CSPO vs PSPOWhich of the two Scrum certification routes (Scrum Alliance or Scrum.org) is most appropriate for you, and your organisation? 

With little, or no, background knowledge to either of these bodies, or their individual certifications, it can be difficult to know whether to follow the Scrum Alliance path, or perhaps go down the Scrum.org route.

This is a point of discussion that arises from time to time during initial conversations with individuals and organisations who are about to embark on their own Scrum Journey.  Therefore, in order to help make this decision, we have summarised the similarities and differences between the Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) course, and the Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) equivalent.


A brief background

After founding the Scrum Alliance together in 2001, the two co-creators of Scrum Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber followed separate paths. Ken Schwaber established Scrum.org in 2009, and Jeff Sutherland continued to develop the Scrum Alliance.

Although both organisations have developed a similar course offering with aligned learning objectives – there are differences between the respective course materials, content, training delivery and the examination/certification process. The requirements and journey to becoming a Certified Trainer also vary quite considerably.

Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) | Scrum Alliance 
This 2-day, interactive course, investigates the Scrum framework in detail from theory and foundations to practical application, covering all team roles, activities and artifacts but focuses specifically on the role of the Product Owner. Attendees will learn about activities such as managing stakeholders, vision definition, ROI management, Product Backlog definition and refinement, creating effective stories, defining acceptance criteria for stories and defining “done” with the rest of the Scrum Team.

Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO)  | Scrum.org
Throughout this 2 day class, attendees will develop and solidify their knowledge of the Scrum framework and the accountabilities of being a Product Owner through instruction and team-based exercises. Students learn techniques that they can use to help them overcome the challenges that are often encountered on a day-today basis. They will do this while learning better ways to work with the organisation, stakeholders, customers and their team to provide greater value in the product being delivered.

Side-by-side comparison

We’ve included a side-by-side comparison of the two organisations below.

  Scrum Alliance Scrum.org
Leadership The Scrum Alliance is largely a committee-driven, and managed, organisation. Scrum.org has a much heavier steer and leadership directly from Ken Schwaber.

Example of Certification (CSPO / PSPO)

 

Delegates must attend the mandatory 2 days of face-to-face Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) training – delivered by a CST.

There is no exam associated with the CSPO certification. Following attendance on the 2 day course, individuals are awarded the certification based on the trainers observations.

After completion of the course, individuals will also receive 2 years membership to the Scrum Alliance.

In addition to attending the 2 day course, all participants will need to take the Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) I assessment in order to obtain the PSPO certification. This assessment requires a minimum pass score of 85%.

PSPO class participants who attempt the PSPO I assessment within 14 days of receiving their free passport and do not score at least 85% will be granted a second attempt at no additional cost.

Courseware and
Training Materials

Trainers develop their own materials to support centrally specified learning objectives. These course materials are reviewed and approved as part of the CST approval process (below).

Trainers review, tweak and improve their materials on a regular basis.

Standard course materials are created centrally by Scrum.org and used by all trainers. These are maintained collaboratively when needed.

There are no trainer requirements to improve the centrally managed materials.

Renewal Fees

 

To renew the certification, individuals are required to achieve 20 SEUs (Scrum Education Units) and pay a renewal fee of $100.

No renewal fees.

No. of Certified Trainers 

 

No. of Certified Scrum Trainers (CST’s):

Based in the UK: 25
Globally: 274

No. of Professional Scrum Trainers (PST’s):

Based in the UK: 39
Globally: 351

Certified Trainer Requirements 

The process to become a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) focuses on possessing significant real-world experience of Scrum training and implementation.

Before candidates can apply for CST status, they must:

  • Demonstrate a deep knowledge and understanding of Scrum concepts, practices, and principles.
  • Hold an active Certified Scrum Professional designation (CSP-SM / CSP-PO).
  • Have extensive hands-on experience implementing Scrum inside organisations as a ScrumMaster, Product Owner, or team member.
  • Developed course materials that explicitly show alignment to learning objectives for the course and which are rigorously reviewed by a review panel
  • Have taught Scrum in a co-training partnership with existing CSTs or independently in a non-certified context meeting the following requirements:
  • Taught a minimum of 100 students
  • Hosted a minimum of 10 multi-day ScrumMaster training sessions

Once the above has been met, candidates can apply.

The application is then considered by the Trainer Approval Community (TAC). If successful, candidates are invited to a formal face-to-face interview with the Interview and Certification Panel

The process to become a Professional Scrum Trainer (PST), and train the PSPO course, is predominantly theory and assessment based:

  • Have 4+ years’ experience as a Product Owner
  • Have provided training
  • Pass the Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO I) assessment with at least a 95% score
  • Complete and submit an application to become a PST
  • If the application is successful, then attend the 3-day Train the Trainer (TTT) course (which includes a 2-Day PSPO class)
  • Pass the Professional Scrum Product Owner – Level II (PSPO II) assessment with at least an 85% score
  • Pass the Professional Scrum Product Owner – Level III (PSPO III) assessment with at least a 85% score
  • Final interview; 1 hour online interview with Scrum.org staff
  • Final Review: 1 hour online peer-review by a panel of existing PSTs

Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) – Upcoming Course Dates

If you’re looking to gain the key knowledge and skills required to become an effective Product Owner, then join us on one of our upcoming Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) course dates. Attendees will enjoy live collaboration on interactive training exercises that develop the skills and knowledge needed to expertly communicate the product vision to the team, and deliver high quality product success.

Upcoming Courses

CourseLocation Start date Price ex VAT
(*early bird)
TrainerStatus
Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)Live Online Training 28 Nov - 2 days £795David HicksSOLD OUT
Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)Live Online Training 05 Dec - 2 days £795Derek Davidson
Nearly Full
Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)Live Online Training 12 Dec - 2 days £795David Hicks
Book Now
Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)London - Chancery Lane 15 Dec - 2 days £895*John McFadyenSOLD OUT
Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)Live Online Training 09 Jan - 2 days £795David Hicks
Book Now
Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)Live Online Training 23 Jan - 2 days £795Derek Davidson
Book Now
Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)Live Online Training 06 Feb - 2 days £795David Hicks
Book Now
Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)London - Chancery Lane 16 Feb - 2 days £895*Karim Harbott
Book Now
Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)Live Online Training 20 Feb - 2 days £795Derek Davidson
Book Now
Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)Live Online Training 06 Mar - 2 days £795David Hicks
Book Now
Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)Live Online Training 20 Mar - 2 days £795Derek Davidson
Book Now