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scrum master exam preparation

 
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Hi all,
Just wanted to let you know of a new tool that helps people prepare for becoming certified as scrum masters. It's a practice exam that has 160 questions and shows quotes from the scrum guide for the incorrect answers. Maybe it'll help someone: Scrum certification practice exam.

Kevin
 
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Kevin,
Welcome to CodeRanch!

Is that your site? If so, I want to mention that I disagree with two of the questions I got early in my draw.

1) Can the Daily Scrum be shorter than 15 minutes.
I answered Yes. The given answer is no because "The Scrum Guide says: Once a Sprint begins, its duration is fixed and cannot be shortened or lengthened. The remaining events may end whenever the purpose of the event is achieved, ensuring an appropriate amount of time is spent without allowing waste in the process."
While this quote is true, it is about the duration of the sprint and not the length of the daily meeting. The Scrum Guide does say the daily scrum is 15 minutes. My team does use up to 15 minutes. If we are done early, we stop early though. And I don't see why a team can't have a 10 minute one. Even if the answer says as "no", the reason is wrong.

2) The team model in Scrum is designed to optimize: (and lists choices)
I chose Transparency as one of the answers. The given answer says that is wrong because "The team model in Scrum is designed to optimize flexibility, creativity, and productivity.". The scrum guide lists transparency, inspection and adaptability as values.
 
Kevin Norgaard
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Hi Jeanne,
Thank you for taking the time to look over the exam. I'm one of the contributors to the site.

As far as your points:

1. Of course the correct answer is Yes, as the quote shows: "The remaining events (including Daily Scrum) may end whenever the purpose of the event is achieved". There was a a bug in the code, we already corrected it. (We went over those answers so many times, I don't know how we missed it!)

2. The exam bases its answers on what it actually says in the Scrum Guide. Transparency is a value, yes, but the Guide doesn't say that the team model is designed optimize it. When creating the questions we didn't want them to be too easy with obvious wrong answers, like "Who attends Sprint Review: project manager". The exam is supposed to help with studying and memorizing all the little got-yas of the Scrum Guide because some of the certification exams can get very tricky. If you think this is a gray area, we'll change it to something else. We don't want to confuse people.

BTW, we'd be happy to give you access to the full version of the exam if you'd like to look around a bit more. Maybe you'll have some other interesting suggestions . We're just starting out, trying to find more contributors, get more resources, etc. We don't expect to make money on the exam, we'll be happy if it covers the hosting costs. If you're interested, PM me your email and I'll send you the link.

Thanks again for the input!

Kev

 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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1) Oh good, glad you fixed that.

2) Has the exam gotten trickier? I didn't have things like openness vs transparency (which mean the same thing in English). For a source of wrong answers, maybe pick some agile or lean values? That way they sound like good things, but aren't the Scrum ones?
 
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When my Jewish American brother-in-law visited the Philippines a few years ago, he commented that drivers there treated road signs and markings as "guidelines" rather than rules. The comment was made in reference to drivers not staying within marked lanes or even staying right of center or heeding posted road signs.

Having learned to drive in the Philippines, I guess that's the kind of attitude I have when it comes to the Scrum Guide. The name says as much anyway. I don't see what it says as being "gospel" or as hard-and-fast rules and I find very little value in tests that nitpick on things like Transparency being a value rather something that the team model optimizes. Does knowing this kind of trivia about Scrum really prove anything about your ability to employ Scrum effectively? IMO, it doesn't. I'm not particularly impressed with Agile-related certifications but I get that there are people in the industry who like them and feel that they're useful and to some extent they might be right.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone who feels that a certification like this can enhance their professional marketability; I've taken a few certification exams myself to do just that. It's just that with Agile, I think that performance on question-and-answer format tests is a poor gauge or indicator of ability. I feel that experience, a good track record, and unsolicited recommendations/endorsements are better measures.

Just sayin'
 
Kevin Norgaard
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@Junilu, I couldn't agree more. In fact, I know very few companies that "go by the book" when implementing scrum, and even those that do, adapt it according to their needs as soon as they get things working. I also agree with your view on certifications, there's so much more to being a scrum master than knowing the scrum theory. I recently attended a presentation by a manager in a corporation that has over 50 scrum masters. He's responsible for managing and hiring them. He explained that he hired some scrum masters that didn't know anything about scrum to begin with, but had really good personal qualities that he believed would make them good scrum masters. So he hired them and then had them go through intensive courses to learn the theory.

On the other hand, there are some companies (in some countries more than others) that require scrum certifications when hiring, and in some cases having a certification like that on a CV is a good career starter, especially for young people. Some certification exams are very simple, but some are more difficult, and since the scrum guide is the only authority on scrum, they base their questions on some of those theoretical aspects found in the guide.

The bottom line is, regardless of whether we think it's worth certifying or not, as scrum becomes more popular, there will be more and more people taking the exams worldwide. If you look through the forums on scrum.org, there are many people who mention that they didn't pass the assessment, most likely because they didn't study the scrum guide well enough. We figured we might as well help them pass those exams at the first try .
 
Junilu Lacar
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Kevin Norgaard wrote:The bottom line is, regardless of whether we think it's worth certifying or not, as scrum becomes more popular, there will be more and more people taking the exams worldwide. If you look through the forums on scrum.org, there are many people who mention that they didn't pass the assessment, most likely because they didn't study the scrum guide well enough. We figured we might as well help them pass those exams at the first try .


Kevin, I'm glad you took the comment the way I hoped you would.

I totally understand what you're trying to do. You picked a very good place to offer help, too.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Kevin: Having now taken the entire 160 question exam, I found my experience with the first few questions isn't statistically significant.

Junilu: I find exams like this good for assessing vocabulary and high level concepts. For example, if someone has worked with Scrum, he/she should know what the Daily Scrum is for. Some of the questions were that type of thing. Others were how well you memorized the manual. And I did find actual experience to decrease my score .
 
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