CSM Vs CSPO Certifications



Scrum is fast becoming an accepted framework in Agile Methodology and practice in Agile ecosystems. In such a scenario, the demand for a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) or Certified Scrum Product Owner is ever increasing. In the Scrum enterprise, three distinct roles have the most vital part to play- the Scrum Team, Product Owner, and the Scrum Master.

What is CSM?

A certified Scrum Master or CSM is the Scrum Master certification awarded by Scrum Alliance. A Scrum Master acts as a servant leader in an Agile enterprise spearheading Scrum practices throughout the organization. The CSM is responsible for the holistic application of the Scrum approach in the team, and the enterprise. The CSM certification is a professional certification in which every aspect of the Scrum Framework is covered. A certified Scrum Master is responsible for the performance of the team and works with the Product Owner for optimized value-driven outputs. Besides addressing internal and external distractions, the Scrum Master, at the enterprise-level leads the change management process in the enterprise. 

What is CSPO?

The Certified Scrum Product Owner is a certification awarded by Scrum Alliance, a non-profit membership organization. A Certified Product Owner has a much-focused role of working ensuring optimized value from the Product Backlog that meets customer needs with perfection. In a Scrum enterprise, this is a product-oriented role, while that of a Scrum Master’s is a Scrum-oriented role. A CSPO envisions the product and accordingly manages the Product Backlog so that the ‘business angle’ of the development process is meaningfully addressed.


Having understood the basic meaning of what CSM and CSPO stand for, let us now look at the difference between the CSM vs. CSPO certifications.

Certified Scrum Master vs. Certified Scrum Product Owner



Certified Scrum Master (CSM)

Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)

Accreditation Body

Scrum Alliance

Scrum Alliance

Certification goals

  • Acquiring basic know-how about Scrum Events, Artifacts, and team roles.
  • Focus on addressing impediments and distractions.
  • Envisioning the product, and managing the Product Backlog.
  • Address the business side of software development.


Project Managers, Product Managers, Business analysts, QA professionals, software development team members, team leaders.

CXO, top management, Product Managers, Project Managers, Scrum Masters.


No prerequisite except candidates should have some working knowledge of Scrum.

Awareness of Agile methods and Scrum principles.


  1. Ensure the optimized Scrum process in the software development project.
  2. Address impediments.
  3. Work with the Scrum Team, and Product Owner.
  4. Plan Sprint; oversees daily Scrum, Sprint reviews, and demos.
  5. Forecast and take responsibility for deliverables in Sprint iterations.
  • Understand the requirements of Stakeholders.
  • Achievement of value for the business is the main objective. 
  • Owns the Product Backlog and is responsible for maintaining and updating it.
  • Work in close association with the Scrum Master and Scrum Team to address queries as well as changes to be taken for the next Sprint.

Personal characteristics

A Scrum Master is a servant-leader of the Scrum Team. Skills important are – leadership, communication, critical decision-making, and analytical skills.

Skills important are – futuristic vision, leadership, communication, negotiation, and collaborating skills

Training details

F2F training from a Certified Scrum Trainer for 16 hours or 14 hours of live online training or 25 hours of individual mentoring F2F from a CAC.

F2F training from a Certified Scrum Trainer for 16 hours or 14 hours of live online training or 25 hours of individual mentoring F2F from a CAC.

Certification validity details

The certificate is valid for 2 years and it needs to be renewed

The certificate is valid for 2 years and it needs to be renewed

Certification renewal details

To renew, you need 20 SEUs and pay a fee of $100.

To renew, you need 20 SEUs and pay a fee of $100.

Exam details

50 Multiple choice questions in 60 minutes.

No exam for CSPO

Pass score

37 questions need to be correct out of 60.


Course Fee 

Varies depends on the trainer, location, etc

Varies depends on the trainer, location, etc

Exam retake details

Two exam retakes can be done within 90 days of registration with Scrum Alliance at no extra charge. Any other retake test beyond this is charged a fee of $25 per re-take


Salary details

Average $97,319 annually

USD 86,000 to USD 130,000 annually

CSM vs. CSPO – which certification is right for me?

  1. A) CSM


  • Who is eligible?

Project and Product Managers, Portfolio Managers, Agile coach, present Scrum Masters, Scrum team members, Business Analysts, Testers, and anyone interested to learn Scrum Framework and its practices. 


  • Benefits of CSM

A certification is a credential to showcase to the Agile enterprise. Helps establish your credibility as a Scrum leader and servant. To pursue a career in Scrum, CSM is the ideal first step. CSMs can continue learning and enhance knowledge. They also receive updated resources and can take regular assessments. 


  • Process of getting certification

Candidates need to attend either a face-to-face training program from a Certified Scrum Trainer for 16 hours or attend 14 hours of live online training. Candidates can also attend 25 hours of individual mentoring face-to-face from a Certified Agile Coach. On completing the training, you have to appear for the CSM test. The 60-minute test is available in 13 different languages and is in the multiple-choice format, with 50 questions. On getting the pass marks- 37 questions right out of 60 – you get the certification.




  • Who is eligible?

CXO, CEOs, top management, Product Managers, Project Managers, Scrum Masters, and others interested in working as Product Owners.


  • Benefits of CSPO

Get trained on delivering products incrementally and iteratively in the Scrum Framework. Also, get the understanding to handle Stakeholders and their expectations, learn to work collaboratively with the Development Team and Stakeholders while helping you establish your credentials as a trained CSPO within your enterprise and to teams.


  • Process of getting certification

F2F training from a Certified Scrum Trainer for 16 hours or 14 hours of live online training or 25 hours of individual mentoring F2F from a CAC. On completion of the course, the candidate needs to accept the License Agreement. He also needs to complete his profile with Scrum Alliance. There is no test currently for the CSPO license.



To choose the right certification, you need to understand the profile of the role thoroughly. The responsibility associated with each role should be such that it matches your eligibility criteria, your experience, preference, and aspirations.

Useful Links:

Platform API Development Certification Course

Certified Scrum Product Owner 3 Day CoursePlatform API Development CertificationScrum Master Learning PathWho Can Do Scrum Master CertificationHow To Measure Agile Success

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