With the fast pace of technology and ever changing dynamics of the markets, Agile project management practices are emerging in last 10 years. Therefore, Agile certifications play a vital role to get a position in agile organizations. What is agile certification? What are the most reputable agile certification providers? What are the different agile certification programs they provide?

We will go through differences and details of top 3 Agile certification programs.

top 3 agile certification programs

Top 3 Agile Certification Programs

Before we list the top 3 agile certification programs, it is better to clear out the common misconception about agile and scrum. Although several articles, posts and videos have been published about this topic, there is still a common misconception about agile and scrum that many people think they refer to same thing.

Actually, Agile is a methodology and scrum is one of the several frameworks under agile methodology. However, since scrum framework is the most used agile methodology (over 50% of agile organizations use scrum framework), many people think that Agile and Scrum refer to same thing.

There are several organizations providing Agile certification and Scrum certification. We will go through the top 3 agile certifications one-by-one.

top 3 agile certification programs

Agile Certification Program #1: PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)

First agile certification organization we will introduce is PMI, Project Management Institute. PMI is the most popular project management certification organization with its waterfall project management certifications PMP, CAPM and PgMP. With the evolving Agile methodologies, Project Management Institute also prepared an Agile certification program. PMI provides Agile Certified Practitioner certification. In the PMI-ACP exam, agile certification participants are assessed under seven domains.

top 3 agile certification programs

PMI-ACP exam includes 120 multiple questions. 100 questions are scored and 20 questions are unscored for monitoring and prescreening. Exam duration is 3 hours.

There are 3 pre-requisites for sitting in PMI-ACP exam.

1- PMI-ACP candidate must have 2,000 hours of general project experience working on teams. A current PMP or PgMP will satisfy this requirement. But, it is not a must to hold a PMP or PgMP certificate to sit for PMI-ACP exam. 2,000 hours makes around 1,5 years of project experience.

2- PMI-ACP candidate must have 1,500 hours of experience working on agile project teams or with agile methodologies. This requirement is additional to the first 2,000 hours of general project experience requirement.

3-PMI-ACP candidate must enroll in a 21 contact hours of training in agile practices. Agile Scrum Certification Training of Master of Project Academy qualifies for these contact hours pre-requisite of PMI-ACP exam.

Once you get the agile certification, to maintain your PMI-ACP agile certification you must earn 30 professional development units (PDUs) in agile topics every three years.

top 3 agile certification programs

PMI-ACP Handbook and Exam Content documents are provided in the PMI-ACP page.

Agile Certification Program #2: Scrum Alliance Certifications

Scrum Alliance provides 3 agile certification exams for the each role in the Scrum Team.

-Certified Scrum Product Owner, CSPO

-Certified Scrum Master, CSM

-Certified Scrum Developer, CSD.

After getting these three agile certifications of scrum alliance, candidates become eligible for Certified Scrum Professional certification. After being a CSP, there are 3 paths to proceed further. One for trainers, one for coaches and one for registered education providers. Certified Scrum Trainers certificate is for the trainers, Certified Enterprise Coach is for the coaches, and REP is for the Registered Education Providers.

top 3 agile certification programs

We will be going over the first three certifications of Scrum Alliance now.

First one is, Certified Scrum Product Owner-CSPO. Prerequisite for this agile certification is attending an in-person two-day CSPO course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer.

Second one is, Certified Scrum Master-CSM. Prerequisite for this agile certification is attending an in-person two-day CSM course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer. After the course, you need to take the CSM test, and score 24 of the questions correctly out of 35 questions.

Third agile certification of scrum alliance we will be listing here is, Certified Scrum Developer-CSD. Prerequisite for the CSD certificate is, attending 5 days of formal training taught by Scrum Alliance REPs.

At least three days of this training must be technical training through a three-day CSD technical skills course. And, at least one day of this training must be dedicated to the study of Scrum through an introduction to Scrum or a CSM course. Days 4 and 5 can be either completing a Certified Scrum Master certification OR attending a one-day Scrum elective course AND a one-day introduction to Scrum course.

You must also demonstrate an understanding of Agile engineering practices by passing a CSD assessment/evaluation provided by the REP/trainer.

top 3 agile certification programs

You can check further information about Scrum Alliance and their agile certifications through their site.

Agile Certification Program #3: Scrum.org Certifications

Third and the last agile certification organization we will be seeing is, Scrum.Org. Scrum.Org provides four certifications.

-Professional Scrum Master, PSM,

-Professional Scrum Product Owner, PSPO,

-Professional Scrum Developer, PSD

-Scaled Professional Scrum, SPS.

PSM and PSPO agile certification has two level assessments. PSM I and PSM II for Professional Scrum Master agile certification, and PSPO I and PSPO II for Professional Scrum Product Owner agile certification. Scrum.Org provides free open assessments for the candidates to test themselves before sitting on real exams as well.

top 3 agile certification programs

We will be going over the prerequisite and exam details of these assessments one-by-one.

PSM I agile certification does not have a course requirement. As long as you know the Scrum Guide and its agile principles and agile manifesto, there is not a course prerequisite for this certification. PSM I has 80 questions that must be answered in 60 minutes, and 85% of these questions must be correct to get the PSM I. Questions are multiple choice, multiple answers and true/false questions.

PSM II does not have a course requirement as well. But it is highly recommended to get a Professional Scrum Master course. PSM II assessment is extremely difficult. Participants must have passed the PSM I assessment. There are 120 questions and passing score is 85% correct answers out of these questions. Questions are multiple choice, and essays. It is expected to write an essay based on real-world situations during the assessment.

top 3 agile certification programs

PSPO I does not have a course requirement. PSPO I has 80 questions that must be answered in 60 minutes, and 85% of these questions must be correct to get the PSPO I. Questions are multiple choice, multiple answers and true/false questions.

PSPO II does not have a course requirement as well. But it is highly recommended to get a Professional Scrum Product Owner course. PSPO II assessment is extremely difficult. Participants must have passed the PSPO I assessment. There are 120 questions and passing score is 85% correct answers out of these questions. Questions are multiple choice, and essays. It is expected to write an essay based on real-world situations during the assessment.

top 3 agile certification programs

PSD I does not have a course requirement. PSD I has 80 questions that must be answered in 60 minutes, and 85% of these questions must be correct to get the PSD I. Questions are multiple choice, multiple answers and true/false questions.

And the last agile certification provided by Scrum.org is SPS. SPS does not have a course requirement. SPS has 40 questions that must be answered in 60 minutes, and 85% of these questions must be correct to get the SPS. Questions are multiple choice, multiple answers and true/false questions.

top 3 agile certification programs

You can enroll in our Agile Scrum Certification training to get ready for PSM, PSPO and PSD agile certification exams of Scrum.org.

You can check further information about Scrum.org and their agile certifications through their site.

Agile Certification Programs Summary

We have seen the 3 most popular Agile and Scrum Certification organizations and their assessment details respectively in this post. There is not a popularity comparison among these organizations. Each of the three agile certification organizations are well-known and an agile certification from these organizations will bring great highlight on your resume.


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top 3 agile certification programs