Scrum is based on an approach known as empirical process control (or empiricism). Empiricism is an approach to scientific inquiry which holds that knowledge comes mainly from direct observation and experimentation rather than reasoning alone. Empiricism suggests basing our decisions on actual evidence instead of belief or speculation or expectations about the future.
Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master (PSM) Certifications are highly sought after by top technology companies like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and more. Scrum.org is founded by Ken Schwaber. PSM certifications are the gold standard of Scrum Master certifications.
If you are new to Scrum, check out this blog to get started.
Our assumption while writing this blog is that you already have your PSM I certification and are now looking to expand your Scrum knowledge and get the PSM II certification.
If you are interested to know more on PSM I certification, check out this blog.
What are a Scrum Master’s day-to-day responsibilities?
Besides making sure the team adheres to Scrum principles, the Scrum Master is a coach, facilitator and a servant leader who is responsible for the Scrum Team being effective. Scrum Master has an array of responsibilities to the Scrum Team, the Product Owner, and the larger organizations.
Some of the key responsibilities include:
- Advising the Scrum Team on self-management and cross-functional working
- Removing impediments to the Scrum Team’s progress
- Ensuring all Scrum events (Daily Scrum, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, Sprint Retro) take place on a regular cadence and follow best practices
- Facilitating collaboration with stakeholders, business owners, and Product Owner when needed
PSM II Exam Details
There are no prerequisites for taking the PSM II certification. However, it is recommended that PSM I certification is achieved prior to taking this certification.
Additionally, unlike CSM certifications from Scrum Alliance where taking a course from an instructor is mandatory, there is no such requirement for achieving PSM II certification.
|Number of Questions||30|
|Exam Duration:||90 Minutes|
|Exam Pattern||Multiple Choice Questions, Multiple Answer Questions, and True-False type Questions|
|Passing Score||85%(Candidate with scoreequal to or above 85% is considered Pass, below 85% is Fail). Partial credit is provided for answers.|
|Difficulty Level||Advanced Level|
Resources To Prepare For PSM II Certification
- The most important resource is the scrum guide. Link here to download the guide.
- Know the reasons behind each point mentioned in the Agile Manifesto. Link here.
- Free practice assessments from Scrum.org – PSM I, PSPO I, PSD I, Scrum Open. Practice these sample questions multiple times till you score 100% on each individual exam.
- Suggested reading from Scrum.org. Link here.
- Free flashcards to help you memorize key terms. Link here.
- Individuals appearing for this certification exam needs to master Scrum. Attending scrum and Agile meetups, will keep you informed about the latest news, updates, and trends.
- Some recommended books:
- Scrum Insights For Practitioners by Hiren Doshi
- Scrum A pocket guide by Gunther Verheyen
- Finally, it is recommended that you should have some prior hands on experience as a Scrum Master. This will help you relate with the questions better, as correct answer for exam questions depends on the real-world situations.
Focus Areas for PSM II Certification Exam
Straight from the Scrum.org website, their recommendation is to pay attention to the below topics:
- Understanding and Applying the Scrum Framework:
- Empiricism, Scrum Values, Scrum Team, Events, Artifacts, Done.
- Developing People and Teams:
- Self-Managing Teams, Facilitation, Leadership Styles, Coaching and Mentoring.
- Managing Products with Agility:
- Product Backlog Management, Stakeholders & Customers.
- Developing and Delivering Products Professionally:
- Managing Technical Risk.
- Evolving the Agile Organization:
- Organizational Design & Culture.
- Some other important topics for the exams include:
- Scaling Scrum Fundamentals
- Cross-functional Teams – Tips and Techniques for Scrum Masters to work with a wider organization
- Maximizing Value
- Scrum Framework – Rules and roles of Scrum
- What makes an effective Scrum Master
- How to support the Scrum Team and the organization
- Challenges of middle management
- Dealing with complexity and impediments
- Measurement in Scrum
- Successful product delivery and “Done”
- Facilitation techniques (such as liberating structures)
- How to apply Scrum Values and Principles for decision making.
- Understanding Servant Leadership
PSM II Certification Exam Tips
Deeper understanding of Scrum will be beneficial in passing this certification. Below are some additional pointers for you to pass this exam:
- You might see a couple of True/False type questions. For the multiple choice, sometimes you have to choose more than one answer. It it important to note that there are no essay questions, such as found in PSM III.
- Majority of the real exam questions (about 70%) are based on the real time scenario ones. The questions and in some cases the answers are really really long to read. So, make sure you read the entire question carefully and while answering concentrate on Scrum keywords from the available choices.
- Goes without saying that you need to manage your time well. You get decent amount of time to answer a question (3mins each question). If you are not sure of the answer, bookmark it to return to them at the end.
- Remember the answers are what Scrum.org wants you to click on, not what you do at your respective organization. Be an Agile/Scrum purist when answering the questions.
- Wrong answers do not yield in negative marking. So, if you are not sure of an answer of a complex question, eliminate the wrong choices, before making a guess.
Related Blog: PMP vs Scrum
PSM II has a much stronger emphasis on application and is a great certification for professional development. The increased difficulty of the assessment and the focus on getting results through Scrum lends tremendous credibility to this certification. PSM II needs advanced knowledge and deep understanding of Agile & Scrum process. So, put your Scrum hat on and go get your PSM II certification.
Further Reading: How to Prepare for PSM III Certification
Have questions? Participate in PSM discussions on our Forums. Click here.