On average 67% of professionals, have worked on four Agile projects in a year, according to the 2015 state of Scrum Survey Report conducted by Scrum Alliance. Apparently, the world is moving in successfully applying the most popular Agile approaches to their projects. And to answer the demand, there is a range of Agile frameworks and methods topped by respected certification programs. These certifications are also ranging from entry to the advanced enterprise levels.

First and foremost, it is important to know the differences among these certificates; here I am sharing my views make it easy for you to decide:

1. Scrum Master Certifications:

CSM (Certified Scrum Master) from Scrum Alliance is the basic Scrum certificate. Roles like a Developer, Scrum Master, Product Owner, Business Analysts can start their certification journey from the CSM. CSM gives you access to the basic Agile framework, Scrum Roles, events, artifacts, and practices of Scrum Framework.

Alternatively, you can do PSM-1 from scrum.org. This is also a base level scrum certificate.

Here are the differences between the CSM and PSM-1:

    • For CSM you must attend two days class whereas PSM-1 doesn’t mandate to attend any class. For PSM-1 you are not required to take any specific course. If you are confident to pass the exam, you can directly purchase the PSM-1 exam without taking any specific course.
    • CSM examination is easy, whereas PSM-1 is not easy to pass as questions are tricky and the passing score is 85%. If you are not conceptually aware of the Scrum Framework, I highly recommend taking a course before appearing in the exam.

The CSM certificate has been quite popular in India compared to PSM-1


2. The Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® :

PMI-ACP® certification is designed for those who are in or want to move into a leadership role and for those who have been implementing Agile Values and Principles in the day to day project work. For PMI-ACP® certification you need to have a minimum work experience of 1500 hours on Agile projects and 2000 hours’ experience of general project management. For more details on eligibility details of PMI-ACP® certification, you may refer – PMI-ACP® Certification Eligibility Experience Criteria Demystified

If your company is looking forward to introducing the Agile framework for achieving high-end project goals, then PMI-ACP® certification could be your first choice. PMI-ACP® Exam is not just limited to the Scrum Framework; it also has included other frameworks like Lean, Kanban, and XP. PMI-ACP® certification is a conceptually strong examination compared to the basic Scrum Master certifications. You also need to take a classroom or online training before appearing in the exam.

3. LKU Kanban Certifications:

Kanban is a management method and gives access to the evolutionary change approach rather than a big-bang, disruptive change. Following are the renowned LKU Kanban Certifications

  • Team Kanban Practitioner certification(TKP): It is an introductory course aimed to improve the flow of work for your team. It includes Kanban principles, practices, and gives the idea of the Kanban system. It is ideal for beginners and for those who are willing to improve the work environment by knowing the initial steps of the Kanban method.
  • Kanban System Design (KMP-1): It is the beginner to the intermediate certificate and designed to enable long-term sustainable change. If you are in any leadership role and looking for effective changes in the team environment, it is an ideal certificate for you.
  • Kanban Management Professional (KMP-2): It is an intermediate to an advanced certificate in Kanban and enables you for various continuous improvement models. If you are experienced in leadership roles and practicing Kanban to some level, it is good for you. Before KMP-2, you need to acquire KMP-1.

LKU Kanban certifications do not require any examination; you just need to attend accredited courses. iZenBridge gives you the same. LKU Kanban certifications are gained for a lifetime; there is no renew fee is required.

4. Certified Scrum Product (CSP):

If you are having any of beginner level Scrum certificate (CSM, CSD, or CSPO) with 36 months of Agile/Scrum work experience, gained within the past five years, you can plan CSP. It is an advanced certificate and good for those who are committed to continuous improvement in practicing Scrum.

5. SAFe Agilist (SA):

If you want to be part of enterprise Agile and willing to be part of multiple teams in the adoption of Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe Agilist could be an ideal choice for you. For more details, you may refer to our course details.

SAFe Agilist

6. Certified Disciplined Agilist:

Disciplined Agile is a hybrid framework and suitable for both beginners in Agile Journey and who are existing agile practitioners. It gives you ways to combine areas of software delivery – architecture, design, testing, programming, leadership, quality assurance, data administration in a cohesive whole. It requires attending an accredited course and subsequent examination. For more details, you may refer to our course details.

7. Certified Agile Coach (ICP-ACC):

If you want to become a successful Agile Coach in an enterprise environment, ICP-ACC certificate could be a game-changer for you. It supports you to develop professional coaching skills by having the ability to differentiate among training, mentoring, and coaching. Active listening, and, powerful questioning are the key abilities for a coach. Coaching skills give you access to building a team that can find answers to the problem themselves. ICP-ACC needs three days from an accredited institute and does not require any examination as the focus is more on ample use of discussions, case studies& hand-on exercises in a classroom session. Coaching can’t be learning by passing an exam, it is a developed ability and needs an environment which is created by your Coach in the classroom.

In today’s time, we understand the power of learning to transform your career. All the above are the remarkably potent program; you just need to know which best suited for you.

In summary, the following points will support you to choose the right Agile certification:

  • If you are trying to break in as the agile world and having no agile certificate, then start from CSM.
  • If you need to increase adaptability in Agile technologies, then you can choose PMI-ACP® certification
  • If you are planning an agile approach which can start from next Monday without changing the basic structure in terms of roles and artifacts, you can consider LKU certifications.
  • If you are supposed to work on a project where the SAFe framework is going to use, for leading a Lean/Agile change initiative in a large software enterprise, I advise doing SAFe Agilist certification
  • If you have significant experience in Agile approaches and want to move to become a professional Agile Coach, then you should opt for Certified Agile Coach (ICP-ACC)
  • All the above programs will help you to earn the required 70 SEUs for doing CSP which shows your skills at an advanced level and showcase you as an experienced Scrum practitioner.

So, are you ready to take the next step in Agile certification? Examine your work environment, experience, and future commitments and take the decision to make your future you would like to have.

Drop-in your doubts and questions on the subject matter in the comment box below; I will get back to you soon with answers.

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