This evening I just happened to be perusing the internets and I came along scrum master certifications. Now, I have been working in an Agile environment for a few years now. I really enjoy the whole vibe, and was thinking about wanting to become a Scrum Master. Before everyone freaks out, I realize there are many people who argue the difference between scrum and agile. At our company we are agile, but really lean towards scrum, so a Scrum Master certification might be good. Or maybe not! You won’t believe this, or maybe you will. Read on…
I did a quick Google search and ran across the Scrum Alliance, I then popped over to their site and checked them out. I read their mission, found out they are a non-profit professional organization, and some other things. Okay, looks legit. So I then checked out their “training” classes, around $1,400 for a two day course. The courses seemed to be offered by different “partners.” The class descriptions promise that all information needed for the exam will be presented. Cool, sounds good. Then I went back over to the Scrum Alliance site and read their FAQ page, and that’s when it all fell apart.
You need to visit the Scrum Alliance Certification FAQ, but if you can’t I have highlighted a couple of items I found interesting. The first one says that you have to take the course in order to take the exam.
Can I become certified without taking a course?
No. It is our belief that true learning requires hands-on practice and in-person training. The CSM evaluation is not offered as a replacement for formal training.
Translation, you need to make sure a partner of ours gets their money before you take our 60 question exam. You are not allowed to study, pay a fee and take the test. Wonder why?
The second point that makes me realize that a CSM certification is absolutely worthless from the Scrum Alliance.
Can I retake the evaluation if I score poorly?
No. Currently, you are allowed only one attempt at the evaluation. Once you have completed the evaluation you will be granted Certified ScrumMaster status regardless of your score. If you score poorly, however, you will receive feedback detailing where you are deficient and what resources you should study to improve. When you apply to become a Certified Scrum Professional, you will be held accountable for all of the information contained in the evaluation.
Wha… Wha… WHAT! You mean I can not fail the evaluation? No matter what I will be a Certified Scrum Professional!? Are you kidding me? Can you imagine failing a drivers test and still being able to get your license? How about failing a class and the teacher still passes you? If I ever see a resume with a CSM cert from the Scrum Alliance I am going to be very skeptical. Based on their own FAQs how could anyone take the certification seriously? This strikes me as offering certifications for sale, not based on knowledge. I really feel for the people who are good Scrum Masters, scored high on the evaluation, and received this certification. No one will know if they are any better than the next person. That is really too bad.
So as it stands, I am no longer interested in getting a scrum master certification. Instead I will continue to learn and develop by actually doing, and learning on my own. If someone wants to see a CSM cert, then I don’t think I want to work with them or for them. So visit the Scrum Alliance site and ask yourself the question “is Scrum Alliance CSM certification legit?”