FAQ: What is required to receive the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) designation and what upcoming changes are there to the process?

by: Tom McGraw, CSM

In this blog, you will learn about Scrum Master Certification requirements and the details for attending the course.

The Scrum Alliance is a non-profit organization that governs the requirements for many of the industry-recognized Agile certifications.  The Scrum Alliance endorses a specific Agile process, Scrum, and certifies participants who meet certification requirements.  Currently, the most prominent Agile certification in the industry is the Scrum Alliance’s Certified Scrum Master (CSM) designation.

In order to receive the CSM designation, prospective designees must attend a Scrum Alliance approved certification course for the designation.  Currently, there are 129 Certified Scrum Trainers (CST)s in the world (of which 5% are instructors) who have the ability to certify students attending their workshops with either the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) or Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) designations.

After the Certified Scrum Master Workshop facilitated by a Certified Scrum Trainer, the trainer will submit each attendee’s information to the Scrum Alliance for certification.  The Scrum Alliance will send an email with a post-course evaluation to each attendee.  At this point in the process, certification will depend on when the individual completed their workshop.


Previous/Current Scrum Master Evaluation:

  • For the past several years, the Scrum Alliance has provided a post-course evaluation to each attendee.  The information gathered gauged overall understanding of Scrum principles, framework, and Scrum team roles.  Scrum Alliance provided detailed feedback for attendees, showing areas needing improvement.
  • The evaluation consists of 35 questions, which are completed online at your own leisure.
  • Every attendee who completes the evaluation receives the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) designation for an initial two-year period.  The Scrum Alliance provides designees many resources and benefits through membership in the community.

Upcoming Scrum Master Evaluation:

  • Initially scheduled for release on April 1st, 2012, the Scrum Alliance has recently announced it will postpone the upcoming changes to the post-course evaluation.
  • The Scrum Alliance has announced that its new post-course evaluation will be a scored, pass/fail 60-question assessment, testing the same understanding of Scrum principles, framework and team roles.
  • Only attendees who receive a passing score for the new certification process will receive the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) designation for the initial three-year period.  They will receive the same resources and additional benefits through membership in the Scrum Alliance community.

What does this mean?

Scrum Master Certification Requirements: Any individual attending a Certified Scrum Master Workshop in the next several weeks would be subject to the former certification process.  Essentially, every attendee who completes the course and completes the evaluation would become certified.  Until the Scrum Alliance announces when the changes will now take effect, any person can become certified through this process.

After the changes, the course will still be open to all participants.  The CSTs who can teach the courses provide all of the knowledge and skills to pass the post-evaluation assessment, even for attendees new to Agile and Scrum.  Despite the evaluation becoming a pass/fail, if you are an active participant in the hands-on class, you more than likely will pass the assessment and receive certification.  Cprime Learning is confident in the ability of our Certified Scrum Trainers’ abilities to provide the skills and knowledge to pass the assessment that we have already announced that when the new process does take effect, Cprime Learning will have a full Exam Pass Guarantee for any attendees who potentially do not pass their initial assessment.

For more information on whether this certification is right for you, or if you would like more information on how Scrum differs from Agile, please call Cprime Learning at 1-877-800-5221 and ask to speak to a Training Advisor.

Scrum Certifications

Traci Taylor
Traci Taylor