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Page history last edited by Joe Little 11 years, 11 months ago

The Scrum Alliance now requires the completion of the CSM Evaluation to become certified.  That is, to become a Certified ScrumMaster.


First a word about certification.  We assume any intelligent person can see that the CSM certification proves only that the person attended the course.  (We think the course is an excellent course.) 


Most hiring managers would like a certification to prove: "If I hire this person, it is guaranteed he/she can come into here with our team and increase their productivity 5x to 10x."  That's what a hiring manager would ideally like.  And I would like the Easter bunny to bring me eggs made of gold.  But neither desire is likely to come true. At least as a guarantee.  (Increasing productivity 5x to 10x can happen over time. Sometimes remarkably quickly.)


With the CSM Evaluation, the certification will mean that a CST (Certified Scrum Trainer, who gave the course) did not see any reason not to "pass" person X (eg, the person did not fall asleep) AND that person took the trouble to take the CSM Evaluation.  While these things might reasonably be deemed necessary conditions to playing the ScrumMaster role or even to doing Scrum more generally, they obviously are not sufficient conditions to prove or guarantee that one can play Scrum well.  Again, is this not obvious?

Enough said on that topic.


OK, here's how the CSM Evaluation works for new course attendees. 


Note: The CSM Evaluation will eventually be relevant also to those who wish to renew their CSM certification.  Those details are not covered here.


First, the Evaluation is required for all new course attendees. Unless they do not speak English and the CST opts out for them.


A few more facts:

* the Evaluation is only in English now

* if you do not speak English, or it is not your primary language, your CST can opt you out of the Exam for now.  (And you still will become certified)

* everyone who takes the Evaluation will pass.  This may change soon. The Scrum Alliance has said it will give us 30 days notice before setting a pass 'bar'.

* virtually all the Evaluation content should be in the Scrum Guide, which you can download here (and many other places).  We strongly recommend you read this before the Course

* Scrum Alliance also recommends that you read the student resources.  I know Jeff Sutherland's "Scrum Papers" is good.

* you must take the course first, and be deemed to have "passed" the course by the CST

* typically in the course, the CST will spend some small fraction of time addressing Evaluation content.  Certainly the Trainer will try to answer related questions, if you have them (possibly within some reasonableness constraints)

* the Evaluation is timeboxed to 1 hour; I hear you can complete it in about 45 minutes

* the Evaluation has about 35 pick-a-winner questions, each with 5 possible answers.  There is a best answer and one or two "close" answers. Only the "best" answer wins

Comment: In the opinion of some, Scrum is a simple and, yet at the same time, a complex subject. "Best" is not always easy to phrase clearly for every ear.

* Evaluations are not identical.  You and your colleague could get very different sets of questions

* you must take the Evaluation within 90 days

* the Evaluation is "open book", but not sure how meaningful that is given 35  questions in 60 minutes


Note: For the time being, there is no Evaluation for the CSPO certification.



* you complete the Course successfully

* the CST uploads you Name and email address to ScrumAlliamce.org

* you receive an email from ScrumAlliance.org with a user name and password

* you log into ScrumAlliance.org and "set things up" (very simple I am told)

* ScrumAlliance.org sends you info about how to complete the CSM Evaluation (this is when the 90 day clock starts ticking)

* you log on a page, and take the Evaluation

* you will be notified of your score, and which items you got wrong (perhaps you can learn from this)

* for now, once you complete the Evaluation, you automatically become "certified" on the ScrumAlliance site. This will be visible to the public (unless you opt for privacy)

* once you are officially certified, you may optionally download a certificate.  You may print and frame this, if you wish

* you will obtain full access to many more things on the ScrumAlliance site


Comments about the future of the Evaluation:

* the future is unclear (as, in reality, is always the case)

* it seems reasonable to expect that the Evaluation will change yet again in 3-6 months

* I believe it is possible that new questions could be added, but this is speculative


Comments about the CSTs and the Exam:

* the principle is that the CSTs should NOT teach to the Exam (we have had some interesting philosophical discussions about this --- you don't want to know <smile>)


A few comments:

* the scrum community is certainly in favor of more explicit knowledge.  Intelligent people can differ as to the relative importance of explicit knowledge versus tacit knowledge (or perhaps yet other types of knowledge or ability)

* it is my personal opinion that Tacit knowledge is more important than Explicit knowledge.  Particularly in being successful at Scrum. Thus, if you agree, then by definition the CSM Evaluation does not cover the most important stuff.  Nor can it.

* no one has stated, and it is probably not useful to state at this time, what future direction the Evaluation might take.  Like everything in life, it is in some sense an experiment.  If/when it needs to be fixed (enough), it will be

* in general, the scrum community recognizes that tacit knowledge is very important, and that it is almost impossible to test for tacit knowledge (see wikipedia.com if you are unfamiliar with this term).  So, the Evaluation certainly has this limitation

* success with Scrum seems, at least to some of us, more highly correlated to aspects of character, such as openness and courage, than to some level of explicit knowledge.  This Evaluation is not trying to imply anything to the contrary

* the scrum community still believes that the true measure of progress is successful action that benefits real people, not mere knowledge.  This Evaluation is not meant to be a metaphor for an opposing principle

* we hope that the Evaluation will increase attention to everything in the Course, not just to those things in the Course that are on the Evaluation

* we hope that the Evaluation will lead people to read the books more carefully

* thus, while the Evaluation has both positive and negative aspects, we hope and believe it will be a net positive


CAVEAT:  This page was prepared, so far, by one CST, based on input from many.  It is NOT official.  Expect improvements to this page.


If you have further questions, please leave a comment below.


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