Usually (no OK it’s the whole time) on our Scrum planet and Agile Universe we use “We” instead of “I”. However, for the purposes of this post I shall use the “I”, simply because every person is different and therefore the procedure I followed in order to pass this demanding assessment may vary across people. After all, the variables included are quite diverse: experience, Scrum knowledge, Scrum practice, willingness to learn and experiment and last but not least your ability to unlearn bad practices are very important when studying for this exam. Remember, PSM III is considered as the hardest Scrum Master examination out there; it is about judgement, not about prescription. (Please note that I did not attend a Professional Scrum Master workshop, even if I strongly recommend it.)
First things first, it all started with a revision reading of the Scrum Guide. I revised the Guide by having the Scrum Master duties in mind.
But his was just the beginning; there was more reading to be done. This time a bunch of books. Logically, I started with the book of the Scrum creators “Software in 30 days” and then followed by “Agile Project Management with Scrum” and “The enterprise and Scrum” by Ken Schwaber. There are a lot of interesting info and insights within those books. Moreover, the book by Gunther Verheyen “Scrum a pocket guide” complements the Scrum Guide and fills the parts which the Scrum Guide leaves intentionally blurry.
I would say that the above reading list was the core for my preparation. Of course, I did not stop there. YouTube and online videos helped me a lot, especially the conference presentations and talks by Ken Schwaber and Gunther Verheyen. A simple search on YouTube will do.
I went on and read the remaining books from Scrum.org’s PSM suggested reading list. Particularly helpful were the books “Drive” by Daniel Pink, “Radical Management” by Stephen Denning, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patric Lencioni and “Agile Coaching” by Lyssa Adkins. Ηowever, throughout the years I ‘ve read dozens of books regarding Scrum, Agility and Lean management.
I took part in the Scrum.org community forums and tried to reply to some of the questions. A search within those forums on topics that I felt I had gaps in were quite helpful. Moreover, all blogposts on Scrum.org should give you a nice overview on specific Scrum topics. Remember, the blogposts’ authors are all Professional Scrum Trainers, therefore they know what they are talking about.
Another important part of my “journey” was the reading of blogs; I found Ken Schwaber’s and Gunther Verheyen’s blogs to contain jewels of Scrum information. In addition, I particularly fancied Ian Mitchell’s short but very informative articles. These can be found here.
A further step was to sit the PSM I exam once again (PSM I is a prerequisite in order to sit PSM III) and try to improve my weak areas. A strong pass mark means that you are on a good track.
Last but not least and definitely the most important of all: experience as a Scrum Master. I consider it as the alpha and the omega of this journey. You lack any working experience as Scrum Master? Try to get some. After all, the PSM III certificate shows that you are pretty serious about Scrum. Experience can vary based on level, intensity, and Scrum Master knowledge. Go out there and “get your hands dirty”. Nothing can ever replace real world experience.