Am I the only one confused by the Scrum certification debate? I am trying to figure out whether my newly received Certified Scrum Master certification is worth the virtual piece of paper it is printed on. Let me summarize what is happening as I understand it. There are two main organizations that promote Scrum:
The Scrum Alliance’s mission is to increase awareness and understanding of Scrum, provide resources to individuals and organizations using Scrum, and promote the iterative improvement necessary to succeed with Scrum.
Scrum.org’s purpose is to improve the profession of software development so that developers love their work and our customers love working with developers.
These two organizations with Scrum and “.org” as their domain extension are arguing about who has the better means of certification. Scrum Alliance currently uses the “You pay to attend a class, take an evaluation that we evaluate but don’t consider your score, and you receive an email with a certification certificate. Scrum.org has two levels for the same Scrum master, with one being for those of us getting started, and one for the practitioner. The same is true for the Product Owner role as well.
The irony in these two organizations is that both organizations were formed with Ken Schwaber as one of the founding members. This is pertinent in that Ken is considered to be one of the founders of Scrum. Did Ken decide to take his ball and go home, or was he driven out of Scrum Alliance? Why did he leave? Was it really about the self-serving motives of those in Scrum Alliance driving Ken out? Who knows? How do we figure out which is best? Should we pursue both organizations?
I don’t know how much time and energy I want to invest in this process. I follow both Mike Cohn and Ken Schwaber’s blog. I have spent good money buying Mike’s books for my Kindle. I paid for my Ripple Rock CSM training personally, only to find out afterwards that there is another certification. Don’t get me wrong, I got a lot out of the training, which was delivered by Bob Sarni (who seems to be able to teach not only the principals but mixes in real world experiences as well.)
And if I wasn’t confused enough, I heard that the Project Management Institute (PMI) is going to have an Agile certification. By the time you get done spending all the money required for all the certs, you might have something north of $6k. My friend, Joey Cruz (at least he was last time I checked), reminds me every 5 years or so that certs don’t demonstrate that you are accomplished for that skill, but that you can take a test.
Which test you take is the question. Probably the more important question is why can’t we have one organization? The cost of becoming certified is expensive, especially if you are paying yourself. Can’t we all get along, or does everybody have to create their own certification because every other cert is inferior? I am curious what the other certifiable people are going to do? Please enter a comment on this blog letting me know which path you are going to pursue.
Thanks for coming in today.