PSK I difficulty

Last post 01:59 am June 7, 2019
by Gilbert Kleinwechter
32 replies
07:23 am May 11, 2018

I didn't manage to pass the PSK I after trying twice (the second time was very close - 81.8%). I have PSM I, PSM II, SPS, PSD, PSPO - passed them all in high scores. I read all the recommanded material, a few times - both Guides, the blogs, watched the webinars, but still couldn't pass it. 

I'm practicing a mature Scrum in the past 4 years. I wander whether the fact that I'm not a native English speaker is an obstacle for me. I saw that only 7 people passed the PSK I so far - that doesn't seem reasonalbe to me. There is also no open assessment for this exam. 

If anyone passed it, do you have any tips for me on how to prepare for the next round? (this becoming very expensive for me...) 

08:46 am May 11, 2018

The only thing I can think of would be to go on the PSK course, checking to make sure that the PST has also passed the PSK exam.

That said, 81.8% is an excellent score. I only got 76.8%, and that’s as a native English speaker who did attend the course.

10:00 am May 11, 2018

Unfortunately  there is no PSK course in Israel. It seems the exam is really hard, or tricky... don't know. I studied really hard for the second attempt, even beyond the recommendations - browsing blogs in the internet about little law, CFD and so forth...

Based on what you say, doesn't it mean the difficulty level of the exam is too high? I'm not sure I would go for a third attempt, especially because I don't know how to improve my chances. 

10:36 am May 11, 2018

My strategy for re-take, as much as I have one, is to thoroughly digest the book "Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability: An Introduction" by Daniel Vacanti.

As you may know from the press releases, Vacanti has been heavily involved in the development of PSK. I've just ordered his book and so haven't read it yet. However, the outline and table of contents do seem aligned to the exam as I remember it, and more so than any other material I have found. It is on the PSK suggested material reading list.

12:28 pm May 11, 2018

I tried the PSK I once and did not pass it. I scored very well in the Kanban Practices and Scrum Framework portions, but did very poorly in the Agile Metrics portion. I find that somewhat strange, personally, considering my background. In school, my focus was on software development processes. I worked for 5 years in an organization that used Lean Software Development and Toyota Production System with the continuous improvement department and I've worked for the past 2 years in an organization using Scrum. I very easily passed my PSM I, PSM II, SPS, and PSPO I exams based only on my education, self-study, and experiences. I would think that someone with this background who then read and understood the Kanban Guide for Scrum Teams and the various blog posts about Scrum and Kanban would be able to pass the exam.

Unlike the other exams, I felt like most of the questions weren't addressed in the free Kanban Guide for Scrum Teams and could not be addressed with experience. This is particularly true of the metrics questions. A lot of the metrics questions weren't just about the metrics but an application of them. If you weren't in the head of the person creating the exam and how they think the metrics should be applied, then you wouldn't know. I don't believe that my answers were necessarily wrong or incorrect, but they weren't specified in the Kanban Guide for Scrum Teams and they didn't match up with what the authors had as the correct answer.

If Ian is right and many of the answers can be found only in Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability: An Introduction, I would consider this exam a money grab and not a valuable assessment. I didn't feel that way about the other certifications, which is why I took them - the resources to pass the entry level exams are all out there for free if you read them, everything else is optional (but probably a good idea to make sure you understand the topics). The resources to pass the next level of exams are also out there, but you need some level of experience.

05:30 pm May 11, 2018

I somewhat feels better with my score, seeing other experts in the field not managing to pass this exam :) 

I will consider buying Daniel's book, although I think the knowledge to pass the exam should be available for free. 

05:59 pm May 11, 2018

As a steward for the PSK class, hopefully, I can shed some perspective and maybe help a little. 

First of all - there's good feedback here and we're certainly in the process of inspecting and adapting the assessment. The goal is certainly NOT to be a money grab. The goal is to provide a similar approach as other assessments - you should be able to pass the assessment by either taking a class or having comparable field experience. 

We're aware that the metrics related questions are a bit challenging even for people with experience in agile and kanban. We expect a relatively deep knowledge of lean metrics for the PSK1. We're still tuning difficulty and clarity on some of the metrics questions. 

We're also working on providing more accessible reference materials around these metrics. For example, yesterday I published an article about the 4 key metrics and how to use them on the blog It will be added to the recommended reading list. I also published which is on its way to the blog ...

Finally Erez one of our israeli PSTs is in the pipeline to add PSK to her license so I'm hoping we will have a PSK class in Israel soon! 

Oh - and Dan's book is really worth it! and regardless of the book I'd suggest playing around with to get a feeling for some of the metrics that you're not familiar with. 


06:25 pm May 11, 2018

First of all - there's good feedback here and we're certainly in the process of inspecting and adapting the assessment. The goal is certainly NOT to be a money grab. The goal is to provide a similar approach as other assessments - you should be able to pass the assessment by either taking a class or having comparable field experience.

I'm curious as to why this certification exam was released to the public for purchase, since it doesn't seem that it was ready. It's necessary to inspect and adapt the assessment, for sure - I would expect this with any kind of good certification exam on a regular basis. But it seems like this exam was not ready for prime time if you're still publishing material that helps with the exam and have found that some questions are a "bit challenging even for people with experience in agile and kanban". The difficulty is labeled as "Intermediate" - the same as the PSM I, SPS, and PSPO I exams. Personally, I would have called the current format "Advanced". I felt that the PSM II was significantly easier than this.

When I purchased the exam, it was not clear that there was still material to be published and that there was active efforts to refine an entire category of questions. If I had known that, I would have waited to purchase the exam and let more content be published. For me, $200 and an hour of my time isn't a huge burden, but it can be for some people. It's the first time I've been disappointed at content.

If this exam is overhauled (especially these metrics questions - 1/3 of the categories of questions), will people who attempted and failed previously be given a second chance, at least at a reduced rate?

09:45 pm May 11, 2018

Thanks for opening and contributing to this topic so far, I would also like to see the questions from Thomas answered.

11:56 pm May 11, 2018

Thank you for the feedback.  There certainly was no intent on our part to make a money grab and I apologize that it may have been received that way.  The decision to release the assessment, which followed shortly after the release of our new PSK course, was only made once we believed the course and materials recommended on our Suggested Reading page were sufficient to pass the assessment.  We tested the assessment questions over the course of a month and incorporated changes based on the feedback we received.  While the assessment may be proving to be a bit more challenging right now, this is not unusual for a brand-new assessment.  We do have successful attempts across all three categories of assessment takers: Trainers, Professional Scrum with Kanban Students, and Individuals who have purchased an attempt directly via

Scrum with Kanban is new territory and not entirely similar to our other assessments which focus on Scrum.  Scrum has a wide body of knowledge, experience, and published material available.  As noted in an earlier post we are continually adding more learning material to our Suggested Reading page and we are refining the courseware as we learn more and take into consideration more viewpoints on how to successfully implement Scrum with Kanban.  We released several additional blogs over the last couple of days that will help you prepare for the assessment.

We are constantly adding, changing, and refining questions for all of the assessments offered by  The PSK I assessment is no exception, and we are refining the handful of questions that have proven more challenging than we anticipated.  We met our original definition of “Done” and felt the assessment was ready to release and now we are inspecting and adapting.  If we identify a question that we refine or correct, and determine that it caused the user to miss the 85% pass mark, then we reach out to the user individually to rectify that.

We appreciate your input.  Our commitment is that we will continue to improve this assessment, making it challenging - yet passable.  We will also continue to develop and post additional resources as the conversations and learning around Scrum with Kanban evolve.

11:06 am May 13, 2018


Like many, I did also try and fail on PSK1, even with a solid background in Scrum & Kanban.

I passed easily the new PAL1, I found it easier than PSM1 but very interesting. I expected about the same level of difficulty for PSK1 than PSM1, PSPO1, PSD1, SPS.

I'm very surprise to see that even PST failed this "Level 1" assessment. This should be an hint that the assessment needs some rework...

Like Thomas, I feel disappointed by the PSK1. Some couples of questions/answers are ambigus (like the ones on "urgente work item", has the team already a policy with an expedite lane ? is the expedite lane already full ?...). Shall we have a good knowledge of Scrum & Kanban or shall we read inside the mind of the test-writer ?

This ressource is ambigus also…. So finally, who should determine wether to visualize the Sprint Backlog with Kanban : Dev Team or Dev Team + PO ?

By the way, on this point, I disagree with having a state "owned" by the PO inside the Sprint Backlog. If the PO is having a critical impact on the Sprint Backlog (for functional testing for instance), then she should be part of the Dev Team.

I feel more like a beta-tester than a test-taker :-(

08:42 am May 20, 2018


Thanks you all for your honest and straight feedbacks. Actually I wanted to start the assessment and thought I would have been fully prepared, but after reading the input from experienced Scrum folks here I got some doubts. 

I´d appreciate if you could share your experience on this assessment, like what kind of questions were confusing, how did you feel during the assessment, etc..?


02:45 pm May 23, 2018

I didn't manage to pass the PSK I after trying it after lot of study with all the resources provided.

I have PSM I, PSPO - passed them all in high scores. I read all the recommended material, a few times - both Guides, the blogs, watched the webinars, but still couldn't pass it. I'm practicing a Scrum in the past 3 years. There is also no open assessment for this exam as well.

I understand the certification is new and have different confusing questions, I felt like most of the questions weren't addressed in the free Kanban Guide for Scrum Teams and could not be addressed with experience. This is particularly true of the metrics questions.


02:00 am May 24, 2018

Are the questions more scenario based? I was thinking of taking it, maybe might hold this off till it matures a little more on the questions.

02:55 am May 24, 2018

Thanks for opening up this discussion.  My own assessment of the situation is: Daniel Vacanti's book 'Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability is a compulsory reading, specifically for the agile metrics assessment.  Yes, it is listed on the Suggested Reading page.

I'm familiar with David J Anderson's Kanban Method (not listed in suggested reading), and will attempt the PSK I after studying Daniel Vacanti's book.

09:26 am June 15, 2018

Well, thank you all for this very interesting and enlightening post. I was going to have a go at the test, but now I feel it’s premature and will concentrate on the others.

02:07 am June 16, 2018

SO even with 10 years using Kanban I don't feel comfy taking it either. I feel very good about my KANBAN knowledge but I will hold of. My next 2 were NEXUS and PSK think I'll hit the PSMII instead. 


Olivier Ledru - if this is a real question then it is a bad question. I'll tell you why. No two Kanban boards are alike.

That state of owned is misleading because to me as you stated once it hits the sprint backlog it should be owned by the DEV team. It should even be like in like a "ready state" or in the "to do state" that's just an example. I have had a Kanban board with 12 states. I argued against this many times , many cycles, and got it down to 8. 

By the way, on this point, I disagree with having a state "owned" by the PO inside the Sprint Backlog. If the PO is having a critical impact on the Sprint Backlog (for functional testing for instance), then she should be part of the Dev Team. 



01:06 am June 18, 2018

I passed my PSK last night (91.2%), after I passed my PSM II a bit earlier in the evening.  I did that because I want to carry my momentum of what I have captured fresh in my mind from the Scrum Guide.

This is my second attempted.  My first attempt was in mid May, and I only got 74.5%.  I agree that the questions related to the "why" of the 4 metrics assessment, as well as "when" (which Scrum events should use / change them) and the "who" are vital.  I read the book by Daniel, but I found that the recent 3 new blog posts by Yuval Yeret plus the Little's Law reading sum up the key points as well as the applications of them quite well (which I have to admit I missed this depth during my first attempt).

I found that having Scrum Guide in my mind is very important as well.  A few questions are actually trying to trick if we are solid enough with Scrum Guide or not, to see if Kanban new ideas will alter the Scrum framework or not.  I believe this is a core part as well.

Hope this helps.

09:46 pm August 24, 2018

I haven't taken the PSK certification yet, but I've done the open assessment a couple of times. My concern is not with the exam, but with the Scrum With Kanban Guide. It seems like there are core concepts and terms ("batch size," "Little's Law") that are key to passing the assessment but are not mentioned at all in the Guide. With PSM-I and PSPO-I, everything in the exam was directly derived from the Scrum Guide. That doesn't seem to be the case with the PSK certification, and it seems like it ought to be.

09:12 am September 13, 2018

OMG! And I was planning to take PSK I next. I am very hesitant to take it now. Maybe I will proceed with SPS first.

12:35 pm October 30, 2018

Passed PSK I (94,5%) today after PSK I courses with my first attempt. I can strongly recommend attending courses and read all suggested articles, especially that one related to 4 Key Flow metrics and be sure that you clearly understand diagrams meaning and SLE definition. I didn't read "Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability: An Introduction" by Daniel S. Vacanti before the assessment. Good luck!


12:46 am November 5, 2018

Passed this an hour or so ago at 98%, my first attempt at it. Was very nervous and even when hitting the "finish" button I was anxious about whether I'd passed or not...turned away from the screen before the page refresh cause I was scared to look!

I devoted most of a day to this, reading the guides and particularly reading every blog post i could find on the subject. You are not likely to pass this if you don't spend at least as much time in the blogs as you do in the guides. I did read the Actionable Agile book, and its it's very useful to bring to the real world, but it honestly was not all that helpful in passing the assessment.

05:27 pm November 5, 2018

I have tried the PSK twice and failed both times. Like others, I did all of the available reading just like I did for the other exams. I even did some pretty in-depth study on Kanban itself. I have been intrigued with it and felt it added to my ability to coach agile teams.  I have used the Scrum with Kanban guide to introduce Kanban practices into a couple of my teams, with success I might add.  So I really feel like the guide itself is useful. But the exam covered a lot that wasn't in the guide.  And if those concepts were discussed in the suggested readings, I totally missed them (which I admit is possible). 

I did not take any of the courses for any of the certifications.  I didn't expect that I would need to.  One of the reasons I chose the certs over the other scrum org ones was because I wasn't required to take a course.  If that is going to become a requirement, I am not sure I will continue to pursue these certs either. 

I have not decided if I will make a third attempt.  I believe I am going to wait a while, let some of the reference materials and questions be refined.  Then I'll come back and try it again. 

I want to say that I appreciate this thread.  I was one of those people thinking that I was just wasn't getting it.  Seeing how many of you also have had problems makes me feel a little better about myself. 

10:48 pm November 27, 2018

I have tried as well past week, I just didn't read this chapter until today, I couldn't believe my score, 79,9%, a total deception, until that moment my scores were quite high in all the exams SPS, PSPOI, PAL, PSMI ...,and to be honest I had not a clue about what might be the result ... I  will invest a bit more time anyway, reading all the blogs avialable, which I though I already did ... let's see the second atempt

06:34 pm November 29, 2018

@Aitor and @Daniel - Thank you for your feedback. 

You're raising valid concerns about the Guide. We're trying to figure out how to keep it simple and concise and still cover everything that is needed.

You SHOULDN'T have to participate in a PSK class to pass the PSK1 but you should have a solid understanding of Scrum with Kanban including Flow and Flow metrics that we consider essential to do Scrum with Kanban professionally. 

At the moment the supplemental reading should help people with that solid understanding learn the language and terms we use in the PSK world, and we find that people who read the supplemental reading have a much better time with the assessment. Should some of that move into the Guide? probably. What's the best way to do that while keeping it manageable? something we will experiment with...

If you have further feedback would love to hear directly (as a steward of the class and a co-author of the guide). Feel free to reach out at or



09:21 pm November 29, 2018

Hi Yuval, many thanks four your answer and comments, I really found beneficial to read all the aditional information, even though I found some of the answers a bit dificult, maybe my English is not good enough, and I miss some details.

Anyway I have to tell that just some minutes before I achieve it!!, in second atempt and a lot of reading, which will be for me beneficial anyway, due to the extra-reading and investigation. I also read many blogs from expecific Kanban sites.

This one I will defenitelly celebrate!




01:05 am December 13, 2018

I tried and didn't clear the PAL1 exam. 

10:03 pm February 18, 2019

Hi There,

My 2 cents on this lies on the assumption that the test is done 100% on a subject that is available in the manual - wich is not true. Also, the assessment is not even 10% of the difficulty level of the real test, which is misleading and disappointing! I have read all documentation available a few times and still got 80% in my exam. 

I beleave that the assessment should have some questions with levels that are closer or even higher than the real test! That’s is what is going to make people chase for improvement and to actually understand every single step of what is required.

Now I am preparing for the next attempt - which we got not even a discount (it would be reasaboble to have a good discount in the second assessment - if this is not a money trap).



05:03 pm March 4, 2019

Hello. I took PSM I and passed Feb 06, 2019 (Sprint 1) then took PSK I March 4, 2019 (Sprint 2) with 91% passing score. Just wanted to share my experience. What I did - Read all the Blog posts, articles and watched all Videos and listen to the podcast by Steve - all provided in the Suggested Readings for PSK. I did not read the books since I do not want to pay extra for it. Read the Kanban Guide 8 to 10 times (I think!).

The open assessment also was very helpful in knowing what kind of questions there will be. Took it everyday. It is really hard when there is no other open assessments like Mlapshin's. Also, I watched some videos in Youtube like Kanban Metrics in Practice - Mattia Battiston, Cycle Time and Little's Law by Jim Brisson and How to reduce WIP using Little's Law by rtdknowledge.

Also, what really helped me is that I focused more on understanding Kanban and the integration to Scrum since the Scrum Framework and its elements are still fresh because I just took PSM I. 

Cheers! Hope this helps. 

07:18 pm April 17, 2019

Hello, I passed PSK in my first attempt. I didn’t take any course or read any specific book mentioned in reading section. I believe my experience and in-depth understanding of scrum was my main strength in exam. I really admire exam quality due to tough sense.

 To share my experience, exam is based on practical/ real-life scenarios. Maximum questions are based on day to day practice scenarios for Scrum and Kanban practices. So most comprehensive tool to pass exam is your experience and how well you understand Scrum 😊

In my view this exam is real test for your practical knowledge of Scrum and how good understanding and practical knowledge you have about below area:

  1. Scrum Theory of empiricism.
  2. How you understand and apply scrum values 
  3. How clear on the fact Kanban is to complement the Scrum and doesn’t change Scrum 
  4. How well you understand workflow in Scrum context
  5. How well you can apply Kanban practice, Flow Matrices and Flow based event
  6. Understanding below matrices and elements will help in exam:
    • Cycle time
    • WIP
    • Throughput
    • WIP limit
    • Work Item Age
    • Little’s Law
    • Objective of Service level Expectation (SLE) and how to apply SLE
    • CFDs and Cycle Time Scatterplots  
  7. Below resources are good help to prepare for exam
    • The Scrum Guide and the Kanban Guide for Scrum Teams
    • BLOGS written by Daniel S. Vacanti and Yuval Yeret
    • Actionable Agile-Metrics-for-Predictability by Daniel S. Vacanti
    • Little's law and predictability - Daniel Vacanti
  • Note: Keep track of time during exam, as you might run out of time, options mentioned for questions are very close and you need to go with the best option selection 😊

Remember, Exam is tough in its true sense , I hope these tips may help for PSK aspirants.

Best of Luck

Sunil Gulia

07:56 pm April 17, 2019

I can only re-iterated what Sunil said.  Tough exam.  I found the Vacanti book very useful, personally - but I have a lot less practical experience than Sunil obviously has.

But's it's passable, even with that lesser experience.

04:47 am April 30, 2019

Hello, I didn't manage to pass PSK, it is my first attempt and scored 84.5%. Despite reading of Kanban guide/suggested readings/following blogs/Vacanti books and related videos. I don't have any practical experience.

 Questions in the exam were tough and tricky, most of the questions in the exam were no where discussed either in guide or suggested readings, seems should have practical experience. 

 Could some one suggest me tips or any other readings. Is it necessary to attend the course?


09:03 pm June 6, 2019

I passed the PSK 1 on my first try with a 90.2%.  I spent several weeks on/off reading/re-reading the Professional Scrum with Kanban Guide, the Scrum Guide, the various blog posts, Little's Law, and the other suggested reading.  I found the test to be challenging and it made me think.  I had enough time to go through all of the questions twice.  I made a couple of adjustments before I nervously pressed the finished button.  The questions were challenging enough that I was not sure I had passed.

My recommendation is to read and take the practice exam several times.  I reached a point that I had scored a 100% on the practice exam several times in a row before I purchased the exam.