PMP VS CSM- 10 Major Differences

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Project management is a critical aspect of any business, and there are many project management methodologies to choose from. Two of the most popular methodologies are PMP and CSM. In this article, we will discuss the differences between PMP and CSM and help you determine which methodology is the best fit for your business.

An Overview of PMP

PMP, or Project Management Professional, is a certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). PMP certification is based on the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) guide, which outlines the best practices and guidelines for project management. PMP focuses on five process groups: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. It also focuses on ten knowledge areas, which include project integration management, project scope management, project time management, project cost management, project quality management, project resource management, project communication management, project risk management, project procurement management, and project stakeholder management.

An Overview of CSM

CSM, or Certified Scrum Master, is a certification offered by the Scrum Alliance. Scrum is an Agile framework for project management that emphasises teamwork, collaboration, and communication. Scrum is based on the idea of iterative and incremental development, where a project is broken down into small pieces and completed in short sprints. The Scrum framework includes three roles: the product owner, the Scrum master, and the development team. The framework also includes four ceremonies: sprint planning, daily stand-up, sprint review, and sprint retrospective.

Read more: 7 Topmost Project Management Certifications for Beginners

PMP And CSM- Why Are They So Different?

Here we will discuss the differences between PMP and CSM. Following is a detailed analysis of the two

1. Traditional vs. agile

One of the main differences between PMP and CSM is their approach to project management. PMP is a traditional project management methodology that focuses on planning and control. It is based on the idea that a project should be completed in a linear fashion, with each phase completed before moving on to the next. CSM, on the other hand, is an Agile methodology that emphasizes flexibility and adaptability. It is based on the idea that a project should be completed in short sprints, with each sprint providing value to the customer.

2. Diversity in focus areas

Another difference between PMP and CSM is their focus. PMP focuses on the entire project life cycle, from initiation to closure. It covers all aspects of project management, including scope, time, cost, quality, and risk management. CSM, on the other hand, focuses on the development process. It emphasises collaboration, communication, and teamwork to ensure that the product meets the customer’s needs.

3. Easy eligibility criteria

The certification process for PMP and CSM is also different. To become PMP certified, you must have a minimum of three years of project management experience and 35 hours of project management education. To become CSM certified, you must attend a two-day CSM course.

4.Type of questions

PMP and CSM both contain multiple-choice questions. The difference lies in the number of questions and the time to attempt the questions. PMP consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, while the CSM exam consists of 35 multiple-choice questions.

5. Duration of exam

The time to take the PMP exam is 4 hours. This time is to suffice the number of questions you are required to solve in the exam. On the other hand, the CSM exam has to be solved in 1 hour.

6. Study domains/ topics

The exam content of the PMP certification, as given on the PMI website, is divided into three domains:

  • People

The exam content on the domain of people in topics such as conflict management, supporting a team, leading a team, negotiating project agreements, managing the stakeholders, etc.

  • Process

The process part of the course includes topics such as managing communications, assessing and managing risks, planning and managing budget and resources, planning and managing schedule and scope, etc.

  • Business environment

The business environment part includes planning and managing project compliance, evaluating and delivering project benefits and value, supporting organizational change, etc.

Follow this link for the Preparation of  PMP Certification

The exam content for CSM certification, which is taught by the CST are:

  1. Product Backlogs
  2. Sprints
  3. Scrum roles
  4. Scrum history and basics
  5. Scrum scalability
  6. Planning releases and sprints
  7. Team organisation and building
  8. Conducting meetings which include Daily Scrum
  9. Issues arising implementing Scrum methods
  10. Creating tasks and reports

Click here for the Exam Details of the CSM Certification 

7. Cost of credential

The cost of obtaining PMP and CSM certification is also different. The cost of PMP certification varies depending on whether you are a PMI member or not. For PMI members, the cost is $405, and for non-members, the cost is $555. The cost of CSM certification varies depending on the training provider, but it usually ranges from $1,000 to $1,500.

8. Time for preparation

You will need one to two months, based on your previous knowledge, to properly complete the PMP certification in order to be able to absorb all the information found in the related materials. It takes a lot of preparation and hard work to pass the PMP test.

You will just need three days to complete the CSM certification. You must take a two-day workshop with a qualified Scrum alliance coach, who will teach you the agile values and Scrum framework before you can apply to CSM. You will be qualified to take the CSM exam following these two days. It will only take one or two more days to review the material from the classes in order to get ready for the exam.

9. Exam invigilation

When taking the PMP exam, you must do so in a venue that has been approved by PMI, is guarded by security cameras, and does not have internet access. The CSM exam is accessible online, and you can take it from any location (such as your home or office).

10. Jobs offered

There are various job opportunities for PMP certified as given below:

  • Project Manager Consultant
  • Project Director 
  • Engineering Project Manager
  • Product Owner 
  • Project Coordinator 
  • Portfolio and Program Manager 

The average salary of a PMP is $105,000 annually.

CSM is designed for the following candidates:

  • Test engineers
  • Support executives 
  • Product supporter 

The average salary of CSM is $75,000 annually.

Read more: Top Business Intelligence Certifications

PMP or CSM-Which is best for you?

When it comes to choosing between PMP and CSM, there are several factors to consider. The first factor is the type of project you are working on. If you are working on a large, complex project with a long timeline, PMP may be the better choice. PMP provides a structured approach to project management, which can help ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget. If you are working on a small, less complex project with a short timeline, CSM may be the better choice. CSM provides a flexible approach to the project.

Whatever certification you choose, it is important to excel in that with remarkable success. Dumpsgate offers the most comprehensive and updated practice material for the most fruitful exam preparation.


The project management industry has distinct uses for the PMP and CSM credentials. The PMP certification may be more useful if you wish to work as a project manager because it covers a wider range of projects. If you work on projects that follow Agile methodology, CSM is helpful.

Project managers have significantly higher salaries than the scrum masters. Project managers have a more diverse scope, and they work on a broader network. CSM salaries may be higher depending on their years of experience.

Anyone who works in an industry or for an organisation that uses the Agile methodology may find value in obtaining the CSM certification. The certification programs are less expensive than PMP certification and may be finished in a few days.

PMP is much harder than CSM. It can not be obtained without stern hard work and useful study resources. PMP requires dedication and time, while CSM is obtained in just a few days. You need no hard training or experience in CSM.



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