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Passed PSM I - Some Thoughts

Last post 04:10 pm March 23, 2015 by Mark Richman
11 replies
08:45 am September 10, 2014

I passed the PSM I today with a score of 92.5%. This was a DIFFICULT exam. The open assessment topics were barely touched upon, and I took the open assessment many times until I was able to get 100% every time, several times in a row. If you can't do this, don't even attempt the real thing!

The suggested reading material was invaluable, as well as participation in these forums. However, there is still NO BETTER substitute than actual hands-on experience, sorry to say.

A few things about the quality of the test...

I would consider this is a somewhat subjective exam (contrast with math problems which are completely objective). So, there is always room for ambiguity when English language is involved. One thing to keep in mind is that there may be more than one "correct" answer, but there is a "best" answer, and that's what the exam looks for.

There were several questions about "Sprint 0". This is not mentioned very often in the literature, and I think the the presence of these questions exist to highlight a philosophical distinction between Scrum and Waterfall. There is no such thing as Sprint 0.

Many other questions drew attention to the fact that the Development Team is autonomous. That is, the Scrum Master is not a babysitter or a boss. They are a servant leader.

I'm happy to answer any questions about the exam if I can.

Now, onto PSPO!

- Mark

09:00 am September 10, 2014

Congratulations Mark, and good luck for PSPO !

Aren't you interested in PSD also ?

10:25 am September 11, 2014


Greetings and Many Congratulations for clearing the PSM1 exam.

I am also preparing for the exam and have been scoring 100% in open assessments for more than 10 times now.

I have also scored well in other online exams like those provided by etc.

I am still not confident if this is enough to increase my chances of success.

Would you please have any recoomendations/suggestions for me.

You could respond on this thread or email me at

Many thanks for your help.

10:57 am September 11, 2014


I've received a number of private messages on this topic, so I'll just paste here what I've said privately so everyone may benefit:

I read these books in preparation for PSM 1:

1) The Scrum Guide
2) Agile Software Development with Scrum [Schwaber & Beedle, 2001] yes, it's a bit stale but it covers the basics
3) Scrum - A Pocket Guide [Verheyen, 2013]
4) Essential Scrum [Rubin, 2012]
5) Coaching Agile Teams [Adkins, 2010]

I read "Software in 30 Days" night before, and it's a rehash of everything we already know. It's really just an elaborated upon and repackaged Scrum Guide, targeted at the executive who won't actually be *doing* the work. I would recommend it for a client who doesn't fully understand or embrace Scrum yet.

I actually found the Open Assessment the least useful "study guide", if you want to call it that. Some people use practice tests as study guides, so I'm including it as a resource.

Hope this helps,

10:59 am September 11, 2014

Posted By Olivier Ledru on 10 Sep 2014 09:00 AM
Congratulations Mark, and good luck for PSPO !

Aren't you interested in PSD also ?

Yes I am interested in ALL of the certifications. However, PSPO is the next one I will attempt. I could certainly try PSD, but that's more expensive and I think it would behoove me to take a course for that one. Unfortunately, there are no PSD .NET courses offered in North America.

So, I'll probably leave PSD for last and do PSPO I, PSM II, PSPO II, then PSD .NET

Ultimately, I'd like to become a Trainer and stop writing code for a living :)

01:03 pm September 11, 2014

Both PSPO I & PSD I are $200.
Even if I don't write a lot of code know, I'm teaching the benefits of TDD ; Continous Integration ; Continuous Delivery ; Pair Programming... to coders.
For that purpose, holding a PSD I is very useful.
As a former Tec Leader, I found PSD I easier than PSPO I.

01:11 pm September 11, 2014

That's good information. What resources (books, websites, video, etc.) do you think are most useful for PSD I? I don't see any kind of practice test for PSD.

05:28 pm September 11, 2014

Posted By mrichman on 11 Sep 2014 10:57 AM
Unfortunately, there are no PSD .NET courses offered in North America.

Hi Mark,

Actually, we do have a public PSD.NET course coming up next month:

Below is the link for all upcoming public courses that are currently listed:

If you are unable to find a course in a location that meets your needs, you may contact some of our trainers directly to express your interest in a class. Please see our "Find an expert" page:

Here you can narrow down your search by country, type of class(es) offered, etc. You can search for a trainer or trainers who are near your region and offer the class you are interested in. If you click on the specific trainer you will be able to find an email address that you can contact a trainer at to express your interest in attending a certain type of class in your desired area. Our trainers are often happy and able to accommodate offering public or private classes whenever enough interest has been expressed in a certain area or region.

Posted By mrichman on 11 Sep 2014 01:11 PM
That's good information. What resources (books, websites, video, etc.) do you think are most useful for PSD I? I don't see any kind of practice test for PSD.

We have the free Developer Open assessment on our website here:…

05:12 am September 12, 2014

Hi Mark,

The Developer Open Assessment was valuable for me in order to probe the test.
With good understanding of XP practices like TDD ; refactoring ; continous integration ; test coverage ; code quality metrics... the PSD was not very hard to me, as a former Tec Lead.
Of course, part of the test is aimed at your understanding of Scrum, but this will be a little bit easier than the PSM I you already hold.
Don't be afraid ;-)

12:28 am September 18, 2014

Hi ,

I want to know how useful is for writing PSM1. I have not been following anything else other than the scrum guide 2013 and the tests in the test taker site. Will that be sufficient to write the PSM 1. I am planning to write it by the end of next week.

Please advice!

04:08 pm March 23, 2015

Hey Mark,

just wondering whether you took this PSPO and what are your insights in terms of difficulty, preparation steps and overall impressions? I'm about to take my first attempt this week and I'm bit anxious about it. Those questions, man, can be really mean and tricky..

Anyways, hope you've passed it :)

04:10 pm March 23, 2015

No, I never pursued any further certifications. I probably won't.

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