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HomeAgile & ScrumsSAFe Scrum Master Certification or Certified Scrum Master Certification: Which is better?

SAFe Scrum Master Certification or Certified Scrum Master Certification: Which is better?

In this article, we will discuss the significant differences between the two certifications:

  • Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
  • SAFe Scrum Master (SSM)

Who is a SAFe Scrum Master?

A SAFe Scrum Master is a servant leader in a large enterprise whose job is to guide teams toward their goals by means of mentoring, coaching, and process facilitations.

Who is a Certified Scrum Master?

Certified Scrum Master is a foundation-level certification that introduces you to Scrum and lets you understand how to adopt Agile methodology within the Scrum framework in an organization.

In the IT sector today, Agile is finding widespread application, of which Scrum is the most favored tool by companies. In this context, the role of Scrum Masters becomes very crucial. While a Certified Scrum Master, henceforth mentioned as CSM in this article, ensures that Scrum is properly applied at the team level, the SAFe Scrum Master ensures the same, although in a different manner, on a wider scale at the enterprise level.

The differences between the SSM or CSM Certification are enumerated as follows:

  • Roles and responsibilities: The CSM acts as the true leader of the Scrum team and makes sure that the team follows the Scrum principles, values of Scrum, and functions. Whereas the SAFe Scrum Master focuses on the foundation of team-level Scrum, at the same time, understanding it and using it in an enterprise context. 
  • Accreditation Body: The CSM Certification is provided by Scrum Alliance, whereas the SAFe Scrum Master Certification is provided by Scaled Agile Inc.
  • Eligibility Criteria: To pursue the CSM certification course, eligible professionals should have the basic knowledge or concepts of Scrum and Agile principles. On the other hand, to pursue the SAFe Scrum Master certification course, the Eligible professionals should not only have experience in Scrum and in using Scrum but he/she should also be able to use Scrum on a greater magnitude.
  • Exam details: In the CSM course exam, the candidates have to answer a total number of 24 questions correctly out of 35 MCQs to pass the exam, but in the SAFe Scrum Master course exam, the candidates have to answer 33 questions correctly out of 45 MCQs to pass the exam.
  • Course benefits: Successful completion of the CSM course provides the certified person with a 2-year membership of the Scrum Alliance and also allows the person to claim 14-16 PDUs and SEUs per year. At the same time, after successfully completing the SAFe Scrum Master course, an individual gets a 1-year membership of the SAFe Community and also earns 16 PDUs and SEUs.
  • Renewal policy: The validity of the CSM Certification is for two years, and the renewal cost is around USD 100. Whereas the validity of the SAFe Scrum Master Certification is for only 1- year, and the renewal cost is around USD 100. 
  • The focus of certification: CSM focuses on learning the works of Scrum at a Team level, but SAFe Scrum Master focuses on learning the use of Scrum at an enterprise level and also understands the bigger picture of the program.
  • Events: In CSM, Events include Daily Scrum, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective. On the other hand, events in SAFe Scrum Master are Iteration planning and review, Program increment planning, Iteration retrospective, and Daily Scrum.
  • Interaction: In CSM, the Scrum Master interacts with Developers and the Product Owner, but in SAFe Scrum Master, Scrum Master interacts with Developers, Release Train Engineers, Program Managers, Product Managers, Product Owners, and System Architects.
  • Learning objectives: CSM teaches the team about Scrum and Agile principles. Whereas the SAFe Scrum Master teaches the team about Lean Thinking, Kanban Flow, Agile and Scrum principles, DevOps, and System Thinking.
  • Metrics and tools used: Techniques used in CSM are Planning poker and Burndown Chart. In the same way, techniques used in SAFe Scrum Master are Planning poker for estimation, Continuous flow diagram, and burn-down charts for metrics.

Conclusion : 

After differentiating the two Certification Courses, we have come to know that both the CSM and SAFe Scrum Master are professional certification courses that are widely acknowledged across industry sectors that can help in the career progression of an individual. For example, if a professional is new to Scrum and wants to have more knowledge about Scrum, then he/she can choose to go for the CSM Course, which will be the best course of action. The SAFe Scrum Master course is the best option for the professional who has experience in Scrum works and wants to develop his/her career in a bigger organization that uses the Scaled Agile Framework. Hence, choosing a certification entirely depends on an individual’s baseline knowledge about Scrum and his/her career goals, and both options are good career choices, and it is futile to compare the two as to which one is superior! 

Spoclearn provides both SAFe Scrum Master 5.1 training, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) training, and various other popular Agile and Scrum certification courses for both individuals and enterprise teams for them to gain a complete understanding of Agile and Scrum concepts and scale the same to an enterprise level. You can pick and choose whichever certification training is relevant to your job role and experience in your respective domain.

Stefan Joseph
Stefan Joseph
Stella is an experienced project manager with a proven track record of delivering successful projects. She has expertise in project planning, communication, and collaboration, and works effectively with teams of all sizes. A lifelong learner, Stella constantly improves her approach to deliver exceptional results.


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