After PSM II certification in May last year, I decided to continue my agile journey, invest additional time and energy in knowledge and practice of Scrum, and to sit for PSM III exam. I am very happy and excited to say that I got successfully certified!
Scrum.org considers PSM III certificate holders to have distinguished knowledge of Scrum, ability to apply Scrum in variety of complex team and organisational situations, and additionally that they can mentor and coach people or teams who are adopting Scrum. So I was very proud to become one of the first 500 PSM III certificate holders worldwide.
When I started with preparation, I found very few useful resources with experiences of people who actually prepared and passed this exam. So if you want to sit for PSM III, I hope this post will help you to navigate more easily.
The official information about duration, type of questions etc can be found here: https://www.scrum.org/professional-scrum-master-iii-certification.
One thing to keep in mind is that somewhere in 2006. assessment family changed from two to three levels, so it may happen that some information you find about PSM II online, now actually apply to PSM III. This is explained in details in the following post: https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/introducing-new-psm-assessment-family
Two links I found useful (although partially outdated) are also clarification on the format of essay questions https://www.scrum.org/forum/scrum-forum/6377/sample-essay-type-questions-psm-ii#6257, and this one https://webgate.ltd.uk/pass-professional-scrum-master-ii-psm-ii-assessment/.
What I did for my preparation was a specific mix of activities and situations I encountered, and is not guarantee or receipt for passing the exam. But I hope it can be helpful and give some kind of hint for all of you who wonder where to start and how to organise yourself while preparing.
In the short what I did was:
- Prepared and certified for PSM II first (more about that in my post “How to pass PSM II exam?”)
- Went through Scrum Guide (https://www.scrum.org/resources/scrum-guide) and Nexus Guide (https://www.scrum.org/resources/nexus-guide) over and over and over again :) Even though they are very light-way, it is surprising that each time you read them you discover something new!
- Practiced all open assessments: Scrum Open, Nexus Open, Product Owner Open, Developer Open (https://www.scrum.org/open-assessments)
- Made sure I perfectly understand all terms from Scrum Glossary (https://www.scrum.org/resources/scrum-glossary) and Scrum Developer Glossary (https://www.scrum.org/resources/professional-scrum-developer-glossary)
- Read ALL books from the list https://www.scrum.org/resources/suggested-reading-professional-scrum-master, and any other source that seemed interesting or right.
- Followed scrum.org blog, and some other blogs I respect such as Mike Cohn’s https://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/blog
- Got actively involved in local agile communities, attended workshops, exchanged experiences and opinions with different people a lot, also tried to actively help everyone who asked me for an advice.
- Held advanced agile trainings at my workplace for different groups. This was a great experience and it is amazing how much you can learn by teaching others!
- Attended few high quality trainings (Advanced agile course by Alistair Cockburn and Better user stories by Mike Cohn). These specific trainings are no must at all. But my point is that things like this broaden your horizons and help develop critical thinking.
- And more than anything else I invested a lot of effort in trying to apply Scrum in the best possible way in every day work with my teams, and reflect regularly with focus and patience.
Exam itself is indeed challenging, time is short (especially if English is not your native language) and passing score is high. But with enthusiasm, good preparation and a lot of practice you can succeed!
For me it was a first attempt and I was successful with score 90%. And it was definitely a very exciting journey to this success :) I strongly recommend to everyone interested in the field of agile coaching to go for it!