52 Scrum Master Interview Questions

by Apr 7, 2021Scrum Framework

52 Scrum Master Interview Questions

 

Want to be ready for that tough Scrum Master interview? Here are 52 questions that will help you really ace the upcoming interview and give you confidence during your Scrum Master interview.

The Scrum Master Questions

  1. What is the Agile Manifesto?
    • Four values and principles behind the Agile philosophy
    • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    • Working software over comprehensive documentation
    • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    • Responding to change over following a plan
    • That is, while there is value in the items onthe right, we value the items on the left more.
  1. What is empiricism?
    • Decisions are made based on observation, experimentation and experience rather than on detailed upfront planning. Simply, learning by doing.
  2. What are the three pillars of Scrum and why are they important?
    • The pillars are Transparency, Inspection and Adaptation
    • These pillars form the basis of Scrum
  3. What are the Five events in Scrum?
    • The Sprint
    • Sprint Planning
    • The Daily Scrum
    • Sprint Review
    • Sprint Retrospective
  4. What are the Three roles in Scrum?
    • The Scrum Master
    • The Product Owner
    • Developers
  5. What are the Artefacts in Scrum?
    • The Product Backlog
    • The Sprint Backlog
    • The Increment
  6. What events must the Scrum Master be present in?
    • Sprint itself
    • Sprint Planning
    • Sprint Review
    • Sprint Retrospective
  7. What events must the Product Owner be present in?
    • Sprint itself
    • Sprint Planning
    • Sprint Review
    • Sprint Retrospective
  8. What events must the Developers be present in?
    • Sprint itself
    • The Daily Scrum
    • Sprint Planning
    • Sprint Review
    • Sprint Retrospective
  9. What is the Product Goal?
    • The Product Goal is the objective of the Sprint and usually results in releasable value
  10. How long is a Sprint?
    • Fixed length events of one month or less to create consistency.
  11. What is the outcome of the Sprint?
    • A releasable increment of value
  12. How does a Sprint control risk?
    • By limiting work, releasing value early and often and enabling frequent learning
  13. What is the purpose of the Daily Scrum?
    • Inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work.
  14. What are the outcomes of the Daily Scrum?
    • A plan for the day and a list of impediments to be resolved by either the team or the Scrum Master
  15. What is the timebox for the Daily Scrum?
    • 15 minutes
  16. What is the purpose of Sprint Planning?
    • Sprint Planning initiates the Sprint by laying out the work to be performed for the Sprint. This resulting plan is created by the collaborative work of the entire Scrum Team.
  17. What are the outcomes of Sprint Planning?
    • The Sprint Goal
    • An initial Sprint Backlog
  18. What is the timebox for Sprint Planning?
    • Sprint Planning is timeboxed to a maximum of eight hours for a one-month Sprint. For shorter Sprints, the event is usually shorter.
  19. What is the purpose of the Sprint Review?
    • The purpose of the Sprint Review is to inspect the outcome of the Sprint and determine future adaptations. The Scrum Team presents the results of their work to key stakeholders and progress toward the Product Goal is discussed.
  20. Who attends the Sprint Review?
    • The Scrum Team
    • Invited Stakeholders
  21. What is the timebox for the Sprint Review?
    • Timeboxed to a maximum of four hours for a one-month Sprint. For shorter Sprints, the event is usually shorter.
  22. What are the outcomes of the Sprint Review?
    • During the event, the Scrum Team and stakeholders review what was accomplished in the Sprint and what has changed in their environment. Based on this information, attendees collaborate on what to do next. The Product Backlog may also be adjusted to meet new opportunities
  23. What is the purpose of the Sprint Retrospective?
    • The purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to plan ways for a team to increase its quality and effectiveness. The team does this by reviewing its past performance and generating concrete actions for improvement, to be executed in the next Sprint.
  24. What is the timebox for the Sprint Retrospective?
    • Timeboxed to a maximum of three hours for a one-month Sprint. For shorter Sprints, the event is usually shorter.
  25. What are the outcomes of the Sprint Retrospective?
    • Actions for improvement to be executed in subsequent Sprints.
  26. Who must attend the Sprint Retrospective?
    • The Scrum team
  27. What are the five values of Scrum?
    • Successful use of Scrum depends on people becoming more proficient in living five values:
    • Commitment, Focus, Openness, Respect, and Courage
  28. Who owns the Product Backlog?
    • The Product Owner
  29. Who owns the Sprint Backlog?
    • The Developers
  30. Who can tell the Developers how to do their work?
    • The Developers self organise, no one tells them how to do their work
  31. What skills are needed across the Developers to do their work?
    • They must be cross functional
  32. What is an increment?
    • The result of a Sprints worth of work; potentially releasable value that builds on previous releases.
  33. Who decides whether an increment should be released or not?
    • The Product Owner
  34. What is the best way to order a Product Backlog?
    • By Value
  35. Who is accountable for delivering every Sprint?
    • The Scrum Team
  36. Who is accountable for creating a plan for the Sprint?
    • The Scrum Team in planning
  37. What is the Definition of Done?
    • A checklist which details what a complete piece of work looks like
  38. Who creates the Definition of Done?
    • The Developers or the Development Organisation
  39. Who orders the Product Backlog?
    • The Product Owner with support from collaborators
  40. How many people manage the Product Backlog?
    • The Product Owner manages the Sprint Backlog
  41. Who can write Product Backlog Items
    • The Product Owner can do this themselves or delegate – the Product Owner remains accountable for clear expression of Product Backlog Items
  42. Who can cancel the Sprint?
    • Only the Product Owner
  43. How does the Scrum Master serve the Product Owner?
    • Helping find techniques for effective Product Goal definition and Product Backlog management;
    • Helping the Scrum Team understand the need for clear and concise Product Backlog items;
    • Helping establish empirical product planning for a complex environment; and,
    • Facilitating stakeholder collaboration as requested or needed.
  44. What is a Product Backlog Item?
    • A unit of work in that results in value
  45. What is the Product Owners responsibilities?
    • Ensuring that Product Backlog Items are transparent and well understood by the developers
    • Developing and explicitly communicating the Product Goal
    • Creating and clearly communicating Product Backlog items
    • Ordering Product Backlog items; and,
    • Ensuring that the Product Backlog is transparent, visible and understood.
  46. What work can the Product Owner delegate?
    • The Product Owner may do the above work (q46) or may delegate the responsibility to others. Regardless, the Product Owner remains accountable.
  47. There are multiple teams working towards delivery of ONE product, how many product owners should there be?
    • One
  48. During the Sprint new work is discovered, when should it be added to the Sprint Backlog?
    • As soon as its discovered
  49. What is Backlog Refinement?
    • Product Backlog refinement is the act of breaking down and further defining Product Backlog items into smaller more precise items.
    • This is an ongoing activity to add details, such as a description, order, and size. Attributes often vary with the domain of work.
  50. What is the timebox for Backlog Refinement?
    • As much time as is needed
  51. What is the outcome of Backlog Refinement?
    • A well understood, ordered Backlog

So that’s it, all of the answers to these questions can be found within the Scrum Guide – reach out if you need any clarifications.

 

Scrum Master Interviewing for Interviewers

Hiring anyone can be daunting especially when the cost of a mis-hire is so high.

Scrum Masters form an integral part of the team and can quite simply make or break teams.

Whenever you hire, think carefully about how you’d like your Scrum Masters to manage risk, challenges and the values that are needed to thrive in your organisation.

Most importantly you need your Scrum Masters to be deeply knowledgeable about the basics of Scrum – since they will be responsible and accountable for teaching, training, mentoring and coaching both the Scrum Teams they serve and the wider organisation in the effective use of Scrum. This is why we always start with a thorough set of questions to ensure that Scrum Masters have a solid grasp of the fundamentals before we move on to the more challenging coaching and scenario-based questions. Make sure you ask detailed questions to ensure that Scrum Master candidate has the experience to back the knowledge.

For Interviewees

The following questions form the very basics of Scrum understanding. Ensure you are not only familiar with the answers but have the relevant experience to back up your understanding. As a serious Scrum Master, the Scrum Guide should be your very best friend. If you don’t know it intimately how will you be able to train, mentor and coach your teams to performance – as a minimum standard the following questions should be easy to answer.

 

 

 

Good luck!