What's the value add of PSM III?

Last post 10:54 pm April 16, 2020
by Chris Belknap
13 replies
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08:00 am April 13, 2020

I was able to pass PSM I and PSM II on first attempt thanks to many reading materials provided in this forum. 

Can anyone share what would be value add to pursue PSM III? Would it be better to spend time/money on other certs? 

Thanks everyone in advance for reply. 

08:15 am April 14, 2020

There is a blog on this website illuminating this very concept. I'll link you the bio below.

https://www.scrum.org/professional-scrum-master-iii-certification

It grants you rights as a Mentor, and other such rights. Have a look, and also see the other benefits attached.

~Sanjeev Nanda

12:07 pm April 14, 2020

Just my personal opinions here. As long as you value learning and becoming a better practitioner over collecting certifications, PSPO I, PSK and PSM III would all be good choices for a Scrum Master.

Putting aside the fact that you need the PSM III as one of many steps to become a Scrum.org Professional Scrum Trainer, PSM III is one of the toughest exams to pass, of the hundreds you will find in the Agile community.

For me there's an enormous amount of personal satisfaction in achieving the PSM III milestone and to prove and validate to yourself that you have achieved a 'distinguished level of Scrum Mastery', as noted in the link above. Its also about the journey to prepare for such an exam, which for me made me a better Scrum Master and practitioner. I put a lot of effort and time into preparation, and learned so much and met so many great people on that journey. It wasn't about collecting a certification, for me it was about becoming a better Scrum Master and using the PSM III to validate the learnings.

Two years ago when I took PSM III, there was only a PSM course (no PSM II course). It was the first Scrum course I had taken since the CSM course, 10 years prior. Without that PSM I course I probably would not have done as well on the PSM III exam. 

Hope this helps,

Chris

01:39 pm April 14, 2020

Thank you Sanjeev and Chris for the reply. To be frank, it's quite scary to even try it as one time attempt costs $500 dollars and I checked on so many posts that it is really tough. 

12:01 am April 15, 2020

Personally, I recommend that candidates attend an in-person Scrum.org class with a PST, study through all relevant resources, accumulate a few years of real-world experience, and then sit for the level II and III tests. 

07:29 am April 15, 2020

@Sion Yes, it might be scary when you read opinions about the difficulty and your only goal is to collect the next certification to your portfolio. But on the other hand, that is the reason why each of Scrum.org certifications have value on the market (this opinion about difficulty and amount of money that you bet against your experience and knowledge in order to assess it).

Chris is right here, see this as a cherry on top of the cake, or pit-stop on your never-ending learning journey towards mastery, when I look at it that way, then the price of $500 looks almost like a bargain. Maybe you are not now at this place to take this assessment, maybe it would be better to do two other available here for the same amount of money, maybe that would be better to do now for you, and it will enable you to take another few steps towards the PSM III? Ask yourself a question: Why you are here? To collect badges, or to learn and grow?

I also slightly disagree with Mark above, you do not need to wait years to collect "real-world experience", everyone has its own journey, sometimes you spent i.e "10 years in the trenches, but only earn no more than 1 year of experience". If you will pursue knowledge actively, not passively, then you will grow and learn "faster" than a vast majority of people, that most of the time learn new things rather "by accident" (randomly) than with higher awareness of that process.

02:11 pm April 15, 2020

Thank you mark and Piotr for sharing the information. Your comments really ringed my bell on my head and I hope to learn and grow. May I know if learning PSPO I and SPS will help me be more prepared for PSM III?

06:53 pm April 15, 2020

May I know if learning PSPO I and SPS will help me be more prepared for PSM III?

IMHO yes, it will. As you already have PSM I and PSM II, I assume that you are oriented about what Scrum Master role is about, so you can think about your learning path with that in mind, and taking into account also your past work experience. In every area that SM works (with PO, DT, and Organization), and each of 8 stances that SM (https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/8-stances-scrum-master) may apply into his action - what do you think you lack off with your knowledge and known toolset, that you may learn to improve your chances for success? How do you ensure that what you already knew will sink in your mind firmly and not erode quickly?

There is no silver bullet, as I said, everyone has its own journey. But here is some rules / actions that worked and still works for me:

  • Find a mentor that can guide you, if it is not possible then find a couple of people that are near you and will be happy to learn with you - that may create positive synergy.
  • Share your knowledge and thoughts actively i.e.: on forums, or meetups (local and online), or find someone that you can mentor as maybe you are already a few steps ahead(?).
  • Read books around your point of interest (and a little more) - "I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten, even so, they have made me." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Read Scrum Guide regularly and note new thoughts that you will have.
  • Set a timebound goal that you want to achieve - and it is not a certification on its own, for example, as I know that SM should be able to serve the PO in several ways, I had set myself a goal to "Understand better what does it mean to be at least a good PO" - how he should manage the backlog? what metrics should he consider? what does the stakeholder mean? how to work with them? etc. and therefore I decided that I should take at least PSPO_I, as Scrum.org maintains learning paths that are a good starting point, and then add more sources into it (medium, e-learning, books, blogs, meetups etc.)

I hope, this will help you to move forward 🙂

11:38 am April 16, 2020

Its wonderful that you're thinking of delving deeper, Sion! I hope you all the very best in your future ahead!
~Sanjeev Nanda

02:37 pm April 16, 2020

Thank you Sanjeev for encouragement and thank Chris and Piotr for really detailed information and explanation which was really helpful. It's rare to see people who are willing to share in details to guide into right path thesedays so I would really like to thank you all for your time sharing your thoughts. As you have mentioned timebound and goal is most important to begin with. For the book, as per the many other review's of people who have passed PSM III, I am starting to read Scrum – A Pocket Guide - 2nd edition =) 

04:15 pm April 16, 2020

My view about the $500,

Yes, it is expensive if you want just one more badge

No, it is very cheap if you take it as an high-level assessment including a personnal feedback (ie private course)

06:29 pm April 16, 2020

André Gomes wrote an article about the ‘best’ order to get the Scrum certifications. The intermediate levels level are marked in bold. I would not skip the underlined levels. There is a big difference  between the beginner and advanced levels in terms of knowledge and experience. You will have to bridge that.

PSM-I > PSPO-I > PSD > SPS PSM-II > PAL-I > PSK-I > PSPO-II > PSM-III

Since he wrote the article, PSPO II was renamed to PSPO III and a new intermediate PSPO II level was added. Later, PSU-I was added and I would expect Lean UX knowledge to be tested in the future PSM III level. Of course I don’t speak for Scrum.org. 

 

06:38 pm April 16, 2020

Oops, underline doesn’t work. Here the the levels I would consider doing: SPS PSM-II > PAL-I

10:54 pm April 16, 2020

Shout out to @lars who has passed every Scrum exam! Well done my friend.

Scrum on!!

Chris