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Everything you need to know about PSM certification

1. Introduction to Professional Scrum MasterWho is Professional Scrum Master (PSM)?We partially give some elements in a previous article on our blog: “ How To Choose A Scrum Master? “. On top of that, it is important to   highlight that the Professional Scrum Master wear different hats according to the context: s/he is a coach, facilitator, enabler, problem- solver, proxy. His/Her main characteristic is to embody Servant Leadership. And basically, as the first promoter of Agile in the   organization, s/he truly has the Agile mindset and is more than willing to share it.Role and Responsibilities of PSM in the teamBecause the position of Scrum Master depends so much on the context, you will find multiple potential roles and responsibilities description by searching on the Internet. However, here are the basics:Coaching the organization, especially the Scrum Team, to get an Agile mindsetIncreasing the quality of deliverables and reducing time to deliverHelping the Dev Team to become self-organized and self-empoweredBuilding culture of trust, transparency, feedback and “fast failure to learn fast”\Advocating in favor of the more appropriated framework to make the Dev Team performant – it can be something else than Scrum!Ensuring that this framework is properly implemented to fit with the Scrum Team needsRemoving any impediment and blocker that prevent the Scrum Team to perform Requirements to become a PSMOfficially, there is no specific requirement: everyone is a potential candidate to become a Professional Scrum Master (PSM).Why become a PSM and what do I need to become a PSMDo you live and breathe Agile? Ok, that sounds too much.Nevertheless, have in mind that learning theory and training to open assessments is one sufficient thing to get certified but acting as a good Scrum Master requires a true behavior and belief in Agile philosophy coupled with large experience, ideally in organizations that have succeeded in their transformation.Like other jobs at “vocation”, you feel a true desire to become Scrum Master when working or at least meeting with one of them. When you meet a great Scrum Master, at some point you could become aware that you do want to do the same job: because you help people working better, feeling better at work, you participate to a radical transformation in the workplace for a better organization.2. What’s the importance of a PSM certificate?Getting a PSM certificate demonstrates the capacity to know, understand and apply Scrum in real-world situations.3. PSM Certification TrainingHow to become a PSM?Although it is highly recommended, taking a training is optional. However, taking the official exam is mandatory to get certified. Scrum.org is the official provider:Syllabus of Professional Scrum MasterA core of knowledge about Scrum remains the Scrum Guide from Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.Spend time and train seriously on the Scrum Open Assessment: this is the most realistic assessment you can train on!Next very useful resources are available with the Scrum Master Learning Path: this is a set of Professional Scrum Competencies which each contain a number of focus areas.Further reading:Scrum tutorial: An in-depth learning of Scrum, about its origin, evolution, and the progressive development of the framework.Scrum.org recommends strongly these books:Scrum: A Pocket Guide by Gunther VerheyenSoftware in 30 days by Ken SchwaberScrum.org offers also:A very complete glossaryforums populated by threads of quality, written by contributors with solid experience in ScrumA popular blog regularly updated with highly valuable posts, again made by writers shortlisted by Scrum.orgOther Open Assessments might be relevant to gain additional perspective on the other roles of a Scrum Team: check the Scrum Developer Open Assessment and the Product Owner Open Assessment.What is the eligibility to become a PSM trainer?Eligibility to become a PSM trainer requires three conditions. First, candidates must have at least four years of intense experience as Scrum Master in software development. Second, candidates must have conducted real-world training and have delivered coaching using Scrum. On top of that, candidates passed their PSM 1 assessment with at least a 95% score.After PSM training within how many days do I need to take the certification? After PSM training, there is no minimum duration to take the certification. As soon as candidates feel they are ready, they can schedule an online assessment.4. Exam and Certification Information Who provides the certification?Scrum.Org coursesA list of Scrum.org official sessions is available online. As stated on their website:Professional Scrum Master™ (PSM) is a 2-day course that covers the principles and (empirical) process theory underpinning the Scrum framework and the role of the Scrum Master in it. This course is a combination of instruction and team-based exercises and teaches what is at the heart of the Scrum and Agile movement. The course also includes a free attempt at the globally recognized Professional Scrum Master I certification exam (PSM I).It is also important to know that taking a Scrum.org official training offers candidates a free attempt at the assessment.What is the process for applying for the certification?As passing the certification does not require to attend to the official course, candidates can directly apply on the Scrum.org website. They will receive a personal password (with no expiration date) and then they can connect to a specific page and take the exam.Cost of the Professional Scrum Master certificationThe cost is $150 per attempt. If you attend a Scrum.org training class, fees include a free attempt.The structure of the examThe exam is exclusively online. It consists of 80 Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer and True/False questions. 60 minutes maximum are allowed to perform the full exam, and only English language is available.Topics covered in the PSM examScrum Framework: this is foundational knowledge for every Scrum Team member. It covers Scrum theory as described in the Scrum Guide.Scrum Theory and Principles: this topic is more about understanding Scrum theory: empirical process, principles, and values of Scrum.Cross-Functional, Self-Organizing Teams. Questions here cover how Scrum Teams are different from traditional development teams:cross-functional, self-empowered and self-organizing people promote flexibility, creativity, and productivity.Coaching and Facilitation. Questions here are about how mindset and behavior of Scrum Master are different from traditional Project Manager: by acting as a Servant Leader, the Scrum Master facilitates and coaches full organizations in understanding and using Scrum.Sample questions of PSM exam Here are three potential questions at the PSM exam:Question 1: When many Development Teams are working on a single product, what best describes the definition of “done”?Each Development Team defines and uses its own. The differences are discussed and reconciled during a hardening Sprint.Each Development Team uses its own but must make their definition clear to all other Teams so the differences are known.All development Teams must have a definition of “done” that makes their combined work potentially releasable.It dependsCorrect answer : 3Question 2:The three pillars of empirical process control are:    1. Inspection, Transparency, Adaptation    2. Transparency, Eliminating Waste, Kaizen    3. Planning, Inspection, Adaptation    4. Respect For People, Kaizen, Eliminating Waste    5. Planning, Demonstration, RetrospectiveCorrect answer: 1Question 3:The maximum length of the Sprint Review (its time-box) is:4 hours for a monthly Sprint. For shorter Sprints, it is usually shorter.As long as needed.2 hours1 day.4 hours and long as needed.Correct answer: 1Tips to pass PSM The best way to be well prepared for the PSM official exam is to work on the Scrum Open Assessment.You can consider that you are ready once you get 100% at every attempt.Salary of the Professional Scrum MasterSalaries of the PSM can vary a lot according to level of experience, industry, company size and location. Here is a table with most common figures:USFranceUnited KingdomSingaporeJunior70,000-115,00030,000-40,00040,000-70,00080,000-100,000Mid-Senior(more than 3 years with SM experience)90,000-135,00035,000-55,00060,000-110,00095,000-125,0005. Is the PSM I certification worth investing?CSM vs PSM exam:"Differences to note" CSM PSM Passing ScoreMinimum 69%(24 out of 35 questions)Minimum 85%Exam patternMultiple choiceMultiple choice,Multiple Answers and True/False questions.Exam durationNo time limit,35 questions60 minutes to complete 80 questionsCertification Validation2 yearsLife timeCertification cost                      1200$2nd attempt is free in within 60 days        25$ for  additional  attempt.             150$(one  attempt)Exam  Level2 Days training + Exam           Much  harder than CSM       Require experience,and deep         Theoretical knowledge.The first goal at Scrum.org is to make candidates understanding how to get valuable software thanks to a high level of maturity in Agile using Scrum. In order to achieve that, Scrum.org deliver assessments to examine, improve and certify candidates’ knowledge of Scrum. On top of that, the Scrum Guide and the Nexus Guide serve as the main background for all Scrum.org assessments. Individuals that are successful at the PSM 1 certification demonstrate a fundamental level of Scrum mastery: they understand Scrum as described in the Scrum Guide and the concepts of applying Scrum. The PSM 1 certification is considered significantly more valuable than other options for Scrum.6. What next after PSM?People who follow Scrum.org courses can claim Project Management Institute (PMI) Professional Development Units credit: 14 PDUs after attending a two-day Professional Scrum Master (PSM). Keep in mind that PMI PDUs are earned for course attendance and not for passing a Scrum.org assessment.7. How much should I pay to renew PSM certification?There is no need to renew PSM certification: Scrum.org certificates are lifelong and do not require any additional payments or renewals.Career benefits of PSM certifiedConsequently, becoming now a certified and experienced professional in Agile expertise seems to be an interesting option to stay at least “employable” and marketable. Still being realistic, professionals in Agile will be directly requested either to perform the Agile transformation in many big (old) organizations or to build the Agile culture from scratch in new companies and startups. Attractive and valuable challenges are in perspective.

Everything you need to know about PSM certification

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Everything you need to know about PSM certification
1. Introduction to Professional Scrum Master


Who is Professional Scrum Master (PSM)?

We partially give some elements in a previous article on our blog: “ How To Choose A Scrum Master? “. On top of that, it is important to   highlight that the Professional Scrum Master wear different hats according to the context: s/he is a coach, facilitator, enabler, problem- solver, proxy. His/Her main characteristic is to embody Servant Leadership. And basically, as the first promoter of Agile in the   organization, s/he truly has the Agile mindset and is more than willing to share it.


Role and Responsibilities of PSM in the team

Because the position of Scrum Master depends so much on the context, you will find multiple potential roles and responsibilities description by searching on the Internet. However, here are the basics:

  • Coaching the organization, especially the Scrum Team, to get an Agile mindset
  • Increasing the quality of deliverables and reducing time to deliver
  • Helping the Dev Team to become self-organized and self-empowered
  • Building culture of trust, transparency, feedback and “fast failure to learn fast”
  • \Advocating in favor of the more appropriated framework to make the Dev Team performant – it can be something else than Scrum!
  • Ensuring that this framework is properly implemented to fit with the Scrum Team needs
  • Removing any impediment and blocker that prevent the Scrum Team to perform

Role and Responsibilities of PSM in the team

 Requirements to become a PSM

Officially, there is no specific requirement: everyone is a potential candidate to become a Professional Scrum Master (PSM).


Why become a PSM and what do I need to become a PSM

Do you live and breathe Agile? Ok, that sounds too much.

Nevertheless, have in mind that learning theory and training to open assessments is one sufficient thing to get certified but acting as a good Scrum Master requires a true behavior and belief in Agile philosophy coupled with large experience, ideally in organizations that have succeeded in their transformation.

Like other jobs at “vocation”, you feel a true desire to become Scrum Master when working or at least meeting with one of them. When you meet a great Scrum Master, at some point you could become aware that you do want to do the same job: because you help people working better, feeling better at work, you participate to a radical transformation in the workplace for a better organization.


2. What’s the importance of a PSM certificate?

Getting a PSM certificate demonstrates the capacity to know, understand and apply Scrum in real-world situations.

3. PSM Certification Training


How to become a PSM?

Although it is highly recommended, taking a training is optional. However, taking the official exam is mandatory to get certified. Scrum.org is the official provider:


Syllabus of Professional Scrum Master

A core of knowledge about Scrum remains the Scrum Guide from Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.

Spend time and train seriously on the Scrum Open Assessment: this is the most realistic assessment you can train on!

Next very useful resources are available with the Scrum Master Learning Path: this is a set of Professional Scrum Competencies which each contain a number of focus areas.

Further reading:

Scrum tutorial: An in-depth learning of Scrum, about its origin, evolution, and the progressive development of the framework.


Scrum.org recommends strongly these books:

Other Open Assessments might be relevant to gain additional perspective on the other roles of a Scrum Team: check the Scrum Developer Open Assessment and the Product Owner Open Assessment.

What is the eligibility to become a PSM trainer?

Eligibility to become a PSM trainer requires three conditions. First, candidates must have at least four years of intense experience as Scrum Master in software development. Second, candidates must have conducted real-world training and have delivered coaching using Scrum. On top of that, candidates passed their PSM 1 assessment with at least a 95% score.


After PSM training within how many days do I need to take the certification? 

After PSM training, there is no minimum duration to take the certification. As soon as candidates feel they are ready, they can schedule an online assessment.

4. Exam and Certification Information 

Who provides the certification?

Scrum.Org courses

A list of Scrum.org official sessions is available online. As stated on their website:

Professional Scrum Master™ (PSM) is a 2-day course that covers the principles and (empirical) process theory underpinning the Scrum framework and the role of the Scrum Master in it. This course is a combination of instruction and team-based exercises and teaches what is at the heart of the Scrum and Agile movement. The course also includes a free attempt at the globally recognized Professional Scrum Master I certification exam (PSM I).

It is also important to know that taking a Scrum.org official training offers candidates a free attempt at the assessment.

What is the process for applying for the certification?

As passing the certification does not require to attend to the official course, candidates can directly apply on the Scrum.org website. They will receive a personal password (with no expiration date) and then they can connect to a specific page and take the exam.

Cost of the Professional Scrum Master certification

The cost is $150 per attempt. If you attend a Scrum.org training class, fees include a free attempt.

The structure of the exam

The exam is exclusively online. It consists of 80 Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer and True/False questions. 60 minutes maximum are allowed to perform the full exam, and only English language is available.

Topics covered in the PSM exam

  • Scrum Framework: this is foundational knowledge for every Scrum Team member. It covers Scrum theory as described in the Scrum Guide.
  • Scrum Theory and Principles: this topic is more about understanding Scrum theory: empirical process, principles, and values of Scrum.
  • Cross-Functional, Self-Organizing Teams. Questions here cover how Scrum Teams are different from traditional development teams:cross-functional, self-empowered and self-organizing people promote flexibility, creativity, and productivity.
  • Coaching and Facilitation. Questions here are about how mindset and behavior of Scrum Master are different from traditional Project Manager: by acting as a Servant Leader, the Scrum Master facilitates and coaches full organizations in understanding and using Scrum.

Sample questions of PSM exam 

Here are three potential questions at the PSM exam:

Question 1: When many Development Teams are working on a single product, what best describes the definition of “done”?

  1. Each Development Team defines and uses its own. The differences are discussed and reconciled during a hardening Sprint.
  2. Each Development Team uses its own but must make their definition clear to all other Teams so the differences are known.
  3. All development Teams must have a definition of “done” that makes their combined work potentially releasable.
  4. It depends

Correct answer : 3

Question 2:The three pillars of empirical process control are:

    1. Inspection, Transparency, Adaptation
    2. Transparency, Eliminating Waste, Kaizen
    3. Planning, Inspection, Adaptation
    4. Respect For People, Kaizen, Eliminating Waste
    5. Planning, Demonstration, Retrospective

Correct answer: 1

Question 3:The maximum length of the Sprint Review (its time-box) is:

  1. 4 hours for a monthly Sprint. For shorter Sprints, it is usually shorter.
  2. As long as needed.
  3. 2 hours
  4. 1 day.
  5. 4 hours and long as needed.

Correct answer: 1

Tips to pass PSM 

The best way to be well prepared for the PSM official exam is to work on the Scrum Open Assessment.
You can consider that you are ready once you get 100% at every attempt.


Salary of the Professional Scrum Master

Salaries of the PSM can vary a lot according to level of experience, industry, company size and location. Here is a table with most common figures:


USFranceUnited KingdomSingapore
Junior70,000-115,00030,000-40,00040,000-70,00080,000-100,000
Mid-Senior
(more than 3 years with SM experience)
90,000-135,00035,000-55,00060,000-110,00095,000-125,000

5. Is the PSM I certification worth investing?

CSM vs PSM exam:"Differences to note" 

CSM 
PSM 
Passing ScoreMinimum 69%
(24 out of 35 questions)
Minimum 85%
Exam patternMultiple choiceMultiple choice,Multiple Answers and True/False questions.
Exam durationNo time limit,35 questions60 minutes to complete 80 questions
Certification Validation2 yearsLife time
Certification cost                      1200$
2nd attempt is free in within 60 days
        25$ for  additional  attempt.

             150$(one  attempt)
Exam  Level2 Days training + Exam           Much  harder than CSM
       Require experience,and deep
         Theoretical knowledge.


The first goal at Scrum.org is to make candidates understanding how to get valuable software thanks to a high level of maturity in Agile using Scrum. In order to achieve that, Scrum.org deliver assessments to examine, improve and certify candidates’ knowledge of Scrum. On top of that, the Scrum Guide and the Nexus Guide serve as the main background for all Scrum.org assessments.
 
Individuals that are successful at the PSM 1 certification demonstrate a fundamental level of Scrum mastery: they understand Scrum as described in the Scrum Guide and the concepts of applying Scrum. The PSM 1 certification is considered significantly more valuable than other options for Scrum.

6. What next after PSM?

People who follow Scrum.org courses can claim Project Management Institute (PMI) Professional Development Units credit: 14 PDUs after attending a two-day Professional Scrum Master (PSM). Keep in mind that PMI PDUs are earned for course attendance and not for passing a Scrum.org assessment.

7. How much should I pay to renew PSM certification?

There is no need to renew PSM certification: Scrum.org certificates are lifelong and do not require any additional payments or renewals.



Career benefits of PSM certified

Consequently, becoming now a certified and experienced professional in Agile expertise seems to be an interesting option to stay at least “employable” and marketable. Still being realistic, professionals in Agile will be directly requested either to perform the Agile transformation in many big (old) organizations or to build the Agile culture from scratch in new companies and startups. Attractive and valuable challenges are in perspective.

Nicolas

Nicolas Casel

Blog Author

Scrum Master / Agile Consultant with passion for fostering Agile mindset and improving User Experience.
Other skills: web development, CMS, usability, e-learning

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The PDUs required to maintain your certification by meeting the CCR requirements can be earned through various professional development activities that center one of the following areas:   1. Education: It can be defined as learning opportunities which allow you to enhance and expand your leadership, strategic, or technical           and business management skills.   2. Giving back to the profession: It can be defined as a set of activities that enable you to share and utilise your skills and knowledge in         order to contribute and help to build the profession.The PDU distribution for both categories in order to meet the CCR requirements for your PMP® certification are as follows:CategoriesPDUs you can earnEducation35Giving back to the profession25There are many ways to earn PDUs under both categories. You can choose from a plethora of development activities which are conducted for you to meet your CCR requirement. The activities are as follows:EducationCourse or trainingOrganisation meetingOnline or Digital mediaReadingInformal learningGiving back to the professionWork as a PractitionerCreate contentGiving presentationsSharing knowledgeVolunteeringPMI Membership Cycle and RenewalOne of the common queries that prevail among people is that how long is the PMI membership cycle. Your PMI  membership is valid for one year from the date of your membership activation. You can track your membership status in your myPMI profile on PMI.org and can renew the same as soon as 90 days from your expiration date.You can auto-renew your membership by accepting the automatic renewal terms and conditions on the payment screen on PMI.org. But you may opt to turn off this feature and renew your membership each year via phone, mail, or online.What if you fail to renew your membership?Failing to renew your membership before the expiration date of your membership will lead to a discontinuation of your membership benefits, like discounts on certification, additional PDU opportunities, member-only webinars, or maintaining your chapter membership. You can activate the membership automatic renewal feature to ensure continuous access to your membership benefits without interruption.ConclusionThere are numerous benefits which you can reap by becoming a PMI member. These benefits would surely motivate you throughout your PMP® certification journey. But in order to realise these benefits, you need to be involved with them. The membership will give you access to the local chapter meetings and help you out to get an opportunity to interact with other Project Management Professionals (PMP®). This will help you to learn more about the format and challenges of the PMP® examination. Moreover, this will help you in your career growth through communication and networking.The PMI membership also facilitates its members will various courses and activities to meet the PDUs required to meet the CCR program. Attend the seminars or work as a practitioner to earn the 60 PDUs which are required to maintain your PMI  certification.You can also learn about how to earn more PDUs to meet the CCR requirement set by PMI after completion of your PMP® certification here.
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Benefits of Having a PMI Membership

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Top 8 Qualities of a Successful Project Manager

Projects are temporary endeavors carried out to achieve the desired goal which could be a product, service, or result. Industry experts believe that a good project manager is one of the top contributors to a project’s success.  A project manager is a crucial link between the project sponsor or client and the team that’s involved in executing the project. In most organizations, 71% of projects fail. Lack of adequate experienced professionals, right from a project manager to project team members is one of the main reasons why most projects fail. What does it take to become a good project manager? Across organizations, there are some key attributes every good project manager has. Below are the top 8 essential attributes of a successful project manager:  1. They are visionaries A competent project head should be a visionary who can foresee the direction the project takes even before it is executed. The desired goals can be achieved only when project managers articulate the vision of what must be done during project execution clearly to their team members.  2. They are astute planners Planning should be second in nature for project managers. They should be able to assess and decide the demands of their project even before it starts. They should also be able to drive a project to completion within the stipulated budget and timelines. In case of any hiccups, they should also have the agility to divert and devise a new plan of action seamlessly. 3. They are dependable Since project managers are professionals who will need to interact with both stakeholders and team members in a project, they should be dependable to the tee. Their competence and work ethic should inspire both the stakeholders and team members to rely on each other without any fail. 4. They are competent and highly experienced A skilled project manager should stand out for his/her credentials in project management. Credentials andproject management certifications like PMP or CAPM, etc can help validate the competence of a project manager as someone who can handle any project in any industry. It also asserts their prowess in project management to the employers, stakeholders, colleagues, and team members. 5. They lead by example without micromanaging Any good project manager will simply not micromanage. Project management gives employees the liberty to take ownership of their tasks in the project while adhering to deadlines. Project managers who trust their team members to do an efficient job ensure that they are not bogged down by unnecessary distractions. These managers prefer to get weekly updates and do quality assurance checks regarding the projects rather than nit-pick. This approach will help groom a confident and self-assured team capable of handling any project. 6. They are effective communicators People skills are mandatory to become an efficient project manager. It is their daily habit to spell out goals, strategies, responsibilities, expectations, and performance. They would also have to delegate activities among team members. Hence, a good project manager must be a clear and effective communicator. 7. They are pros at troubleshooting Every project would have a fair share of potential risks associated with it.  An experienced project manager would have the wisdom to predict impending obstacles and do the needful. While executing a project, a project manager should be able to resolve unexpected hiccups that arise. 8. They have high emotional intelligence Only emotionally intelligent individuals can tackle the rigors that come with being a project manager. In situations where the team’s morale needs a boost, an emotionally intelligent project manager would be able to act accordingly. From staying calm under stress to handling various untoward issues, demand a high degree of emotional intelligence. Earning the relevant certifications is not the only important aspect of being a project manager. The above key attributes are a must-have for aspiring project managers out there. Acquire the above attributes and relevant certifications and pursue a project management career of your dreams! 
Top 8 Qualities of a Successful Project Manager

Projects are temporary endeavors carried out to ... Read More

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