8 Books to read for the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) certification

8 Books and Resources to Read for The CSM Certification

R Bhargav

Published on May 14, 2015


A Certified Scrum Master Certification allows the professional to help organizations implement and utilize Scrum in projects effectively. The Scrum Alliance -the non-profit certification body behind The Certified Scrum Master Certification- is provider and custodian of this certification in agile software development methodology.

[Planning to become a Scrum Master? Take this test to know where you stand!]

This certification has become more popular in the last couple of years, and is today used to manage projects in all manner of quickly changing business environments.

As you need to attend a training course to get this certification, you will receive a CSM (Certified Scrum Master) training manual in your class. Nevertheless, here are a few recommendations on resources to tap into for your CSM (Certified Scrum Master) certification.

1) www.scrumguides.org

Our first recommendation is to read an informative website. Scrumguides.org is recommended and supported by the Scrum Alliance. The site offers the Official Scrum Guide free-to-read online, and you may also download the 16-page booklet for offline reference. It's a must read for everyone who is doing the CSM (Certified Scrum Master) certification.

2) www.scrumalliance.org

The official certification body of the CSM (Certified Scrum Master) certification offers a wide range of blogs, videos, articles, white papers, reports, and links to other websites about Scrum and their Scrum Certifications, including the Certified Scrum Master. It's highly recommended to bookmark their webpage and be on the lookout for up-to-date information.

3) The Elements of Scrum, by Chris Sims (ISBN-10: 0982866917)

Unlike a training manual or reference guide, this book adopts a different approach to explaining the key concepts of Scrum. The author illustrates the principles, practices, and pitfalls of the scrum framework with real life examples written as little stories and anecdotes the reader can relate to. This is not a reference guide but is highly recommended as it links Scrum theory with the real world and offers insights into industry.

4) Scrum: a Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction, by Chris Sims (ISBN-10:193796504X)

This pocket-sized book gives a very brief overview of roles, responsibilities, concepts and the sprint cycle of Scrum. It presents just the core facts, definitions, and concepts, written down to serve as a handy ready-reckoner. You can look up any term relating to Scrum and you will find precise and very brief information on it. Because it is a compendium, it may not be suitable if you have no other training and study material, but it’s the perfect reference guide during your preparation for the CSM (Certified Scrum Master) certification.

5) Scrum, (Mega Pack), For the Agile Scrum Master, Product Owner, Stakeholder and Development Team, by Paul Vii (ISBN-10: 1482681730)

The author here has compiled a few texts on Scrum methodology and has reviewed them from different viewpoints with lots of real life examples. The reader learns what is important in Scrum methodology, why and under what conditions Scrum works well, and what is special about the Scrum approach.

The book also contains Scrum checklists and tips on how to make your Scrum project a success. It is not designed as a training manual or reference guide, but is worth reading when preparing for the CSM (Certified Scrum Master) certification.

6) The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for Your First Year (Agile Software Development Series), by Mitch Lacey (ISBN-10: 0321554159)

In 30 insightful and engaging chapters, the author of this book explains what to do when implementing Scrum in a work project or across an organization.
All facets of implementation -from getting the project team onboard to how and when to perform “emergency procedures” to get your project back on track are discussed, and the reader gets the full picture about all core agile concepts. This book can't be used as a reference guide or as a training manual, but it will help immensely when it comes to really understanding the nitty-gritty of Scrum and is a recommended read.

7) Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn)) by Kenneth S. Rubin (ISBN-10: 0137043295)

This book is an easy-to-read, comprehensive guide to Scrum. It explains –in step-by-step fashion- all the important processes and ideas of Scrum and also defines and explains the roles and responsibilities within a Scrum team. To achieve this, the book follows the style of a training manual, with lots of charts, graphs and pictures.
The audience for this book is universal, regardless of  current level of Scrum knowledge. It offers explanations of Scrum terms for beginners, and tips to improve teamwork inside a Scrum team for advanced team leaders. Even so, this guide does not exactly follow the CSM (Certified Scrum Master) certification syllabus. It is, however, useful to gain a deeper understanding of Scrum, which is necessary to pass the exam.

8) Certified Scrum Master (CSM) 83 Success Secrets: 83 Most Asked Questions On Certified Scrum Master (CSM) - What You Need To Know -by Janice Garrison (ISBN-10: 1488524300)

In only 72 pages, the author promises to tell you 83 Certified Scrum Master secrets. It contains no mock exams or test questions. It's a collection of Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Scrum related questions which are answered by the author to provide you with some very basic knowledge. It's worth a read if you are interested in acquainting yourself with the absolute basics only.

Because you need to take a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) course, which comes with a training manual, and will most likely possess a reference guide as well, these recommended texts are intended mainly for you to gain a deeper understanding about Scrum and its application in the real world.

Nevertheless, Scrum: a Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction, by Chris Sims- is really a good investment as it will be very handy during your certification period, and also when you will be a CSM in action.  

If you are preparing for the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) certification exam, then studying without expert instruction is probably a bad idea. These books are only meant to complement the learning on a full-fledged ASM certification training course.

If you're interested to know how much Agile Scrum Master's earn, check this Salary Guide here

Have we missed any great ASM reference texts? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll be sure to add it to our list!

About the Author

An experienced process analyst at Simplilearn, the author specializes in adapting current quality management best practices to the needs of fast-paced digital businesses. An MS in MechEng with over eight years of professional experience in various domains, Bhargav was previously associated with Paradox Interactive, The Creative Assembly, and Mott MacDonald LLC.


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