Certified ScrumMaster Is Not Worth The Paper It Is Written On

This content is syndicated from by Kelly Waters. To view the original post in full, click here.

In my opinion, ScrumMaster Certification isn't worth the paper it's written on.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Scrum. Huge fan. It's really helped to transform the web development department I head up.

And I'm not getting at the training companies that deliver Certified ScrumMaster training either. Nor the people that go on the training.

But I do have a problem with the marketing of this training as 'Certified ScrumMaster'. Because, to me, this phrase is completely misleading.

Over the years, I have come to think of the word 'Certified' as implying some depth of experience or knowledge. Maybe the passing of an exam following a period of study. Maybe a vocational assessment of someone's ability in the workplace. Something that validates a person's capability in the subject meets a minimum standard.

But with Certified ScrumMaster training, there is no assessment or exam. No prerequisites for attending the course. No previous project management experience required. No study required. Simply attend a 2 day ScrumMaster course and you are a Certified ScrumMaster.

Secondly, the word 'Master' compounds the problem further.

I understand the word 'Master' in ScrumMaster means 'master of ceremonies'. That's completely logical and makes perfect sense. However the word 'master' also happens to mean someone of 'great and exemplary skill, a worker qualified to teach others and carry on the craft independently; an expert in their craft'.

So, would you not really expect a Certified ScrumMaster, or a Certified Master in any craft, to be someone at the top of their trade? Not someone who received a certicate of attendance following 2 days training.

Calling it Certified ScrumMaster is a master class in marketing. And unfortunately I think it undermines Scrum - a methodology that otherwise can offer huge advantages to development teams of all disciplines.

So is Certified ScrumMaster status worth having?

Is it worth going on the training? Of course. Is it worth quoting your Certified ScrumMaster status to current and potential employers? Possibly not.

Sure, as a company practicing Scrum, I'm interested in people with Scrum training and experience. But as an employer practicing Scrum, I also recognise Certified ScrumMaster status for what it is. And in that respect, it isn't worth the paper it's written on.

Kelly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four × two =


There are 101 ways to do anything.
To find the best way, sometimes you need expert help

What People Say

“Kelly was a great colleague to work with - highly competent, trustworthy and generally a nice bloke.”

HANNAH JOYCE
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”

DAN PULHAM, DIGITAL DIRECTOR
TELSTRA

“Kelly was a brilliant CTO and a great support to me in the time we worked together. I owe Kelly a great deal in terms of direction and how to get things done under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thanks Kelly.”

JULIE PEEL
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“Kelly came to the department and has really made a huge impact on how the department communicates, collaborates and generally gets things done. We were already developing in an agile way, but Kelly has brought us even more into alignment with agile and scrum best practices, being eager to share information and willing to work with us to change our processes rather than dictate how things must be done. He is highly knowledgable about agile development (as his active blog proves) but his blog won't show what a friendly and knowledgeable guy he is. I highly recommend Kelly to anyone looking for a CTO or a seminar on agile/scrum practices - you won't be disappointed!”

ANDY JEFFRIES/TECHNICAL LEAD
IPC MEDIA

“Kelly was engaged as a Program Director on a complex business and technology transformation program for Suncorp Commercial Insurance. Kelly drew on his key capabilities and depth of experience to bring together disparate parties in a harmonised way, ensuring the initiate and concept phases of the program were understood and well formulated. Excellent outcome in a very short time frame. ”

BRUCE WEIR/EGM
SUNCORP

“Kelly’s a leading program director with the ability to take charge from day one and keep strong momentum at both a program and project level driving prioritisation, resourcing and budgeting agendas. Kelly operates with an easy-going style and possesses a strong facilitation skill set. From my 5 months experience working with Kelly, I would recommend Kelly to program manage large scale, complex, cross company change programs both from a business and IT perspective.”

LUKE SHARKEY /STRATEGY & IMPLEMENTATION LEADER
SUNCORP

“Kelly and I worked together on a very large project trying to secure a new Insurer client. Kelly had fantastic commercial awareness as well as his technical expertise. Without him I would never had secured this client so I owe a lot to him. He is also a really great guy!”

GINA MILLARD
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“I worked with Kelly whilst at Thoughtworks and found him to be a most inspiring individual, his common-sense approach coupled with a deep understanding of Agile and business makes him an invaluable asset to any organisation. I can't recommend Kelly enough.”

PETER THATCHER, SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR
ThoughtWorks

“Kelly is an extremely talented and visionary leader. As such he manages to inspire all around him to achieve their best. He is passionate about agile and has a wealth of experience to bring to bear in this area. If you're 'lucky' he might even tell you all about his agile blog. Above all this, Kelly is great fun to work with. He is always relaxed and never gets stressed - and trust me, he had plenty of opportunity here! If you get the chance to work with Kelly, don't pass it up.”

GILES BENTLEY, DEVELOPMENT & OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
TIME INC

“I worked with Kelly on many projects at IPC and I was always impressed with his approach to all of them, always ensuring the most commercially viable route was taken. He is great at managing relationships and it was always a pleasure working with him.”

BEATRIZ MONTOYA/CONSUMER MARKETING DIRECTOR
IPC MEDIA

“Kelly revolutionised the way our digital department operated. A true advocate of agile principles, he quickly improved internal communication within our teams and our internal clients by aligning our business and creating a much enhanced sense of transparency in the decisions the business was making. Kelly also introduced a higher sense of empowerment to the development teams...”

PETER SILVA-JANKOWSKI
IPC MEDIA

CONTACT US

To explore how we can help you, please get in touch