Certifications and Tools

Certifications and Tools (Submit 1 document)

1) Write a 500 word description comparing the following certifications:


Scrum Alliance (CSM, CPO)



If there are multiple certifications in each organizations, compare the ones that are most relevant to other certifications.

2) Write a 500 word comparison of the Agile Tools for Scrum using the topics listed below  – include how they relate to the Agile Project Manager.









Pivotal Tracker

Some suggested topics to compare:

Backlog management

Dashboards and reports

Sprints – Plan, Track and Manage

Release Planning

Planning, Task, and ScrumBan Boards

Teams and Roles

Burndown Charts

Project Management

Program Management


1) Write a 500 word description comparing the following certifications:

There are different types of certifications available for each agile role – Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Developer. I will first start by comparing four different Scrum Master Certifications. There are PMI-ACP, CSM by Scrum Alliance, and PSM I from Scrum.org and SSMS from SAFe.

PSM I from Scrum.org stands for Professional Scrum Master. This is the most straightforward in terms of qualifications as you don’t need to take courses to be eligible for the exam. You can be certified as long as you pass the online exam that tests your knowledge. Price for this exam is $150. While the qualification itself is simple, the level of difficulty for the exam is high. There are 80 multiple choice and true/false questions and the passing mark is 85%.

CSM from Scrum Alliance is also a popular certification. It stands for Certified Scrum Master. This certification is basically the opposite of PSM I from Scrum.Org because you are required to take certain courses for a 2-day training and these courses have a hefty price, but the exam is easy to pass. The exam is included as one component of the online course. You are given 90 days to take the exam that is consisted of 35 multiple choice and true/false questions. You need to answer at least 24 questions correctly to pass the exam. In addition, you are expected to renew the certification every two years for a $100 fee.

PMI-ACP stands for Agile Certified Practitioner from the Project Management Institute. This is both a difficult and expensive certification. The exam costs $400 and the exam is difficult to pass. There are a total of 120 multiple choice questions and you need to get at least 135 questions correct to pass the exam. The qualification for this certification is the hardest as it not only requires you to take courses in a classroom or through an e-learning experience, but also require that you have at least 2000 hours of project experience and 1500 hours specific to agile projects and 21 hours of training in agile practices. This certification not only addresses the Scrum framework, but also includes other agile methodology like Kanban, Lean, and eXtreme Programming.

SSM stands for SAFe Scrum Master from Scaled Agile. This is a fairly new certification geared at professionals who are trying to scale Agile framework on an enterprise level. This certification particularly focuses on the key components of scaled agile framework and how scrum is facilitated throughout the entire enterprise from planning to execution. One thing that is interesting from the SSM exam is that it is offered for free on your first attempt if you take the exam within 30 days from completion of a 2-day training course. It is consisted of 43 multiple choice questions and you need to get at least 31 correct to pass the exam. Similar to the CSM from Scrum Alliance, there is a renewal fee of $100 that is charged every year once you are certified.

2) Write a 500 word comparison of the Agile Tools for Scrum using the topics listed below  – include how they relate to the Agile Project Manager.

I will be comparing 4 different Agile Tools used for Scrum – Atlassian, VersionOne, Axosoft, and Pivotal Tracker.

Atlassian JIRA is the main software that is used by the engineers at our company. They are famous for their project management tool for bug and issue tracking. At our company, even non-engineers can open a JIRA ticket that can be linked to a project or a sprint release depending on the business need. Some of the key features include Scrum and Kanban boards, detailed reporting, hundreds of plugins, and customizable workflows. Individuals can create custom reports to track sprint by sprint performance in real time and also follow other people or team’s Kanban boards. There are numerous plugins that are available for companies to customize their use of JIRA and similar case holds true for workflows. Instead of following a unified workflow across the board, teams can generate custom workflows that are relevant for certain processes.

VersionOne is another agile project tool that supports not just Scrum and Kanban, but also hybrid models and XP and SAFe techniques. Some of the key features are portfolio management, program management, elaborate reporting, and collaboration tools. Similar to Atlassian JIRA, VersionOne allows users to use Kanban boards and allows them to see everything from specific tasks to stories and epics. The tool also has a PlanningRooms module that encourages effective collaboration among different team members. User can be notified for everything that one desires to follow. There is also detailed reporting available where multi-dimensional reporting is supported and analytics component that helps teams keep track of their changing requirements. This software particularly emphasizes team collaboration and therefore has an advanced communication framework that connects not just team members, but also external stakeholders such as customers.

Axosoft is another leading scrum tool for agile project management. The UI looks very similar to Trello, which is a free software that is approachable for even non-agile users. Key features include delivery planning, visualizing workflows, collaboration tools, and detailed reporting. Reporting shows velocity charts, burndown charts, and capacity indicators. Kanban board is set so that one can easily drag and drop tasks. There are a wide array of tools used for backlog lists, release, and sprints. Users can also utilize a customer portal for incident tracking. It can accept tickets, create documentation through wikis and also provide updates.

The last tool I want to introduce is Pivotal Tracker, which is a story-based agile project management software. This software is unique in that it supports collaboration between developers and non-software teams. Some of its key features are single view principle, clean and straightforward UI, story management and point assignment. The first and foremost feature is the single view principle. Regardless of one’s position in the company, everyone shares the same view on current progress of the project. The dashboard is straightforward and clean in that it displays a nice picture of the entire project and has visibility into all modifications and suggestions. Pivotal Tracker makes it easy for users to create stories and place them in the backlog, push them up and down from the iteration plan and build roadmaps by grouping stories into larger epics. At the same time users can easily share and exchange opinion inside the tool. Similar to Scrummage, this tool allows users to assign points based on the expected weight of the story, which helps with estimation for product delivery.

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