There are many reasons why one would want to become a Professional Scrum Product Owner. An IT professional working as a part of a Scrum Team, in the scope of a Business Analyst, might decide to transition to the role of a Product Manager/ Product Owner, while a person not from the industry might use this as a stepping stone to joining the IT industry as a domain-specific Product Owner. Once you decide that you want to get certified, the next question is which organization you choose. There are a few organizations that provide training and certification for the role of a Scrum Product Owner like Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org.
My reason to go with Scrum.org was because of the following reasons:
- I had the option to prepare for the test on my own, without having to mandatorily undertake their training (which are quite expensive); and
- The PSPO I certificate doesn’t have an expiry date.
PSPO I Assessment Details
The Professional Scrum Product OwnerTM level I (PSPO I) test details
Fee: USD 200 per attempt
Passing score: 85%
Time limit: 60 minutes
Number of Questions: 80
Format: Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer, and True/False
Language: English only
The PSPO I assessment includes questions from the following Focus Areas as defined in the Professional Scrum Competencies.
- Understanding and Applying the Scrum Framework:
- Empiricism, Scrum Team, Events, Artifacts, Done.
- Developing People and Teams:
- Self-Managing Teams.
- Managing Products with Agility:
- Forecasting & Release Planning, Product Vision, Product Value, Product Backlog Management, Business Strategy, Stakeholders & Customers.
Two Weeks To Go
These videos have been developed from my personal experience of preparing and clearing the PSPO I test. I suggest that you invest two weeks in the preparation of the test. In case you are unable to spend 3-4 hours a day for the test, kindly adjust the days based on your availability.
In the Week 1 of your prep (or when the test is 2 Weeks away) the following could be your first course of action:
- Step 1 - Register with Scrum.org Create your account. This will give you access to all their blogs, resources, and even training schedules. Do note, these can be accessed without registering but the act of creating an account helps set the stage for the next couple of weeks.
- Step 2 - Download the Scrum Guide Download the latest November 2020 issue of The Scrum Guide. Read the guide. Please don’t underestimate the volume and depth of knowledge, ideas, and concepts shared in this 14-paged document. As you read, you’ll realize that a lot of the understanding is left open to interpretation, and only a serious and thorough study of The Scrum Guide shall help you understand what Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland wanted to convey to its readers. Read and reflect. After that start adding your notes and interpretations to your copy of the Guide.
- Step 3 - What is Scrum? Go through the page as it has links to all the articles, blogs, and resources you need for your test preparation.
- Step 4 - Product Owner Learning Path This page will provide links to resources for Understanding and Applying the Scrum Framework / Empiricism.
- Step 5 - Scrum Glossary This is a quick peek into the terms and concepts of Scrum and should be referred to multiple times.
- Step 6 - Online Nexus Guide Even though this relates to Scaling Scrum, I have seen many suggest this in the reading list for Product Owners. Hence, I also read it once before the exam.
- Step 7 - Take the Scrum Open assessment Taking the Scrum Open Assessment will give you an idea about the structure of the questions as well as develop familiarity with the interface. Save a pdf after every test.
- Step 8 - Take the Product Owner Open assessment This week, take this a few times. It will help set a baseline of your current knowledge and monitor your improvement going forward. The assessment has 15 questions selected from a larger pool. Save a pdf after every test as it details the right answer and over time you will develop a repository of questions (with their correct answers)
One Week To Go
Into the second week of your preparation, you can consider the following action points:
- Step 1 - Buy PSPO I Assessment When you buy the assessment, it acts as a driver and motivator for you as you inch closer to the test. While making the purchase you don’t need to set a date, hence, there is no problem with rescheduling or any last-minute hiccups. You can take it when you feel you’re ready to do so using the code mailed to you by Scrum.org.
- Step 2 - Time Management By now, you should have taken the open assessments many times.
- Scrum Open In the assessment, you have to answer 30 questions in 30 minutes. Try to increase your speed, so that you can attain accuracy within 15-20 minutes. This might sound absurd, but will help you save time on D-day. Also, after taking the test 6-8 times, you will see that the questions appear from a pool of 100 (approx) questions, and over time you are answering known questions. Practice time-management.
- Product Owner Open In the assessment, you are expected to answer 15 questions in 30 minutes. Please try to complete the test in 10 minutes to develop a time advantage for yourself when you take the test. Continue saving pdfs, revise and ensure you can eliminate recurring mistakes.
- Step 3 - Try the Free Product Owner Assessments from the Mikhail Lapshin website These are free tests that you can take either in Learning Mode or Real Mode. I took them at least once every day and find them useful. The only problem is that it is still being updated for the 2020 version of Scrum Guide and hence you might find a few answers to be incorrect from the latest Scrum Guide standpoint. Even then, most of the questions should still be relevant to your preparation.
- Step 4 - Continue Reading the Scrum Guide & Product Owner Learning Path resources. You must have a very well-used and inked copy of The Scrum Guide. Also, concepts of empiricism, team, and other concepts and terms should be familiar by now.
- Step 5 - When are you ready to take the PSPO I Test? When you are consistently scoring over 95% in your Scrum Open and Product Owner Assessments and above 90% in your mlapshin.com Free Assessments.
Day of the Test
These are the most important tips for your test.
- No distractions. You’re taking the test at a time and place that is convenient for you. For me it was post-midnight, but only when you can focus without any distractions.
- Internet Connectivity This is an online test with a time box. Ensure you have stable Wi-fi, else take it on your mobile just to be sure.
- Flag all doubts You cannot leave any question unanswered. When you are faced with doubt, flag the question and move on. You can look back at the flagged questions once you sail through the 80 questions.
- Clear Desk Even though this exam is not proctored, a clear desk with a bottle of water should be sufficient. Answering 80 questions within the hour doesn’t leave you any time for reading your notes or interpreting the Guide. Having a clear desk helps you focus and that’s the most important tool.
- Tests your depth of knowledge of the Scrum framework and its application While answering questions, always base them on the Guide and not on your personal work experience. Every organization might have a few practices that are not in sync with the Guide. This test only wants to test your understanding of the Scrum framework.