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Scrum Alliance Strengthens CSP Certification, Announces Beta

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CSPO LogoIn their June Newsletter, the Scrum Alliance announced plans to strengthen the Certified Scrum Professional (CSP) designation into "a certification program that meets worldwide standards for structure and testing required for accreditation." The CSP designation is a step beyond the Scrum Alliance's Certified Scrum Master (CSM) as it requires experience applying agile in the workplace. There is a new beta program for the CSP that adds a testing component; those who want to participate in the beta will need to wait for the details in the next Scrum Alliance Newsletter.

In June, the Scrum Alliance published a job analysis study for the CSP designation to define the knowledge and skills commensurate with the CSP certification. This effort was required because the CSP designation does not map directly to a Scrum role or job title. Per the study a panel of experts defined the characteristics of a CSP.

The CSP is an effective practitioner of Scrum and knowledgeable about other Agile frameworks. The CSP has responsibility for challenging the team to improve the manner in which all aspects of the method are implemented for every product. As a prerequisite, the CSP possesses skill in applying Scrum and other Agile methods to a wide variety of products and services. Candidates for the CSP designation have relevant work experience.

The panel of experts then defined the domain areas to be performed by CSP’s. A survey was distributed to select Scrum Alliance members to validate the importance of each area so that an exam consisting of 125 questions could be created with the number of questions being proportional to the importance of each of the domains.  The table below, adapted from the study, shows the domains and the number of test questions for each.

Domain Description Questions
Deliver Business Value A CSP guides the team to deliver the highest business value to solve today's problem to inform the selection of tomorrow’s top priority. 27
Foster Collaboration Teamwork is the heart of Agile development; the productivity of the team as a whole is much greater than that of the individual members. 27
Build Trust Product health and project status are readily reported in transparent, honest, and unambiguous terms, based on defined business value and fulfilled commitments. 21
Promote Supportive Culture CSPs facilitate understanding among executives, managers, and team members that high productivity only exists in a trusting environment, where learning is expected and mistakes and failure are accepted. Encourage Technical Excellence: CSPs support team members in making sound technical choices and taking a no-compromise attitude towards quality. 17
Share the Product Vision CSPs facilitate a shared overall vision of what the Agile team is working to achieve; this is the context in which the team will be maximizing business value. 11
Encourage Technical Excellence CSPs support team members in making sound technical choices and taking a no-compromise attitude towards quality. 13
Demonstrate Self-Improvement A CSP engages in self improvement (in a collaborative spirit), ultimately to enhance the team and the product and to build technical excellence. 9

Those interested in joining the beta should read the CSP analysis report while waiting for details to be released in the next Scrum Alliance Newsletter.

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