I’ve finally cleared the Professional Scrum Master PSM I certification exam with %98 score. Here below you can find the summary of my journey for PSM I exam.
Professional Scrum Master PSM I
I’ve been working as an old developer, team leader and solution architect in one of the top telecom vendor companies, mainly using the traditional project management approach (PMI and CMMI Level 3). Thanks to my job responsibilities, I need to travel worldwide and engage with different project teams from different R&D companies. I’ve seen the Scrum in action for the first time when I was working with the Telefonica R&D group. I was quite impressed with the lightweight methodology they are using for managing their teams and projects. Cross-functional, self-organizing and focused teams with experienced members, carrying out creative and productive work, in a very dynamic manner. The exposure was quite enough for me to get interested in Scrum, as the differences between the traditional and scrum approach was obvious.
At that time I decided to read about Scrum, however I had no intentions to get certified as I had no space in my daily work to apply Scrum, as a vendor company, doing invisible stuff for the operators, I still believe that the traditional approach suits more in my domain. Recently I’ve accepted a job offer as Technical Product Manager from a telco operator, so I decided it would be a good step to get the certification. Although I will be playing the PO role, I decided to go with PSM I, as it is much more valued and recognized.
If you are not practicing Scrum, this training is the best material you can ever find. It is fully cognitive learning experience, which will help you to understand how Scrum is practiced. Don’t take this as reference for the examination though, stick with Step 2.
2) Scrum Guide:
Don’t read the material, digest it! Think about every sentence and look for the conceptual gaps left deliberately by the author.
3) “The Scrum Master Training Manual” of Mplaza.
I don’t recommend this one which is lurking in this forum and many members referring to it. It includes some very fundamental mistakes such that the “Sprint Backlog is frozen and no more items can be taken from Product Backlog etc.”
4) Scrum A Pocket Guide:
Although this one is recommended by Scrum.org I don’t see any benefit in it considering the PSM exam.This one is more about the philosophy of the Scrum, and I think therefore it is recommended by the people in this community. If you are looking something with PSM exam focus, considering also the price tag for only 100 page, I don’ recommend it.
5) Open Assesments:
Go with PSPO and PSM open, until you score %100. Take note of the intermediate level questions which seems ambigous. You will see some of the questions, at least the full terminology in the real exam.
This is the best mock exam which will shock you after you think that you are ready after Step 2&5. If you can score over 75/80 in first attempt, you are in good shape.
7) Some more free mock questions:
8) Scrum Narrative and PSM Exam Guide:
I was not very confident about the number of questions I solved, hence decided to go with this one, as it includes plenty of questions. The overall format of the book is awful, fonts, colors, formatting. It is like personal notes of a person in a wordsheet. However it is very focused on the exam and the author has sound understanding of the exam pitfalls and guides the reader in a thorough manner. If you can bear the format, you will benefit.
9) Scaled Scrum related topics:
This one is one of major confusion area in the forums and among exam applicants. There are major reasons for that, as there was no standards like Nexus from Scrum.org, and there are many plenty of other alternatives for scaling in the past. Even a recommended reading, “Scrum A Pocket Guide” from Gunther Verheyen puts some concepts like multiple product owners and chief product owner, which will totally misguide you.
In order to be confident with the questions, search for “Scrum Practitioner Open” which is currently not available now. This one has really difficult questions which are above intermediate level. You can find the discussions of the questions in google. One example is given below:
Also I found the following official “Scaled Scrum Open” link which is still working.
I was a little bit anxious as there was many people in the forum failing in the exam. Hence my expectation about the difficulty of the exam was higher. Actual exam is not that difficult, it is in line with the official declaration that it is an “intermediate” level exam. However don’t be fooled by the level of open exam questions.
In mock exams, the only area I was not very confident was about the “SM facilitation”. Many SM role questions are not direct asking concepts on the boundaries of SM role. We know SM is a “facilitator” but how much does he facilitate? What is level and scope of such facilitation? Sometime SM takes an active role and acts as the protector&knight of Scrum process, and sometimes in a passive role, letting the team to do it or, sort it out. Hence the grey are causes many ambiguous questions in several mock exams, where the answer depends completely on the mindset of the person who prepares the question.
Not to my surprise, I missed the questions in this subject area:
Scrum Framework 97.5%
Scrum Theory and Principles 100.0%
Cross-functional, self-organizing Teams 100.0%
Coaching & Facilitation 83.3%
PSM I Certification Score
I’m very glad that I grasped the basic fundametals of Scrum and looking forward to practice it. I hope my experience above will help people who are new to Scrum like me. Scrum on guys!