The 90 days
You’ve been doing agile development for a while and want to formalize your knowledge. You just changed jobs and your current company is very agile and expects you to be on the same page. Your organization might just be embracing agile and you’re a bit lost.
What do you do? For most people the answer is: attend a training course (hopefully willingly!). Simple enough! You’ve just had two days of training, now what? You’re in those 90 days of limbo where you’ve attended the course but haven’t passed your exam. Scrum Alliance is rather generous by offering three months to pass the exam, but their generosity makes it easy to procrastinate, which makes it easier to forget some of the theoretical aspects of agile and Scrum that your organization might not use.
You usually get two kinds of people in these situations, the ones that want to take the exam right away, get certified and be done with it and the cautious ones who might have test anxiety and want to wait.
I’ve been involved with agile and Scrum for a while now, but only recently considered and completed a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) course, so I know how you feel. Regardless of which category you fall in, I have three pieces of advice for you, drawn from my experience with the process:
- Read up. Even though two days might not seem like a lot, you’re going to cover a lot of material and despite you (hopefully) feeling like you really understand this Scrum thing now, take some time to revise before the exam. Scrum Alliance does have some technical and “principles” questions in the test, which you have to prepare for.
- Supplement your knowledge. Even though your trainer will try to cover everything in the exam, some items might get pushed off the agenda, so if you’re not very familiar with Scrum it would be a good idea to read some Scrum blogs (the official Scrum Alliance one is a good place to start). The exam is open book and not timed so you can research while taking it, but it’s a good idea to shore up your knowledge before you start.
- Trust your instincts. It might sound weird to say this about a technical exam, but you can overthink questions about roles and tasks. After two days you should have a good enough instinctual grasp of what responsibilities each member of a Scrum team has.
One last piece of advice: Don’t worry (too much). Scrum Alliance offers each candidate two chances to pass the exam. So if you fail it’s not end of the world.
by Vlad Mihailescu