Scrum is a well-known and simple Agile framework. It produces organizational value through adaptable solutions and project management techniques. This framework primarily concentrates on software development, though various industries employ it, including marketing and sales.
The Scrum framework embodies three major roles in a career setting: Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team. The scrum master is the professional in charge of leading the entire Scrum team and ensuring project development aligns with Scrum best practices.
Dreaming of a scrum master career? You’ll open up many doors in the project management world armed with Scrum knowledge, a top SDLC methodology. Prepare for your next interview with our roundup of the top 50 scrum master interview questions. Read them on your own or practice scrum master interview questions and answers with a friend!
Top 50 Scrum Master Interview Questions and Answers
We split our list of Scrum questions into three categories: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. Let’s get started with the basic level.
Basic Interview Questions for Scrum Master Roles
1. What do you mean by Scrum?
Scrum is an agile framework facilitatIng productivity and team collaboration. Scrum allows teams to self-organize as they take on challenges, reflect on accomplishments and failures, learn from past errors, and make adjustments.
This first interview question is frequently used as a starting point to get the conversation going.
2. Describe the Scrum team roles.
- Product Owner: The product owner is responsible for enhancing ROI by deciding how to prioritize product features, the next sprint’s emphasis, and more. The product owner would update these items frequently.
- Scrum Master: The scrum master guides the team in optimizing Scrum principles to meet business goals.
- Scrum Development Team: The development team is a set of people who collaborate to guarantee stakeholder satisfaction.
3. What duties fall under the purview of the Scrum team?
The Scrum team is accountable for the following:
- Creating and delivering working products for each sprint
- Managing work with ownership and transparency
- Attend all meetings to ensure alignment and progress
- Work independently and collaborate to meet sprint goals
4. What is Agile?
Agile is an iterative project management and software development methodology that helps organizations and teams streamline projects and deliver more value.
Instead of pushing a large release, an agile team delivers work in manageable chunks. Regular evaluations of requirements, methods, and results give teams a way to adjust to change naturally.
5. What are the Scrum Process Artifacts?
- Product Backlog: A list of activities, features, and fixes needed to build the product, based on research and analysis.
- Sprint Backlog: The sprint backlog is a product backlog subset — they are individual product backlog tasks broken down into actionable tasks to complete the sprint goal.
- Product Increment: Product backlog items completed during a sprint are considered deliverables (product increments).
6. Who is a Scrum master?
The scrum master assures the development team and product owners are aware of the commitments and deliverables required to complete their sprints.
A good scrum master must stress the value of adhering to the workflow to his team and identify any structural issues preventing the team from meeting their goals.
7. Describe Scrumban.
The combination of Scrum and Kanban — two project management workflows — is known as Scrumban. You can use Scrumban to meet team demands, lessen work batching, and build a pull-based methodology. It cleverly combines the Scrum framework with Kanban's adaptability and visualization capabilities.
8. What do you know about Stand-Up sessions?
Stand-up sessions are 15-minute daily meetings that take place each day of a sprint to discuss progress, updates, and issues. The team might answer questions like:
- What tasks were successful?
- What assignments were finished?
- What projects are still open?
- The challenges the team is encountering.
The meeting helps you understand the project's overall scope and current status.
9. What are Spike and Sprint 0?
Sprint 0 is the brief time period used to develop a rudimentary version of the product backlog. It also offers release estimate suggestions, and is necessary for:
- Constructing the project's framework and adding research spikes
- Keeping a simple aesthetic
- Completing the development of several stories
The spike is a collection of tasks that use Extreme Programming (XP) for research, design, inquiry, and producing concept proofs. It lowers technical approach risks by gaining data and information to better comprehend requirements and increase reliability.
10. What is a Scrum of Scrums?
A scrum of scrums entails one representative from each team or project discussing high-level issues and updates in a meeting. It’s a great way to get everybody up to speed and offer a bird’s-eye picture of a set of projects.
Some things discussed in a Scrum of Scrums include:
- Current status
- Risk management
11. What is User-Story Mapping?
User story mapping represents and arranges user stories to better understand system functionalities, system backlog, planning releases, and how to provide value to customers.
On the horizontal axis, user stories are arranged according to their priority. They are represented on the vertical axis according to the escalating degrees of sophistication.
12. What happens in a sprint retrospective meeting?
A sprint retrospective meeting helps teams assess their performance from the previous sprint and identify areas for improvement.
Teams frequently examine team member relationships, stakeholder contacts and feedback, internal processes, tools, and common issues that impede development.
The meeting helps the team decide how to monitor changes, prioritize future enhancements, and select at least one for implementation in the upcoming sprint.
13. What does Scrum's Empirical Process Control entail?
Scrum’s empirical process control is a principle that embraces investigation, transparency, and adaptability.
Scrum masters recognize that product scope isn’t always fixable; instead, the strategy is to use short cycles to break the product into pieces. From there, we can analyze and adapt it to include built-in processes to ensure transparency and efficiency.
14. What are a few disadvantages of Scrum?
Here are some of the most typical drawbacks of employing Scrum:
- High learning curve: Experienced individuals are preferable. A less experienced scrum master runs the risk of making the project fail.
- Intense collaboration: Teams must cooperate, communicate, and be committed to achieving results.
- Communication issues can be costly: Clear outlines of every task are paramount to success and minimizing project delays.
- Scaling is difficult: While Scrum works effectively for minor jobs, scaling it to larger, more complicated projects requires a lot of harmonizing.
15. What are a Scrum master's primary skills and knowledge?
A scrum master should possess the following primary knowledge and expertise:
- Scrum and Agile methodology
- Familiarity with the tech stack
- Management and mentorship
- Problem solver
16. What strategies can the Scrum team use to resolve conflict?
A scrum team handles conflict in the following steps:
- Identify the issue's underlying cause.
- Establish accountability and ownership.
- Assign tasks to team members to rectify the issue.
- Establish a clear deadline.
- Provide total transparency and monitor progress.
17. What distinguishes user stories from epics and tasks?
- User stories: Short, accessible descriptions about a product feature.
- Epics: Group of connected user stories.
- Tasks: Smallest work units in Scrum and break up user stories.
18. What is the user story?
A user story is a project management and agile software development tool that gives teams clear, natural language descriptions of a project feature from the end-user’s perspective.
Intermediate Scrum Interview Questions and Answers
19. Describe the sprint.
A sprint is a time-boxed iteration. During a sprint, the development team produces a specific product module. A sprint might last anywhere from 1-2 weeks.
20. What is velocity?
Velocity is a statistic that determines how much work a team completes within one sprint, specifically the number of user stories accomplished.
21. What duties fall under the purview of a product owner?
Here is a list of some common duties for a product owner:
- Establish the project's strategy.
- Anticipate client needs and develop pertinent user stories.
- Evaluate the state of a project.
- Serves as a liaison for all product inquiries.
22. Describe a burnup.
A burnup chart is a tool that keeps track of a sprint’s remaining and completed work.
23. What is a burndown chart?
A burndown chart illustrates and compares completed work against remaining work and time left on user stories.
24. What is estimation in a Scrum Project?
An estimation suggests the time and effort required to complete a product backlog task. Estimations help teams plan out resources, including budgets and labor.
25. What are the risks of using Scrum?
Scrum is an effective tool for delivering projects, but it comes with some risks:
- Budget: Scrum teams aren’t always accurate in estimating project completion costs, especially at the first stage of product development. Factor in client requests and developments, and expenses might quickly surpass the budget.
- Insufficient knowledge: Team members must have a working knowledge of Scrum and Agile principles to run a Scrum project smoothly. If an inexperienced product owner or team member enters the mix, there’s a greater chance of error and delay.
- Sprint delays: Scope creep frequently occurs in Scrum when a project develops and includes more tasks and deliverables than initially anticipated, resulting in delays in completing sprints.
26. How can you manage risks in Scrum?
Risk management is an essential component of effective Scrum. You can manage risks through the following tactics:
- Identify potential risks, add to them as needed, and include them in every product backlog piece.
- Assess value in preparing for each risk and decide whether budget constraints and severity make it worth it.
- Categorize each risk.
27. What principle should a good user story follow?
A good user story follows the INVEST principle. INVEST stands for:
- I: Independent
- N: Negotiable
- V: Valuable
- E: Estimable
- S: Small
- T: Testable
28. What is MVP?
MVP stands for minimum viable product — a Lean Startup idea that emphasizes the minimum features and functions needed for a customer to use a product feature.
29. What is MMP?
MMP stands for minimal marketable product — a product with a useful feature that you can market to an audience. This product contains the minimum amount of use that could provide value to a customer.
30. What does DoD mean?
Definition of Done (DoD) describes a group of deliverables, such as written codes, code comments, unit tests, integration tests, design documents, release notes, etc. This enhances the value of project development in a measurable and observable way. DoD is beneficial to scrum when determining the deliverables to accomplish the project's goals.
31. How does the DoD assist product development?
DoD assists in the following ways:
- Establishes the procedures needed to deliver the iteration
- Uses suitable tools, such as burndown, to improve the process
- Ensures timely input throughout the project
- Ensures completion and understanding of the product backlog item walkthrough
- Assembles a list of product backlog items.
- Includes the product owner in the sprint review and sprint retrospective.
32. How does a Scrum master serve as a servant leader?
The phrase "servant leader" primarily emphasizes the service attitude a leader should exhibit. So, a Scrum Master should have facilitation, guiding, mentoring, and other skills to encourage better team performance and participation.
33. How can different teams communicate and coordinate?
A common Scrum communication and coordination technique is the Scrum of Scrums (SoS) meeting, where a representative member from each Scrum team reviews the progress, performance, issues, risks, etc.
Advanced Scrum Master Interview Questions and Answers for Experienced Professionals
34. What are the values of Scrum?
The following are the five Scrum values:
Each Scrum team member must be honest about their development if they are to make significant advancements in short periods.
Scrum teams need to have the guts to be open, honest, and genuine with themselves and other stakeholders about any bottlenecks they encounter and the project's development. The team's members must also be courageous to seek assistance when necessary, experiment with novel methods, and respectfully disagree and publicly debate.
Every team member must focus on current work and understand how it affects the sprint goal. Scrum masters may restrict the number of tasks or priorities assigned to each team member to maintain engagement during sprints.
Respect in a Scrum team involves acknowledging that no one's input is more valuable than another's. Respect entails acknowledging your successes, having faith in your teammates, and respecting their opinions.
Scrum teams must cooperate to accomplish a common goal. This entails having faith in one another to complete assignments and give their best effort. This can only happen if every team member is fully dedicated to the group and the project.
35. What is a sprint planning meeting?
A sprint planning meeting identifies the tasks that the next sprint can accomplish and establish timelines.
36. What is the purpose of a sprint review?
The development team, product owner, and scrum master are present at the sprint review meeting, which may also include other stakeholders. During this meeting, the team shows the product owner a demo of the increment (or evolving product) that they built during the sprint. Additionally, the team determines any necessary product improvements at the meeting.
37. How do you prepare for sprint planning meetings?
Here’s how you can prepare for a sprint planning meeting:
- Organize the backlog.
The Product Owner is in charge of backlog grooming, which entails gathering and arranging all backlog items that might be included in a sprint.
- Understand the team’s capacity and speed.
Account for the volume of work participants can efficiently finish in a sprint. Assess prior sprint results and consider the equipment and abilities required to complete the task.
- Set your sprint objective.
Choose your sprint's goal and what you hope to accomplish by the time it is through. It is beneficial to put this in writing so that it is clear to team members as well as those stakeholders who are not involved in the sprint.
38. What is Backlog Refinement?
In non-agile development processes, backlog refinement is requirements management and analysis. Although it is structured very differently from the conventional requirements artifacts of the past, the backlog is the requirements spec. Since you'll undoubtedly have to redo work that you spend time perfecting for more than a few sprints in the future, the PO is continuously working to keep the backlog ahead of the team without going too far into the future.
Scrum is made to facilitate the requirements' ongoing evolution. The PO can refine without the assistance of the full team. They ought to incorporate stakeholders who know the requirements as well as team members who have experience in all pertinent fields.
40. What distinguishes Agile and Scrum from each other?
- Scrum is appropriate for teams working on projects whose needs change often, whereas Agile is best used for small teams of professionals or experts.
- Testing and development are iterated continually in Agile. Scrum is an Agile method to enhance the product's business value as soon as possible.
41. Who creates user stories?
The product owner creates user stories.
43. What distinguishes product backlogs from sprint backlogs?
A sprint backlog contains tasks that your team must finish within a Sprint. A product backlog contains tasks that must be finished in order to build the product, from which you can create lists.
44. Define scope creep.
Scope creep occurs when project changes and developments result in longer time and higher costs to complete the sprint or project.
45. Which methods would you employ to control scope creep?
Here’s how you can avoid scope creep:
- Watch the job closely and assess progress every day.
- Make sure the team is on board by clearly explaining the vision to them.
- Record and regularly check the project requirements (versus what is delivered).
- Ensure all introduced changes are approved via change control and are put into place based on a change request approval.
46. What is time-boxing in Scrum?
Timeboxing entails allocating each activity a specific amount of time for completion, usually around 15 minutes.
47. What is a confidence vote?
The confidence vote occurs when the team gathers to raise their voices and cast votes on how confident they are in completing their deliverable targets.
48. What are the three Cs in a user story?
- Card: A written summary of the narrative used for planning and estimation.
- Conversation: Dialogue that motivates the agile team to collaborate in tiny increments to create a common understanding of the issue and viable solutions.
- Confirmation: Transforms basic requirements into test acceptance criteria to detect when the user story fulfills the team’s standard.
49. What will be your strategy in dealing with a difficult stakeholder?
Stakeholder management is a key Scrum responsibility. To deal with difficult stakeholders, follow these steps:
- Identify them and listen to their needs.
- Make them feel heard and understood.
- Determine their most pressing motivations and business needs.
- Keep communication open and make sure your work and progress is transparent.
- Find and display solutions.
50. How do you handle mistakes?
Your first course of action is to try to fix the mistake within the bounds of the current sprint. If that’s not possible, place the compromised user story in your product backlog and fix your mistake at a later date.
We’ve reached the end of our scrum master interview questions. Try practicing each one with a friend to ace your next interview. Want to pump up your knowledge even more? Add Agile methodology to your roster of knowledge.
Those looking to stay informed on popular conversational topics in the world of project management may not have time to read the latest books. That's why we recommend Blinkist, which summarizes the top points of nonfiction books with audio and text. Check out what they have on Agile and Scrum.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Do I Prepare for a Scrum Master Interview?
If you don’t have previous work experience as a Scrum master, our list of interview questions is a great place to start. You might also consider conducting your own research or taking a course on SDLC methodologies, Agile, and Scrum.
2. What are the Interview Questions for Scrum Master?
We’ve compiled a list of 50 common scrum master interview questions that cover various Scrum topics like scrum of scrums meetings, artifacts, user stories, and more.
3. How Do You Pass a Scrum Interview
Your best chance of passing a scrum interview is to clearly demonstrate Scrum knowledge and evidence that you’ve used its principles in previous roles or day-to-day life.
4. What’s the Difference Between Agile and Scrum?
Scrum and Agile are often used interchangeably, but the two aren’t the same. Agile is a project management methodology with principles reflected in Scrum. However, Scrum comes after Agile, functioning as a method to fulfill its philosophy in the software development cycle and other projects.
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