As an Agile "newbie", you've probably wondered what the difference is between a Certified Scrum Master® (CSM) and a PMI-ACP® (Agile Certified Practitioner).

The CSM is the logical first step in advancing your Agile education.  This course covers the practices, principles, and terminology you will see when applying the Agile methodology.  This course does not require a specific amount of hands-on experience and the exam can be taken once you have completed the CSM course.   To quote the ScrumAlliance website, “A CSM course is just the first step.  Becoming agile is a lifelong journey.  Integrating Scrum principles and practices into your work environment requires diligence, patience, and a commitment to continuous improvement.”

On the other hand, the PMI-ACP® requires a certain level of practical experience in applying the agile methodology.  The ACP course covers principles, techniques, tools and practices of various agile methodologies (Scrum, Kanban, Lean, SDSM, TDD, XP, etc.).  

To earn the ACP certification, you must have 2,000 hours of general project experience (within the last 5 years) and, in addition to the 2,000 general hours, 1,500 hours working with agile methods or on agile project teams (within the last 3 years).   In addition to these project hours, you must also complete 21 hours of training.  

To quote the PMI website, the ACP is intended for practitioners who seek to “demonstrate to employers their professionalism in agile practices, tools, and techniques; increase their professional versatility in agile techniques; and possess a certification that is more credible than existing entry-level offerings based only on training or exams.”

As you can see, the PMI-ACP® is a much more in-depth certification that requires much more project experience, while the CSM is a first step in the agile journey. 

As you prepare for your CSM certification, we’d love to support you!

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