleared up. Maturity of usage starts with common language and your clarification between industry agnostic and software industry is important. Great that you point that out.

    Kudos for taking on the comparison and sharing it!

  9. Joel Bancroft-Connors February 27, 2012 at 11:30 am - Reply


    Great post. Since the ACP was announced, I’ve blogged several times on PMI’s certification, with my most recent ones being a retrospective of the test and a “I have it, now what.”

    Looking at your comparison, I’ve got some comments:

    CSM- Deep Understanding of Scrum is required: CSM is the entry level course. No understanding of Agile/Scrum is required to take the class.

    CSM- Developed by the Scrum Alliance an validated by the global Scrum community: I know a lot of people in the Scrum community that are not happy with how the certification process is setup right now and what is required to be taught in the course. I know one instructor who says “This is what I’m required to teach, this is the stuff I think you also really need to know.”

    CSM- Exam admin by CSM Class instructor: Save for the commenter above, I’m not aware of anyone testing at their class. It’s an online, open book test.

    PMI-ACP- Fees: This does not account for any fees for the education credits. That can be costly.

    From my own perspective. I agree with others that the CSP is the direct comparison. Having both a CSP and an ACP, my the nutshell boils down to if you want to focus on just Scrum, then CSP is fine. If you want to get a broader agile experience, the ACP will become a very important certification.

    Yes, the big “evil” PMI started the certification. And then they turned it over to the agilists in their organization and its being run by people with a passion in agile. Time will tell, but those of us that hold the ACP have the responsibility for making it something.

    Best, Joel BC

  10. Georg Ganslmeier February 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    In Jan 2012, ScrumAlliance has recently revised its CSP (http://www.scrumalliance.org/pages/certified_scrum_professional) , making both PMI-ACP and the new CSP somewhat similar with regard to eligibility, testing, maintaining and fees.

    I personally see however two main differentiators:
    1. CSP seems to strongly focus on Scrum, whereas PMI-ACP tries to cover Agile (Scrum being one part of it)
    2. maintainign PDUs for PMI-ACP are also counting for maintaining a PMP – if you are a PMP certification holder

  11. Joseph Flahiff March 13, 2012 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    HEY For all of you who asked… here it is. I added the CSP to the comparison. Let me know where I am not right with any data.

  12. TImothy Korson April 7, 2012 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    The motto of the Scrum Alliance is “Transforming the world of work” The Scrum certifications are for those who seek and embrace radical transformation – disciplined, intelligent transformation, but radical transformation.

    The PMI-ACM has no such culture. They seek to “Codify & standardize” agile, which in my mind will stifle the agile movement. A number of PMI’s correct answers to the PMI-ACP exam are already incorrect by current agile literature standards.

    So in my mind the division is clear and marked. Do you want to be part of the “transforming the world of work” movement – or do you want to be part of the “Codify & standardize” movement?

    The PMI-ACP courses tend to be about preparing for an exam. The ScrumMaster courses seriously focus on changing your mindset., and preparing you to be a change agent in your organization. Huge difference.

    Because of the differences, I actually recommend that you get both certificates. It is quite natural to do so. A CSM course counts as 14 of your 21 required PMI PDUs, so you might as well get your CSM on your way to a PMI-ACP. As you may have guessed, I consider myself a Scrum ambassador, but I understand that a PMI certification holds a lot of weight with traditional management. I love to see agile advocates who have credibility with upper level management. so I am glad to see agile advocates with a PMI-ACP certificate.

    I actually practice what I preach. I’m a Scrum trainer, but I am also a R.E.P. for the PMI and teach ACP prep classes.

    • Joseph Flahiff April 8, 2012 at 12:20 am - Reply

      Yah, in a creative endevour that is moving and changing as fast as lean/agile the exam is going to need to change quickly.
      In my classes I teach both. “Here is what you need to know for the exam, but here are the principles that xxx is based on, and YYY is current practice.” The key is to understand the principles and thinking that are the foundation of agile so that the folks in the class can evaluate for themselves when a new idea comes along.

      I don’t really think the ACP is so much about codifying and standardizing, I know those words were used. But that was a comment during a webianr. The fully thought out purpose defined by PMI is:
      + Demonstrate to employers your level of professionalism in Agile practices of project management.
      + Increase your professional versatility.
      + Hold a certification that is more credible than existing entry-level, training or exam-only based offerings

      So the distinction is not so much Change the world of work vs. codify and standardize. It is more (as you siad in your last line) Change the world of work AND Demonstrate professionalism…;-)

  13. […] There are other agile certs, such as DSDM, ICAgile, and all of the specific certifications for agile developers, but this is just a summary of the most common ones. (I am not including DSDM because it does not currently have the same global reach as the Scrum certifications, but it is an important certification.) A detailed analysis of the certifications is beyond the scope of this article. You can, however, read on the Whitewater Projects site how the PMI-ACP differs from the CSM and the CSP. […]

  14. […] There are other agile certs, such as DSDM, ICAgile, and all of the specific certifications for agile developers, but this is just a summary of the most common ones. (I am not including DSDM because it does not currently have the same global reach as the Scrum certifications, but it is an important certification.) A detailed analysis of the certifications is beyond the scope of this article. You can, however, read on the Whitewater Projects site how the PMI-ACP differs from the CSM and the CSP. […]

  15. S.Q. Fatima May 4, 2012 at 11:18 am - Reply

    i am really interested in PMI-ACP SM training. I will be in New jersey, USA from 10th June to 9th July. Can anyone suggest me a training course during this time closest from Plainsboro township, NJ from a good Registered Education Provider?

  16. Siddharth Gupta May 18, 2012 at 2:52 am - Reply

    I am a new agile practitioner and I want to go towards one (CSP or PMI-ACP) of these certifications to add to my skills. This whole thread has given me a very good perspective of what lies ahead. Having said that for me the biggest gain will be to be able to coach and mentor my teams in agile as we push for its “practice” than just adoption.

  17. TINA EDDY June 1, 2012 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    If I have CSM and ACP, would it be best to only list ACP behind my name?

  18. Ravi September 18, 2012 at 6:26 am - Reply

    Thank you very much. Fantastic resource.

  19. Wadood Ahmed October 29, 2012 at 1:22 am - Reply

    this is amazing post….., i wonder if this 2-day training is available in Pakistan :)…. can anyone confirm that?

    • Joseph Flahiff November 7, 2012 at 8:51 am - Reply

      Wadood, thanks for your comment on this post about the PMI-ACP. I currently do not do training in Pakistan 🙁 Sorry. But keep in touch I may have something soon that would be a fit. 😉

  20. Joe Lancer November 10, 2012 at 7:58 am - Reply

    Seeing that I would not hire 80% of the folks with PMPs to change a light bulb, PMI’s venture into the Agile world is simply a money grab. PMI is trying to codify Agile like it did with Waterfall. Agile is not ABC cookbook. I took an ACP exam prep boot camp by the guy that wrote book “ACP Exam Prep plus Desk Reference” . His stated purpose was to make PMI the leader in Agile certification. The class formed a study group after the boot camp and I had to give a lecture to my classmates of what an end-to-end Agile delivery looks like. The point being the people attending the class did not bother to read the material before the boot camp and the instructor did not convey the essence of how to do Agile or Scrum in the real world. My experience is the CSM and CSPO courses by the Scrum Alliance gave me practical and usable tools and knowledge to implement Agile and Scrum at my work place.

    Joe Lancer

    • Eayan November 29, 2012 at 4:06 pm - Reply

      Hi – i am planning to take the CSP exam in mid-January but having hard time finding “study material.” Can I use PMI-ACP prep material for CSP ?


      • Joe Lancer January 1, 2013 at 6:15 am - Reply

        Eayan – PMI-ACP will help but I highly recommend reading Ken Schwaber, Ester Derby, and Mike Cohn’s books. Reading the original authors and leaders in the field provides more insight and knowledge that any test prep materials.

  21. Bill January 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    I see the CSM requires that the instructor be certified CSM. However, many companies have Skillport Corporation providing the CSM course online (non-instructor led). Do those suffice, as you receive the certificate at the end of the course.


    • Joseph Flahiff January 6, 2013 at 8:14 pm - Reply

      I am not sure. I find it difficult to believe that the Scrum Alliance has certified Skillport to provide non-instructor led CSM classes. It is a good question for the Scrum Alliance though.
      Thanks for posting.

    • Joe Lancer January 6, 2013 at 8:17 pm - Reply

      Nada…. need to take a live course by a Scrum Alliance instructor.

      • Joseph Flahiff January 15, 2013 at 10:44 pm - Reply

        Thanks Joe. I thought not.

  22. A Shivani January 11, 2013 at 9:40 am - Reply

    This comparison and user comments are very helpful for someone in taking a decision.

  23. Andrew January 15, 2013 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Thank you very much for the comparison, it provides an excellent stepping stone for further research.

    My question is about the those people who are not Agile leaders (those people not in Scrum Master, Agile Coaches, Agile Practice leads roles) but work in Agile projects every day, e.g. Developers, BA’s, Testers. For those type of roles, where do you see these certifications sitting? (i.e. CSP and ACP, I see CSM as more entry level)

    As a non-Agile leader type role, I hope that these certifications (i.e. CSP and ACP) can provide an industry recognised competence level of agile practice (and also obtain learning from doing them), without the need to be an Agile leader, i.e. do you think these certificates would be overkill for the non Agile lead roles?

    • Joseph Flahiff January 15, 2013 at 10:27 pm - Reply

      Great question Andrew!

      Yes CSM is a basic entry level certification. No experience is required and you need only pass a short test to be Certified. Both the CSP and ACP require experience so they do show the industry that you have a level of experience and both require an exam so, they show you have a level of understanding.

      As for which, if any, would be good for a non-leader type. I think that the answer, “it depends” is appropriate. If your organization, and your personal passion is for Scrum. Then the CSP makes perfect sense. If you are not tied to Scrum as the only option, then the ACP is your answer. Both certifications are for “Practitioners” so you can see that they aren’t just for Leaders, though it tends to be the leaders who are the early adopters of such things as the year old ACP.

      my .02

      Thanks for the question.

  24. pmi-acp certified February 8, 2013 at 7:30 am - Reply

    a great article and a great comparission. Would be nice however, also add PSM exam (from Scrum.org)

  25. Tim A February 19, 2013 at 5:39 am - Reply

    Great thread… read it all, but still wondering: At the end of the day, how would the certified student be impacted? Would they be able to do their job better, really? Assuming they already have scrum training and experience, what does the certificate genuinely get them?

    • Joseph Flahiff February 25, 2013 at 2:15 pm - Reply

      I would venture that a certification never makes you able to do your job better. What it does is tell others that you know what you are doing. Or at least that is what I believe a certification should do.

      • Tim A February 26, 2013 at 5:06 am - Reply

        I like that philosophy Joseph, with caution of thinking someone knows what they’re doing just because they went to a class and passed a test. In that sense, it seems the certification group that guards against that the best would seem more credible IMO.

  26. prepare for you April 20, 2013 at 7:02 am - Reply

    prepare for you

  27. Manish Kumar May 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm - Reply


    Great artcile.. like an eye opener…

    Can you suggest one book for PMI-ACP certification preparation?

    Same as on the line of PMP certification (like PMBOK or Rita Mulachy book).



    • Joseph Flahiff May 16, 2013 at 9:30 am - Reply

      I know there are many available but I have to admit I haven’t reviewed them all. I do have Mike Griffith’s book. But I am sure there are other great ones out there.

      What do others recommend?

  28. Greg October 30, 2013 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Joseph,

    Thanks for the video. There’s a simpler version of the formula: # communication channels = n*(n-1) / 2. where n is the number of stakeholders. So for 6 people in the room you would have 6*5/2 = 15 etc.


  29. Omar January 13, 2014 at 5:38 am - Reply

    Thank you very much for the useful information.
    I have a question specific to Scum associations and certifications. It seems there are three entities being Scrum Alliance, Scrum.org and Scrumstudy.org
    The story of the first two is clear enough. The third, is not. I have come across very positive and very negative opinions on ScrumStudy even though the developed the Scrum Body of Knowledge (SBOK™) which gives structure to the methodology.
    Have you come across Scrum Study? Any comments?

  30. Subhojit February 4, 2014 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Hi Joseph,

    Thank you for the content. Very helpful indeed.



  31. […] to WhiteWaterProjects.com, the non-member computer based test costs $435, while the paper based test for non-members is […]

  32. Sonia March 23, 2014 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    Thank you for codifying the details of all three certs. It appears that obtaining an industry-agnostic cert, given the changing landscape of project work, is a well planned investment. I’m into it!


  33. Nayana G. April 10, 2014 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    This is extremely helpful for I haveing been doing a lot of search for courses and material for taking up the CSM ceritifcation. Apparently, one of projeact leaders in my company took it and my manager wanted me to do it. I was not sure of the credibility of a certification. Though from research the programs offered by Scrum Alliance instructors seemed very interesting and interactive. I will be taking up the exam soon.

    One thing that is surprising is that the exam is allowed to be taken at the candidate’s home or anywhere e?!!

    if the examniation were conducted in more professional, thorough, controlled centers, it would have made the certification meaningful and more valuable.
    My 2 cents.

    bottom line irresepctive of how many certifications one one’s end of the day what matters is did u get the job done effectively? Are you happy? Is the boss happy?

    All the best,,
    Nayana G

  34. Proquotient December 17, 2016 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Thank you for explaining all the important aspects of these three certifications. This is a really well made article. For anyone looking to start a career in the Scrum and Agile industry this will be very helpful to decide which certification to choose.

  35. Devi January 3, 2017 at 7:19 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this article gives me a good insights in the courses i was trying to follow.I would like to add one skill this year to my kitty.Given that i don’t practice agile in my current organization i was thinking to start with CSM.But does PMI-ACP strictly requires work experience in agile practices? Then how do people who are not practising gain this knowledge/skill and get a break through in the world of agile project management.

    • jflahiff January 3, 2017 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      Hi Devi,
      Yes the PMI-ACP requires experience to gain the certificate. However, ACP classes will give you a broad understanding of common agile practice, more than Scrum classes will. I am actually putting together a series of online classes that will be available in the next month or so. I am putting my whole 3-day ACP Course online. 🙂 no experience necessary. I also have the free Agile Leadership mini-course on this page https://www.getdrip.com/forms/53209551/submissions/new

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