Let’s first talk about the administrative part. It consists of 80 questions timed over 60 minutes. You can find two similar certifications allowing you to have the same knowledge. One on ScrumAlliance and the other on Scrum.org. You will find below the differences between the two.
- ScrumAlliance offers you to pass a two-day training course named Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO). It explains Scrum and Product Owner Responsibilities and at the end of this, you can pass the certification. This is a good way to learn everything about Scrum and PO but it’s expensive. About €1500. On the other side PSPO certification on Scrum.org costs $200.
- You need to take into account the fact that experience can very well replace ScrumAlliance training. This was the case for me. However, if you prefer to complement your experience or simply learn directly through this training, the price is totally justified.
- The third reason is about degree lifetime, it’s two year for CSPO against unlimited for PSPO.
For the reasons mentioned above I recommend to go on scrum.org to pass your certification, except if you need a training course.
Get some tips and avoid traps
Personally I passed my PSPO on scrum.org and I found some tips on different feedbacks and websites, so I have listed them.
- As a Scrum Master with experience, even a short experience, don’t think that you do the right (right seems “Scrum guide like”) things on your project. Indeed every project is different for several reasons, and sometimes you have to adapt the Scrum methodology. For example, on my last project, the only one stakeholder was every time with the Scrum Team at the retrospective. I know you could dislike this way of doing, but that was a development team request. As an example to illustrate that what you do in real life is not necessarily the right answer to the question of certification.
- The first thing to do is to read the Scrum Guide. It’s the fundamental guide which explains the basis of Scrum. In this guide you will find every explanation of each role and each event. As a Scrum Master you have probably already read this guide, but this time try to read it as a Product Owner view.
- Try to fix you a deadline to pass your certification, otherwise it’s more difficult to stay concentrated and motivated.
- Create a file and report every question and their response. I recommend an old software named Teach2000 where you can simulate an exam. Of course you need to create your fake exam by adding questions and answers that you might find in scrum.org assessments or every other website. The pros of this step is to write questions and apply the good answer, so you will memorize faster. Don’t hesitate to add a few lines of explications. This solution was the one that worked best for me!
- Each time you make an error, you have to take the Scrum Guide and open it at the right section to find the explanation and save it in your mind.
Get some links
- The first thing to do is to read the Scrum Guide.
- The Scrum glossary will help you to understand each event or Scrum terminology.
- You can buy an Udemy course named “Udemy Scrum Product Owner Certification Prep & 160+ Prep Questions” (€20). I haven’t tried this one personally but it seems to be the best on Udemy platform. Indeed you will find in this some tips to pass the PSPO, two exams and a lot of theory about Product Owner roles.
- This book “Professional Product Owner, The: Leveraging Scrum as a Competitive Advantage” from Don McGreal, Ralph Jocham, will help you to understand everything that revolves around value. Typically, how to maximize the value, where you can find it and how to measure it.
- Pass some assessments on Scrum.org. Every assessment could help you in your comprehension of Scrum methodology. Scrum Open, Product Owner Open and Developer Open. The last one is the hardest of three because it’s very technically oriented and continuous integration oriented. For example there are questions like “Which of the following are NOT metrics of code quality?”
- Go on Mikhail Lapshin’s blog in order to try his exam. This exam is the most representative of the actual one that I could find on the internet. There is a free training course with several test exams.
What is the added value for the SM?
The aim of the certification is to help the Product Owner to progress. And this brings different added value to the Scrum master. Let’s see both of them
Identify product and his value
The most important thing in a Scrum oriented project and more globally in an IT project its value. Every client needs to get a ROI, maybe a financial ROI or an improvement of the brand image. As a Scrum Master if you are able to identify the market and improve your website or application depending on it, so you get the win.
Arriving in a project and saying to the Product Owner “I understand the market and I can help you on the implementation of KPIs and the development of flagship features” is priceless. You’ll come out of it stronger because you’ll have knowledge of a huge panel.
From my own experience, when my PO was not able to be on all fronts, I decided to help him and make some proposals. First I made some models of important features, then I created some dashboard on Google Analytics in order to follow the main KPIs. And gradually we became a strong duo and made the application a success. Today when I meet a client, I am able to provide some help in many different domains. That is the principal added value for me !
Develop your curiosity and skills
A lot of people need to be in lifelong learning, and I am one of them. Having a certification to have a certification is good but it is not the purpose of the certification. To have a certification is above all to be able to acquire new skills and then to be able to pass them on to colleagues, clients or friends. Today the PSPO certification is a certification that can affect many people in the professional world.
Typically, if tomorrow a company wants to develop a website internally to communicate with its employees, then it will have to appoint a Product Owner to follow the progress of the project but above all to give the specifications. Product Owners are not necessarily familiar with the Scrum oriented project environment and this is where the added value is greatest. As a PSPO-certified Scrum Master, you will be able to bring all your knowledge and allow the customer to be accompanied, satisfied and to leave with the tool that meets his initial request.
By remaining curious and motivated you will learn and develop your skills with your customers very quickly.
Today, the Professional Scrum Product Owner certification has real advantages, it allows you to be recognized and to understand a large part of this role.
In your career as a Scrum Master, you will likely work with Product Owners who are not familiar with the Scrum environment. You’ll need to think about taking the certification to help them progress, but you’ll also need to set up actions to help them understand different aspects of the Scrum environment.
As a Scrum Master, it is not mandatory to pass the Product Owner Professional Scrum certification. It must be a personal step in your career or a personal need. It is a good way to become more involved in the life of the project.
So if you want to get your certification, you now have some tips and tricks above and you can read a few articles starting with the Scrum guide.