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Top 25 Scrum Master Interview Questions and Answers

Top 25 Scrum Master Interview Questions and Answers

Organizations are realizing the benefits of adopting agile methodologies. Also, as per the report published by CollabNet VerisionOne 12th Annual State of agile report, 56% of the respondent organizations use scrum methodologies for their agile implementation. 

Mostly used Agile techniques

Source: CollabNet VerisionOne 12th Annual State of agile report

This shows that the Scrum Framework is becoming the choice of teams for implementing the agile methodology. And it is the Scrum Master who ensures that the team aligns to the Scrum Framework and ensures team success.

Given the growth and popularity of the Scrum framework, it is no brainer that the demand for Scrum Masters is unprecedently growing. The Scrum Master role is found at the #10 position in the LinkedIn’s release of the Most Promising Jobs of 2019. According to the report, the median base salary of the role is USD 103,000 and it has a year-over-year job growth of 2,000+. Scrum Masters with formal Scrum training and agile certifications have higher salaries than those without.

So, if you were slightly confused about Scrum Master role as your career, I believe by now you are clear about your decision. So, why wait, start preparing for your Scrum Master interview with these frequently asked Scrum Master Interview Questions and Answers. 

Good luck!

Top 25 Scrum Master Interview Questions and Answers

Here are a few frequently asked questions that will help you prepare for your job interview:

1. Who are Scrum Masters and what are they responsible for?

The Scrum Masters are responsible for supporting and promoting Scrum. They assist their team in meeting their goals. They help to manage project risks and mentor the team as a coach. The Scrum Masters are also known as servant leaders, as they provide collaboration and motivate their team to deliver their best.   

2. What is a "user story" in Scrum?

A user story is a tool used in Agile software development that captures the description of a feature from an end-user perspective. It describes, among others, the type of users and their motivations. A user story creates a simplified description of a user's requirements.

3. What are the three main artifacts of the Scrum process?

The artifacts of Scrum are:

  • Product Backlog.

  • Sprint Backlog. 

  • Product Increment.

4. What do you understand by the term Scrum Sprint? What is its duration?

A Scrum Sprint is a repeatable cycle during which work is completed and made ready for review. The duration of the Scrum Sprint depends on the size of the project and the team working on it. Generally, it is under 30 days.

5. Describe the role of a Product Owner.

The Product Owner focuses on the success of the product, ensuring the business value of it. Their main responsibility is to identify and refine the Product Backlog items. 

6. How does the Scrum Master help the Product Owner?

  • Efficient Product Backlog management.

  • Helping the Scrum team in adopting a shared vision.

  • Understanding and practicing agility.

  • Promoting Scrum events as requested or needed.

7. How does the Scrum Master serve the organization?

  • Helping in Scrum adoption.

  • Acting as an Agile change agent.

  • Helping the team increasing productivity.

  • Ensuring the iterative incremental cycle of continuous improvement. The dot voting technique is often used for this.

  • Supporting Agile leadership principles, leading to organizational transformation.

8.  Why is Agile methodology necessary?

  • It helps in achieving customer satisfaction with the rapid delivery of useful software.

  • It eases potential changing requirements, even late in a company's development.

  • Repeatedly delivers working software, the main measurement of progress.

  • It provides close, daily cooperation between the company and the developers.

  • Having self-organizing teams brings, as a result, self-motivated team members.

  • In situations of co-location, it assists communication through face-to-face conversations.

  • It offers continuous attention to XP.

  • It adds simplicity.

9. What is Scrum?

  • Scrum is a processed framework meant to help teams develop projects in an iterative, incremental manner. The process is organized in cycles of work called Sprints.

  • These cycles do not last more than four weeks each (usually two weeks), and they are timeboxed. This means they end on a specific date whether the work has been completed or not. They are never extended. 

  • At the beginning of each Sprint, the team chooses one of the project's tasks from a prioritized list. They agree on a common goal of what they believe they can deliver at the completion of the Sprint, something that is tangible and realistic. During the Sprint, no additional tasks should be added.

  • The team meets every day to review their progress and adjust the steps needed to complete the remaining work.

  • At the end of the Sprint, the team reviews the work cycle with the stakeholders and shows the end product. With the feedback they get, they plan the next Sprint.

  • Scrum emphasizes obtaining a working product at the completion of each Sprint. When talking about software, this means a system that is integrated, tested, end-user documented, and shippable.

10. What are the five phases of risk management?

  • Risk identification.

  • Risk categorization.

  • Risk response.

  • Risk review.

  • Risk closure.

11. What are the main tools used in a Scrum project?

  • JIRA.

  • Rally.

  • Version One.

12. How can a Scrum Master track the progress of a Sprint?

Scrum Masters can track the Sprint progress by using the burndown chart. The vertical axis shows the amount of work remaining while the horizontal one shows the number of Sprints.

13. What is timeboxing in Scrum?

Timeboxing means allotting a fixed unit of time for an activity. The unit of time is called a time box. The maximum length of a time box should be 15 minutes.

14. Is canceling a Sprint possible? Who can cancel a Sprint?

A Sprint can be canceled before the Sprint timebox limit ends. Only the Product Owner can cancel the sprint.

15. How is estimation in a Scrum project done? What are the techniques used for estimation?

Estimation in a Scrum project is done using relative Agile estimation techniques:

  • The T-shirt Estimation Technique.

  • The Planning Poker Estimation Technique.

  • The Estimation by Analogy Technique.

  • The Disaggregation Estimation Technique.

16. What are the roles involved in the Scrum framework?

A Scrum framework has three roles:

  • Scrum Master.

  • Product Owner.

  • Development team

17. What is the difference between change management in a Waterfall and an Agile Scrum?

In Waterfall, change management is based on the change management plan, the change tracker and the release plan based on which the consultants deliver their work. 

In Agile, there is no change management plan. The work delivery is only based on the definition of the product backlog. 

18. What is the purpose of a daily Scrum?

The daily Scrum meeting is for the team. It helps them self-organize towards their sprint commitment and set the context for the next day’s work.

19. What do you understand by the term scope creep? How do you prevent it from happening?

If the requirements are not properly defined at the start and new features are added to the product already being built, a scope creep occurs. To prevent it: 

  • The requirements must be clearly specified.

  • The project progress must be monitored.

  • Effective grooming of sprint backlog must be done.

20. What are the most common risks in a Scrum project?

  • A scope creep.

  • Timeline issues.

  • Budget issues.

21. What do you understand by Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in Scrum?

An MVP is a product with the minimum required features to be shown to the stakeholders and be eligible to ship for production.

22. What is the major advantage of using Scrum?

Early feedback, as well as the production of the Minimal Viable Product to the stakeholders, would be the main advantages of using it.

23. What does DoD mean? How can this be achieved?

Definition of Done is formed by a list of tasks that define the work's quality. It is used to decide whether an activity from the Sprint backlog is completed.

24. What is the term velocity in Scrum?

Velocity calculates the total effort the team has put into a Sprint. The number is obtained by adding all the story points from the previous Sprint. It is a guideline for the team to understand the number of stories they can do in a Sprint.

25. List out the disadvantages of Scrum.

  • Daily Scrum meetings require frequent reviews and substantial resources.

  • A successful project relies on the maturity and dedication of the whole team.

  • The uncertainty of the product, the changes, and frequent product delivery remain present during the Scrum cycle.

  • It depends on significant change.

Important tips for preparing an interview:

  • Review the most commonly asked questions, listed above.

  • Do some previous research on the company.

  • Find a way to develop a connection with the interviewer.

  • Be positive and be confident.

  • End the interview on a positive note.

Conclusion:

So, all you need to crack your interview is a broader understanding of the role of Scrum Master, agile methods and concepts that Scrum Framework embodies. In addition to this getting a Scrum Master certification from a recognized brand would add value to your résumé. GreyCampus is a leading provider of professional certification courses, helping experts build a strong base on Scrum practices and its development.

There are many questions during an interview that do not have a right or wrong answer. It all depends on each organization and the applicant's perspective when resolving the situation. Hence, one should also be prepared for general questions as well.

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About The Author

Accomplished Sr. IT Program Manager, Agile Coach with around 16 years of experience in directing SAP DEV teams in supporting many major fortune 500 clients in multiple large accounts (of more than $14.8M+) that include more than 8 years of experience in IT Project/Program, Quality & Solution Delivery Management and 6+ years of experience in Agile as SCRUM Master, Agile Coach. Successfully headed many ISO and CMMi audits and acted as a Change Agent in many Lean Six Sigma initiatives and workshops.

Sudipta is a certified Disruptive Strategy professional from HBX Harvard Business School in 2017, Bachelor degree in Technology (B. TECH) in Chemical Technology from Calcutta University in 2003. He is a certified Project Manager (Prince-2), CSP®, Certified Agile Leader(CDL), CLMM, CMM, Advanced Certified Scrum Master(A-CSM) ®, CSPO®, CSM®, KMP2, KMP1, ICP-ACC®, TKP®, ISO, Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, ISO 9001:2008 - Certified Lead Auditor®, ISO 27001:2013 - Certified Lead Auditor®, ISO 20000 - ITSM®.

Sudipta Malakar

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