Product Owner 101


June 1, 2023

CSM and CSPO are two popular certifications in the field of Agile software development, but they focus on different roles and responsibilities within the Agile framework. 


These certifications equip professionals with specific skills and knowledge required for effective team facilitation (CSM) and product management (CSPO). While CSM emphasizes team collaboration and process facilitation, CSPO focuses on customer-centric product development, stakeholder engagement, and maximizing product value.


Here’s a comparison between CSM (Certified ScrumMaster) and CSPO (Certified Scrum Product Owner):


  1. Role and Responsibility:
    • CSM: A ScrumMaster is responsible for facilitating the Scrum process, removing any obstacles that hinder the team’s progress, and ensuring the team adheres to Scrum principles and practices. They act as a coach and servant leader to the development team.
    • CSPO: A Product Owner is responsible for representing the customer or user community, prioritizing and managing the product backlog, and defining the product vision and requirements. They work closely with stakeholders to ensure the product meets their needs and maximizes its value.
  2. Focus:
    • CSM: The CSM certification primarily focuses on the Scrum framework, Agile principles, and the role of the ScrumMaster. It provides knowledge and skills to effectively manage and support Scrum teams.
    • CSPO: The CSPO certification primarily focuses on product management, understanding customer needs, creating and managing the product backlog, and maximizing the value of the product.
  3. Training and Certification:
    • CSM: To obtain the CSM certification, individuals must attend a two-day Certified ScrumMaster training course offered by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) and pass an online exam.
    • CSPO: To obtain the CSPO certification, individuals must attend a two-day Certified Scrum Product Owner training course offered by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) and pass an online exam.
  4. Target Audience:
    • CSM: The CSM certification is typically sought by ScrumMasters, Agile coaches, project managers, team leads, and anyone involved in leading or facilitating Agile development teams.
    • CSPO: The CSPO certification is typically sought by product managers, product owners, business analysts, and anyone responsible for managing and prioritizing the product backlog.
  5. Collaboration:
    • CSM: ScrumMasters collaborate with the entire team, including the Product Owner, to facilitate the Scrum process, resolve conflicts, and ensure the team’s productivity and adherence to Agile practices.
    • CSPO: Product Owners collaborate with the development team, ScrumMaster, and stakeholders to define product requirements, prioritize backlog items, and ensure the product aligns with the overall vision.


Ultimately, both certifications complement each other and are valuable for professionals working in Agile environments. The CSM certification focuses on the team and process facilitation, while the CSPO certification focuses on product management and customer value. Depending on your role and career goals, you can choose the certification that aligns with your interests and responsibilities.


Braintrust Group

Braintrust Group is a worldwide leader in Agile transformations. Through practical, hands-on training and enterprise and team coaching, we help our clients learn, plan, and implement Agile processes, such as Scrum and Kanban. Our goal is to teach our clients how to increase the predictability of delivery, decrease time-to-market, and improve overall client satisfaction.

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