3 ways to find the right training

“I didn't know that at all!” I recently heard this statement more often, but what happened?
Over the past few months, people have repeatedly approached me about training offers and asked why there are so big differences in price and performance on the training market. What usually follows is a long conversation about various aspects, interrupted by the statement “I didn't even know that!”. I can understand that, because a quick Google search for “Scrum Master Training” shows almost 18 million entries. It's easy to lose track of things and feel like you're in a real training jungle.
So how can we make sure we don't get lost in this very jungle? In this blog I do not want to go into what makes a good trainer or training course, because it is not my place to rate this. But what I would like to do instead is to provide a little more clarity about the offers and to respond to the 3 most common questions I get.


1. What are the differences between an official scrum.org training and an unofficial one?

This is a question that is difficult to answer across the board, since even non-certified trainers can be good trainers. If I had to try to answer this question in general, then I would respond to the following:
a) Consistency of training
A training given by a PST (Professional Scrum Trainer) guarantees a high level of quality, as each PST is individually checked by scrum.org (with its around 400 PSTs worldwide) and parameters such as continuous participant feedback, stock rates and the development of the PST are evaluated will.

b) Reference Guide
Only an official training will give you the appropriate reference guide for the training. These are training documents with complementary practices and material to the content of the course, which was created by the collective of the PST Community and scrum.org. The content and scope varies depending on the course, at PSPO there are currently 191 pages, for example.

c) Wisdom of crowds & networking
PSTs are networked with one another. You use formal and informal groups, you co-train together, you exchange ideas. There are (virtual) face 2 face meetings every month, in which courses, exam questions and feedback from participants are discussed and implemented. In addition, a PST that cannot help you directly will always know another PST that can. This can be the case, for example, when it comes to a course for which you are not licensed yourself.

2. I see PSM, PSPO, but also CSM, CSPO. What exactly is the difference?

There are two large and globally recognized certification organizations, which is why I am excluding offers such as TÜV Rheinland here. These two are scrum.org and Scrum Alliance. The question is not which certification is better, because that is debatable and partly subjective, so such a discussion would not be too valuable. Instead, I would like to address the differences in the business model.
Basically, these can be summarized on two levels:
a) Scope of the test
Both entities offer a so-called online assessment, which differs in scope, presented using the example of the Scrum Master Training: With Scrum Alliance you have to answer 50 multiple-choice questions within 1 hour and answer at least 74% correctly.
At scrum.org, the scope is 80 questions within 1 hour, and you need at least 80% to pass.

b) Period of validity of the certificate
The second big difference is the validity of the certificate. With Scrum Alliance you will receive a certificate for two years and then have to update it. Certificates at scrum.org are valid for life and do not have to be renewed.

c) Coupling of a training with the certificate
The third big difference is that the Scrum Alliance makes the certification dependent on the participation in a training, while at scrum.org the assessment can also be carried out without participation in the training. This has advantages, but also disadvantages, which I would now like to discuss.

-> Be clear about what is important to you in relation to your certificate. Talk to participants in both assessments about their experiences and weight them based on your preferences.

3. "Why are there so big price differences for the" same "training?"

In general, the above-mentioned organizations do not offer training themselves, but this is done via partners, licensed trainers (CSTs at Scrum Alliance, PSTs at scrum.org) who have gone through a rigorous certification process. The above-mentioned freedom of decoupled certification that scrum.org offers you, however, leads to a large number of training courses for PSM, PSPO, etc., since not only training courses from scrum.org PSTs are on the market, but theoretically everyone can carry out such training can, too. There is nothing wrong with this at first, but there is often uncertainty and surprise among participants, because these trainings do not correspond to the official training (e.g. PSM 1).
"How do I know that I am taking part in an official scrum.org training?" If you are unsure whether you are attending or have participated in an official scrum.org training course, there are several ways to check this.
a) Ask about the trainer
Ask your training provider for the trainer who will carry out the training. If it is a scrum.orglicensed and certified trainer, you will find an overview listed here. Only PSTs are allowed to conduct official scrum.org courses, which are further developed in cooperation with course stewards.

b) Check your scrum.org profile
If you have participated in an official course, you can see this in your profile. You can see an example in Figure 2.
If the course does not appear there, I recommend that you search for your PST (see a)) and contact it. He will then be able to help you.
I hope that I have brought a little clarity to the training jungle and I wish you every success with your future training sessions! If you have any feedback or ideas for new blog posts, you can always reach me. Write me an email to anastasios@nextagile.de, or just give me a call.
Until next time.