When I announced having passed the Professional ScrumMaster II assessment (including getting certified) the reactions were -to say the least- mixed. People I have effectively worked with sent me warm congratulations. People more distant to me seemed more cynical and skeptical. Time to set free your psychoanalytic ambitions!
I partly share the cynicism, skepticism and unbelief with regards to certification in general in our world of IT, consultancy and software development. But a little common sense makes one don’t consider certification solely, but experience, attitude and personality as well.
I know that calling people Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) after merely attending a 2-day course isn’t too credible. Can I say to my credit that it was 3 days when I did it in 2004? But that was then. Nowadays the ScrumAlliance requires participants to do an online CSM evaluation.
And it doesn’t justify any reservations on the PSM program!
Last year, Ken Schwaber and the ScrumAlliance parted and Ken started Scrum.org (for a couple of reasons). He developed new and updated programs upon effective knowledge assessments. Jeff Sutherland and Ken updated the Scum Guide. To form the Scrum Body of Knowledge.
The Scrum Open Assessment was created incrementally with feedback of the community and serves as a check-up on the subscriber’s knowledge. No medals attached, just knowing where you stand.
The Professional ScrumMaster assessments are not open, but require payment. Luckily, payment is no guarantee. You do not just pay to get a certificate. You obtain 85% or more. Scrum.org has no benefits in creating an unnaturally large amount of PSM’s.
- PSM I is about knowing how the game should be played. Limited pretensions. It’s also included in the fee for a PSM course, the follow-up to Ken’s original CSM. So it is not just about the money.
- PSM II is about understanding and applying the underlying principles. Answers that cannot be found directly in the Scrum Guide. Often demanding multiple options with (dis)advantages.
So let no general skepticism stand a correct judgement of the PSM assessments in the way. They emphasize on demonstrable knowledge, over paper certification, which I certainly have come to value more. Reason why I am proud of my PSM II. Though that won’t stop me from being pig-headed in my way of mastering people and projects…