What is CSM: A Beginner's Guide to Becoming a Certified Scrum Professional

Anyone familiar with the game of rugby is no doubt familiar with the word “scrum.” In the sport’s context, a scrum is a way to restart a game after a minor infraction and involves bringing the players together into a tight group, heads down, trying to get possession of the ball.

In the business world, however, “scrum” has an altogether different meaning. The developer’s website defines Scrum as “…a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.”

Today, we are exploring the world of certified Scrum professionals, including what CSM means and how to become one. Let’s get started; we have a lot of ground to cover!

Understand the Scrum methodology and their implementation with the Certified ScrumMaster certification training. Check out the course now.

What is CSM?

CSM is an acronym for Certified Scrum Master—someone who has earned certification to serve as a scrum team leader. However, there is so much more to the role, as the definition below shows us. You can also get a more in-depth look into CSM as a holistic management approach by reading this article.

Definition of CSM

According to the Scrum website, a ScrumMaster, “…is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum. Scrum Masters do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values.

“The Scrum Master is a servant-leader for the Scrum Team. The Scrum Master helps those outside the Scrum Team understand which of their interactions with the Scrum Team are helpful and which aren’t. The Scrum Master helps everyone change these interactions to maximize the value created by the Scrum Team.”

Building on that, a Certified Scrum Master has the credentials to show that they have undergone the training and acquired the skills needed to be an effective Scrum Master. Certification means the candidate understands Scrum methodology and can be either a Scrum team member or a Scrum Master.

Now that we have learned what is CSM, for a better understanding, check out the infographic below -

What is CSM- Infographic

Now that we have understood what is CSM, let us next learn what is the need for a CSM certification.

What is the Need for a CSM Certification?

Every team needs a leader; otherwise, there’s no organization or accountability. Scrum teams are no exception to the rule. Scrum Masters serve not only their Scrum team, but also their entire organization, and the product’s owner.

Here’s a list of roles and functions that a Certified Scrum Master fulfills:

  • Facilitates Scrum events
  • Understands and practices agility
  • Ensures that everyone on the team has a solid understanding of the goals, scope, and product domain
  • Finds techniques to manage product backlog effectively
  • Understands product planning in an empirical environment
  • Coaches the development team in the disciplines of cross-functionality and self-discipline
  • Helps the team deliver high-value projects
  • Removes obstacles to the team’s progress
  • Helps navigate the Scrum team through environments where Scrum is neither fully implemented nor completely understood
  • Coaches and leads the organization through the process of adopting Scrum
  • Plans Scrum implementation in the organization
  • Introduces changes that improve team productivity
  • Works with other Scrum Masters in the organization to improve overall Scrum effectiveness

As you can see by that list (and it’s not even complete!), any competent Certified Scrum Master certainly has their work cut out for them. That is why certification is such an essential element for any Certified Scrum Master. Only a CSM who has been trained and certified by an accredited institution can successfully handle all of the demands placed on them.

As a next part of our learning about what is CSM and what is the need to get certified, let us next understand the requirements and eligibility to do CSM.

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What are the Requirements for Doing CSM and Who Can Do CSM?

Fortunately, there are no set requirements for embarking on a CSM process. Since Scrum has applications in countless industries, there is no set curriculum or specialization that you must master before attempting certification.

However, you should have some working knowledge and experience with Scrum. Anything between one to three years’ exposure to Scrum should be enough.

As for who can (or should) do CSM certification, the list includes:

  • Scrum team managers
  • Teams that are making the transition into Scrum
  • Scrum team members such as developers, product owners, and of course, Scrum Masters
  • Any professional who wants to pursue a career as a Scrum Master.

While looking into or understanding what is CSM, you can find out more about the whole CSM certification process here.

What are the Advantages of Doing CSM?

Putting aside the fact that you can’t have too much training or expertise in today’s digital business world, there are some very clear-cut advantages in pursuing a Certified Scrum Master certification.

  • You learn from an experienced instructor. The best way to understand Scrum is to have an expert teaching you. This way you will not only grasp Scrum’s core concepts, but you will also learn to recognize and avoid Scrum implementation anti-patterns (e.g., a pattern that you think will improve matters, but does the opposite).
  • It shows you how to collaborate more constructively with teams. Being a team player or team leader doesn’t necessarily come naturally. Scrum Masters can learn practical skills and strategies that help facilitate the process. The more you work with teams as their Scrum Master, the more they will notice improvements in productivity, creativity, and flexibility.
  • It makes for a far more impressive resume. CSM certification is well-recognized all over the world, so having it in your qualifications will make you stand out to a prospective employer.

After having learned what is CSM, for more insights into the benefits of CSM certification, visit this page.

How to Get Certified in CSM

Now that we have learned what is CSM along with the associated requirements, here's how you can go about getting certified in CSM. The CSM certification process is fairly straightforward. Just follow these steps:

  • Step One: Develop a basic understanding of Scrum’s framework and lifecycle. Consider a tutorial to help you get started.
  • Step Two: Take a two-day (16 hours) CSM training course taught by a certified trainer.
  • Step Three: Pass the CSM examination conducted by the Scrum Alliance, which means correctly answering at least 37 of the 50 exam questions within a one-hour time limit.
  • Step Four: Submit an accepted license agreement.
  • Step Five: Complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile.

Once you complete all these steps, you will be a Certified Scrum Master!

You have gone through the advantages, requirements and understood what is CSM. Find out more about how to become a Certified Scrum Master.

How to Choose a Good CSM Training Course Provider

After learning all about what is CSM, anyone trying to select the ideal CSM training course provider faces a tough choice because there are so many options available. In most cases, it boils down to what each provider has to offer. Everyone has a different situation, and the aspiring certification candidate must choose a course provider that accommodates their needs and availability.

Shop around, keeping in mind factors such as value, accessibility, availability of support, and whether they provide supplemental resources such as articles, tutorials, or extra courses on any related subject matter.

Make sure you ask around—try to get impressions from people who have already become certified. Also, be sure the program not only offers certification but a certification that’s officially recognized all over the world. Don’t settle for anything less than certification provided by either the Scrum.org organization or the Scrum Alliance.

Check into the provider’s record. How long has the institution been around, and has it consistently offered training in CSM (and other subjects) for long? You want to steer clear of companies that seem to pop up overnight, offer vague promises of quality instruction, only to fail to live up to their hype.

Take a good look at what the program offers. A good CSM program offers a good selection of workshops and training meant to impart valuable Scrum-related skills. After all, the certification process is all about acquiring relevant skills, not absorbing dry facts recited to you by a boring presenter. The CSM teaching process is dynamic.

And finally, the company offering the training must be accredited.

You've learned what is CSM and most other related concepts. But are you close to being a Certified ScrumMaster? Try answering these CSM Exam Questions and find out now!

Presenting a Great CSM Training Option

Simplilearn has all of the resources you need to get you started in a CSM-related career, starting with their Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) Certification training course. The course focuses on providing a thorough understanding of Scrum methodologies and their implementation. It helps you become a Certified ScrumMaster—a designation offered by Scrum Alliance—to practitioners who have completed the CSM course and demonstrated their understanding by passing the exam.

The course provides you with two days of classroom training with online virtual classes, 20 Professional Development Units (PDUs) and 20 Scrum Educational Units (SEUs), and includes the CSM exam fee, a free exam retake, and a two-year membership in the Scrum Alliance.

Scrum Masters have gradually moved into more mainstream acceptance. Consequently, there’s been an increase in demand, so if you’re looking for a secure career that appears to be around for the long haul, then you’ve found it.

The high demand is reflected in Certified Scrum Master salaries. According to Glassdoor.com, the average annual base pay is USD 97,319, with a high of USD 132,000. Even entry-level positions offer lucrative starting pay, coming in at USD 78,000!

Don’t delay—the future looks bright for Certified Scrum Masters, and you can share in the excitement and benefits that this career has to offer. Check out Simplilearn today and start on your path to a better tomorrow!

About the Author


Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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