If you have a look at the current job descriptions for ScrumMasters they normally ask for a certification. This means you should have done a training offered by the ScrumAlliance and the certification proves this. It does not mean that you are experienced with what you may talk about.
When I started with Scrum I thought I do not need such a certificate. I followed the idea “I am proud not to be certified”. For all of us learning Scrum on their own the ScrumAlliance certificate is no real help. Important to us is to learn the basics and get experienced with the framework, with the social and organizational implications and then help to improve the companies’ results. For me this is similar to learn using the Spring framework on your own.
I changed my mind when I heard of what Ken Schwaber started with Scrum.org. Now you have to prove your knowledge to get a certificate after a training. This really makes it worth to have a certificate. And my experience shows me that getting a Scrum.org certificate is a challenge. Even with the simplest multiple choice assessment you really have to understand what you are talking about to be successful.
What I really like about Scrum.org is the assessment offer without partcipating in their trainings. Besides this Ken, with the support of Jeff Sutherland and the Scrum community, did a good job on offering cost-free help to learn and understand the Scrum fundamentals:
- Scrum Guide – An overview of the Scrum framework with a lot of hints you should have a look at when using Scrum in your project.
- Open Scrum Assessment – 30 questions in 60 minutes to prove what you learned from the Scrum Guide. You have to reach 75% correct answers.
You may not manage to get a certificate only using these offerings. But, they help you to understand what Ken extracted as most important from the last 15 years he is using Scrum.
Professional Scrum Master I Certification
I did the Professional Scrum Master I assessment on a Friday and got my official certificate on Monday. Normally, you wait not more than a working day to get the certificate in PDF. You also get a logo that you can use in your blog, etc. (see footer of this blog). The result is shown immediately after the assessment. This allowed me to start the marketing even on that Friday ;-).
When I started the assessment I was a bit surprised. I had to answer 80 questions in 60 minutes and to reach 85% correct answers. So, you have to manage your time. In contrast to this the Open Assessment was pretty easy with 30 questions in 60 minutes. So, there’s no time left to search for an answer, even if you try this with the Scrum Guide PDF file.
You may try to guess the answer. Some answers do not really work for questions. So, the most logical one could be the answer. But, beware of using the first answer you may think that could work. Read every answer and keep in mind that Scrum is a framework with a minimal set of rules.
Although, we may talk a lot about certain numbers in using Scrum it does not necessarily asks for this. The numbers only give hints to become efficient. This is different to the rules Scrum defines. You have to follow all rules, else you have a ScrumBut.
Using the Open Assessment will show you why I am talking about all this. What is really nice with this assessment is that you get a hint for almost all wrong answers. Do not hessitate to repeat the Open Assessment until you reach 90% of correct answers. This helped me a lot. For statistical reasons and to help Ken, always use the same profile data.
For a better preparation I recommend the Mike Cohn series books, like:
- Mike Cohn: Succeeding with Agile – Software Development Using Scrum, 2009
- Roman Pichler: Agile Product Management with Scrum – Creating Products that Customers Love, 2010
Additionally, I studied online resources, like blogs, videos, slides and documents.
After this you can start the assessment. You have to pay $100 to get a password and start the assessment online. I had to wait a day to get the password (timezone difference US – Europe). If you are successful you can read your name in a list and get the certificate as PDF via email. It looks like this:
Some words from Ken why he offers a certification without a training: