This news is a bit outdated, but as far as I know they were few people interested in some details of PSM II (http://www.scrum.org/scrummaster/). Here you go:

  1. I didn’t even try to hide the fact, that I was interested in completing the PSM II certification path, so as soon as I’ve got my approval for external training in my employer’s internal systems, I’ve registered for the assessment. Yes, that may sound awkward (I wanted exam cost refund, but I had to apply for external training …), but this is how things work here :)
  2. I didn’t take any preparation course and there’s no official guide / learning materials for PSM II (Scrum Guide is a foundation, but it’s far less than sufficient to pass the exam). The assessment verifies your practical abilities to use Scrum in project reality (you could call it “Scrum Practicioner”). Cost of assessment is 500 USD. There are about 40 questions (number varies for each individual being assessed) and vast majority of them is case-based and requires essay-style output. There are few typical one-of-many, few-of-many (you don’t know how “few” is this “few”) test questions, but these are truly rare. You have 2 hours to complete the test and it surely ain’t too much :) I’ve managed to complete the test and do a very quick review - but that’s everything I had time for.
  3. With all those essay questions, it’s not possible to have the assessment result evaluated automatically, so you have to wait few days for the actual response. The pass threshold is 85% of available points. Tests are said to be evaluated by Ken Schwaber and his close co-workers in Scrum.org, but of course it’s hard to verify that :)
  4. As a result, you receive the score, information of you’ve been awarded the certificate or not and some feedback for particular knowledge areas (the one you didn’t respond well enough). Of course there’s no “second shot”, so if you fail, you’ll need to spend another 500 USD for the next try.
  5. So, how did I do? I’ve passed on my first try (which was 21st or 22nd of July) - my score was 91%, but due to my feedback it would have been 95% if I haven’t been so stubborn with forcing some ways of thinking on Development Team ;)
  6. What’s my opinion on the exam? Actually, I’ve found it hard and my belief in passing it on the first try (after taking the assessment, before receiving the result) was quite weak. “Feeling” the Scrum is not that easy and sometimes you are “maneuvering” on the edge between PMIisms (and what you’ve been thought during your whole professional life in Accenture) and what Scrum expects you to do.
How applicable to I find this knowledge for current projects? Obviously, Scrum won’t work in classical “fixed price, fixed scope” scenarios, but I can imagine few scenarios that could adopt Scrum quite easily:
  • Project has already failed on several tries - it’s either too complex or it was led in a wrong way. Client is tired and willing to cooperate in anyway, so they can finally get some success - Accenture enters the stage and proposes quick-win approach: no lengthy analysis and full-scale design, just short sprints and evolutionary way of building the solution. Actually IMHO that’s the scenario that’s was most successful for agile methods in past - in such situations agile methods have proven to actually work and sometimes be superior over traditional approach.
  • My employer has a long relationship with the client - there’s a mutual trust between both sides who know each other and understand how the other side works. Client already has some personnel dedicated to the project and those people already have positive relationships with us. In such situation, it’s possible to reduce time-to-market and improve cost efficiency thanks to applying Scrum.
If you have any questions regarding PSM II, Scrum or Scrum.org certification process - don’t hesitate and let me know :)