What is PSM certification and how is it useful?

Agile software development. Agile business practices. The word agility is popping up more and more in articles about companies who have saved themselves and are now flourishing. That one guy you used to work with is now a Scrum Master and killing it. But how did he get there? Where did he start? And what the hell is a PSM certification? 

Don’t worry, we can help you out. We’ll explain what PSM certification is and even tell you how you can end up like your former co-worker turned business connoisseur. 

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Professional Scrum Master in a nutshell.

Scrum, at its core, is a framework that enables organizations to generate value using small, flexible, empirically-motivated teams of people. With the right implementation, Scrum’s agile framework has resulted in many success stories.

A fundamental unit of Scrum is the Scrum Team, and a crucial member of that team is the Scrum Master. Essentially, a Scrum Master often serves as a coach. They may not physically play in the game but they use the Scrum principles to help guide their team to success. They promote effectiveness by helping formulate and achieve Sprint Goals and deliver valuable increments, they serve the Product Owner and the organization, encouraging collaboration and communication between all stakeholders. 

There are two certification-related possibilities within the Scrum community: Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Professional Scrum Master (PSM).  Full disclosure: Responsive Advisors has a long running partnership with Scrum.org delivering Professional Scrum curriculum and In our humble opinion, the only one worth talking about is the PSM.

PSM Certification

Preparing for the PSM Certification exam requires developing an intimate knowledge of Scrum and its implementation in real-world scenarios. You’ll want to know the Scrum framework inside out, including the fundamental theoretical tenets of empiricism and lean thinking. You’ll want to read and then reread the Scrum Guide and then read it again. You’ll want to know what other agile methodologies inhabit the same kind of space that Scrum does and know the differences between them. 

The exam itself is one hour and consists of 80 questions made up of multiple choice, multiple answer (more than one right answer), and true or false questions. The content of the exam ranges from foundational, theoretical, and definitional content to applications of Scrum principles  in real-world scenarios. It tests the ability of a putative PSM to think on their feet while in a challenging situation (something that represents what a Professional Scrum Master might do on the job).

What can you do with it?

So you’ve passed the PSM assessment. After you’ve shouted your barbaric yawp of triumph, you might wonder, “Now what?” Now is the time to start building your career as a true Professional Scrum Master. 

Once you’ve earned your certification it’s there for life; there’s no renewal fee. You can rest assured that you have demonstrated a basic level of competence and expertise of Scrum-related principles and will forever have three more letters at the end of your name. But you don’t want to rest on your laurels.

Getting your first Scrum Master job requires hard work and focus. Start by giving yourself a professional makeover– get rid of the boring, irrelevant fluff and primp up your resume.

And for the love of tacos, don’t forget your online job profiles. It’s all about putting yourself out there– think meetup groups and networking on LinkedIn. Be prepared to take on difficult work and demonstrate tangible results to an organization. 

The good news is, demand for Scrum Masters has expanded beyond product development alone and is now sought-after in many industries. A little research, a splash of determination, and a side of resilience will land you your first job in no time. 

But the first step is getting PSM-certified.

How to not waste your time

Making the choice to become a Scrum Master is a significant investment. The last thing you want to do is end up on the other side of a certification experience with nothing to show for it. Preparation is key.

Responsive Advisors can help you achieve the personal and professional transformation you’re seeking by putting you on a path to a PSM certification. Learn the fundamental principles of agile business practices with a variety of options, including Scrum Master and Advanced Scrum Master training courses, from experts in the field.

These aren’t your typical courses where staying awake is the biggest challenge. Training through Responsive Advisors is reflective of the agility they teach. They’re modern, immersive and fun– the antonym of boring.

If you’re setting out to get a PSM certification, Responsive Advisors is who you want coaching you through it. 

Robert Pieper

I like Metalcore, and cupcakes.
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