Cheap Certified Scrum Master Training

In tough economic times with a lot of people out of work and employers cutting back on training budgets few can afford the kind of big-budget, fancy hotel courses which were the staple of corporate training even just a short while ago. So Tobias Mayer has started a no-frills way to get “certified scrum master” status and spread the agile/scrum way of working. He calls it WelfareCSM.

The cost is essentially $50 (to the Scrum Alliance for the certificate) plus a voluntary contribution to cover any room costs etc. Sort out your own food and transport. Even for those of us who regard agile certification as a dubious concept this is pretty tempting.

Reading between the lines, though. It appears that the different agile “camps” may be slipping into a battle for mind-share. If Scrum certification becomes more widely available and understood, then alternative approaches (particularly XP, but also all the other adapted, customized and home-brewed agile working practices) may seem to have less value to employers and clients.



  1. Hi Frank,
    Thanks for mentioning WelfareCSM. I don’t feel Scrum (i.e. the Scrum Alliance) is battling with anyone for mind-share. I know I am not. Good Scrum implementations use most of the XP practices, and all good Scrum trainers will recommend those practices. But then, apart from Scrum and XP what other implementable ideas are out there in the Agile world? That’s a serious question.

  2. I guess my point was not really to contrast Scrum and XP – I’m happy that they address different issues. The main difference for me is the emphasis on certification and the potential limiting effects this may have on teams’ freedom to adapt, customise and experiment.

    In my exprience, other forms of project management certification (such as PRINCE 2) have certainly had such an effect.

    The “other implementable ideas” from this point of view are the myriad of subtly different but broadly agile processes adapted (and continuing to adapt) to suit particular situations.

    All of this doesn’t stop me being tempted to go for the cert myself, though 🙂 The tough bit for me would be finding someone not in the software business who would consider the expense and time of travel to Brighton worthwhile.

  3. For me, Scrum certification is simply a starting point for a personal journey towards better ways of working. I encourage people to adapt the ideas to suit context /while respecting the core principles and practices/. Scrum is like chess, many strategies but bound by some very simple rules. Create your own strategies, for sure, but you can’t break the rules, or there is no game.

    Hope to see you in Brighton 🙂

  4. Now that Welfare CSM is no more, are there any ideas for low-cost scrum-master certifications? There does not appear to actually be any CSM scholarship information available on the scrum alliance site. $2K for training is not in the budget for many.

  5. I would love to get CSM status but like Claire, there is no way i can afford the current course rates. I was obviously to late for WelfareCSM but does anyone else know where i could get trained and Certified cheap for the unemployed?

  6. founded by Ken Schwaber, who is also the founder and former CEO of the Scrum Alliance offers a certification test called the Professional Scrum Master (levels 1 and 2). The main differences appear to be that you don’t have the tie-in of the $1200 course that you see with Scrum Alliance. At, you can just pay to take the test. Another major difference is that you must score at least between 85-90%, depending on the test. Where as with Scrum Alliance, you just pay the course fee and you get a certificate. Based on my research there is no difference in the materials covered in the certification test, only the presentation of materials. I would love to hear from a Scrum Alliance rep confirming or refuting this. I am less concerned with which organization has the largest market share. I AM concerned a quantitative review of materials covered under each certification program.

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