Which Scrum Master Certification is the Best?

September 8th, 2017
Scrum Master Certification

As we all know, Scrum is the most popular agile framework. The Scrum Team consists of a Scrum Master (SM), a Product Owner (PO) and the Development Team (DT). Now almost all IT organizations are going through an agile transformation and due to this high demand, the job market is flooded with the Scrum Master positions. So, if you want to enhance your knowledgebase and resume as well, you should consider one of the popular Scrum Master certifications, which are Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Professional Scrum Master (PSM) and SAFe Scrum Master (SSM).

As per the Scrum Guide, published by www.scrum.org, the SM is responsible for ensuring Scrum is understood and enacted. SMs do this by ensuring that the Scrum Team adheres to Scrum theory, practices and rules.

The SM serves the PO in several ways, including:
• Finding techniques for effective Product Backlog (PB) management;
• Helping the Scrum Team understand the need for crystal clear and concise PB items (PBIs);
• Understanding product planning in a pragmatic environment;
• Ensuring the PO knows how to arrange the PB to maximize value;
• Understanding and practicing agility; and,
• Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed.

The SM serves the DT in several ways, including:
• Coaching the DT in self-organization and cross-functionality;
• Helping the DT to create high-value products;
• Removing impediments to the DT’s progress;
• Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed; and,
• Coaching the DT in organizational environments in which Scrum is not yet fully adopted and understood.

The SM serves the organization in several ways, including:
• Leading and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption;
• Planning Scrum implementations within the organization;
• Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact Scrum and empirical product development;
• Causing change that increases the productivity of the Scrum Team; and,
• Working with other SMs to increase the effectiveness of Scrum implementation in the organization.

Fortunately, all three (i.e. Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Professional Scrum Master (PSM) and SAFe Scrum Master (SSM)) training cover these basic SM competencies. However, these basic competencies are not enough in any enterprise, because:
• Generally, Scrum teams don’t operate in isolation. They work in a Scaled Agile environment (i.e. multiple Scrum Teams collaborate in a Program within a portfolio).
• They need to practice Software Engineering practices described in Extreme Programming (XP) to produce good quality code. Some of these practices are Pair programming, Planning game, Test driven development, Whole team, Continuous integration, Design improvement, Small releases, and Coding standards.
• They need to practice DevOps to achieve Release on Demand capability.
• SMs need to collaborate with other stakeholders at Team, Program and Portfolio level by practicing Servant Leadership.
• SMs should be able to collaborate with other teams practicing Kanban, not Scrum.
• SMs also need to perform Agile Coach role in this larger context.

Unfortunately, our traditional SM certifications (i.e. Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Professional Scrum Master (PSM)) don’t go beyond teaching basic Scrum.

To plug this gap, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) has come up with a very comprehensive SM certification as SAFe Scrum Master (SSM). Obviously, it is the best Scrum Master certification!