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Which Certification to go for – CSM or PMP® Certification?

  • PMP®
  • PMBOK® Guide
  • CSM
Created on :
February 5, 2018
Saket Bansal
Updated on :
January 11, 2022

I receive numerous questions on topics related to Agile, Scrum, and project management certifications that I respond through emails. There were a few questions that astounded me. The questions were – “Should I go for CSM® or PMP® certification?” “Which one is good for me – Scrum or PMI® certification?

The other comparisons are PMP® certification vs Agile or PMP® certification vs CSM®. Why would this type of question pop up in our minds? I reflected on these questions and realized that many times professionals are looking for ways and means to advance their careers. In their eagerness to move to the next level, they start exploring various certifications that can support their career growth. Instantly, they look for those certifications that are most popular and contemplate which one to pick. The conclusion is CSM® and PMP® certifications are some of the most popular certifications, it is natural to have a confusion of which one to do first. Here’s an attempt to break this down

So is it CSM® or PMP® certification?

Before you decide on certification, it is important to understand what these certifications are, and don’t forget to watch the video in end on CSM® or Project Management Professional (PMP)®: Which Certificate to go for?

What is the Certified Scrum Master (CSM®)? What does CSM® mean? Or what does CSM® stands for?

CSM® is one of the most demanding certificates to get an awareness of Agile and Scrum. By attending this program you explore Scrum Framework including Scrum team roles, artifacts, events, effective facilitation of those events, useful coaching skills to the team, and what all services Scrum Master gives to the development team, product owner, and the organization.

Also, CSM® includes how the Scrum framework helps complex product development and encourages –

  • Collaboration in the Product team,
  • Involvement of the customer in complete product development,
  • Frequent inspection activities to see if the team is moving in the right direction and
  • Adapt actions based on the result of the frequent inspection of work and processes.

When is this best for you?

CSM® certification is typically a short 2 days training program and it is a good starting point for any professional who wishes to explore the agile ways of working.

Now the next question is –

what are the CSM® certification prerequisites?

Well, there are no prerequisites and anyone can go for CSM® to start the Agile & Scrum journey.


What is a Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification? And Why PMP® certification is useful?

PMP® certification is an internationally recognized program from the Project Management Institute (PMI® ) that grow your skills in leading and directing and makes you certified professional in project management.

You can say, PMP® certification is a full-fledged science of project management thinking and planning and it exposed to strategic planning, standards, techniques, practices, and current trends of project management. So, using PMP® certification you get to know what all goes in while planning and managing projects right from scratch.

Also, this is an industry-agnostic certification program and helps in applying general methodologies and frameworks for project management. PMP® certification program is based on the PMBOK® Guide (Project Management Body of Knowledge) and has a set of prerequisites that needs to be fulfilled before appearing for the certification. Typically, those with experience in leading and directing projects can go for this certification.

When is this best for you?

PMP® certification is the best choice for professionals who have experience of at least 36 months of leading and directing and aspiration to grow those skills. So, if you are experienced professional leading end-to-end complex projects, you should go for PMP® certification. To know more about what is leading and directing, please refer following blog – How To Fill The Work Experience Details In PMP® Application Form?

Does PMP® certification include agile?

Yes, because the project management field is changing with the adoption of agile practices due to a greater expansion of Agility irrespective of any industry.

If you think that PMP® certification means managing a big complex project traditionally then it is not true. PMP® certification is adopting Agile as more and more organizations moving to Agile and Agile based project management is the need of time. From January 2021, PMP® exam will be based on both Agile and traditional ways of project management. About half of the examination will represent predictive project management (traditional) approaches and the other half will represent agile or hybrid approaches

Which one to do first CSM® or PMP® certification?

CSM® is a 2-days certification program and you will become Certified Scrum Master by attending the CSM® those two days training and attempting the exam just after that which is purely based on the learnings you receive from the training sessions. So you can get this certification in a couple of days. While PMP® certification training is a much lengthier program that would take anywhere between 3-4 months of preparation.

As you can be a certified Scrum Master in a few days’ time, this could be a great motivation for many professionals to choose it first.

Also, if you need awareness for Agile and Scrum, you should do CSM® first. As I have mentioned above this awareness is going to be essential even for PMP® certification after January 2021. So choose CSM® first if you feel you need an understanding of Agile and Scrum.

You can go for PMP® certification first when you know what is Agile and what is Scrum and also you want to enhance your leading and directing skills.

Please watch the video: CSM or Project Management Professional (PMP)®: Which Certificate to go for?

Enroll to our FREE PMP® Certification Introductory Program to learn more about PMP® certification

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