How to pass the PSM II Assessment? Tips on taking Professional Scrum Master II Certification.

Recently I had an opportunity to challenge myself with Professional Scrum Master 2 (PSM2) Certification from Scrum.org. If you would like to compare it to PSM1, it’s much more sophisticated and advanced. The main purpose of exam is to check if the candidate is able to apply Scrum Framework to solve advanced, complex problems in the real world. It’s focused on practical application of Scrum.

List of Certificiations from Scrum.org

Based on my experience with the preparation process and the exam, I’d like to share few tips and thoughts that could be helpful for anyone keen on taking PSM2 certification.

Basics Info

  • Fee: $250
  • Passing Score: 85 %
  • Time limit: 90 minutes
  • Number of questions: 30
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Format: Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer and True/False
  • Required course: None
  • Organization: Scrum.org
  • Expiration date: none

Good resources and materials to prepare for PSM2

1. Scrum.org (Forums, Blog Posts, Scrum and Nexus Guide)

2. Attend Professional Scrum Master Course and pass PSM1 Certification

3. Run Test Exams for PO, Scaling Agile, and PSM1

4. Read Scrum and Agile Blogs:

kenschwaber.wordpress.com (by reading Ken’s blog, you can understand better his point of view on some aspects of Scrum — it might be a great help especially with the most tricky questions)
scrum.org/resources/blog
mountaingoatsoftware.com/blog

5. Read about LESS, SAF, Nexus and DAD to understand what the most common challenges with Scaling Scrum are (focus on Nexus, as this is framework branded by Scrum.org; questions during PSM2 focus on dealing with different situations that could occur when introducing / implementing Scrum for multiple teams)

6. Attend Scrum and Agile Meetups to leverage from other’s experience and get familiar with good practices

7. Recommended books:

“Software in 30 Days” by Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland (with focus on benefits, and reasons behind Scrum — chapter “Scrum at the Enterprise Level”)
“Scrum: A Pocket Guide” by Gunther Verheyen (focusing on chapters about Scrum Values)
“Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink (or video)

8. Have few years experience working as a Scrum Master (not required, but may be very helpful as most questions are based on real-life scenarios)

The Professional Scrum Master II Certificate

Type of questions (focus areas)

  • Coaching and Facilitation
  • Cross-Functional, Self-Organizing Teams
  • Done and Undone
  • Maximizing Value
  • Product Backlog Management
  • Scaling Fundamentals
  • Scrum Framework (PSM II) — Rules and roles of Scrum per the Scrum Guide.
  • Scrum Theory and Principles (PSM II) — Understanding of Scrum theory, how it is founded on empirical theory, and the principles and values of Scrum.

There is a lot of real-life examples, therefore focusing on Scrum values and Agile principles may be the focal point of your study plan.

PSM II is being issued by Scrum.org

Tips on answering questions

  • Read questions and answers very carefully, every word matters — you can be tricked easily (look out for words like: “must”, “can’t”, “may”, “might”).
  • When answering, look for the best alternative, instead of trying to find the best answer. The context of questions in very often not clear enough.
  • There is enough time to answer questions — don’t rush, take you time. It took me about 40 minutes to go through all questions, and review provided answers.

Other areas to focus on:

  • Understand Ken’s quite strict vision on Scrum (read his blog posts to better understand his way of thinking)
  • Understand ‘why’ are we doing appropriate ceremonies? (PSM1 training gives a good information about this topic)
  • How to build teams and foster self-organization ( “Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum”, see Chapter 12 of Succeeding with Agile.)
  • Learn and understand what empirical approach means (check out “Lean Startup” to find out more about MVP, Experiments, Customer Development. It shows interesting examples how to approach this kind of situations.)

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