Scrum Alliance
Certified Scrum Master (CSM)


The following pages present the CSM taxonomy as validated through the 2011 Scrum Alliance Validation Study. Total questions on CSM exam = 35.

General Knowledge

  1. Agile Manifesto

    Define and describe the four values of Agile as stated in the Agile Manifesto.

  2. Scrum Foundations

    1. Empirical and defined processes Define and describe the two terms, including a description of inspect, adapt, and transparency as the three legs of an empirical process. Describe how the Scrum Framework is based on empirical process.

    2. Sprint

      1. Iterative and Incremental
        Describe how Scrum uses iterative and incremental development, and identify the benefits of developing products in an iterative-incremental fashion.

      2. Protected
        Identify in which ways the Sprint is protected and what it protects. Describe why the Sprint is protected.

      3. Timeboxed

        1. Describe what a timebox is, and identify the meaning of Sprints being “timeboxed.”

        2. Describe the typical duration of a Sprint. Identify the trade-offs between shorter and longer duration Sprints.

    3. The Significance of “Done”
      Define the role of “done,” and describe the importance of having a potentially shippable product increment at the end of each Sprint in order to optimize business value, mitigate risk, and maximize transparency.

    4. The Five Scrum Values
      Identify the five Scrum values, and use examples of how Scrum practices support the application of each.

    5. Applicability of Scrum
      Identify the environmentsin which the application of Scrum would lead to excellent results.

Scrum Roles

  1. Overview of Scrum Roles

    Identify the three Scrum roles and describe why these roles form the Scrum Team.

  2. ScrumMaster

    1. Responsibilities

      1. Process-Related Responsibilities
        Describe the responsibilities of the ScrumMaster to implement the Scrum Framework, teach and coach people on how to perform in the various roles.

      2. Acts as a Change Agent
        Describe how the ScrumMaster will use the learning points of the Scrum Team to push for changes in the organization in support of Scrum and how the ScrumMaster might do this.

      3. Serves the Product Owner and Team
        Identify how the ScrumMaster helps the Product Owner and Team in being better able to do their jobs by assisting them, facilitating creativity and fostering empowerment.

      4. RemovesImpediments
        Identify how the ScrumMaster removes impediments

      5. Coaches the Product Owner and Team
        Identify how the ScrumMaster coaches the Product Owner and Team by teaching and helping improve productivity, working practices and tools.

      6. Protects the Team
        Identify how the ScrumMaster will shield the Team from interruptions or interferences during the Sprint and help ensure the organization respectsthe commitment of the Team during the Sprint.

      7. Guides the Team
        Describe how the ScrumMaster will model the values and principles of Agile and Scrum, encouraging the team to challenge themselves while remaining true to the spirit of Scrum.

    2. Authority
      Describe how the authority of the ScrumMaster is largely indirect and springs mainly from a deep knowledge of Scrum principles and practices. The ScrumMaster has no authority to make decisions on behalf of the Team, cannot commit to dates of delivery or scope but may enforce the Scrum process.

  3. Product Owner

    1. Responsibilities
      1. Drives Product Success
        Identify how the Product Owner will drive product success by maintaining the Product Backlog and guiding the Team with up-to-date knowledge of user and market need.

      2. Creates the Product Vision
        Describe how the Product Owner creates a Product Vision and shares it with the Team to provide it with a clear goal. Analyze how the creation of a Product Vision can motivate a Team to deliver a high quality product.

      3. Creates and Maintains the Product Backlog
        Identify the responsibility of the Product Owner to create an initial Product Backlog, and refine and continuously maintain it. The Product Backlog should be regularly updated as new information is uncovered.

      4. Collaborates with the Team
        Define and describe the Product Owner’s responsibility to continuously collaborate with the Team to better understand requirements and support the Team to identify how to solve them.

      5. Collaborates with Stakeholders
        Define different types of stakeholders and describe how the Product Owner facilitates collaboration between all stakeholders.

      6. Participates in Sprint meetings
        Identify the requirement for the Product Owner to participate in both the Sprint Planning meeting and the Sprint Review meeting and that the Product Owner may also participate in the Daily Scrum meeting and Sprint Retrospective.

    2. Authority
      Define and describe the Product Owner’s authority over the Product Backlog items and their priorities. Also describe the Product Owner’s authority in determining when product increments will be released, without overruling Team’s estimated effort required to complete those increments and without violating the Sprint commitment.

    3. Constraints

    4. Single Overall Product Owner per Product

      1. Define the role of the Product Owner in achieving the objectives of the Sprint.

      2. Describe the importance of having a single person playing this role.

    5. Organizational Respect
      Identify that the Product Owner should be given the authority to make the necessary decisions to achieve the ROI on the Product, as described in the Scrum Framework.

  4. The Team

    1. Responsibilities
      1. Self-Organizing and Whole Team Accountability
        Analyze the reasons and implications of self-organization and whole Team accountability in Scrum, and identify the reasons to not have an appointed Team leader.

      2. Delivers a Product Increment
        Describe the importance of creating a potentially shippable product increment in every Sprint, and what it means for the Team composition and collaboration.

      3. Manages the Sprint Backlog and Sprint Progress Tracking
        Describe how the Team creates and maintains the Sprint Backlog and tracks Sprint progress.

      4. Participates in Sprint Meetings
        Identify the role the Team plays in Sprint Planning meeting, Sprint Review meeting, Daily Scrum meeting, and Sprint Retrospective. Describe how the team interacts and contributes to reach each meeting goal.

    2. Authority
      Describe the authority given to the Team and the balance with the responsibility the Team is accountable for. Identify the scope in which the Team authority is valid.

    3. Teamwork
      Describe how building a highly productive Team takes time and patience and that the Team will need to be guided through this journey by the ScrumMaster. Identify why it is more important that the Team succeeds than any individual member of the Team.

    4. Team Characteristics
      Identify the desirable characteristics of the Team in terms of its size, proximity, skills, and time availability.

  5. Impact on Traditional Roles

    1. No Project Manager
      Analyze why the project manager role is not present in the Scrum Framework.

    2. Specialists

      Describe how highly specialized roles like business analyst and software architect are likely to change in Scrum.

Scrum Meetings

  1. Sprint Planning Meeting

    For the Sprint Planning meeting, describe the following:

    • The objective of the meeting and required outcomes.

    • Who participates in the meeting.

    • When the meeting occurs.

    • How long the meeting is allowed to last.

    • Any necessary inputs for the meeting.

    • Activities and techniques the Scrum Team can employ to achieve the objectives of the meeting.

    • The goals of the two parts in which the meeting is usually split.

  2. Daily Scrum Meeting

    For the Daily Scrum meeting, describe the following:

    • The objective of the meeting and required outcomes.

    • Who participates in the meeting.

    • When the meeting occurs.

    • How long the meeting is allowed to last.

    • Any necessary inputs for the meeting.

    • Activities and techniques the Scrum Team can employ to achieve the objectives of the meeting.

  3. Sprint Review Meeting

    For the Sprint Review meeting, describe the following:

    • The objective of the meeting and required outcomes.

    • Who participates in the meeting.

    • When the meeting occurs.

    • How long the meeting is allowed to last.

    • Any necessary inputs for the meeting.

    • Activities and techniques the Scrum Team can employ to achieve the objectives of the meeting.

  4. Sprint Retrospective Meeting

    For the Sprint Retrospective meeting, describe the following:

    • The objective of the meeting and required outcomes.

    • Who participates in the meeting.

    • When the meeting occurs.

    • How long the meeting is allowed to last.

    • Any necessary inputs for the meeting.

    • Activities and techniques the Scrum Team can employ to achieve the objectives of the meeting.

  5. Release Planning Meeting

    For the Release Planning meeting, describe the following:

    • Circumstances in which the Release Planning meeting may be helpful.

    • The objective of the meeting and required outcomes.

    • Who participates in the meeting.

    • When the meeting occurs.

    • How long the meeting is allowed to last.

    • Any necessary inputs for the meeting.

    • Activities and techniques the Scrum Team can employ to achieve the objectives of the meeting.

    • The importance of updating release plans based on Sprint results and estimations

Scrum Artifacts

  1. Product Backlog

    1. Definition
      Identify the Product Backlog as an ordered and emerging list of user needs plus anything else that is required to fulfill the Product Vision.

    2. Contents
      1. Describe how the detail of the Product Backlog items will be tied to their position (or order) and how the Product Backlog contents will change over time.

      2. Describe how the Product Backlog will contain functional, non-functional, architectural, and infrastructural elements as well as risks that need to be removed or mitigated. Wherever possible, items on the Product Backlog will be in vertical slices (i.e., each providing value to the user).

    3. Management and Refinement
      Identify the need for the Product Backlog to be refined periodically in order for it to remain good enough for the next level of planning. The whole Scrum Team can participate in the refinement of the Product Backlog.

    4. Responsibility and Participation
      Identify why the Product Owner is ultimately responsible for the content and state of the Product Backlog, though anyone is able and encouraged to contribute to the Product Backlog.

    5. Item Readiness
      Describe that, in order for an item to be considered ready for inclusion in a Sprint, each Product Backlog item should be small enough to fit into a Sprint and must be clear in the expectations of the Product Owner (i.e., by specifying acceptance criteria).

    6. Item Estimation
      Describe that the Team is responsible for estimating the items on the Product Backlog and that this estimate should be made in the simplest, most consistent, and most realistic manner possible. Scrum does not require any specific estimation techniques.

  2. Product Increment and the Definition of Done

    1. Definition of Product Increment
      Describe that, at the end of each Sprint, the Product Owner should have the opportunity to realize value from the investment put in to date as an increment of functionality perceivable to the final user of the Product. (i.e., they could begin the deployment process for the work that has been done this Sprint, if they choose).

    2. Development of a Product Increment
      Identify that the Team will be developing every item from the Product Backlog with the view that this will be completed to a state of potentially shippable.

    3. Definition of Done (DoD)
      Identify that Scrum’s minimal DoD means potentially shippable. If the Team isusing anything other than that minimal DoD, it should be explicitly captured.

    4. Understanding the DoD
      Analyze the consequences of an inadequate DoD for the Team, the product, and the organization, and identify that any “undone” Product Backlog must be returned to the Product Backlog. Analyze the consequences of having a product in an “unstable/undefined” state due to accumulated “undone” work.

  3. Sprint Backlog

    1. Definition
      Identify the Sprint Backlog as the Team’s plan for how it is going to turn the Product Backlog items selected for a Sprint into potentially shippable functionality.

    2. Purpose
      Describe the Sprint Backlog’s two main purposes: a detailed view of the Team's expected work for a Sprint and a tool for the Team to manage itself during the Sprint.

    3. Management
      Define and describe at least one technique for managing the Sprint Backlog (e.g., a Sprint Backlog task board).

    4. Responsibility
      Describe the responsibility of the Team for creating and maintaining the Sprint Backlog.

    5. Update Scope
      Identify that the Sprint Backlog should, at all times, show what items are being worked on and by whom. Sometimes the Sprint Backlog should also show how much effort is still required to complete these items.

    6. Update Frequency
      Describe the need for the Team to update the Sprint Backlog at least once a day.

  4. Burndown Charts

    Describe the circumstances under which Burndown Charts are useful.

    1. Sprint Burndown Chart

      1. Definition
        Define the Sprint Burndown as a chart illustrating a comparison between the initial estimated amount of work at the Sprint Planning Meeting and the current estimated amount of work remaining.

      2. Purpose
        Describe how the Sprint Burndown chart is primarily used by the Team to manage themselves during the Sprint.

      3. Responsibility
        Describe that the ScrumMaster is responsible for ensuring that the Team is aware of its Sprint Burndown status and encouraging the Team to update the Sprint Burndown chart.

      4. Update Frequency
        Identify when the Sprint Burndown chart will typically be updated and describe the reason to do so.

    2. Release Burndown Chart
      1. Definition
        Describe the Release Burndown chart’s use of empirical data and the estimations provided by the Team to indicate either the projected end date of the release or the projected amount of Product Backlog that will be completed.

      2. Purpose
        Describe the Release Burndown chart’s use as a tool for the Product Owner in order to manage the plan for the product release.

      3. Responsibility
        Identify the Product Owner’s responsibility to use the empirical data and estimations produced by the Team in each Sprint to update the Release Burndown chart.

      4. Update Frequency
        Identify when the Release Burndown chart will typically be updated and describe the reason to do so.

Note: Scaling Scrum is a topic that is considered too advanced for the CSM assessment-based certificate program.

Scaling Scrum

  1. Working with Multiple Scrum Teams

    1. Scaling Teams

      1. Team set up
        Define at least one approach to setting up multiple teams working on the same product in Scrum, and describe the benefits of this approach.

      2. Scaling up
        Identify different approaches to scaling up Teams gradually, and describe the benefits of each approach.

    2. Scaling Product Owners
      Describe possible ways in which multiple Product Owners can collaborate to work on the same product.

    3. Scaling the Product Backlog
      Describe the common challenges of managing a large Product Backlog and which techniques to use to facilitate its management.

    4. Scaling the Sprint Meetings

      1. Sprint Planning Meeting
        Describe possible approaches to run a Sprint Planning meeting with multiple teams.

      2. Sprint Review Meeting
        Describe the challenges to an effective Sprint Review meeting with multiple teams and how those challenges may be addressed.

      3. Sprint Retrospective Meeting
        Describe the challenges to an effective Sprint Retrospective meeting with multiple teams and how those challenges may be addressed.

      4. Scrum of Scrums Meeting
        Describe the objectives of the Scrum of Scrums (SoS) and identify who participatesin the SoS.

  2. Working with Distributed Scrum Teams

    1. Product Owner in a Different Location
      Identify common challenges when the Product Owner works in a different location from the rest of the Scrum Team and describe strategiesto deal with these challenges.

    2. Scrum Team Split among Different Locations
      Identify common challenges of working with a dispersed team and describe strategies to deal with these challenges.

    3. Importance of Infrastructure and Engineering Practices
      Describe the impacts of scaling Scrum and working with distributed Scrum Teams on the infrastructure and tools as well as the engineering practices.

Scrum Alliance

 
Certified Scrum Master (CSM)

A Certified ScrumMaster® helps project teams properly use Scrum, increasing the likelihood of the project's overall success. CSMs understand Scrum values, practices, and applications and provide a level of knowledge and expertise above and beyond that of typical project managers.

Learn More »

 
Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)

Certified Scrum Product Owner® professionals have been taught the Scrum terminology, practices, and principles that enable them to fulfill the role of Product Owner on a Scrum team. CSPOs are typically the individuals who are closest to the "business side" of the project. Taking the CSPO course is the first step on your path of becoming more Agile. To truly master Scrum, experience and continuing education are necessary.

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Certified Scrum Developer (CSD)

Certified Scrum Developers have demonstrated, through a combination of formal training and a technical skills assessment, that they have a working understanding of Scrum principles and have learned specialized Agile engineering skills. The Certified Scrum Developer® course is aimed at software developers (programmers) who are building software in a Scrum environment. The goal is to expose students to the most important tools and techniques that need to be applied in order to build good software in the iterative and incremental fashion that Scrum requires.

Learn More »