Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is the Scrum Master like a Project Manager?
A common assumption is that the Scrum Master is a manager of the Scrum team and the work, like a project manager. Ideally not. The Scrum Master is a peer and more of a coach of the team and a coach of an organization for all things Scrum/Agile. The role is more of a people-focused position striving to help nurture teams to be high-performing and continually-learning. The traditional responsibilities of a project manager are typically spread accross the Scrum team or are satisfied by the Scrum framework itself. (e.g. More openness & transparency via the Scrum meetings & artifacts can replace many status reports.) The team itself is self-managed and autonomous with respect to how the work is done. In mature Scrum organizations, there is also a movement away from temporary projects towards more long-lived product or service teams. (aka "feature teams" or "product teams") Happy to discuss this further. It will be a big topic in Scrum classes.
CSM Exam/Test: How soon can I take the test? Is it in the class?
Within 24 hours of the end of the class, often the night of the last day, you'll get an emailed invitation to take the test, on-line, from anywhere. Details: On the evening of the 2nd day of the class, the instructor typically uploads your name & email address to the Scrum Alliance, and pays some fees so you can take the exam, and be a member of the Scrum Alliance for two years. The Scrum Alliance, then automatically sends you an email with an invitation to take the test online. (open book) The test has 50 multiple choices questions. The give you one hour for the test. You find out right away. If you pass, you're a CSM. You can then fill out the profile, and download your certificate. Most students pass the first try.
CSM vs CSPO class. Which should I take?
Both include an introduction to Agile and the Scrum Framework. Both are two days long each. The CSM class has been around the longest and is the most known introduction to Agile and Scrum. People from a wide range of roles have taken the CSM, including CEOS, Executives, Sales, Marketing, HR, Portfolio Management, Program Management, team members, etc. The CSPO is newer. It is more focused on the Product Owner role, which is more business facing. It maps closest to Product Management. Both courses include good introductions to Scrum. The CSM dives deeper into the overall Scrum Framework, since the Scrum Master coaches the team and the organization in the use of Scrum. The CSPO focuses more on the practices and exercises that help the Product Owner better prioritize work and communicate the product vision. Ideally you'd take both classes. If you need to pick one, look at your role, and what the organization most values. As a general observation, it seems that organizations newer to Agile value the CSM most, and organizations that have been using Scrum for some time recognize and appreciate that Scrum Product Owners would benefit form the CSPO course.
Prerequisites for the CSM and CSPO courses?
The are no official prerequisites. We recommend that you read The Scrum Guide, before attending the class, and before taking the CSM exam. It's written by the two creators of Scrum, and is the definitive summary of Scrum.
Why Get Certified?
Ultimately, the knowledge of a subject, and application of that knowledge, is what matters most. These courses help grow, refine, and solidify your knowledge, and your ability to apply the concepts. If you get a certification along the way too, that's not bad. Among multiple good reasons, here's one. As we move around to new jobs and new teams, and enlist new members, one way to quickly demonstrate our knowledge of a subject is to have earned a known certification. For example, in case of the Certified ScrumMaster® certification, it demonstrates that you invested two solid days in learning Scrum, and passed a test of your Scrum knowledge. Of course, by itself, it doesn't imply you're an expert. But it's a much quicker way to communicate a foundation of knowledge rather than a longer conversation with someone trying to assess whether you know Scrum or not. It's more like, "OK you know Scrum. Let's talk about the product opportunities..." It is a bit of an investment. Hopefully it offers you more career options, and value over the years ahead, both tangible and intangible.
Can I pay for a course directly and avoid fees from Eventbrite?
Yes. You can send an email to email@example.com telling us the date of the course you want, and pick a way to pay including: PayPal or Bank Transfer (send to firstname.lastname@example.org) or mail a check to SourceCell, 555 Bryant St. Suite 595, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Upon completing the course when will I be able to take the Certification exam?
Yes. There are no other official requirements. If you're followed the discussion in the class, you should be fine. We recommend that you read The Scrum Guide. (Brief ~15 pages), and take the exam within a week of completing the class. The exam is on-line, taken from anywhere, at any time. After the class, the instructor will upload your name & email, and pay some exam & membership fees for you out of the course fee, via the Scrum Alliance. The Scrum Alliance will send you an automated email with a link to take the exam and complete your membership profile on the Scrum Alliance site. You find out the results as soon as you complete the exam.
Do I have to pay the exam fee in addition to the course fee?
No. The exam fee and membership fee for the Scrum Alliance included in the course fee.
Do you provide reference material to study for the exam?
Yes. There is at least one course book, and links to even more Scrum resources and references.
Is the CSPO certification enough to get a role in Product Management?
No. While the CSPO course gives you valuable perspective, principles, practices, and certification, you'll likely need to bring a broader array of product-management skills to get that role.
Should I put my certification name after my name in email, LinkedIn, etc, e.g. "First Last, CSM"?
I suggest not doing that. You'll find other ways/places to show that knowledge.
How can I get a Scrum Master job?
Of course more knowledge and experience helps. But if you don't have that yet, here's an approach to consider: Update your resume/history/stories to show Agile/Scrum thinking even if not officially Scrum. (e.g. Frequent releases, close collaboration with customers, frequent feedback, cross-functional collaboration, ...;) Attend Agile/Scrum Meetup-style groups in your chosen area to meet people and find out which companies are using Agile/Scrum. Search for Scrum, Agile, CSM, CSPO on job boards. Write down the company names. Then use LinkedIn to find profiles of people from those companies that have Scrum and Agile in the profile. InMail or email them and ask to talk about their situation and challenges. Better yet offer them some new bit of info or connection. Later gently ask about their org's needs. Be open to working on contract basis, or via Agile/Scrum placement agenies, to gain experience. Just being on a Scrum team is progress. Then you can help the busy Scrum Master and grow your skills. You can also use your Agile/Scrum knowledge in other roles. PO, team member, PM, PMO, Leadership, etc. Consider also trying some super quick entreprenuerial experiments selling products or services, including those that you don't have yet, Lean Startup style. You'll learn a bunch, show initiative, and you just might find a viable product. Less than a week per product. Even better 1-3 days. It wouldn't hurt to learn some of the common Agile-project-management tools like Google Sheets, Jira, Rally, Trello, etc. Read some case studies of Agile/Scrum adoption in your preferred industry. Play through some scenarios of common challenges and what you would do in those situations. Keep trying and growing.
How do I renew my certifications?
See Scrum Alliance reference: https://www.scrumalliance.org/certifications/renewing-certifications. You can also email for help: email@example.com