Journal article Open Access

Is CSM or PSM better?

Michael Davis

Scrum is a framework which develops, deliver and sustain products in a complex environment. It helps teams to collaborate for working in a developmental setting. In a scrum framework, teams are supposed to work in a self-organized and transparent manner to continually improve their performance while working on a specific problem. Many leading companies and IT, software houses are in search of candidates who are well acquainted with the Agile and Scrum principles and processes.

There is a huge demand for Scrum professionals in the IT and software industry. Nowadays, Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Professional Scrum Master (PSM) are the two widely known certifications. In this post, we shall be discussing and comparing the two Scrum certifications CSM and PSM which can positively add value to your Scrum career. By understanding the vital differences between them, you will be able to make a knowledgeable choice between the two. So, let’s begin the comparison.


Comparison based on Introduction:

Certified Scrum Master is a beginner level credential introduced by Scrum Alliance which helps professionals to get started as Scrum practitioners by giving them the guidance on agile principles, practices and values. A CSM is known to be a “servant leader”, who leads to essentially facilitate the other members to complete a project successfully. Individuals or professionals who have acquired the CSM are eligible to be a Scrum master or become a team member in Scrum.

On the other hand, Professional Scrum Master (PSM) is a highly interactive certification which is based on activities where learners tend to gain a strong understanding of Professional Scrum and the role of scrum master. PSM certification questions are comparatively difficult and scenario based.

Comparison based on the certification process:

Getting a CSM certification is not an ordeal task. It can easily be acquired by attending a two days training session by Scrum Alliance. CSM certification is just like a diploma course which gives the learners a free choice to choose their own institute, where they can attend classes and submit assignments. But one thing to be kept in mind is that the learners have two attempts only to pass this certification.

In contrary, PSM examination offered by is not an easy task. To get yourself enrolled for PSM certification, you are required to buy a password from If your scrum knowledge is of high level then you can directly take PSM I exam. But its preferrable to have an experience of a few years on implementing scrum framework based upon real life cases.


Comparison on ranking system:

The most vital point of difference while discussing PSM Vs CSM is passing ranks. To pass CSM certification exam, you have to score a minimum of 69% marks or must at least answer a minimum of 24 correct answers out of 35.

While for PSM certification, you have to score a minimum of 85% to pass this exam. Hence, we can say that CSM certification demands a low passing score in comparison to PSM certification.


Comparison on Exam Pattern:

The paper pattern is a distinguishing feature between the two certifications. If we talk about CSM, it only consists of multiple-choice questions, while exam pattern of PSM certifications comprise of multiple answer questions, multiple choice questions, essay type questions and true/false questions. Mentioned below is the quick overview on exam patterns of CSM Vs PSM.

CSM: Multiple Choice Questions

PSM-I: MCQ’s, Multiple Answer Questions, and True/False Questions

Comparison on Exam Level:

PSM certification exam is pretty harder in comparison to the CSM certification. You can take CSM exam after a 2 days training program. PSM-1 do not need any training if you have a comprehensive knowledge of executing Scrum. A thorough study of exam level of PSM Vs CSM concludes that PSM exam level is a step ahead of CSM.

Cost of Certification:

As far as the fee structure is concerned, CSM certification fee varies from US $400 to the US $2500 depending on the type of institution and the tuition fee. But, if unluckily you are unable to pass the CSM exam on the first try then you can give it a second try without paying any additional fees within 60 days.

On the other hand, there is a standard fee for various levels of Professional Scrum Master  Business Certification. The cost for PSM-I is US $250

However, if you fail to make it in the first attempt then you have the chance to go for 2nd attempt within 14 days without bearing any additional charges. Therefore, we can say that cost is a significant factor that makes a big difference while choosing PSM Vs CSM.

 Attainment of Certification:

CSM certification can be attained by attendance. It means you can get this certification by attending a two days training session from any recognized institute of your own choice.

On the other hand, PSM certification is attained by assessments done and not by attendance. You must pass all the exams and assessments for every level of PSM certification to become a Professional Scrum Master.

Final Verdict:

To sum up, we can say that both of them are highly appropriate for the Scrum Master. Both PSM and CSM have their own importance and significance. In the end, knowledge is the key factor that matters for both CSM and PSM certification. Both certificates are highly valuable in the job market.



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