Last week I finally passed Professional Scrum Master II certification from Scrum.org as the first milestone of my 'Knowledge Maraphone'. I can't share with you any questions from the exam (it's against rules and professional ethics). Still, I can share my list of resources, literature, and tips & tricks on how to get prepared for the PSM II examination.
How long it takes to prepare for PSM II?
It depends on your experience and how deeply you want to get into this Rabbit hole before try. Scrum simple to understand, and difficult to master. You will never be ready enough. Just Do It! For me, it took about 30h (10 days, 2-4h pers day) to be ready for the exam.
There no official requirements or barriers to get a chance to pass the PSM II exam. The course is recommended but not required. So it is up to you. Pay $250 and try. If you don’t pass the first time, you can always re-take the exam... for an extra $250.
The PSM II evaluation consists of 30 questions. The maximum time to complete the assessment is 90 minutes.
- Scrum Insights for Practitioners If you are absolutly new in Scrum - you better start with these books. A really simple but powerful approach to go deeper into Scrum.
- Scrum – A Pocket Guide - 2nd edition: A Smart Travel Companion - must-read-and-re-read scrum book. Good written, good structure, and easy reading for beginners.
Better to read
You probably wouldn't need to read these books to pass the PSM II exam, but it definitely increased your chance to pass it with less stress. Plus if you practice Scrum on a daily base is also a good way to look at other scrum master experiences and maybe find something new for your teams.
- Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process - One of my favorite Scrum book. Lots of theory but also enough practical examples to help you get going.
- Scrum Shortcuts Without Cutting Corners - Good to read for most of Scrum Masters. Lots of useful recommendations and tips from the real world.
- Actionable Agile Metrics For Predictability - This book is for people who want to model and understand their flow, as well as using flow metrics for predictability and process improvement. I couldn't say that these books have some unique knowledge, you can find some of it different scrum and PM books. But it is nice to have all of this in one place. A little bit wordy that it could be.
- Coaching Agile Teams - One of the best books for agile coaches.
Articles & Blogs
- Scrum: A Framework to Reduce Risk and Deliver Value Sooner - An overview of the Scrum Framework, for people new to Scrum and those who’d like to refresh their understanding.
- Serious Scrum - the collaborative blog from Scrum practitioners, with a lot of cases and solutions for situations far from trivial.
- The 8 Stances of a Scrum Master - this white paper will explain the 8 stances of a Scrum Master by a trainer, Barry Overeem in a very detailed and fun way from his personal experience. You must-to-read it not just to be ready for the PSM exam but also to better understanding your role as a scrum master in an organization. What is right, what is wrong, and why sometimes organizations do not entirely do what Scrum Guide tells us todo.
- Nexus Guide
- Scrum Guide
Make a goal to pass each of these tests at 100% score for 10 minutes, 5 times in a row. Why do this? The real exam is more complicated that these open exams, but it is a good way to learn the language of the exam. Plus, a couple of this question could be on the exam still, and a fast reaction will save you a couple of minutes for other questions.
Warning: Be careful with tests provided by 3rd party companies. Some of them oriented for more wide tests supporting multi Agile frameworks at once (as tests for PMI-ACP), some - just build with a wrong understanding of Scrum framework. So be aware.
- As in any situational exam you need to be ready that is no "perfect" answers. You need to switch your mind into SCRUM mode to be able to choose the BEST answer.
- It is just 30 questions, but many of them could too long and tricky. Read everything carefully.
At the day of the exam
Create a comfortable environment where you will not get distracted. The scrum.org doesn't give any special requirement for it, so you can do an exam when and where it is better for you. Believe in your knowledge, and pass the exam.
Well, speaking about me, I would definitely like to try to pass Professional Scrum Master III in the future. Probably in 2021. But the next challenge for me in agile certifications is PMI-ACP.
I hope that my post helps you. Keep your mind in Agile state, and good luck!