There always has been a debate between the two certifications –  PMP and Scrum; which one is better and is more in demand in the industry? The debates will go on as each certification advocates a different vision of how to run a project. If you are deciding which one is better – Project Management Professional (PMP) vs. Scrum and will most likely boost your career, then this article will help you find out the differences between the two and decide which one is worth spending on.

In this post, we will compare the PMP and Scrum certifications, their cost, study time, and popularity in different industries and regions. Before starting the head-to-head battle of the two certifications (PMP vs. Scrum), let us first have a clear understanding of both certifications.

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What is PMP?

Project Management Professional (PMP) is an internationally recognized professional designation that is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). 

The PMP designation is based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). It is the entire collection of processes, best practices, terminologies, and guidelines that are accepted as standards within the project management industry.

PMP is the gold standard of project management, which will help you in managing all kinds of projects irrespective of the industry you are in. It validates that you can manage projects and project teams. PMP demonstrates that you have the specific skills and experience employers look for.

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To gain the PMP certification, you will have to take the PMP examination that will evaluate you in the five areas, initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. 

Read more about the PMP Certification exam, cost, and eligibility here

To qualify for PMP certification, you will have to fulfill the following requirements: 

PMP Eligibility

Each PMP certification cycle lasts for three years and by the end of that period, you have to earn 60 Professionals Development Units (PDUs) to renew the certification for another cycle.

What is Scrum? A simple framework for Complex Projects

Scrum has garnered a lot of interest among project management professionals in recent years. It is an agile framework for completing complex projects. Originally developed for software development projects, it is now used for any complex, innovative projects in other industry sectors outside of software development. 

Agile development processes promote a disciplined project management process that encourages frequent inspection and adaptation. Scrum is a subset of Agile and hence the methodologies are derived from agile processes. It helps teams to deliver valued products iteratively and incrementally, while continually inspecting and adapting the process. 

The two main certifications for Scrum are the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) by Scrum Alliance and Professional Scrum Master (PSM) by 

A CSM certification will help you learn about the Scrum framework and gain an understanding of team roles, events, and artifacts. It will prepare you to face the emerging new normal.

PMP vs. Scrum Which is Better for You?

Here are the points that will help you decide which certification you should pick:

1. Prerequisites

Depending on whether you have a four-year degree or a high school diploma, you will need to have experience in leading and directing projects.  

With a four-year degree, you will require 36 months of experience in leading projects and with a high school diploma or an associate’s degree, 60 months of experience will be required

PMP: You need to have project management experience.

CSM: no prerequisite

Also Read>> PMP PMI Certification – Exam, Cost, Eligibility

2. Study time & Money 

Time and money are the resources that people don’t want to spend lavishly if it provides no positive returns. So, you need to do the certification which will provide you with the best return provided the amount of money and time you put into it.

PMP: Depending on your daily commitment, it will take you around 1 to 3 months to complete your PMP certification successfully. If PMP is your target and you can commit around 180 hours (average three hours a day for three months) to prepare for the PMP exam, then you can begin your PMP journey. 

Here are some PMP mock tests and a guide on how to prepare for the PMP exam. The PMP exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. 

Scrum: You will require only 3 days to complete the CSM certification. When you apply for CSM you will need to attend 14 hours of live online or 16 hours of in-person training with your Certified Scrum Trainer or 25 hours of face-to-face interaction with your Certified Agile Coach who will teach you the agile values and Scrum framework. 

After completing the course, you will be eligible to take the CSM exam. The CSM exam will take 60 minutes to complete. You will have to correctly answer 37 out of the 50 questions to pass the exam. 

PMP – Study Time: 1 to 3 months | Exam Fees: Member: ₹23,459, Non-member: ₹42,863

CSM – Study Time: around 3 Days | Exam Fees: around ₹25,000

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3. Which industry are you in?

The type of industry that you are working in has to do a lot with the type of certification that you should pursue. 

Scrum: If you are in the IT industry and are familiar with agile technology, then it would be better if you go for Scrum certification. In industries like IT, engineering, etc. there is a need for a team-centric approach; which Scrum offers better in that direction. Some other industries using a scrum approach include education, marketing, and the military.

PMP: The PMBOK Guide provides the same processes and techniques for every industry but there are still differences in how the same techniques are applied in various sectors.

According to many project managers, industries like oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, etc. have more successful experiences through the PMP framework. Some other industries include aerospace and defense, consulting, healthcare, human resource project management, information systems, IT and telecom, and marketing and sales.

Interest – 5-year data

The following graph shows the interest in PMP vs. Scrum over a period of 5 years. You can see that there’s not much difference between the two in terms of overall popularity. Scrum’s popularity, however, is linked to the growth of IT services and the need for certified professionals in the IT industry.

PMP vs Scrum

4. The methodology predominantly used in your company or industry

Both certifications can expand your knowledge in project management practice and give you different tools. So, you can choose the one that best fits your organization and projects.

Scrum: If the company or the industry that you are in uses an agile methodology, it would make more sense if you do a Scrum certification. For example, construction projects are large but not as complicated as software development projects. Software projects require frequent inspections during the development process to make sure that it is going in the right direction. Thus, most companies in the IT industry uses agile methodologies to get better results. 

If you want to work as a part of small Agile Scrum Teams in startups, then you should consider a Scrum certification.

Must Read>> 6 In-Demand Project Management Skills

PMP: PMP is mostly used by companies that follow a traditional approach to project management. Various government, commercial and other organizations hire PMP certified project managers to improve the success rate of projects in all areas of knowledge, by applying the principles as contained in PMBOK Guide. 

If you are investing in a certification that you expect is going to help you in your industry, then opt for the predominant one. As the cost of PMP is usually higher, you can go for Scrum when you are in the software or technology industry. However, you can always do PMP certification after having a Scrum certification.

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5. The region that you want to work in

The region that you want to work in can also dictate the type of certification you should opt for. The following graph in Google Trends shows that the interest for PMP certification is higher in areas like the United States, Canada, Russia, and India, while more interest is being shown for Scrum in areas like Brazil, Australia, and Argentina. Higher interest means that there is greater demand from companies for professionals having the respective certifications in those areas.

PMP vs Scrum

PMP vs Scrum: Which one to choose?

Both PMP vs. Scrum certifications have their own way of contributing to the goal that you have. So, it all boils down to the above-mentioned points. You can decide which certification will be most helpful to you and go for it accordingly. Below is a quick summary of what we discussed.

PMP vs. Scrum


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