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Certified ScrumMaster® or Certified Scrum Product Owner®?

Scrabble tiles spell out "Be Agile"

Which role is right for me?

Anyone who wants to adapt more quickly to the way products and services are developed can benefit from learning Agile methodologies, particularly Scrum. If you're considering taking the University of Minnesota's Agile Scrum Certificate, you'll need to choose a path: Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) or Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®). We've gathered this information to help you decide.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a powerful set of values, principles, and practices. "At its heart, Scrum works by breaking large products and services into small pieces that can be completed (and potentially released) by a cross-functional team in a short timeframe," according to the Scrum Alliance®, a nonprofit body that certifies organizations that teach Agile methodologies.

How does Scrum work?

As the Scrum Alliance explains, Scrum relies on cross-functional teams to deliver products and services in short cycles, enabling:

  • fast feedback
  • continuous improvement
  • rapid adaptation to change
  • accelerated delivery.

Choosing which role is right for you

So, what will it be? Certified Scrum Master or Certified Scrum Product Owner?

More from the Scrum Alliance:

"As a Certified Scrum Master, you’ll have the training you need to help your Scrum Team perform at their highest level. Through the certification process, you’ll learn the Scrum framework and gain an understanding of team roles, events, and artifacts. As the expert of Scrum values, principles, and practices, the Scrum Master protects the team from both internal and external distractions.

"If you’re someone who is comfortable with the “business side” of projects, you're probably the right person to become a Certified Scrum Product Owner. While the Scrum Master helps the Scrum Team work together to learn and implement Scrum, as a CSPO, you create the product vision, order the Product Backlog, and make sure the best possible job is done to delight the customer."

To recap:

  • CSM is a great choice for people simply wanting to learn more about Scrum roles and responsibilities, as well as those interested in serving as a Scrum Master.
  • CSPO would be a good fit for someone who relishes being in charge, managing stakeholders, and making decisions.

To use a sports analogy, "the Scrum Master is the coach and the Product Owner is the quarterback," says Angela Johnson, a Certified Scrum Trainer and Agile instructor who has been providing education and consulting services to clients adopting Scrum and Agile since 2010.

Not interested in the full Agile Scrum Certificate program?

If you're not looking to complete the Agile Scrum Certificate, CCAPS also offers individual Certified ScrumMaster or Certified Scrum Product Owner courses, as well as the Agile Certificate for those who don't want to more deeply explore Scrum roles.

The choice is yours!