A Quick Guide to Agile Project Management Certifications

A Quick Guide to Agile Project Management Certifications



As you transition to agile, you're going to be faced with decisions about certifications. If you're thinking about transitioning into an agile project management role, you have a couple choices: Scrum Master or agile project manager.

Since the Scrum Master and the agile project manager are essentially the same role, it's up to each person whether he or she wants to become certified as a Scrum Master or an agile project manager.

There are three choices for certifications for these roles, and the exams are very similar:

The PMAC exam is pretty much the same as the ScrumMaster Certification exam. The PMI exam has an additional "ethics" section to it, and may also have questions on types of agile methods such as DSDM, FDD, XP, Lean, etc.

However, the criteria for certification requirements are a little different between the various certifying bodies. 

The CSM designation (Scrum Master) requires:

  • A person become familiar with Scrum. The Scrum Guide can be downloaded for free from the Scrum Alliance website. They have also compiled a list of resources to help you see how Scrum transforms the world of work.
  • An in-person, two-day (16-hour) CSM course taught by a Scrum Alliance authorized trainer. After successfully completing the course, you are required to pass the CSM exam. To get a passing score, you must correctly answer 24 of the 35 questions.
  • That you accept the Scrum Alliance license agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile. 

The PMI-ACP (PMI Agile Certified Practitioner) requires:

  • 1,500 hours working on agile project teams or with agile methodologies.
  • 2,000 hours working on project teams.
  • 21 hours of education in agile practices.

Cert.APM (Certified Agile Project Manager) requires: 

  • That you complete a PMAC-accredited agile project management course within the 12 months prior to the application. 
  • Have a recognized project management credential, or document a minimum of one year of project, portfolio or programme management experience, which will be approved by the certification body operational committee of the PMAC.

In all of these, you are also required to continue learning and obtain PDUs (for the PMI) and SEUs (for the Scrum Alliance) throughout the year to keep your professional designations relevant and up to date.


Dananthi is the agile coach for a large financial organization, where she helps teams transition to an agile project management framework.

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