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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.
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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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This includes directing and managing complicated activities that may extend over functions, organizations, cultures, and geographies.With the PgMP® certification, professionals will strengthen their grasp in the six prime focus areas of program management such as Governance, Prioritization, Escalation, Resource Management, Benefits Realization, and Stakeholder Management. Thus, certified PgMP® professionals will be able to encourage teams to integrate and coordinate multiple projects in a better way. Accreditation body: Project Management Institute (PMI)® Eligibility criteria: Either:A four-year degree (Bachelor's or Global equivalent), with at least four years of Project Management experience and four years of Program Management experience.OrA secondary diploma (High school or Global equivalent), with at least four years of Project Management experience and seven years of Program Management experience. Candidates not meeting the above criteria can also consider the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification. 8. APM™: Associate in Project ManagementThe Associate in Project Management (APM)™ certificate is an entry-level certification in Project Management and is a globally recognized credential. Governed by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)®, the exam covers 50 Multiple Choice Questions out of which the candidate requires to get 70% (35 out of 50 correct) to pass the 60-minute exam. Accreditation body: Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)® Eligibility criteria:No formal education or experience required. 9. MPM®: Master Project Manager The Master Project Manager certification is issued by the American Academy of Project Management (AAPM)® and is ideal for both project managers and professionals with business and technical responsibilities. Accreditation body: American Academy of Project Management (AAPM)®Eligibility criteria: Three years of project management experience and training. 10. PPM™: Professional in Project ManagementProfessional in Project Management (PPM)™ course is organized by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)®. This is a mid-level certification that consists of project management components showing how to plan, execute, control, and complete projects as well as training to perform better.  Accreditation body: Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)® Eligibility criteria:Completion of a mandatory E-Course Candidates should have a certain project management experience. ConclusionAlong with the abovementioned project management certifications, it is recommended that professionals apply principles in their current professions, be on the lookout for newer methodologies and upskill regularly.
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Top 10 Certifications in Project Management

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Is PMTQ the new buzzword in the Project Management world?

With an increasing number of technologies and effective tools for project management, the number of projects has skyrocketed in the past few years. Businesses are heavily investing in projects and related resources to increase revenue generation. According to Capterra, on average, businesses are spending anywhere between $1,000 to $10,000 annually (2020), on project management software. However, data from the PMI indicates that almost 12 percent of these business investments were wasted in 2019, owing to poor performance. Reports dating way back from the previous year also indicate that this number has barely budged over the past five years.The fundamental problem of this business loss is rooted in the gradual shift in the way of work that we are presently witnessing. While project management tools are getting iterated almost daily, the project professionals aren’t suitably geared to leverage this new technology. Additionally, only a fraction of business leaders are interested in investing in training and reskilling employees.With this, businesses are at the risk of creating digitally unsustainable environments. In a survey by PwC, 85 percent of respondents commented that artificial intelligence (AI) alone will significantly change the way they do business in the next five years. Close to two-thirds of global CEOs see AI as a bigger disruptor than the internet!  In order to build a capacity to adapt to the constant changes that advancing technologies are bringing, businesses are looking to build/hire professionals with high PMTQ (Project Management Technology Quotient).What is PMTQ?PMTQ (or Technology Quotient) is an agile concept of being able to adapt, manage, and integrate technology on the go, based on business/project needs. The PMI identifies three characteristics that define high PMTQ:1. Always-on curiosity:Looks for new project delivery approaches, new ideas, perspectives, and technologies.Open-minded, but with a skeptic’s approach. Has the ability to integrate the appropriate project delivery practices without chasing after every new digital trend.2. All-inclusive leadership:Leadership shift from people-management to tech-management i.e, assigning the right task to the right people – including robots! This leads to the effective management of newer technologies based on the team’s capabilities.  An advocate of technology3. A future-proof talent poolRecruiting and retaining the right project professionals, with skills most-needed for the digital era. These professionals are not just passionate about new trends and technologies but have the capabilities to adapt and keep up with constant rearrangement of ideas.The leader should be willing to accept that these cutting-edge technologies can be short-lived. They should adapt to these changes on par with tech growth, which is essential for business growth.The rapid growth of technologies creates a new scope for project professionals and businesses. The future of work is demanding businesses to build the flexibility to accommodate broad and varying skills, capabilities, and different project delivery approaches to get the work done. Even the approach to the work has shifted from “job for life” to “portfolio of projects”, for both individuals and businesses. Project managers today are no longer handling the same static responsibilities throughout their career, transitioning the nature of work to multifaceted projects that require new technologies to succeed. Factoring in the new changes, there is an immense demand for individuals and businesses to embrace PMTQ.Cultivating PMTQAs PMI points out, “The real opportunity lies in project leaders/businesses beginning the hard work of developing a PMTQ mindset throughout their organization.” A study has already found the positive effect of cultivating PMTQ within employees. PMTQ innovators were found to waste lesser investment (8.5%) compared to laggards at 16.3%, and also reduce scope creep in projects. Certifications like PMP® and PRINCE 2® further leverage individuals and teams to be digitally enabled.A truly digitally sustainable environment is created when ready-for-anything teams are cultivated, fuelled by the knowledge of their technology, as well as their project management which is exactly the intent of high PMTQ.
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Is PMTQ the new buzzword in the Project Management...

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