Why it makes sense to get your Certified Scrum Professional (CSP) ASAP

{Shameless plug} – I am running a 4-day CSP boot camp in Toronto.  If you are interested please sign up here

Scrum Alliance recently announced that they are changing the process of becoming a CSP. 

Why did Scrum Alliance change the CSP process (my own 2 cents, not an official statement for Scrum Alliance)?

The CSP program has been through many iterations. Initially, it was based on writing an essay (2010-2011 timeframe), later there was an exam based(introduced Jan 1, 2012) on certain Learning Objectives in the candidate handbook. Later, they removed the exam and the current format based on  SEU  +  experience was introduced (which is valid until December 31, 2017).  The goal (my guess) of each of these iterations was probably to make the program better.  Still, there are only about 6383 CSP certification holders  (at the time of this writing) compared to 486,503 CSM certification holders (at the time of this writing). This count does not include the number of people who did not renew their CSM and/or CSP certifications.  That is about 1.3 %. Why so few people?

In my opinion, in the past (including the current CSP format valid until Dec 31, 2017), there is a steep jump between the basic certifications (CSM, CSPO, CSD) and CSP.  Also, it is a self-journey. When people asked me what they should be doing next (after a CSM or a CSPO class) to get to CSP, I could only give them directions on how to get the necessary SEUs and experience. I could not point them to a comprehensive learning objective nor I could guide them in their journey.

Hence, my guess is that, Scrum Alliance has changed the CSP program to be more modular, progressive, and a guided journey (instead of it being a self-journey).  The requirement for the duration has also come down from 3 years to 2 years, broken down into  1 year of practice followed by A-CSM/A-CSPO and 1 year of practice after A-CSM/A-CSPO to CSP-SM and CSP-PO.  This journey is also more role-based than the previous generic CSP certification. More details about the certification can be found here.  While I do not have much information on how the older CSP programs were designed (including the current format valid till Dec 31, 2017), the new format is put together by some of the well-respected CSTs who genuinely care about helping people get better at their craft. They listened to feedback from Scrum Alliance, from practitioners (they did a field study with organizations and hiring managers), and from the community in designing this program.

So Why Should You Apply to be a CSP before December 31, 2017?

If you have any of the basic certifications (CSM, CSPO or CSD), the necessary experience (36 months), and 70 SEUs you should not wait to apply for CSP certification under the current format. If you are approved, you automatically get the new certification(s).  CSM holders will get CSP-SM certification, CSPO holders will get CSP-PO certification. If you hold both CSM and CSPO, you will get both CSP-SM and CSP-PO certification.

Advantages –

  • Your CSP certification (and eventually your inherited CSP-SM and/or CSP-PO certifications) will be valid for 2 years
  • While the new format is more progressive and more modular, IMHO, it is quicker and cheaper (in terms of time and money) to get CSP certification in the current format compared to the new format.
  • Many trainers (including myself) are in the process of getting our courses approved by Scrum Alliance to offer A-CSM, CSP-SM, A-CSPO, and CSP-PO. But there are not many people offering these courses yet.

I have the necessary experience, now How do I get the necessary SEUs?

If you have a CSM/CSPO/CSD certification, you already have some SEUs under your belt (16 for CSM, 16 for CSPO, and 32 if you have both. If you have CSD, the number of SEUs depend on how you got your CSD).

Based on past interactions with my students, historically, getting to the 70 SEU mark has usually been one of the hardest things, considering that there are limitations on how many SEUs you can collect in one category   + there were no workshops/ programs offered towards the CSP certification.

As a one time undertaking, to help people get their CSP certification, I am running a 4-day CSP boot camp in Toronto. This will give you 40 SEUs and will help you submit your CSP application in the current format (if you have 30 SEUs already + the necessary experience). If you are interested please sign up here

1 thought on “Why it makes sense to get your Certified Scrum Professional (CSP) ASAP”

  1. A great blog post Ram. I wish I’d seen this before the end of the year. My team should have published something similar to our (10000 or so) CSMs / CSPOs to help them. I agree with all of the sentiments of your post. Thanks.


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