Someone recently asked me what does it take to become a CSP. So I looked up the CSP requirements on the Scrum Alliance web page, to double check the requirements.
The CSP is the first rating in the Scrum Alliance structure that actually means something. A CSM has attended a class from a Certified Scrum Trainer (and starting October 1, will have passed a multiple choice test on Scrum). So a CSM is a trained apprentice.
A CSP is someone who actually has experience with Scrum. To become a CSP, you must provide evidence of at least one year of Scrum practice and be a member in good standing of the Scrum Alliance as a CSM or CSPO. The latter requirement means you must have taken a CSM or CSPO course from a Certified Scrum Trainer. You must have been doing Scrum for at least a year. You no longer have to wait 12 months after taking the CSM course – which is a sensible change. If you’re the type who will read a book and then do Scrum, you probably have the right stuff to become a Practitioner, with or without the CSM Course.
Unlike other certifications, the CSP is not a multiple choice test which is graded to some arbitrary standard. It is a collection of 15 essay questions about how you have used Scrum in a real project, 5 questions about how Scrum works, and one question about how you have worked with the Scrum Community. It is reviewed by other Scrum Practitioners (If someone can give me better information about the process, please let me know).
So the CSP is a peer reviewed certification of people who have actually been doing Scrum. It means, you’re now a journeyman ScrumMaster.
I became a CSP in August 2008. As I write this, there are some 60’000 CSM’s and about 800 CSP’s (and only 20 Certified Scrum Coaches, CSCs, the master level of certification).
The CSP hasn’t really captured the attention of the marketplace, which is unfortunate, because these are the people who really know and do Scrum. I think the CSP is a way of demonstrating competence in and commitment to Scrum and should be recognized by the market.