26th July 2016 – This post has been updated to reflect the changes to the Professional Scrum Master assessments and certifications that have been announced by Scrum.org. What was PSM II has been renamed to PSM III. What was previously PSP (Professional Scrum Practitioner) has been renamed to PSM II. You can read more about the changes here.
Professional Scrum Master II (PSM II) is an advanced level assessment from Scrum.org aimed at demonstrating that you know Scrum theory and how to apply it in the real world.
Scrum.org have published some guidance which is helpful to start with. However, this doesn’t really tell you what to expect when you take the real thing. How does it compare to PSM I in terms of difficulty? Is it as hard as PSM III?
PSM II is similar in structure to PSM I so you should take and pass this first before moving onto PSM II. The major difference with PSM II is that the questions and associated multiple choice answers are quite a bit longer and so take longer to read and understand.
Fortunately PSM II feels much less time pressured than PSM I so time is less of a problem. Scrum.org have allowed a generous 90 minutes for 30 questions which most people have said is plenty of time. However the extra time doesn’t help with some of the more tricky questions as there will be no clear help available online to guide you with your answers.
Here is an example question which is representative of what to expect:
Relationships between the Product Owner and Development team have been tense for many Sprints. The Product Owner has lost trust and respect for the Development Team as they consistently fail to achieve the Sprint Goal to her satisfaction by the end of each Sprint. The Development Team blame the Product Owner for increasing scope each Sprint making the Sprint Goal unachievable. As a Scrum Master, what should you do?
Choose one answer.
- Speak to the line managers of the various Development Team members about their lack of productivity and ask them to take corrective action.
- Talk to the Product Owner and tell them not to increase scope mid Sprint.
- Discuss the situation with the Scrum Team. Help them find improved ways to clarify and set a more realistic Sprint Goal.
- Take no action. Allow the Development Team to self organise to address the issue.
As you can see, not too different from a PSM I question, just a little longer and more in depth. PSM II is much closer to PSM I than PSM III, so is achievable for those that have attended a Professional Scrum Master course and/or have a strong understanding of Scrum theory according to the Scrum guide. Beware though as some questions can be quite tricky!
But what is the answer to the sample question? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.
The Scrum Master is Simon Kneafsey. Simon is a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org, the home of Scrum run by Scrum co-creator, Ken Schwaber. Simon offers Professional Scrum Certification training courses globally and works with clients to introduce Scrum to their organisations.
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