Not Scrum Certified and Staying that Way

“We believe that Scrum certification is of limited value.”

[Not April Fools] – This was stated by the guys over at a new site, promoting the growth and registration of those that have taken the vow of non-CSM-status. If you never want to become a CSM, or you’re interested in joining (a small group of less than 10 people) that will not become CSM, then join up! Why not.

Their values per the site:

  • Practical agile experience over attendance at a classroom based course
  • Practical agile experience over meaningless certificates
  • Practical agile experience over references from other certified individuals

We hereby renounce any Scrum certification we may already have and declare our intention to remain “Not Scrum Certified.”

Are people taking this denouncing your Certified ScrumMaster-issue way too seriously?

[HT: RenounceScrum]

20 Replies to “Not Scrum Certified and Staying that Way”

  1. I just checked out the site. So far, only 3 people have signed it. Maybe they could also set up a site called something like “Not a PMP”. I still hear people ranting about that as well.

    To have more of an impact, maybe they should also include “I am an Independent Signatory of The Manifesto for Agile Software Development” to the site.

    1. Derek – its funny you mention the signing the Agile Manifesto. I’ve never done that. I wasn’t a participant in the original discussions and even though I discovered it shortly after it was posted it always seemed slightly false to sign it after the fact.

      I also find the whole renounce your CSM thing rather funny. Its a class, often a very good class but no more. The real certification is a CSP – it requires experience.

      Caveat Emptor – I’m a CST and make my living teaching and coaching Scrum.


      1. Mark,
        Regardless if you were in the original discussions of the Agile Manifesto, becoming a signatory just means you support it. I signed it because I do support the principles behind it.

        I took the CSM because I supported what it represented but also (tragically) because the U.S. Federal Government will not view me as a SME unless I have a certification or accreditation associated with a subject matter. That’s a debate for another blog post.

        What I wish we all did was sign a document saying we have honorable motives. I understand it’s subjective and not really worth anything but it’s the best I have at the moment.

          1. I wonder how you’ll iterate on the NOT SCRUM CERTIFIED… i mean… how do you improve it other than make it a link?
            Maybe its as simple as… not doing it at all???… (no website?)…

        1. Nonetheless it feels false for me to sign it, just a bit to me to. Also it took me years after I first found it to have a really deep understanding of some of the statements.


  2. Things I did do for more than 40 years now seem to require a university title and quite some certification: program and project management, PMO support, requirements determination, business and information analysis, system design and engineering, programming, testing, implementation, release management, maintenance, and so on.

    Been there, seen it, done it! So it is quite strange that this extreme need for risk avoidance and risk management – where you only can get an assignment if you you did the same trick many times before- is shown in a time where our banks jeopardized our universe by taking and hiding so many risks. Our (tax payers) risk, their bonus never was at stake.

    Like we used to say decades earlier “it is not the method that matters”, we can repeat the mantra: “it is not just the certificate that matters”, it does not guarantee a thing.

  3. well it’s just should be called not CSM (Certified Scrum Master), but ASMC&CTSET (Attented Scrum Master Course & Clicked Through Super Easy Test)

    Than it wouldn’t be misleading as it is now 🙂

  4. I have to say, I avoided the CSM for years and when I finally went, I thought I wouldn’t learn anything. I left the course and thought it was a waste of time. Something funny happened over the next few weeks, though. After coming back to work, it re-energized me and challenged me to look at our use of Scrum and how to improve it. It reminded me of the basics and helped me take a step back to look at the process.

    In the end, I was converted. My only real complaint is that it shouldn’t be seen as an achievement, rather as a training and general information course. People view it as a way to demonstrate applied knowledge of Scrum and Agile implementation, but I don’t believe that is its intention – otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to get it so easily.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Ashley – I believe you’re on point when you say that it can be seen as a simple training and information course. It’s the beginning steps on one’s agile journey!

        1. Mark, I also ask why anyone would believe the PMP exam is anything more than PM101. I think it is because some have falsely elevated it to something it is not. That’s just my opinion. Just as I see people complain that a CSM is not a Master of Scrum, a PMP is not necessarily a Professional Project Manager. Hopefully, people pursuing either will be receptive to new ideas or reminded of the basics.

  5. I think there is (obviously) growing dissatisfaction with the certifaction game.

    But I think a similar and related issue is, if companies are hiring “CSM”, then and they care about that, then that means they want to run a “by the book” scrum shop.

    Even people who are pro scrum don’t want to get into that, because they want to inspect and adapt the process.

    They know that if someone wants to hire a CSM, that most likely they won’t have that freedom.

    So I think part of this antiCSM stuff is based on the monetary and paper certifcate aspect, and just as much or more is a growing knowledge that “by the book Scrum” is not universally applicable, and so requiring a certification is a dangerous road to travel down.


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