Choosing a Scrum Master Certification learning event can be challenging.  There are many options.

Part 1: Philosophy for Choosing a Scrum Master Certification

Part 2: Choosing Based on Your Objective

Part 3: Detailed Benefit, Feature and Attribute Comparison

Licensed Scrum Master badge with Scrum Inc.
Certified Scrum Master with Scrum Alliance
Professional Scrum Master with Scrum.org

Philosophy for Choosing a Scrum Master Certification

The four options for Scrum Master Certification listed here are the ones offered by BERTEIG because these are the reputable ones.  These are the ones that we believe assist in our vision:

We will be done when all businesses are humane, inspiring places to work, economic activity is harmonious with the betterment of all of humanity, and individuals’ talents and interests find expression in the creation of knowledge and beauty.

The Licensed Scrum Master (LSM), Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Professional Scrum Master (PSM) are reputable Scrum Master Certification learning events compatible with our vision.  Please be aware that there are a number of low-quality or deceptive certification programs out there that we do not recommend.

For comparison purposes on this page, we also list our BERTEIG Scrum Master (BSM) which is not a certified course.  And, for some situations, please be aware the Scrum Master certification (or training) is not really the best choice… so we also have some other options listed in the first table below.

If you are interested in reading more about our thoughts on Agile Certification, we have an in-depth article.

https://youtu.be/XNYD9nTFmOM

Choosing Scrum Master Certification based on Your Objective

This first table lists a few broad considerations that help you choose a Scrum Master certification depending on what your objectives are.  We have tried to reflect the objectives we hear from our customers, but if we are missing something in our list, please let us know and we will add it!

The difference between “Recommended” and the others is based mostly on the actual content of the learning events – the learning outcomes.  Also notice that sometimes the “Recommended” is not a Scrum Master certification, so we have listed a few other types of training we provide that might be better suited to your objective.

In the table below, PSM is both the virtual classroom learning and the exam even though the exam can be done without the virtual learning.  The LSMPO is a single 3-day class that gives you both LSM and LSPO (Licensed Scrum Product Owner) certification.

Your Objective

Recommended

2nd Choice

3rd Choice

Get started with large-scale agility (multiple Scrum teams)

KMP *

LSM

LSAFe *

As an executive, empathize with my staff and employees

CSM

BSM

Learn new skills to be a better Scrum Master

LSMPO

CSM

LSM

Advance my career as a technical Lead

LSM + PSM + ASD *

CSM + PSM + ASD *

LSM or PSM + ASD *

Level-set my teams on Scrum

BSM

LSM

CSM

Advance my career as a Project Manager

LSMPO

LSM

PSM

My organization is “going Agile”

RAP

I2RA / L2RA

BSM

Advance my career as an Agile Consultant / Coach

LSMPO + TKP*

LSM + CSM + TKP*

Work effectively in a “hybrid” Agile/waterfall environment

TKP/KMP *

BSM

Help my team solve problems with productivity, quality, speed.

LSM + TKP*

LSMPO

TKP*

* ASD: Agile Software Developer, RAP: Real Agility Program, I2RA: Introduction to Real Agility, L2RA: Leading to Real Agility, KMP: Kanban Management Professional, LSAFe: Leading SAFe, TKP: Team Kanban Practitioner.

Scrum Master Certification Detailed Benefit, Feature and Attribute Comparison

The large table below lists out the various benefits, features and attributes of the Scrum Master certification options so that you can directly compare them.

Benefit, Feature or Attribute

Licensed Scrum Master

Certified Scrum Master

Professional Scrum Master (Prep Training)

BERTEIG Scrum Master

Tagline / Pitch

Twice the Work in Half the Time

Transforming the World of Work

Optimizing Value, Productivity in Software Development

The Scrum Master Training You Need

Certifying Organization

BERTEIG (Certificate of attendance only)

Required training and delivery mode

Virtual, 16 hours, flexible (e.g. 4x ½ day)

Virtual, 2+ consecutive days

Classroom training not required.

Virtual, 8 to 24 hours.

Learning experience

Slideless with Flip Chart and Handouts

Slideless with Flip Chart and Handouts

Slide deck.

Slide deck or e-learning.

Certification exam

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Scrum founder endorsed

Yes: Jeff Sutherland

No

Yes: Ken Schwaber

No

Renewal process

Yearly mini-exam, $US50

SEUs every 2 years, $US50

None – permanent certification

No

Global community

Nascent

Yes

Yes

No

Additional accreditation

PMI

PMI

No

No

Standardized learning objectives

Yes

Yes

N/A – Test Only

Determined by your needs

Reference training deck provided

Yes

No

N/A

Yes

Standard study materials

Scrum Guide / e-learning

Scrum Guide / learning objectives

Scrum Guide / practice exams

Scrum Guide

Year program established

Est. Jan 2018

Est. 2002

Est. 2009

Est. 2005

Unique topics covered

Scrum @ Scale

N/A

Scrum Nexus

Real Agility™

Prerequisites

None

None

None

None

Focus

Balance: Practice, Evidence, Theory

Practice!

Theory

Theory

Class Time Breakdown

25% Simulation, 25% Exercises, 30% Lecture, 20% Case Studies

60% Simulation, 10% Discussion, 20% Lecture, 10% Case Studies

Depends on customization and delivery mode.

Depends on customization and delivery mode.

Electronic Copies of Materials

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Included E-Books

2 E-Books

2 E-Books

None

None

Included Online Tools

Scrum Insight Professional – complimentary

None

Real Agility Assessment – complimentary

Availability

Public / On-Site

Public / On-Site

Public / On-Site

On-Site

Instructors

Jerry Doucett (Licensed Scrum Trainer)

Pedram Malek, Forbes Benning, Jerry Doucett (w/ Mishkin Berteig, Certified Scrum Trainer)

David Sabine (Partner, Professional Scrum Trainer), Forbes Benning (Professional Scrum Master II)

Any

On-Site Scheduling Lead Time

6 – 8 weeks (high demand)

18 – 24 weeks (extremely high demand)

6 – 10 weeks (high demand)

3 – 6 weeks

Customizable

Partial ($2500 fee)

Minimal ($10000 fee)

Partial ($2500 fee)

Fully (Included in Price)

Pricing

$1400/person, min $9000 billing

$1400/person, min $35000 billing

$1400/person, min $7500 billing

$12000 + $200/person over 20

After Your Scrum Master Certification…

Scrum Master certification is a common first step for many people in their journey to Real Agility.  The Licensed Scrum Master (LSM, Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Professional Scrum Master (PSM) and BERTEIG Scrum Master (BSM) are all introductory classes – there are no prerequisites.  Follow-up training and certification depends on your objectives as well, but here are five common paths:

For people who would like to pursue Scrum Master excellence:

  1. Scrum Master (LSM + CSM) – Two credentials, training in diverse skills, rock-solid foundations
  2. Team Kanban Practitioner (TKP) – Service to the Scrum Team
  3. Product Owner – Service to the Product Owner
  4. Advanced Scrum Master training – Service to the Organization

For people who would like to pursue an Agile Coach / Consultant career:

  1. Scrum Master (CSM + PSM) – Two credentials, relatively low investment of time
  2. Product Owner – Service to business results
  3. Kanban System Design (KSD / KMPI) – Service to the organization
  4. Kanban Management Professional (KMPII) – Service to the organization / leadership
  5. Leading SAFe – Improve your hireability/promotability
  6. Coaching Skills for the Agile Workplace – Learn some real coaching skills

For people who would like to have an Entrepreneurial career:

  1. Scrum Master (CSM or LSM)
  2. Team Kanban Practitioner – Practical approaches to build high-performance teams
  3. Product Owner – Understand the business perspective of Agile methods for small organizations

For people who are in management:

  1. Scrum Master (BSM or CSM) – Strong introduction to Scrum and Agile mindset
  2. Kanban System Design (KSD / KMPI) – Improve your department’s effectiveness
  3. Kanban Management Professional (KMPII) – Measure and report improved effectiveness

For people who are project managers and wish to advance in that field:

  1. Scrum Master (CSM) – Mindset shift and practical skills
  2. Product Owner – This has a high overlap with Project Management responsibilities
  3. Team Kanban Practitioner (TKP) – Practical effective project teamwork
  4. PMI-ACP – Credential to improve your hireability/promotability
  5. Leading SAFe – Credential to improve your hireability/promotability

Other Options for Scrum Master Certification

There are other Scrum Master Certification options that should be avoided due to low quality.  BERTEIG has chosen not to participate in the program offered by Scrum Study known as the SMC.  If you would like details on our reasoning for not participating in these programs, please let us know and we will be happy to have a conversation with you about the options.


Please let us know if we have missed anything in this comparison of Scrum Master certification options.  We offer virtual Scrum Master certification anywhere in the world and we have satisfied clients in the United States, England, Europe, Mexico, Brazil, China, India, and of course Canada.  Contact us to arrange Scrum Master certification training in your organization anywhere in the world, or for bulk discounts to our public virtual sessions.