Difference Between CSM and PMP

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Jan 31, 2024

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CSM and PMP are both very important when it comes to management related positions. To make a comprehensive analysis of CSM and PMP, we first need to conceptualize the topic in a broader sense. 

This article is structured to guide you through each subject elaborately. The article will cover certification details, the exam pattern, fee details and enable you to decide which is the best option for you.  

Let us understand each subject crisply and clearly and then proceed to the comparison of both the certifications in detail.

What is PMP?                  

A Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is a widely acclaimed credential that certifies a project managers' experience based on his core competence and skill set.

This certification is accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI), USA. 

Why choose PMP?

  • PMP certified managers are in high demand as these professionals possess a standardized set of demonstrated capability in handling complicated procedures and managing resources from diverse backgrounds.
  • These professionals are equipped in transforming an organizations' vision into a realizable goal.
  • They would become experts in achieving clear set targets with optimized resources by strategically balancing the process of project execution.

PMP Exam pattern 

To appear for a PMP exam, you need to hold a degree, higher education in project management and years of experience as a project manager. All this gain only an entry to an examination that is unquestionably tough to crack. The exam questions are a mix of logical, theoretical and reasoning sections that demand hours of preparation.

PMP examination is conducted in a Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) format. 200 questions will be posed and a student will be expected to answer 175. The remaining 25 are pre test questions. The time duration for the exam is 4 hours. 

PMP Certification cost

The cost of the certification varies on many factors mainly the country of residence and the institution that offers the course. Also, the cost is dependent on whether you opt for classroom training, online training or you wish to go self paced.The cost also varies between registered PMI members and non PMI members.

The cost according to PMI in 2024, is given in the table below, in USD:

  1. PMI certification with PMI membership  ---------> $405
  2. PMI certification without PMI membership -------> $555

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What is CSM?

A Certified Scrum Master (CSM) is a professional certification awarded to a person who has mastered the skills of managing a team, leading their events and delivering their targets by following the agile methodology of project management. 

The agile methodology utilizes the Scrum framework, which enables the professional to handle complex problems efficiently and deliver the most productive results within the stipulated time frame. 

A CSM certification relies purely on proof of knowledge obtained through intense training on the prescribed Scrum framework.

Why Choose CSM?

  • Though the Scrum framework was used only in the software domain until a while ago, its sphere of influence has spread within a short period.
  • Scrum certified professionals are test engineers, business analysts, developers, support managers and quality controllers who follow the best principles in adopting the agile methodology
  • CSM professionals are valued in those industries that follow agile principles for their work flow.

CSM exam pattern

A person will have to attend at least 16 hours of in person training to qualify for the CSM online exam. That means a minimum of 2 day classroom training from a well recognized institution is mandatory to appear for the exam.Though no prior experience or specialized educational qualification is required, a basic idea of software development will be sufficient to follow the classroom training.

The exam consists of 50 MCQ to be answered within a time frame of one hour. Of the 50 questions, a minimum of 37 right answers are required to clear the exam.

CSM certification cost

CSM is accredited only by authorized training institutions registered globally. The cost for CSM certification 

  • CSM certification for first two attempts -------> 25k-30k(INR)
  • CSM certification on the third attempt additional -----------> $25

The cost is inclusive of the classroom training, study material and the mentoring provided by the training institute.

Differences between CSM and PMP

As we have defined both the certifications, let us look at their differences:

Differences based on Methodology

1. PMP professionals, utilize a framework prescribed by PMBOK (Project Management Body Of Knowledge)

  • PMBOK offers predefined solutions to complex problems; it identifies best practices, makes us understand technical terminologies.
  • PMBOK guides them through the standard procedures adopted successfully so far.
  • A PMP certified manager will be able to adopt the methods prescribed in the framework to glide through the project workflow easily.
  • Hence it would be ideal for someone who wishes to follow a waterfall methodology, by enforcing their knowledge in leveraging a framework.

2. A Scrum Certified Master, on the other hand, utilizes his competency in practicing a process in the Agile Scrum methodology.

  • Scrum is an agile process that aids to deliver the best feasible outcome in the least possible time frame.
  • A CSM can effectively manage a team, set up a solid work pattern and make iterative progress towards delivering an agreed-upon result.
  • Thus, a CSM is one who best utilizes a particular process (the Scrum) irrespective of the domain or resource constraints.

Differences based on career path

  • While PMP certification aims at accrediting an individual based on his skill and experience in being a Project manager, A CSM moulds an individual to be capable of adapting to a prescribed Scrum model that guides him in resolving complex problems and delivering best solutions.
  • A large project may comprise of scrum teams and project managers, and decision making between the teams will have to be emphasized by the manager concerned.
  • PMP is ideal for you if you want to gain traction as a manager in a particular domain.
  • CSM is an ideal choice if you wish to adopt the particular Agile Scrum framework that can be implemented in industries that operate on Agile methodology.

A detailed list of differences has been given clearly in the table below:

Pre requisitesNo specific educational qualification or experience requiredDemands a degree and professional experience
Certification BodyScrum AllianceProject Management Institute(PMI)
Exam PatternMCQ pattern. 37/50 to be obtained to clear the exam200 questions. 175 to be answered. 25 pretest questions
Exam duration1 hour4 hours
Certification costaround 30,000 INR28,000-33,000 INR ($405)
Exam difficulty levelEasy to crack with guidance from a recognized institutionDemands tedious practice and mock test attempts
Who will benefit?Developers, test engineers, support executivesManagers with experience in handling a team
What will you learn?Ability to implement agile methodologyTrain to utilize PMBOK framework

Also Read: PMP Vs Six Sigma

To Summarise

CSM and PMP are two different skill sets, and an individual will have to decide which one to select based on their chosen career path. The roles of a CSM and PMP may sometimes overlap but mostly these work on different methodologies and principles.

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Once you have decided on your certification, StarAgile is thoroughly equipped to offer you the required tools, classroom training and study materials to crack any certification at ease. The in-depth study materials and training from faculties with over 20 years of domain expertise allows you to grasp even complex concepts in an easy manner.

Anyone interested in the CSM Certification can enrol for our Certified Scrum Master Training

Anyone interested in the PMP Certification can enrol for our PMP Certification Online Training

For more information about courses, please reach us at +91 – 80502 05233

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