Scrum vs PMP

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Scrum vs PMP
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Scrum vs PMP: Detailed Analysis 2023


Project management plays a crucial role in any organization’s success, and choosing the right methodology can significantly impact project outcomes. Among the myriad of project management approaches, Scrum and PMP (Project Management Professional) stand out as top contenders. In this comprehensive article, we will compare Scrum and PMP, providing insights from firsthand experience and credible sources to help you understand which approach best suits your project needs.

Scrum vs PMP: An Overview

Before we get in to details, let’s first establish a general understanding of Scrum and PMP.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is an agile framework for managing projects, emphasizing collaboration, flexibility, and continuous improvement. It’s ideal for complex projects where requirements may change frequently.

What is PMP?

PMP, on the other hand, stands for Project Management Professional, and it is a globally recognized certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). PMP focuses on the traditional waterfall approach to project management, which is more suitable for well-defined, predictable projects.

The Differences: Scrum vs PMP

Now that we have a basic understanding of Scrum and PMP let’s dive into a detailed comparison of their fundamental aspects. Scrum and PMP are distinct project management methodologies, each catering to different project types and requirements.

Scrum excels in flexibility and adaptability for rapidly changing projects, while PMP provides a structured approach for large, well-defined projects.

The choice between Scrum vs PMP depends on the nature of your projects and the industry you work in, as well as your personal preferences and career goals

The Differences: Scrum vs PMP

When to Use Scrum

Scrum can be highly effective in dynamic environments where requirements frequently change, making it suitable for projects with evolving scope. It empowers self-organizing teams, promoting creativity and adaptability. Scrum is particularly beneficial in software development, creative industries, and innovative projects.

When to Use PMP

On the other hand, PMP finds its strength in projects with well-defined and stable requirements. It is ideal for large-scale projects that demand strict control over budgets, timelines, and scope. Industries such as construction, engineering, and government often benefit from the structured approach of PMP.

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Advantages of Scrum

Advantages of Scrum and PMP certification

  1. Enhanced Flexibility: Scrum’s iterative nature allows teams to adapt to changing requirements quickly.
  2. Continuous Improvement: Regular retrospectives in Scrum foster continuous learning and improvement.
  3. Higher Customer Satisfaction: Close collaboration with customers ensures their evolving needs are met.

Advantages of PMP

  1. Thorough Planning: PMP’s detailed planning phase minimizes risks and uncertainties.
  2. Clear Project Roadmap: The sequential approach in PMP provides a clear roadmap from start to finish.
  3. Standardized Practices: PMP follows established industry best practices for project management.

Prerequisites for PMP & Scrum Certifications

Scrum Certification Prerequisites: There are no strict prerequisites for obtaining a Scrum certification, making it accessible to individuals from various professional backgrounds. However, having some experience or familiarity with agile methodologies can be beneficial. Aspiring Scrum professionals can take training courses and workshops to gain a better understanding of Scrum principles and practices.

PMP Certification Prerequisites: The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), has specific eligibility criteria:

  1. A four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent) with at least three years of project management experience, including 4,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education.


  1. A secondary degree (high school diploma or global equivalent) with at least five years of project management experience, including 7,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education.

Best Scrum & PMP Certifications 

  • Scrum: Scrum Alliance & offers certifications like Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Professional Scrum Master (PSM), which focus on agile principles and Scrum roles.
  • PMP: PMP certification is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and is based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). It covers a broader range of project management topics.

Certifications Cost PMP vs Scrum

The cost of obtaining the PMP certification is $550 (USD) for the exam  voucher only.

For PMP training, it can range up to $3,000. However, you have the option to self-study using the PgMP handbook or PMBOK guide, with each book costing approximately $60.

Moving on to Scrum certifications, the PSM1 certification test has a fee of $150, and official courses typically start at around $500.

For the CSM exam, it is usually administered as part of a CSM course, which can be priced between $595 to $1,500. The exact cost varies based on factors such as location, instructor, and whether the course is conducted in-person or online.

Scrum vs PMP Job Roles & Responsibility

Scrum Master

  • Scrum Master: Facilitates the Scrum process, ensures the team adheres to Scrum principles, and removes any obstacles that hinder progress.
  • Product Owner: Represents stakeholders, prioritizes the product backlog, and ensures the product meets customer requirements.
  • Agile Coach: Implements agile practices and guides teams in adopting and implementing agile methodologies.
  • Scrum Development Team: Collaborates to design, develop, and test the product during each sprint.

Project Manager

  • Project Manager: Plans, executes, and closes projects, managing resources, timelines, budgets, and risks.
  • Program Manager: Oversees multiple related projects, ensuring alignment with organizational goals and managing interdependencies.
  • Portfolio Manager: Manages a collection of projects and programs to achieve strategic business objectives.
  • Project Coordinator/Administrator: Assists Project Managers with various administrative tasks, such as scheduling meetings and managing documentation.

Scrum Vs PMP Salary

Job Title Scrum Salary (Average) PMP Salary (Average)
Project Manager $95,000 $110,000
Scrum Master $100,000
Product Owner $90,000
Program Manager $105,000 $120,000
Agile Coach $115,000

Which one is better, PMP or Scrum Master?

Which one is better, PMP or Scrum Master?

The decision between the two depends on your career goals and current experience, as the salary implications and certification costs do not significantly differ.

If you aspire to work in an industry that follows PMBOK principles and traditional project management approaches, pursuing PMP certification would be the ideal choice.

On the other hand, if you envision yourself working as part of small, Agile Scrum Teams in innovative companies, startups, or tech-related fields, becoming a certified Scrum Master would be the more suitable option.

Ultimately, it’s essential to align your certification choice with your career aspirations and the type of projects and industries you wish to work in to make the best decision for your professional growth.

Job Market and Industries

Scrum: Scrum professionals are highly sought after in industries that value agility and quick adaptability. Software development, IT, digital marketing, and creative industries are among the top sectors where Scrum roles are in demand.

PMP: PMP-certified professionals find ample opportunities in industries with large-scale, complex projects that require rigorous planning and execution. Construction, engineering, healthcare, finance, and government sectors often seek PMP expertise.

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In conclusion, both Scrum and PMP offer distinct approaches to project management, each with its own strengths and best-fit scenarios. Scrum’s agility and adaptability make it ideal for dynamic projects with evolving requirements, while PMP’s structured approach suits well-defined, large-scale projects. Before deciding on the most suitable methodology for your project, carefully assess its unique characteristics, team dynamics, and customer expectations.

By understanding the key differences between Scrum and PMP, you can confidently select the approach that aligns best with your project’s objectives and ensures successful outcomes.


  1. Q: Which certification is better: Scrum Master or PMP? A: The choice between Scrum Master and PMP certification depends on your career goals and the industry you work in. Scrum Master is more suitable for those focused on agile methodologies and software development, while PMP is advantageous for professionals working in traditional project management fields.
  2. Q: Can Scrum and PMP be used together? A: Yes, in some cases, organizations adopt a hybrid approach, incorporating elements from both Scrum and PMP. For example, they may use Scrum for software development phases and PMP for overall project management and documentation.
  3. Q: What is the ideal team size for Scrum projects? A: Scrum teams are typically small, with 5-9 members. This size ensures effective communication and collaboration.
  4. Q: How does Scrum handle project risks? A: Scrum identifies and addresses risks through regular retrospectives and encourages teams to be proactive in managing potential challenges.
  5. Q: Is PMP suitable for small projects? A: While PMP is often associated with large projects, it can also be applied to small projects with well-defined scope and specific deliverables.
  6. Q: Can Scrum be used in non-technical projects? A: Absolutely! While Scrum’s origins are in software development, its principles can be adapted and applied to a wide range of projects in various industries.
  7. Q: Is Scrum Master better than PMP? A: It’s not a matter of one being better than the other, but rather which certification aligns better with your career goals and the type of projects you want to manage. Scrum Master certification is ideal for those who prefer agile methodologies and working in small, collaborative teams. PMP certification, on the other hand, is suitable for professionals who want to excel in traditional project management approaches in various industries.

    8.Q: How is Scrum different from PMP? A: Scrum and PMP certifications differ in their methodologies. Scrum is an agile framework that focuses on adaptability and iterative development, while PMP follows a more structured waterfall approach with emphasis on planning and documentation.

    9.Q: Is Scrum Master easier than PMP? A: The difficulty level of Scrum Master and PMP certifications can vary based on individual experiences and background knowledge. Some may find Scrum Master certification easier if they are already familiar with agile principles, while others may find PMP certification easier if they have a strong foundation in traditional project management practices.

    10.Q: Is Scrum Master higher than a project manager? A: The roles of Scrum Master and project manager differ in their focus and responsibilities. Scrum Master primarily facilitates the Scrum process and supports the team, while a project manager oversees the entire project, including planning, execution, and closure. The hierarchy of these roles may vary depending on the organizational structure and project management approach.

    11.Q: Can a PMP be a Scrum Master? A: Yes, a PMP-certified professional can also become a Scrum Master. Having both certifications can provide a well-rounded skill set for managing projects in different environments and industries.

    12.Q: Do Scrum Masters make more money? A: Scrum Masters can command competitive salaries, especially in industries that highly value agile methodologies, such as software development and technology sectors.

    13.Q: How much does a Scrum Master earn? A: Scrum Master salaries can vary based on factors like location, years of experience, industry, and the size of the organization. On average, Scrum Masters in the US earn between $80,000 to $120,000 per year.

    14.Q: Can a beginner become a Scrum Master? A: Yes, beginners can become Scrum Masters. While prior experience in project management or agile practices can be helpful, Scrum Master certification often serves as a starting point for individuals looking to enter the field of Scrum.

    15.Q: Is being a Scrum Master a hectic job? A: The workload and demands of a Scrum Master can vary depending on the complexity of the projects and the team dynamics. While it can be challenging at times, being a Scrum Master also offers a rewarding and fulfilling career in guiding successful project deliveries.

    16.Q: Does a Scrum Master need to know coding? A: While coding knowledge can be advantageous for Scrum Masters working in software development projects, it is not a strict requirement. Scrum Masters focus on facilitating the Scrum process, fostering collaboration, and removing obstacles for the development team.

    17.Q: Should a Scrum Master do PMP certification? A: Whether a Scrum Master should pursue PMP certification depends on their career goals and the type of projects they want to manage. PMP certification can add value if they plan to work in industries that rely on traditional project management practices. However, it is not a necessity for all Scrum Masters.


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