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Top 50 Scrum Master Interview Questions You Need To Know In 2019

Last updated on Aug 16,2019 1.5K Views
Top 50 Scrum Master Interview Questions You Need To Know In 2019

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Scrum Framework is quickly becoming the framework of choice for teams interested in adopting an agile philosophy. Given the growth in the fame of the Scrum Framework, it should come as no surprise that this growth is also fueling an unprecedented demand for Scrum Master Certification Training.

Here are the top 50 scrum master interview questions that would help you get a step closer to your dream scrum master job.

Let’s begin by taking a look at the most frequently asked questions in Scrum Master Interview Questions.

Q10. What is a story point in scrum? How do you calculate it?

For better understanding, I have divided the rest of the Scrum Master Interview Questions into the following sections:

Let’s begin with the first section of Scrum Master Interview questions.

Technical Scrum Master Interview Questions

The questions under this category are all technical questions based on Agile, Scrum Framework, and Scrum Master related. Basically, by asking these questions you are being tested on the subject knowledge and expertise in the field.

Beginner Level Scrum Master Interview Questions

This section of Scrum Master Interview Questions will cover all those basic questions that you might come across when attending a scrum job interview.

Q1. What is Agile? Explain Agile in 2 min.

This is a tricky and controversial question since the definition of agile is not commonly agreed upon. Is agile a framework? Is agile a methodology?

Agile is a mindset, a philosophy, more like a way of thinking, a movement focusing on communication, team-thinking, intrinsic motivation, empowerment, innovative walks, flow, and value creation while developing a product. 

Q2. When to use Agile Model? Is it suitable in all situations?

A flexible model like agile can be used in cases like, when:

  • New changes need to be implemented in between development cycle
  • Working on complex and bigger projects
  • There are long term goals and no bound on requirements
  • Have to quickly launch the product to market
  • There are frequent changes throughout the development cycle
  • There is no limit on time and budget

Q3. State some major principles of agile.

Key principles of agile include:

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Face-to-Face Communication
  • Continuous Feedback
  • Quick Respond to Changes
  • Sustainable Development
  • Self-Organization
  • Successive Improvement
  • Collective Team Work

Q4. What is Scrum? How is it different from waterfall model?

Scrum is a lightweight agile framework, within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.

ScrumLogo - Scrum Master Interview Questions - Edureka

It’s different from the waterfall model in the following ways:

  • Feedback is received at an early stage
  • Minimizes risk in response to changes
  • Focus is on collaborative development
  • Increases return of investment
  • Allows to rollback changes

Q5. What is Scrum Sprint? What is the ideal duration for a Sprint?

This is a very common question asked in scrum master interviews. Sprint is a regular, repeated work cycle in scrum methodology during which work is completed and made ready for review. Usually, the duration of a scrum sprint depends upon the size of the project and the number of people working on it. On average, the duration of a sprint is about 4 weeks.

Q6. What are the different roles involved in the Scrum Framework?

The three roles involved in scrum are as follows:

Scrum Team - - Edueka

  • The Product Owner is responsible for the work the team is supposed to complete. The main role of a product owner is to motivate the team to achieve the goal and the vision of the project.
  • The Scrum Master ensures that all the team members follow scrum’s theories, rules, and practices. They make sure the Scrum Team has whatever it needs to complete its work, like removing roadblocks that are holding up progress, organizing meetings, dealing with challenges and bottlenecks
  • The Development Team(Scrum Team) is a self-organizing and a cross-functional team, working together to deliver products. Scrum development teams are given the freedom to organize themselves and manage their own work to maximize the team’s effectiveness and efficiency.

 

    Q7. What are the most important components of Agile?

    The most important components that constitute agile are:

    • Stand-Up meetings which are done on a daily basis
    • Class Responsibilities and Collaborator cards
    • Timeboxed Task Boards
    • Iteration planning meetings that carry out the iterative development
    • TDD (Test Driven Development), Continuous Integration, regular code reviews, pair programming, automated builds, etc.

    Q8. What is the role of a scrum master?

    Here’s how you should handle a Scrum Master interview question like this: The Scrum Master is the team’s resident facilitator, responsible for helping all team members follow Scrum’s theories, rules, and practices. They make sure the Scrum Team has whatever it needs to complete its work, like removing roadblocks that are holding up progress, organizing meetings, dealing with challenges and bottlenecks.

    Q9. What are the responsibilities of a Scrum Master?

    Scrum Master serves Product Owner, Development Team and the Organisation in different ways. Most important responsibilities of a scrum master include:

    • To makes sure that the goals and scope of the project are understood by everyone involved
    • Remove impediments & obstacles that could slow down the team’s progress
    • Guide the team and product owner to improve the effectiveness of their practices
    • Makes changes to increase the productivity of the scrum team
    • Facilitate Scrum events when requested and needed
    • Helps stakeholders and employees understand scrum empirical theory

    Q10. What is a story point in scrum? How do you calculate it?

    Every feature in scrim is a story. A story point is an arbitrary measure used scrum teams to determine the difficulty of implementing a given story.

    Q11. What is a Stroy Board in scrum?

    An important principle in Scrum is the idea of transparency. That’s why making things visible for the entire team to see is really important. A big factor of this is the Story Board. It is a visual representation of a software project’s progress which generally has four columns, namely, ‘To do’, In Progress’, ‘Test’, and ‘Done’.

    StoryBoard - Edureka

    Q12. What is the Daily Stand-Up in Scrum? What do these meetings entail?

    Daily Scrum, also known as a stand-up, is a 15-minute daily meeting where the team has a chance to get on the same page and put together a strategy for the next 24 hours. Three major questions that are discussed in this meeting are:

    • What have you completed since the last meeting?
    • What do you plan to complete by the next meeting?
    • Are there any blocks or impediments that keep you from doing your work?

    Q13. What are the three main artifacts of Scrum Process?

    Artifacts are just physical records that provide project details when developing a product. Scrum Artifacts include:

    Scrum Artifacts - Edureka

    • Product Backlog – A document that outlines the list of tasks and every requirement that the final product needs
    • Sprint Backlog – List of all items from the product backlog that need to be worked on during a sprint
    • Product Increment – Sum of product work completed during a Sprint, combined with all work completed during previous sprints

    There is another artifact called burn-up chart, which is discussed in of the following questions below.

    Q14. What is a user story in Scrum? How does a good user story look?

    A user story is a tool used in Agile software development that represents a small piece of business value that a team can deliver in a sprint. Basically, it creates a simplified description of a user’s requirements. A user story is defined incrementally in three stages:

    • Who are we building it for, who the user is? — As a <type of user>
    • What are we building, what is the intention? — I want <some goal or objective >
    • Why are we building it, what value it brings for the user.? — So that <benefit, value>

    Q15. What are the burn-up and burn-down charts in scrum?

    Burn-Up and Burn-Down Charts are used to trace the progress of the project. The burn-up chart illustrates the amount of work completed, while the burn-down chart illustrates the amount of work remained to complete a project. Remember that the efforts are measured in terms of user stories and not hours.

    Q16. What does a scrum burndown chart comprise?

    Burndown charts are used to track sprint status, they illustrate the amount of work remained to complete a project”. Also, they will highlight the area where they see redundancy. So, burn -down charts include:

    • X-axis that displays working days
    • Y-axis that displays remaining effort
    • Ideal effort as a guideline
    • Real progress of the effort

    Q17. Mention what is the objective behind holding a Sprint retrospective meeting?

    During sprint retrospective, the team discusses what went right, what went wrong, and how to improve. They decide on how to fix the problems and create a plan for improvements to be enacted during the next sprint.

    Q18. List some popular agile frameworks. Do you know any other agile methodology apart from scrum?

    When you are posed with this sort of question, and if you haven’t used any other frameworks, you can just name few that you might have heard of. Other frameworks that are based on agile are:

    • Kanban
    • Test-Driven Development
    • Feature Driven Development
    • Extreme programming
    • Crystal
    • Lean Software Development

    Q19. What is term velocity in agile? How is it measured?

    Velocity predicts how much work Agile can complete in a sprint and how much time will it require to complete a project. The number is obtained by adding all the story points from the last sprint’s stories.

    Q20. What is the release candidate in Scrum?

    A Release Candidate in Scrum is a build or version of the software that is ready and can be released to production. Further, testing such as User Acceptance Testing (UAT) may be performed on this version of the product.

    Q21. Explain what is a scrum of scrums.

    This is one of the commonly asked scrum master interview questions. For example, let’s say there is an active project with seven teams working on it. The number of members of each team is also seven and are responsible to lead their own scrum meeting. But, in order to coordinate and communicate with different teams, they need to organize a separate scrum meeting. This meeting is called the scrum of scrums. The responsible person from each team attends the meeting and discuss their work and progress.

    ScrumofScrums - Edureka

    Q22. List some of the popular project management tools that you have heard of.

    Some popular tools used in the project management are Rally Software, Version One, XPlanner, EasyBacklog Agilefant, and many others.

    Advanced Level Scrum Master Interview Questions

    Q23. Do you know about Agile Manifesto? Explain in brief.

    The Agile Manifesto is a statement that is comprised of 4 key values and 12 principles that form the core of agile. Agile comes in a number of forms. Every subset of agile applies the four values and 12 principles in different ways, but all of them rely on them to guide the development and delivery of high-quality, working software.

    Agile - Scrum Master Interview Questions - Edureka

    Q24. Can you state the four values of Agile Software Development as stated in Agile Manifesto?

    The four core values as stated by the Agile Manifesto are:

    • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    • Working software over comprehensive documentation
    • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    • Responding to change over following a plan

    Q25. What is the Empirical Process Control? How is scrum based on that?

    Empirical process control is a core Scrum principle and relies on the three main ideas: transparency, inspection, and adaptation. With empirical process control, you don’t fix the scope of the product nor the processes of how to build it. Instead, you create a small shippable piece of product in short cycles, inspect what and how you create it and adapt the product and the way you build it, with built-in mechanisms for transparency to enable clear inspection.

    Empiricism - Scrum - Edureka

    Q26. What do you know about impediments in Scrum? Give some examples of possible impediments.

    Impediments are the obstacles or issues faced by the scrum team which slows down the progress of their work. This could occur due to many reasons like listed below:

    • Resource missing or sick team member
    • Technical, operational, organizational problems
    • Lack of management supportive system
    • Business problems
    • External issues such as weather, war, etc
    • Lack of skill or knowledge
    • Missing project resources

    As a follow-up question, you might be asked the way to remove any of the impediments that you have mentioned.

    Q27. What are some qualities that should be present in a good Agile tester?

    Some basic skills that every agile tester should have are:

    • Required to be familiar with the core concepts and principles of Agile
    • Should have excellent communication skills to converse with the team and the clients
    • Ability to set priority for the tasks according to the changing requirements
    • Should be able to understand the requirements properly
    • Proper understanding of the risks involved with a project due to changing requirements

    Q28. Mention some scenarios where using scrum is not suggested?

    Not every story about Scrum is a success story. Scrum can fail too. It’s not suggested to use scrum when:

    • The requirements do not evolve much
    • You are working with huge groups or have more responsibilities
    • The organization is not willing to adapt to the scrum framework
    • Frequently needing to respond, quicker than a sprint allows

    Q29. Do you hold any agile certification? Why did you choose this certification?

    This sort of question might seem awkward if you don’t have any certification. In such cases, stay calm and just let the interviewer know if are planning to take any in the future. If yes, then mention why you have that particular certification. For your reference, here are some certifications generally looked by organizations:

    • ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner)
    • ASM (Agile Scrum Master)
    • CSM (Certified Scrum Master)
    • PSM (Professional Scrum Master)
    • Safe Agilist

    Q30. Are you a certified scrum master?

    Don’t panic if you don’t have a certification and they ask you this question! Be confident and answer if you have a scrum master certification or not. If you are a certified scrum master, just share the details of your certification like certification type, score obtained, and the year of passing. In case you are not certified to highlight your experience in the particular field and let the interviewer know if you are planning to take one in the future.

    Q31. Is it ever suggested to use waterfall over Scrum? If yes, explain when.

    When your requirements are simple, well-defined, fully understood, predictable, and are not subjected to change until the completion of the project you could probably go for the waterfall model.

    Q32. What are the drawbacks of using scrum?

    Using scrum in such cases poses problems like:

    • Frequent need for reviews of daily scrum meetings
    • Absence of maturity and dedication of all the team members
    • It will be a tricky job for the scrum master to plan and structure a project that lacks a clear goal
    • Uncertainty regarding the product, frequent changes, and frequent product delivery

    Comparison Based Scrum Master Interview Questions

    Q33. How does agile development model differ from the waterfall model?

    Below give a few major differences between Agile and Waterfall

    • In Waterfall work is done sequentially, that is, the previous phase must be over before initiating next phase whereas in agile all the phases these are done in every iteration.
    • Feedback from end-user is received at a later stage (towards the end of the development cycle) whereas in agile feedback is received continuously throughout the development cycle
    • In the waterfall model, requirements should be finalized before initiating development activities. In agile changes are welcomed at all stages, so, it is flexible
    • In waterfall, progress is measured as percentage completion whereas in agile progress is measured by working software
    • In waterfall decision making or controlling authority is in the hand of project manager whereas in agile self-motivated and self-organizing teams that drive the projects

    Q34. Are Agile and Scrum the same?

    Agile is a set of methods and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the Agile Manifesto. While Scrum is a framework for handling roles, events, artifacts, and rules/guidelines to implement the Agile Mindset. The table below lists the key differences between Scrum & Agile.

    Features

    Agile 

    Scrum

    Nature & Scope

    Agile is a mentality and a set of principles

    Scrum is a framework that implements agile principles

    Planning

    Planning occurs at three levels: release planning, iteration planning, and daily planning

    Next sprint is planned after the team has completed the current sprint activities

    Flexibility to Changes

    Agile is very flexible and hence adapts to changes very quickly

    Rigid framework & there is no much room for frequent changes

    Design & Execution

    Agile execution is quite simple and it usually something that isn’t done before

    Works on trying new and creative ideas, which yields concise and smart outcomes

    Monitoring Process

    Requires detailed tracking & it takes place after every milestone of the overall design

    Monitoring takes place after compilation of certain features rather than after each design

    Leadership Role

     A leader is accountable for the work done (or not done) by the team

    There is no ‘team leader’, instead its fosters a multi-functional and self-organized team

    Mode of Communication

    The effective mode of communication is face-to-face within a team on a regular basis

    Communication is done on a daily/weekly basis with respect to the schedule

    Estimation Time & Delivery

    The priority is always to satisfy the customer by providing continuous delivery of valuable software

    Delivers build to clients to get their feedback, after each sprint

    Customer Feedback

    Encourages regular feedback during various processes from business users

    Regular feedback is taken from end-users but in a more orderly fashion, like after every sprint

    Q35. What is the difference between Epic, User stories & Tasks?

    • Epic – It is a group of related user stories
    • User Stories – They define the real business prerequisite & are is shaped up by the business holder
    • Tasks – To accomplish the business requirements, development team create tasks

    Q36. What is the difference between Sprint and Iteration in Scrum?

    • Iteration is a terminology used to define a single development cycle in general agile methods. It is a highly common term used in the iterative and incremental development process
    • Sprint is used to define one development cycle or iterative step in a specialized agile methodology referred to as Scrum. Sprint is scrum specific, and not all forms of iterations are Sprints

    Q37.What is the difference between the Sprint Planning Meeting & Sprint Retrospective Meeting?

    • A sprint planning meeting is a meeting in which all the scrum roles have a discussion about the team’s priority features and product backlog items
    • A sprint retrospective meeting is a meeting in which all the scrum roles have a discussion about the good part of the sprint, the bad part of the sprint, and the sprint improvements

    Q38. How is scrum different from other Iterative models?

    Scrum is not just an iterative model but it is also an iterative model with incremental progress. Other popular subsets of agile include KanBan, XP, Lean, FDD, etc.

    Real-World Scenario Based Scrum Master Interview Questions

    Q39. If you were to introduce scrum to senior executives how would you do it?

    This is a deliberately an open question meant to encourage discussion. First of all, consider yourself a part of the organization. Explain scrum in simple terms and if needed you can even talk about how to create a learning organization that is ready to take risks and try experimentation in order to identify the best product for its customers. There is no specific answer to this question/

    Q40. What qualities should a good Scrum Master have? What sort of person do you need to be a great scrum master?

    Listed below are some qualities that a good scrum master is expected to have:

    • Influential: Scrum master should be able to strategically motivate various teams and stakeholders at an organizational level.
    • Collaborative: The scrum master must encourage self-organization within the team and encourage team members to make important decisions and improve their collaboration on the project.
    • Observant: Scrum Master is a team member and facilitator, so, he/she should be a good listener and pay attention to the challenges faced by the project team
    • Leadership: In addition to being observant the scrum master should also possess strong leadership skills and inspire others in the team to lead and achieve their goals
    • Knowledgeable: Apart from resolving impediments, the scrum master prevents potential problems. This requires absolute knowledge on the product and discipline on scrum master’s part

    Q41. What does servant leadership mean and how does the scrum master fits as a servant leader?

    Servant-leadership is all about collaboration, trust, empathy and the usage of power ethically. Scrum master is often called as the servant-leader for the Scrum team.

    As a servant-leader scrum master is responsible for:

    • Setting up Scrum as a servant process, not a commanding process
    • Guiding the Development team towards self-organization
    • Shielding the team from disturbance and external threats
    • Helping the team make visible, remove and prevent impediments
    • Leading the team through healthy conflict and debate

    This way scrum master is both a servent as well as a leader.

    Q42. You are in the middle of a sprint and suddenly the product owner comes with a new requirement, what will you do?

    This question doesn’t have a fixed answer. You can answer in the way you think right.  For example, if I were asked the question I would say ”Add requirement to the product backlog and consider it based on priority in the next sprint. If the priority is really high try to include in the current sprint, after communicating with involved people and stakeholders about the risks involved in doing so”.

    Q43. A member of the Scrum team does not want to participate in the sprint planning meetings and considers meeting as a waste of time. How do you deal with that kind of attitude?

    As a scrum master, you need to know the status of your team. So, if one of your team members thinks meetings are waste its high time to know why he/she is adopting such a behavior. Since scrum teams are usually of small size, so, each member of the team is really important. As Scrum Master, you should try to talk to the team member individually by asking open-ended questions to find out the reason for not attending the meeting. Try to convince him/her why meetings are an important part of the scrum framework.

    If the issue is still not resolved, you can set up a meeting with his reporting manager to talk about the concern and lookout for ways to help the team member.

    Q44. What is the main reason for the Scrum Master to be at the Daily Scrum?

    Scrum master need not personally attend the daily scrum, he should just make sure that the development team members participate without fail. In case if he/she attends the meeting he/she should:

    • Guide the Development team achieve their scrum goal
    • Motivate & encourage them
    • Help the team synchronize their work
    • Make them understand the scrum roles, practices & theories

    Q45. Your team is picking reasonable action items but is later not delivering on them. How do you handle this?

    As a scrum master, you need to do a follow up to solve the issue. Find out the root cause, see if the problem is due to external factor or internal factor. If it’s because of an external factor, you need to address and eliminate the cause. The team can then catch up during a later sprint.  If there is no external impediment, the problem is likely due to motivation, attitude, or personal issues within the team. In that case, you need to encourage team members responsible to do the right thing and overcome the problem.

    Q46. How would you coordinate between multiple scrum teams?

    The way you can handle multiple teams depends on the size and coupling between those teams, and there are various frameworks to help you with it, like:

    • SAFe – Scaled Agile Framework
    • LeSS – Large Scale Scrum
    • SoS – Scrum of Scrum.

    Q47. How to measure if Agile is working in your team and organization?

    Few indications that help you find out if agile is the right thing for you and your organization or not are:

    • Increasing velocity of the team & continuous improvement in terms of performance
    • An increase in software quality
    • Less technical debt, fewer bugs, and generally better maintainability
    • Increased participation of stakeholders in agile meetings
    • Frequent delivery of working software (weeks rather than months)

    Q48. One of the Agile Manifesto values says “People over processes”. Isn’t the Scrum master role which enforces “the process” a contradiction?

    It is really important to understand what exactly does the enforcement mean and what its boundaries are. Enforcement doesn’t mean forcing the team to follow the process, but it implies putting into practice the core principles of the Scrum to help the team be successful. Scrum Master, the facilitator of the team helps the team achieve its goal. Also, he will try to show the benefits of adopting the processes and help the team acquire an understanding of the scrum processes which is like showing the right path but it is totally up to the team if they want to walk through it or not.

    Q49. In case you receive a story on the last day of the sprint to test and you find there are defects, what will you do? Will you mark the story to ‘done’?

    A story is said to be ‘done’ only when it is completely developed, has passed QA testing, acceptance criteria ais met and is eligible to be shipped into production. So, if the story you received passes all these conditions then you can add it to the ‘done’ list. In case, if there are defects, the story is partially done and not completely done, you will have to spill it over to next sprint.

    Q50. Your team is constantly failing to meet commitments, and its performance velocity is volatile. What might the possible reasons be?

    This question basically addresses various issues. There are many possible factors that might combine to make a team’s velocity volatile, like:

    • New team members are being hired
    • Team members are leaving
    • Levels of seniority in the team is causing issues
    • Working in uncharted territory
    • Working with legacy code, probably undocumented
    • Unexpected technical debt
    • Wy to many holidays and sick leave

    Well, that’s it! We have reached the end of the Test Automation Interview Questions Article.

    I hope the questions listed in this “Scrum Master Interview Questions” help you crack your interview. Happy learning!

    Got a question for us? Please mention it in the comments section of this “Scrum Master Interview Questions” article and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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