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Race Day! - Passing your Professional Scrum Master Level III

August 8, 2019

You have read every book referenced in the PSM training and on the website...
You have read every single blog post on
You have watched hours of webcasts and videos by and with Professional Scrum Trainers...
You have followed both the PSM and PSM II training...
And more...
You have passed with ease the PSM levels I and II...
You have years of experience as a Scrum Master...
You are ready for PSM III.
Be sure the day itself you are in top condition - it's race day! is stating it: "The PSM III credential is very difficult to earn, as it is used to demonstrate the certificate holder’s ability solve advanced, complex problems in real-world applications of Scrum. Anyone attempting the PSM III should have advanced Scrum knowledge and in-depth experience prior to taking this assessment.".
You really want to be in top condition.

There are already very useful blog posts about how to prepare, what books to read and other useful resources to go through.
And if you have bought your assessment attempt you are already very well aware that it is not anymore about understanding the concepts but about begin able to answer how to solve complex problems in a brief and to the point way, always keeping the core in mind: Empericism, delivering a Done Increment each Sprint, the Scrum Values, and Self-organization.
So I'll skip that part and jump straight to the day it all happens.

Looking at top athletes on race day the following should be clear:

  • You know they had a good night sleep.
  • You know they have eaten and drank healthily so there will be enough energy for the race.
  • You know they do a warming up so that all muscles are up to the challenge.
  • You know that a winner is in the zone, nothing else exists.
  • And afterwards there will be a cooling down to settle back and let the body recuperate.

The day just before I listed on a paper my timing: three minutes max per question. During the exam that would make it clear if I was on track or not. Question 15 should be finished after 45 minutes in the assessment… Oh and I also reread the Scrum Guide and the Scrum A Smart Travel Companion Pocket Guide written by Gunther Verheyen.

At the day of taking my PSM III, this is how I approached it:

I went to bed earlier than normal, and watched some relaxing TV just before that. Game of Thrones season eight last episode. Hmmm… Some ups and downs… Yet I had a good night's sleep.

I had a good breakfast. Granola with berries. Yummie. Well, I like it anyway.

As the brain is a muscle, I did a warming up session.
I went to and took three open assessments: Scrum, Product Owner and Developer open.
During my months before the assessment I had collected questions asked by trainees and clients of mine. I answered about fifteen of these with a time limit of three minutes max per question. In case you would have no idea what questions to ask yourself, there are a few good scenarios discussed during the PSM training.
I got in the rhythm of answering questions within a timebox and was focussing my brain on Empericism, Done Increments, Scrum Values and Self-organization.
My warming up took me about two hours. The same time of the actual assessment. It made me feel comfortable. I could answer within the time limit of the three minutes.

Focus. I threw some darts and it felt good. Taking a bottle of water.

Focus. The game is on. Nothing else exists, only you and the assessment questions. Start!


Having finished just in time, the adrenaline was racing through my body. It took three hours to cool down. Throwing some darts - in all directions this time… A walk in the park (a small park close to my house that is). Some low-brain-level administrative work.
Wow. I didn't expect the assessment would be so energy draining.

But here we are. A few weeks later I received a mail indicating "Congratulations on passing the PSM III assessment! You have demonstrated an advanced knowledge of the Scrum framework. This qualifies you for certification as a PSM III.".

And importantly, supports you in improving as a Scrum Master - empiricism remember… transparency, inspection, adaptation.

This is what I got as feedback to work on - it might be of use to anyone actually:

  • Consider what Scrum Teams have control over when they self-organize.
  • Consider the importance that people put on the word commitment. Then think about the impact of someone refusing to make a commitment, even if the request to make a commitment may be unreasonable.
  • Consider if there is a difference between work that doesn’t meet the definition of “Done,” and technical debt.
  • When determining if a Product Owner is interacting enough with the development team, consider what the key output of a Sprint should be.

Celebration time!

Want some help in preparing for your PSM assessments?
Feel free to take contact!


Meanwhile, Scrum on!


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