How to Become a Certified Scrum Master
As the Agile methodology is becoming more and more popular nowadays, companies are looking for qualifications that set an applicant apart from the rest. If there are two applicants with equal years of experience and a quite similar set of skills, what could the other person have as an edge over the other? Certification may be the answer. In this blog, I will share with you the steps on how to become a Certified Scrum Master.
The Scrum Master is the servant-leader of a Scrum Team and who is mainly responsible for promoting and supporting the Scrum framework. The Scrum Master can be considered as a management position, but not in the traditional sense. The Scrum Guide refers to Scrum Masters as servant-leader. They are “not master[s] of the team, but master[s] at encouraging, enabling, and energizing people to gel as a team and realize their full potential. [They are] servant-leaders whose focus is on the needs of the team members and those they serve (the customer), with the goal of achieving results in line with the organization’s values, principles, and business objectives.”
This certification focuses on the importance of self-organization. Being a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) may make you stand out among other applicants because this will vouch for your knowledge and mastery of the best practices in a scrum space. Like other certifications, being a CSM will require time and money. Though unlike other licenses for project management, the application, preparation, and exam for CSM are a lot easier.
WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO APPLY FOR CSM?
At least a basic knowledge of the Scrum framework and some experience, but these are not really mandatory. To get you up to speed, you can read and study the Scrum Guide.
HOW TO BECOME A CERTIFIED SCRUM MASTER?
1. Choose a certification provider.
There are two organizations that are recognized in the world as providers of Scrum training and certifications: Scrum.org and Scrum Alliance.
Here’s the brief comparison:
|Founded by Ken Schwaber after he left Scrum Alliance. He created an alternative to the Certified Scrum Master that is called Professional Scrum Master (PSM).||Founded by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber, the creators of Scrum, in 2001 and it was the first organization to offer a Scrum certification program. Its CSM is the most widely recognized certification programs for Scrum masters.|
|A training program is not required before taking the certification exam.||Before taking the certification exam, potentials CSMs are required to undergo a training program.|
|Offers Scrum training courses.||Offers both in-person and online virtual training around the world. Course fees already include the cost of the exam, which can be taken at the end of each course.|
|Does not require individuals to renew their PSM certification.||Requires individuals to renew their CSM certification every two years for a fee and for 20 Scrum Education Units (SEUs).|
As for my case two years ago, I went for the Scrum Alliance because I wanted formal training before the exam. So, the succeeding steps will only cover the ones applicable for Scrum Alliance. If you would rather get Scrum.org’s PSM, please check their website.
2. Select a schedule of your training and register via the Scrum Alliance website. Once you click on the “Register Now” button, you will be redirected to the Odd-e.ph site, they are Scrum Alliance’s partner here in the Philippines.
3. Email your questions or clarifications or your intent to register to the contact person mentioned under the “Register” button of Odd-e.ph.
4. Follow the instructions that they will send to you.
5. Attend the 2-day workshop. For my case, it was held at The Peninsula Manila in Makati City. The amount that I paid already covered the training, certification and exam, breakfast, buffet lunch, and afternoon snacks at The Peninsula.
6. Take and pass the exam.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE 2-DAY WORKSHOP?
There will be several lectures, activities, and knowledge sharing, though it would be nice if the training is longer than two days. All materials (e.g., ballpen, paper, etc.) will be provided by Odd-e/ Scrum Alliance. Participants will not be given any assessment by the speaker after the workshop. Getting the Scrum Master certification will solely depend on your performance on the exam.
IS THE CERTIFICATION EXAM DIFFICULT?
To be honest, it’s easy as long as you prepare and study the Scrum Guide and the discussions during the class.
The exam has 50 multiple-choice questions, and you need at least 74% or 37 correct answers to be certified. You will immediately know the results after completing the test.
You have one hour to take the test and you cannot pause the timer.
WHEN CAN I TAKE THE EXAM?
Within 48 hours after completing the workshop, you will receive an email containing the exam link from Scrum Alliance. You will be given two attempts within 90 calendar days to pass the test at no cost. After two attempts or 90 days, you will be charged $25 for each additional attempt.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT AFTER I PASS?
After successfully passing the CSM test, you need to accept the CSM license by completing your profile on the Scrum Alliance website. Once you accept it, your certificate will be available for you to download.
ANY TIPS TO PASS THE EXAM?
1. Study the Scrum Guide.
2. Take notes during the workshop.
3. Practice by answering mock questions—they are all over the internet.
4. Relax and stay focused.
Good luck, Champs!
Becoming a Certified Scrum Master can be the start or can solidify your Agile journey. You got this! 😉