I am often asked how the PMI ACPsm and the Certified Scrum Master compare.  So here is a stab at what the differences and similarities are between the two certifications. 


[important]I would love to make this comparison robust so please leave comments to help make this a valuable resource for people.  [/important]

 

Both the CSM and PMI-ACPsm are important certifications in the industry. The CSM is designed to promote and expand scrum in the industry, to train new people and get them Started (quoting the Scrum Alliance Website):

A CSM Course is Only the First Step. Becoming agile is a lifelong journey. Incorporating Scrum principles and practices into your world of work takes diligence, patience, and a commitment to continuous improvement.

The PMI ACPsm is not intended to be a training tool or a first step. Is for people who want to (quoting the PMI site):

  • Demonstrate to employers your level of professionalism in Agile practices of project management.
  • Increase your professional versatility.
  • Hold a certification that is more credible than existing entry-level, training or exam-only based offerings

The CSP is not intended to be a training tool or a first step eithre. The following is what the SA has to say about the CSP (quoting the Scrum Alliance site):

In today’s competitive job market, primary credentialing is an important way to identify industry professionals with a full understanding of Scrum and how to apply its principles in the workplace.

The intent behind the CSP certification program is to offer a clearly defined and well-respected credential in the Agile community, recognized as the primary credential for Scrum Professionals and sought by the employers who hire them.


How is the PMI-ACPsm Different from the Scrum Master Certification and Certified Scrum Professional?

Certified Scrum Master® (CSM)

 PMI-ACP

Certified Scrum Professional (CSP)

Purpose: Clarifying and promoting Scrum Purpose: Codify & standardize what “agile” means across organizations  Purpose: to offer a clearly defined and well-respected credential in the Agile community, recognized as the primary credential for Scrum Professionals and sought by the employers who hire them.
Covers: Scrum Terminology, Practices, and Principles Covers:  Principles, practices and tools and techniques across agile methodologies (Scrum, kanban, XP, lean, DSDM, TDD, ATDD and more) Covers: The Art of Scrum in greater Depth
Deep Understanding of Scrum is required Broad Understanding of Agile and lean is required Deep understanding and experience with Scrum is required
Developed by the Scrum Alliance and validated by the global Scrum community Developed and independently validated by global groups of agile professionals Developed by the Scrum Alliance and validated by the global Scrum Community
Software industry focused Intended to be industry agnostic Software industry focused
No Experience Required 2 day Scrum Master class 2000 hrs Project Exp1500 hrs Agile Exp (non-overlapping)21 hrs Agile Training 2000 Hours Current holder of CSM, CSPO or CSDCurrent Scrum Alliance Membership
Pass/Fail Exam (New 9/1/2012) Pass/Fail Exam  Pass/Fail Exam
Exam administered by Castle Worldwide Exam administered by ProMetric Exam administered by Castle Worldwide
35 Question Exam (New 9/1/2012)  120 Question Exam  150 Question Exam
CSM Class: May ONLY be taught by Certified Scrum Trainers. Certified by the Scrum Alliance Required agile training (21 hours): may be taught by anyone, (PMI recommends obtaining PDUs from Registered Education Providers) None. Requires that you be an existing CSM, CSPO or CSD Which do have training requirements
Currently CSM does not expire Must maintain Credential in 3 year cycles.PMI-ACPsm credential holder will need to earn 30 PDUs in agile project management per three-year cycle  2 year cycles.  Recertification will require maintaining some level of PDUs. The Scrum Alliance traning program will be in place no later than January 2013
Fees:CSM classes typically cost between $1000 – 2000. However, some organizations offer “Pay what you can” options.There is no additional cost for the exam.You can not take the exam without taking the class. Fees:Classes to get 21 PDUs: 0-$2500+ There are a lot of free and paid classes available.Member Computer based: $335Non-Member computer based: $435Member paper based:  $270Non-Member paper based:  $370 Fees: $300 Registration feeRequires membership in Scrum Alliance: $100 / 2 years

 

Different courses, different objectives. I hope this helps you decide if you want to take a CSP, CSM or if ACP is something you might want to pursue.

[important]I would love to make this comparison robust so please leave comments to help make this a good resource for people.  [/important]

* See comments

Test your agile knowledge, PMI-ACP sample exam.

PMI-ACP is a service mark of the Project Management Institutes