n the contemporary era of application-based lifestyle management, organizations looking forward to an ‘Agile’ transformation must take one baby step at a time to make steady progress. In order to practice Agile, the majority of the projects in IT organizations are marching towards adopting the Scrum Framework. So, it is essential that they not just employ Agile consultants, but also groom their workforce to be ‘Agile Ready’. 

What’s what?

If you are an aspiring Scrum Master or someone already playing that role, but you do not have a certification in Scrum yet, Professional Scrum Master (PSM I®) is one amongst the most desirable choices to opt for. It judges both your theoretical and practical knowledge in dealing with real-world problems and explores your skills in pulling off a viable solution.

PMI-ACP® aka PMI Agile Certified Practitioner focuses more on the development of agile methodologies in the working of an organization than about emphasizing on the usage of Scrum. PMI-ACP® is a lot more popular than PSM I® and deals with several agile approaches such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, extreme programming (XP) and test-driven development (TDD). 

Value

It is estimated that certified professionals in project management earn around 20-30% more than their non-certified peers. 

PSM I® is aimed at developing efficient Scrum Masters and for anybody training a team towards increased effectiveness. The value of PSM I® certification is not just in acquiring the certification itself, but in the manner in which you prepare, learn, experiment, experience and adapt. 

PMI-ACP® is the most comprehensive and highly demanded certifications offered by the Project Management Institute and contains several approaches to Agile which no other similar certifications offer. This certification holds a great level of professional integrity as it combines Agile training on projects and examining Agile tools and fundamentals. 

Certification validity

PSM I® is a Scrum.org certification. Unlike Scrum Alliance certifications, certifications by Scrum.org are lifelong and do not require any additional payments for renewal.  

PMI-ACP® certification is valid for three years only. Accumulating Professional Development Units (PDUs) by spending time on learning, teaching, or volunteering over three years, will help you maintain your certification status. 

Prerequisite 

The key aspect in PSM I® certification is that you need not have a mandatory classroom training as a prerequisite. 

Whereas in PMI-ACP® certification, a requisite of 2000 hours of project experience as a team, 1500 hours of Agile work experience as a team and 21 contact hours of Agile practice training is mandatory. 

Examination format 

PSM I®

  • Questions: Multiple choices allowing multiple answers and True/False type.
  • Number of questions – 80
  • Duration – 60 minutes
  • Cost – US$150 per attempt 

PMI-ACP®

  • Multiple-choice questions 
  • Number of questions – 120
  • Duration – 180 minutes
  • Cost: Member: US$435; Non-member: US$495 

Takeaway

Lifelong validity, standardized content, and much lesser fees have caused a lot of candidates to choose PSM I® certification. Although, if you want to expand your knowledge beyond Scrum, PMI-ACP® certification is the appropriate option. However, considering the above factors, it is wise to choose the most suitable certification based on your specific needs and expectations.

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