Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Scrum Certification: What's it worth?

In response to my article, Scrum Alliance Quietly Changes Certified Scrum Trainer Requirements, an anonymous poster wrote:
Any self-respecting developer will laugh at this certification program and people sporting the title. You can't be serious thinking this will in any way help you in your career.
Certification is a very controversial issue. But strictly speaking, Scrum certifications are not for developers, but for Scrum Masters, Product Owners and in particular, Trainers. Whether it helps the careers of CSM's is an interesting question, but it is certainly good for the careers of CSTs!

When we are honest about the certification program, it is about certifying the trainers, not the newly minted Scrum Masters. (See the interview with Mike Cohn).

It is also about branding, and has been quite successful. The acceptance of the CSM program is high (especially from corporate customers, and this is where the money is). I believe the CSM program is an important reason why Scrum is better accepted than say, XP, in corporate management circles.

A side effect of the change in certification path is that the requirements for becoming a CST are now secret - you cannot download the questionnaire from the Scrum Alliance, unless you are already a CSP. Here an email I received from Carole Marks of the the Scrum Alliance:
"This CST application package is restricted to those members that have Certified Scrum Practitioner (CSP) membership status.... If you are not currently a CSP, you will need to start at that level of certification..."
Hmm. I think there is potential for improvement, both in the certification of CSM's and CST's. But I think it's best to leave that discussion to the appropriate forum...