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Insights by Agilicist

Do I need to renew my scrum master certification?

As a Scrum Master should you renew your Scrum Master certification?

This question comes up a lot; whether it’s the CSM, PSM, LSM or SAFe Scrum Master and the answer is not a straight-forward yes or no. Like everything in software development – it’s more complex, and it really depends upon your own circumstances.

I’ll break it down to give some clarity so you can make the decision based upon your context:

The argument for renewing your Scrum Master certification

  • Hiring Managers often want valid certifications

If you are not currently working as a Scrum Master and are seeking a role as one, particularly in a large enterprise then it is sensible to stay up to date with your certification. There is a great deal of competition when it comes to the Scrum Master role and by having a valid accreditation you give yourself a better chance of success.

  • Renewal gives you continued access to the certification body’s community

The argument here is that connection to the community helps you excel in your role. You have instant access to support from others on a similar journey; you can ask questions, debate and confer. Depending on which body your accreditation is with, you may also have a large knowledge base of articles, templates and resources that you can tap into at any time.

The argument against renewing your Scrum Master certification

  • Knowledge ≠ Understanding

Knowledge does not equal understanding. If you are actively working as a Scrum Master, you have daily experience of Scrum and what it means. You have the initial knowledge, you took the original certification course, but by working as a Scrum Master you begin to develop an understanding of the role, of how agile works when practically applied and the challenges that come with it. This understanding is far more valuable than any knowledge you may obtain from renewing your certificate.

  • Self Learning

To excel and gain true mastery in anything you need to be a highly motivated self-learner – no community or certification can give you this, that’s on you. You don’t need a governing body telling you where to get your knowledge, you’ll actively seek it out on your own. Becoming truly agile is a journey of improvement, a series of incremental, small steps that involves continued education, personal development and self-assessment – paying a $50-$100 renewal fee doesn’t necessarily need to be a part of that.

So do you need to renew your Scrum Master certificate?

As I said at the beginning of this article, it’s dependent on your personal circumstances. What is essential though, if you want to excel at your job – whatever that is – if you want to improve and grow, you have to take personal responsibility for your own journey.

There is a whole world of information out there; being a Scrum Master doesn’t define you, there are opportunities everywhere – explore related subjects and courses, perhaps get certified in something related or look to tackle some of the more advanced aspects of Scrum mastery.

To get you started, here is some recommended reading:

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni

Scrum Mastery: From Good To Great Servant-Leadership – Geoff Watts

Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great – Esther Derby & Diana Larsen

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