Choosing the Right Scrum Training Path

Lindsay Scott also shares tips for returning to a job after a long absence, going back to professional conferences and raising your LinkedIn game.

Which Scrum Master certification should I pursue—CSM or PSM? 

As the need for agility increases, Scrum training and certifications have a lot of value—particularly if you’re responsible for connecting multiple teams and managing the complexity that spans them. While Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Professional Scrum Master (PSM) certifications have many similarities, knowing the main differences can help you decide which fits best for your time commitment and career. 

CSM comes with a training course, exam and the need to renew your credentials every two years. By contrast, with PSM, you can simply take the exam if you are already experienced in leading Scrum teams. Many believe that PSM is the more difficult assessment to pass—and it gives you the option to progress to the advanced level, PSM II.  

The choice depends on your approach to self-development. If you respond well to an instructor- or trainer-led course and are skilled at carving out personal time, CSM might be the one for you. But you’ll need to be disciplined and self-accountable regardless of which you choose.  

CSM and PSM aren’t your only options, of course. PMI’s Disciplined Agile® Scrum Master (DASM) certification helps you gain the knowledge for both team level and organization level and target the most effective way of working.  

Since returning from a protracted illness, my manager has assigned me only small projects. What should I do? 

There are myriad reasons why your manager might hold you back after an extended absence. It could merely be a professional courtesy—giving you a chance to rebuild momentum before you return to managing complex, high-wire projects. While it’s a natural urge for you to want to jump right back into the fire, a more deliberate transition to managing demanding projects can be helpful. 

At the same time, it’s also understandable to wonder: Are they limiting your responsibilities out of fear that your illness will return—or because other project leaders moved ahead of you while you were away?  

Don’t let ambiguity fester. Clear the air as quickly as possible with your manager so there’s no misunderstanding about expectations and capabilities. Show appreciation for being able to restart with smaller projects, but let your manager know that you’re ready to take on more challenging work. If your manager is reluctant to have that conversation, ask human resources to intervene. They can set up a formal meeting with your manager and help you navigate the next steps.  

Seeking immediate clarity will accelerate your transition and get you back into the bustling and invigorating project routine that you miss.  

I want to travel to a conference. How do I convince my organization to pay for it? 

It’s great that in-person professional conferences are happening again—but attending live events introduces extra costs like airfare, accommodations and meals. After more than two years of virtual events, let’s hope your organization’s training budgets have been updated to cover those expenses—or at least some of them.  

The best way to convince your company to cover it all? Submit a business case that clearly articulates what the ROI will be for you—and the organization.  

For example, if you’re planning to attend PMI Global Summit in Las Vegas in December, show your managers the event program, highlight the sessions you plan to attend and explain how the event will have a direct impact on the way you manage projects. Promise that you’ll share those learnings with others in the organization. You can also detail how professional networking will help capture some informal benchmarking on how your company tackles projects versus the wider project management community. Finally, remind managers that attending conferences will help earn professional development units that are necessary to maintain certifications like PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP)®.  

I have ignored my LinkedIn page since the start of the pandemic. Got any quick fixes? 

It sounds like you need to restart your LinkedIn activity. Engaging with your professional connections is a great way to gain knowledge and expand your network. For now, I’d recommend five simple steps to revive your social media presence: 

  1. Follow your organization and share one of its posts with your network—personalizing it with some of your own thoughts about the topic.
  2. Join a project management group. Introduce yourself and tell people why you joined.
  3. Post something that you’ve learned over the last couple of weeks. It could be an insight from a recent project or a link to an article.
  4. Create a short live video. It could be a snippet from a team gathering or a professional development conference you attended.
  5. Be spontaneous. Comment on a post from the first person you’re connected with but haven’t talked with in ages. Even if it’s just saying hello, it’s a step toward engagement that could spur more activity and connections. 


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