How To Pass PSM II From Scrum.org

What To Expect From The Professional Scrum Master II (PSM II) Assessment From Scrum.org

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.

In my earlier post I explained how to pass the PSM I assessment. However the PSM II assessment is quite different from the Scrum Open or PSM I assessment so what should you expect?

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.

  1. Speak to the line managers of the various Development Team members about their lack of productivity and ask them to take corrective action.
  2. Talk to the Product Owner and tell them not to increase scope mid Sprint.
  3. Discuss the situation with the Scrum Team. Help them find improved ways to clarify and set a more realistic Sprint Goal.
  4. 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.


Share this Post

Comments 26

  1. This is an easy one, the answer is 3 and can be even guessed by discarding the others just seeing the mention to project manager, functional manager and the naïf approach to solving issues present in the last one.

    However there are some tricky ones in the PSP exam related with scaling Scrum.

    After failing with an 83.3% I initially identified them as PO questions because they were related to PO functions in actions involving several teams but now that I have just passed my Scaled Professional Scrum exam with a 95% I bet I would have had a very different output in this one if I would have sat it after my SPS course instead of before.

    Sad the discount code is not redeemable anymore as otherwise I would give the PSP another go. 🙂

    However after paying for the SPS course this will now need to wait I’m afraid.

  2. I undid what I said about waiting for this, sat it today (no discount code this time) and passed it.

    The experience was different for me once I had passed the SPS exam. Not much easier if I’m honest but at least I put all the questions in its right context and did not leave the exam doubting about 3 questions as last time.

    1. Well done great Job on both accounts

      I intend to sit my SPS exam at the end of this week but cannot afford to sit the PSP also as I have committed to other Scaling programs.

      I feel ready and am sure that my understanding of Scaling Scrum is great, but I need to trench my way around the many scaling frameworks and processes I have studied and worked with, which will be the hardest part.

      Are the questions in the SPS long and intentionally deceptive in their wording, are they designed to keep you focused on the exam or are they good old knowledge questions.

      Thanks

      1. mm
  3. Thanks for your advice, I have passed the SPS, it was not difficult at all and for me personally a good option to scaling scrum solutions. I would be very interested in studying this subject matter in more detail are there any more resources available

    I am now ready for the illustrious PSM II,

    Simon,
    I understand the scrum principles well and know the scrum pocket book very well.
    What else do you recommend I do in prep for this exam.

    1. mm

      Hi David,

      To learn more about SPS you can read my definitive guide to Scaled Professional Scrum and the Nexus Framework here:
      https://www.thescrummaster.co.uk/scrum/scaled-professional-scrum-the-definitive-guide/

      New content will be published each week so keep an eye on this page for new stuff.

      Also, have a read of my blog post around passing PSM II:
      https://www.thescrummaster.co.uk/scrum/pass-professional-scrum-expert-pse-assessment-scrum-org/

      Simon

  4. Option 3 – because its Scrum .Master job to coach /educate PO and Dev team and facilitate the discussion.

    I took SPS long back about a month back. I cleared it. However PSP troubled me a lot with two attempts. Only in third attempt I cleared it.

    Simon thanks for your discount code and your views. I really thank u much.

    PSP is tricky it is best to prepare well before taking it

  5. Hi Simon,

    I have finally passed the PSP cert.

    Thank you for all your advice and encouragement.

    I got two questions wrong in the Coaching and Facilitation area and like the previous blogger stated PSP is tricky, but not difficult

    I will now rest for the rest of the week and start next week focusing on becoming a better scrum professional.

    I said this before privately and now will confirm publically, your continued willingness to engage and communicate makes you a great mentor, Trainer and coach for all who need support.

    Keep up the good work

    Scrum on

    1. mm
  6. David I agree with your words for Simon ” your continued willingness to engage and communicate makes you a great mentor, Trainer and coach for all who need support.” I too interacted/requested Simon privately/publically for many help, he never hesitated in providing any support. I feel he is always ready to help even taking out some time from his busy schedule. I always follow your blogs particularly those SPS/Nexus & waiting for all to finish before I go for SPS & PSP. Thanks Simon for all your help & support to Scrum community.

  7. I just cleared my PSM II (PSP) with 90%, not satisfied with the score, was expecting 100%, don’t know what went wrong

    1. mm Post
      Author

      Hi Sanjay,

      You passed with a good score so I would take this is a positive if I were you.

      The feedback shown afterwards can be used to point you towards the areas you can spend time deepening your understanding.

      Regards

      Simon

      1. I started with Scrum guide and read a lot of books e.g. Scrum and the Enterprise, Coaching Agile Teams, Agile Project Management with Scrum, Gunther’s poket guide, Software in 30 days etc.

        I am practising Scrum for past 6 years. I would highly recommend attending PSM class from a PST.

        Please let me know if you have any specific query, happy to help.

        1. First of all, Congrats to you. Please let me know your mail id to contact . Iam having some queries to discuss with you regarding PSM 2.

          1. mm Post
            Author
      2. mm Post
        Author
  8. mm Post
    Author
  9. mm Post
    Author
  10. I would choose option 3.

    “Discuss the situation with the Scrum Team. Help them find improved ways to clarify and set a more realistic Sprint Goal.”

  11. I rule out 1 as this does nothing for self organisation.
    I rule out 2 as I would be assuming the issue is only with the PO.
    I rule out 4 as it does not help to facilitate progress.

    Based on the info – 3 sounds right as I would be opening up the issue with the whole team. This would be an inclusive and collaborative approach to leverage their empowerment. Would be a good impediment to promote at a retro.

    1. Hello all. It’s been very interesting reading responses to the question posed..
      Change happens all the time, so the PO is perfectly entitled to ‘try’ to change the sprint scope mid-sprint. However the Development team own the Sprint Backlog and are therefore entitled (in fact obliged, which they failed on here) to challenge the PO’s attempts to modify scope and reject them if they feel that the original Sprint Goal in place was compromised as a result.
      What’s most interesting above all is that this has been brewing for a while and the issue of missed Sprint Goals has been going on for quite a few sprints. I conclude then that there’s been a serious failure to create learning, moderation and compromise in the Sprint Retrospective right after the first occurrence.
      To answer the question then, (1) and (4) are definitely out.
      (2) could at least have been raised by the Scrum Master with the PO at the very first sign of trouble with a potential compromise that the PO agrees to terminate the Sprint if the Sprint Goal was considered by the Development team to be either unachievable or now no longer valuable – but this (2) option is still out IMO.
      That leaves (3), but here again the Scrum Master should have done this at that very first Sprint Retrospective when things started going awry, and the best possible outcome would have been to agree to set more realistic (and valuable) Sprint Goals cognizant of potential mid-sprint upheaval.

      Thoughts?

  12. I would choose option 3.

    “Discuss the situation with the Scrum Team. Help them find improved ways to clarify and set a more realistic Sprint Goal.”

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *