The ScrumMaster Certification Test

Starting April 1, 2009, you will need to pass a multiple-choice test, in addition to taking a CSM class, to become a Certified Scrum Master.

This step was debated in the Scrum training community. I was initially skeptical whether a multiple choice question could add any value. But I’ve become convinced this is a positive step after being involved with the process of writing test questions, doing peer evaluations of test questions, working with the ScrumAlliance’s testing company (including a “psychometrician”), and actually taking the beta test in Stockholm (tying for the top score of 89 — which isn’t really fair since I’d seen a third of the questions beforehand).

A number of CSTs, including two from Danube, were involved in creating and reviewing test questions. Most of the questions that made the Stockholm beta are pretty good. Some should be discarded or reworked.

Initial analysis of the test scores from Stockholm found a correlation between them and training/experience with Scrum. This correlation will improve as the feedback process improves the test. No one got a perfect score, as two of the questions turned out to be flat out wrong. The empirical feedback thus far reduces my hypothetical concerns.

We cannot test whether someone is a good ScrumMaster. But it’s fair to say most people who score very low on this test weren’t engaging in class, or paying attention to the things we’d expect a candidate ScrumMaster to read.

If you really understand Scrum, you’ll probably still miss a few of the questions, particularly the flawed/trivial/silly ones people have pointed out already. But you’ll pass the test, which is all we’re looking for.


Download the PDF version: The ScrumMaster Certification Test blog

Michael James

Michael James is a software process mentor, team coach, and Scrum Trainer with a focus on the engineering practices (TDD, refactoring, continuous integration, pair programming) that allow Agile project management practices. He is also a software developer (a recovering "software architect" who still loves good design).

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One comment on “The ScrumMaster Certification Test
  1. Jim Lile says:

    I think a test for a CSM adds some validity to our roles. I don’t want it to become a foolish unrealitive test like the PMP but adding some required follow up courses would be good idea in my opinion.

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