Professional Scrum Master III Exam (PSM III)

I’m following the process of becoming a licensed Trainer for Scrum Masters as outlined by Scrum.org. (https://www.scrum.org/become-professional-scrum-trainer/psm). The process is a mixture of exams and reviews in which you have to pass each stage in order to progress onto the next:

scrum-org-square-5

(taken from http://www.thescrummaster.co.uk/

  1. Fundamental – PSM I >= 95% –  (100% multiple choice questions)
  2. Formal Application, with approval to move on.
  3. Advanced- PSM II >= 85% –  (100% multiple choice questions)
  4. Train the Trainer course, with approval to move on.
  5. Distinguished – PSM III >= 95% – (Written answers with some multiple choice)
  6. Peer Review Sessions, with approval to move on.

After being a Scrum Master and having helped various teams along the way, I started this journey in March 2017 and I’m currently waiting to hear back on my result from PSM III.

The process has taught me that even though I’ve had plenty of experience, I had only thought about a few aspects of Scrum and its adoption. Having gained a deeper knowledge of other aspects within scrum  it has made me a more knowledgeable and confident Scrum Master. Regardless of if I’m successful or not in progressing, I know that I am a different Scrum Master (and hopefully better) for following the program.

With a little bit of work anyone can pass the first 2 exams, but where the process picks up a gear is in the Train The Trainer (TTT) course and the PSM III exam.

The TTT course is two days following the Scrum Course, followed by a third day of having your teaching style assessed whilst at the same time your Scrum knowledge is stretched. Being recorded and critiqued by your fellow attendees always increases the intensity and your stress levels, but once into the flow it becomes very worthwhile.

TTT was a mixture of group exercises interspersed with answering common questions, by picking up a question card and answering the question as succinctly as possible; ensuring that you get ALL the key points across.

The exercise was the most taxing and enjoyable day I had experienced in a long time. Sitting at the train station waiting to head home, I was tired and exhausted; I’d pushed myself more than I thought and had similar feelings to the times that I’d completed half marathons and the Great North Run – Tired but so proud I’d tried and pushed myself.

I honestly believe that every Scrum Master should attempt this process. Passing one exam is like passing your driving test, passing the process is like taking a van around the nurburgring in less than 10 minutes – you will be pushed to your maximum. The benefit of this is that you will truly know the framework.

Unlike the other exams, the PSM III exam is a mixture of multiple choice and written answers. When completed you are given an initial score and then at a later date given your overall score once the written answers have been assessed. For me the current feeling of not knowing and remembering things that I should have added is also part of the process. Its not cruel, just makes you think about your answers and how you would potentially answer it differently

The questions are ones which you could potentially face in your day to day life as a Scrum Master, these need to be answered as quickly and succinctly as possible. For me, the two hours available to complete the exam flew by and I was left feeling exhilarated and yet exhausted.

Going through this process I do feel more confident with my knowledge of Scrum and how it should be implemented; considering that I became accredited in 2012, having to unlearn bad habits and correct gaps in my knowledge has been a very worthwhile process.

If you are Scrum Master, I do recommend that you continue to push and grow experiences.


 

….UPDATE: 30th July – I didn’t attain the necessary mark to progress further, BUT that is not going to stop me from resitting the exam again! Next time I’ll be wiser and better prepared for it….

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