Certifications - Overview (tags)

Scaling Agile - Scaling Frameworks

INTRO – since the rise of Agile there have been numerous frameworks supporting the individual teams. Scrum is still the best known but XP as well as Kanban deserve a seat at this table as well. In the last years more and more attention has gone to the explicit complexity that comes with scaling up from one team to two, three and sometimes even tens or hundreds. New frameworks gave substance to provide guidance and structure to a large array of teams working together. Let’s discuss the most popular ones.

SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework)
In 2019 SAFe is still the most used framework for large organizations to organize their software development. Since it’s start in 2011 by Dean Leaffingwell the framework has been updated a few times. The current version, 4.6, was released in October of 2018. SAFe is build on nine principles, mostly founded on Lean-Agile groundwork. These principles help in understanding why an organization is working the way it is. To provide the required structure SAFe has 4 levels on which activities, artifacts and roles are defined. At the ‘lowest’ level we see the actual teams, at the top you’ll find the portfolio of an entire organization.
LeSS (Large Scale Scrum)
For some it may be a surprise but LeSS has been around for almost 15 years now. In 2005 the first draft was made by Bas Vodde and Craig Larman based on their experiences in the field. Since then the framework has been updated, they have written more books and also setup a training & certification program. What was – and probably will be – at the core of LeSS is the fact that it is still Scrum. No adjustments changes have been made to the core. LeSS comes in two flavors. Less Huge (for over 8 teams) and just plain Less.
Spotify Model
The Spotify Model should better be called the Spotify Way of Working. It is an example of how a way of working can evolve from an organization where culture is very important. Even the accredited ‘founders’, Henrik Kniberg and Anders Ivarsson state that they did not invent the ‘model’. They acted as messengers or as spokesmen of the organization they were working at. Especially the short films they created on Engineering culture in 2014 were a massive hit. Although some organizations took literally and wanted to be exactly like Spotify.
There is enough information available to get a good idea about the Way of Working. And you have to get it from there, a site visit or meeting them on conferences because there is no training and or certification program. Before you jump in, remember that Spotify now is a very different place then it was five years ago. So, keep remembering wat the good people from Spotify say themselves: “don’t copy Spotify”.

DA (Disciplined Agile)

Other frameworks
In order to stay bit complete we have gathered a small list of smaller – lesser used – frameworks.

Scrum - Certification Overview

INTRO – all three major international Scrum organizations have created their own certification program. Differences can be found in the entry criteria of the exam (e.g. you need to have taken class room course) or the number of levels per type of certification. We have broken it down into the primary three roles, one arguable ‘other’ category and the exam programs itself.

ScrumMaster Certification
Product Owner Certification
Developer Certification
Other Certification
Certification Program & Renewel (fees etc)


Scrum Alliance Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM)
Certified Scrum Professional-ScrumMaster (CSP-SM)
Scrum Alliance Scrum Master
Scrum.org Professional ScrumMaster (PSM I)
Professional ScrumMaster (PSM II)
Professional ScrumMaster (PSM III)
Scrum.org ScrumMaster
SCRUMstudy Scrum Master Certified (SMC)
Expert Scrum Master Certified (ESMC)

Sometimes people have very strong opinions on the right – or even best – ScrumMaster certification. Please read a few blogs of ScrumMasters who have experience with more then one institute: Sasha Steskal, Chris Crawley, Sante Vergini

Product Owner

Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)
Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO)
Certified Scrum Professional Product Owner (CSP-PO)
Scrum Alliance Product Owner
Scrum.org Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO I)
Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO II)
Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO III)
Scrum.org Product Owner
SCRUMstudy Scrum Product Owner Certified (SPOC)
Scaled Scrum Product Owner Certified (SSPOC)


Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Developer (CSD)
Certified Scrum Professional (CSP)
Scrum Alliance Developer
Scrum.org Professional Scrum Developer (PSD) Scrum.org Developer
SCRUMstudy Scrum Developer Certified (SDC) SCRUMstudy

Other certification

Scrum Alliance Certified Team Coach (CTC)
Certified Enterprise Coach Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)
Certified Agile Leadership (CAL I)
Certified Agile Leadership (CAL II)
Scrum Alliance Agile Leadership
Scrum.org Professional Scrum with Kanban Certification (PSK)
Professional Agile Leadership (PAL I)
Scrum.org Agile Leadership
SCRUMstudy Scrum Fundamentals Certified (SFC)
SCRUMstudy Certified Trainer (SCT)
SCRUMstudy Certified Agile Coach (SCAC)
SCRUMstudy Agile Master Certified (SAMC)


Certification Program

Scrum Alliance Initial certification
It is mandatory to complete a CST taught 2-day training before taking the exam. Depending on your country and setup you will be set back a rough 1200-1400 Euros or 1000-1200 US Dollars.

It is mandatory to keep learning and remain active once you have earned a certification. You need to pay a renewal fee (100$ for a two-year period) and obtain sufficient Scrum Education Units (SEUs). Check the current requisites.

Scrum.org Initial certification
It is not mandatory to complete a training before taking the exam. You can immediately enroll online and buy an exam, the costs depend on the exam and vary between 150-500 US Dollars.

Certifications are for life, so no renewel fee or extra study credits are applicable.

SCRUMstudy Initial certification
It is not mandatory to complete a training before taking the exam. You can immediately enroll online and buy an exam, the costs depend on the exam and vary between 450-600 US Dollars.
It is mandatory to keep learning and remain active once you have earned a certification. There is no additional renewel fee applicable but you do have to obtain sufficient Re-certification Units (RCUs). Check the current requisites.