This blog highlights the differences and similarities between SAFe POPM and CSPO helping you to understand whether it is worth pursuing both the courses or choosing one among these to move up in your career quickly.

Before that let’s understand the definitions of the two certification courses:

SAFe POPM (Scaled Agile Framework Product Owner/Product Manager)

A certified SAFe POPM is a professional in SAFe who works with development organizations and customers to recognize and prioritize requirements. Key competency areas are:

● Apply SAFe practices and principles and a Lean-Agile Mindset.
● Identify the needs of customers.
● Write Epics, Features, Capabilities, and Stories.
● Configure work to provide value to the company.

CSPO (Certified Scrum Product Owner)

If you are comfortable with carrying out the projects on the “business side”, then CSPO is the right choice. Scrum Master guides the Scrum Team to learn and execute Scrum by working together. As a CSPO, one can create the vision of the product, order the backlog of the product, and also make sure the job is done in the best possible way to please the customers.

Who should do Scaled Agile Framework Product Owner/Product Manager (SAFe POPM)?

If you wish to understand the role of the Product Owner and Project Management at the level of SAFe enterprise, then this certification course is suitable for you. This course helps you to explore the Product Owner and Product Management’s role, how to organize and participate in PI planning, and how to assure the execution of Team Backlogs and Program smoothly to deliver the absolute value of the business at scale.

The SAFe POPM certification course is more about:

● What the Product Owner should do in the meeting of PI planning.
● How the Product Owner should be prepared before attending the meeting of PI planning.
● How the content creation will work as an intake in the meeting of PI planning.
● What should be the role of the Product Owner in the meeting of PI planning?
● How these inputs should be implemented in interaction.

When you are a professional in SAFe POPM, your focus will be on working together with product management, recognizing the overlapping areas, taking the inputs, working as a team together, etc.

Who should be a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)?

If you are willing to start your Scrum or Agile career by operating with small teams of Agile for valuable product development, then this certification course is suitable for you. This course helps you to understand the developing vision of the product, prioritize the backlogs of the product, and make sure to optimize value to attract customers.

CSPO certification course is for professionals as they already understand how SAFe runs and also the Product Owner’s roles and responsibilities. It further needs to know the skills required for:
● Incremental requirements.
● Functioning with a development team.
● Dividing the large items into smaller ones.
● Accomplishing things using iterative and incremental ways.

When you become a CSPO professional, you will learn to prioritize the backlog of the product and assign these priorities to others. So, if anyone is not working under the SAFe domain, and just wants to know the role of the Product Owner, the overall vision of the product, understanding of the customer, acceptance criteria, user stories, and backlog prioritization, then this certification course is best suited.

The differences between SAFe POPM and CSPO:
1. SAFe POPM focuses mainly on two roles:
● Product Management (It is a planned function at the level of Program Management in the SAFe framework).
● Product Owner (It is a professional role in a team of Agile which comprises 5-10 people to create, test, and deliver the results in a short period.

CSPO focuses on the Product Owner’s role for the Scrum Team which comprises 3-9 individuals in the development team to create, test, and deliver the results in a short period.

2. In SAFe POPM, the focus of the total work is divided into two sectors:
● Product Management is customer-focused and about the market.
● The Product Owner is the partner with stakeholders including customers, Product Management, and Business Owners.

In CSPO, the Product Owner is a customer-focused, market, and also participates with the stakeholders.
3. In SAFe POPM, you get a chance to work on the further side of Scrum Teams. It involves assembling and participating in System Demo, Program Increment Planning, and Solution Demo. It enables design reasoning at the enterprise and program levels.

In CSPO, you gain an understanding of how to maximize the product’s value deriving from the Development Team’s work. The role is restricted to team focus sometimes.
4. In SAFe POPM, the Product Roadmap is looked after at two levels, they are –
● Product Management possesses the roadmap and vision of the product.
● The Product Owner is the supporter of the roadmap and vision.
In CSPO, the Product Owner possesses the product roadmap and vision in a Scrum Team.
5. In SAFe POPM, the backlogs are operated at two levels, they are –
● Program Backlog – Both Product and Program Increment are driven by Product Management by acquiring Program Backlog at this level.
● Team Backlog – Team Backlog’s content authority is the Product Owner for Agile teams that authorizes and approves the stories.
CSPO focuses on the backlog of the Product, and the only content authority is the Product Owner for it.

Similarities between CSPO and SAFe POPM:

Even though there are many differences between CSPO and SAFe POPM, certain similarities exist between these two:

● Both the courses are of two days.
● Scrum framework details are covered.
● A portion of Product Management is covered.
● Both focus on designing the exact thing in a precise way.
● Helps to become the customer representative who possesses the product development.
● Maximizes the value attained by a Development Team.
● Analyzes the Product Ownership to acquire the roadmap and vision of the product.
● Know about user statements, how to split, add acceptance criteria to it, the meaning of done, etc.
● Explore how to do things, the purpose of every meeting, how to work together with stakeholders, and the prioritization strategies.

Is pursuing SAFe POPM worth it?

If you want to establish yourself in a large solution environment/enterprise as a Product Manager or Product Owner, then this certification is best for you. It is the most suited career investment if SAFe is already used by your organization.
Below you find the professionals who take this course often,
● Product Owners who are willing to become Product Managers.
● Project Manager changing over into a Product Manager role.
● Scrum Product Owner willing to be in the same position in an environment of Scaled Agile.
● Scrum Master changing over into a Product Owner role or Product Manager role.

Is pursuing CSPO worth it?
If you are willing to be a Scrum Master who coaches Product Owners, or a Product Owner, or an Agile coach, then this certification is suitable for you. It helps you to understand the role of the Product Owner completely. Hence, professionals who wish to be Product Owners must do it.

This course covers the following details about the role of the Product Owner,
● How the product backlog must be looked at.
● How the right prerequisite for the product must be identified.
● How a vision must be set for the product.
● How things are communicated with various development teams and stakeholders.

Both CSPO and SAFe POPM play a vital role based on the needs of the organization. It also counts on two things: where you are willing to work and where you are currently working. CSPO certification and SAFe POPM certification add value to your professional career if you are already serving in a SAFe background.

As a professional, to showcase your self-identity and be ahead of others in this competitive market, you need to pursue these certifications. ShriLearning provides world-class training to all its clients which helps them to learn and develop their skills. They help you to attain maximum results through their training and certification programs.