In a scrum team, the scrum master is an important member responsible for supporting and promoting scrum. He or she helps other team members to understand the scrum values, rules, practices, and theory. Besides, a scrum master assists people outside the scrum team to comprehend the best way to interact with the team.
Thus, the role of a scrum master is challenging to fill owing to the needs and demands involved including assisting the team in reaching an agreement on activities and timelines, coordinating daily scrum meetings, and ensuring the team is not distracted.
These demands may make the process of hiring problematic in terms of finding the right individual. But knowing what to ask candidates and the answers to expect can simplify this process. Here are interview questions to ask scrum master interviewees and answer to expect from the right candidate.
1. What is Scrum?
The interview seeks to know whether you understand certain basics like the meaning of scrum.
Tip #1: Provide the meaning of scrum
Tip #2: Support your answer by briefly explaining the scrum process
Scrum consists of a processed framework for helping teams develop a project in an incremental and iterative manner.
The process is executed using work cycles called sprints, which usually last for two weeks and are timeboxed, meaning they are concluded within the allocated time.
2. As a Scrum Master, How can You Track the Sprint Progress?
Tracking the progress of a sprint is vital to ensure work is performed as planned. The interviewer seeks to know whether you are familiar with how to measure the progress.
Tip #1: Briefly explain how you can track sprint progress
Tip #2: Give a precise and direct answer
I would use the burndown chart to track a sprint’s progress. The horizontal axis indicates the number of sprints while the vertical one shows the remaining work.
3. What is the Objective of “User Story” in Scrum?
The interviewer wants to know if you understand User Stories and their purpose in Agile software development.
Tip #1: Describe a user story
Tip #2: Briefly explain the objective of user stories
In Agile software development, a user story is a tool that describes a feature based on the end-users’ perspective. Written in natural language, user stories act as boundary objects that facilitate communication and sense making. In other words, they enable the software development team to understand the system and its context.
4. As a Scrum Master, how will You Help the Product Owner?
The scrum master does not work in isolation. Thus, the interview wants to know how you can work with other scrum framework roles such as the product owner
Tip #1: Outline ways in which you would help the product owner
Tip #2: Make the interviewer that you can effectively support the success of the product
I can support the product owner in various ways. I can help him or her with efficient management of the product backlog and in practicing and understanding agility. Besides, I can assist the product owner by promoting scrum events as needed or required and enabling the scrum team to adopt a shared vision.
5. Why is it Necessary to Adopt the Agile Methodology?
In order to execute his duties effectively, the scrum master needs to know certain basics like the necessity of Agile methodology
Tip #1: State several benefits of the Agile methodology
Tip #1: Provide these points promptly without mulling
The Agile methodology enables developers to achieve customer satisfaction by delivering useful software swiftly. With Agile, potential changing requirements are eased, even later on after a company develops. It facilitates daily and better partnerships between the developers and the company. Besides, Agile methodology offers simplicity in software development and promotes face-to-face communication.
6. What Techniques Can You Use to Perform Estimations in Scrum Projects?
The interviewer wants to assess whether you can do scrum project estimation.
Tip #1: State the techniques that a scrum master uses to do estimations
Tip #2: Be precise and direct to the point
The Agile estimation techniques that I can use to carry out estimations in scrum projects are the T-shirt estimation, planning poker estimation, Estimation by analogue, and disaggregation estimation techniques.
7. What is scope creep and how would you prevent its occurrence?
The interviewer is looking out for the individual who can prevent undesirable happenings such as a scope creep.
Tip #1: Define the term scope creep
Tip #2: State ways you can use to prevent its occurrence
A scope creep occurs when new features whose requirements were not clearly defined at the beginning are added to a product that is being developed.
It can be prevented by specifying all the requirements clearly from the start, ensuring to monitor the project progress, and grooming the sprint backlog effectively.
8. How is the change management in Waterfall different from an Agile scrum?
The interviewer wants to understand whether you know the difference between Waterfall and Agile Scrum with regard to change management.
Tip #1: Describe the difference in the process of change management
Tip #2: Be brief and precise with your answer
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.
However, in Agile, a change management plan doesn’t exist. Thus work delivery is based entirely on what is defined in the product backlog.
9. In Scrum, what is Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?
The interviewer is interested in assessing whether you understand MVP.
Tip #1: Describe MVP by providing a clear definition
Tip #1: Be brief yet ensure to include all the key details
Minimum Viable Product or MVP consists of the smallest product part available to the public that clearly shows its main functionality. The MVP doesn’t have to be functioning; it can be just a prototype. The main aim of MVP is to receive feedback from users or stakeholders.
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10. As a Scrum Master, what is Your Role during the Daily Scrum?
The right candidate should understand his or her role during the daily scrum and that’s exactly what the interviewer wants to know.
Tip #1: Describe the role of a scrum master during the daily scrum
Tip #2: Provide the impression that you can perform your role effectively
My role would be to arrange the scrum meeting whose main player is the development team. Besides, I would guide the team to ensure that the daily scrum is performed within the set time-box. I would also ensure that there are no other participants other than the development team members.
11. As a scrum master, what would you do when you realize Agile principles are being broken?
Here, the interviewer wants to assess your ability to ensure Agile principles are adhered to.
Tip #1: Provide the steps you would take
Tip #2: Ensure they are relevant to the questions
First, I would make sure the customer and development team agree on a regular sprint as well as release schedule and ensure that they adhere to it.
Second, I would make sure that the product owner retains a well-organized product backlog so that all change requests are addressed by the product owner.
Thirdly, I would ensure sprint and release workshops are attended by all development team members.
12. What artifacts are maintained in scrum?
The interviewer wants to know whether you are aware of the artifacts in scrum
Tip #1: State the artifacts that are maintained in scrum
Tip #2: Support your answer with a brief description
The product backlog and sprint backlog are the two scrum artifacts. The product backlog consists of the prioritized list of requirements while the sprint backlog comprises user stories, which the scrum team will do for a sprint.
13. What role does a product owner perform in the scrum framework?
There are several players in the scrum framework and the interviewer wants to understand a product owner and his roles.
Tip #1: Describe the role performed by a product owner
Tip #2: Provide a brief yet complete answer
The product owner acts as a point of contact between the business and the scrum team. He or she identifies and refines the items of the product backlog. Ultimately, the product owner concentrates on the product success.
14. State three main tools utilized in a scrum project
Familiarity of the tools used in scrum projects is what the interviewer is looking for here.
Tip #1: State the main tools a scrum master can use in s scrum project
Tip #2: Support your answer by providing a short description of each tool
The main tools that are used in scrum projects are JIRA, Rally, and Version One. JIRA is mainly used for tracking issues and bugs associated with the software. Rally assists in tracking every phase of development releases and iterations. Similarly, Version One makes reporting, tracking, and planning easy across programs and teams.
15. Describe your Daily Routine as a Scrum Master
The interviewer wants to understand if you are familiar with the daily responsibilities of a scrum master
Tip #1: State several duties performed by a scrum master daily
Tip #2: Make it prompt to give the impression that you know your responsibilities
Resolving problems or removing impediments is at the top of the daily tasks performed by a scrum master. This is particularly at the onset of the project when many internal and external issues arise. He or she reports team performance, which helps to improve the team. The scrum master offers facilitation to the team and helps out as need arises to enable the team to achieve sprint goals. Other daily responsibilities include driving organizational change, educating the organization, and breaking up fights or quarrels.
16. What do You Understand by Timeboxing?
Timeboxing is applied regularly in various activities in scrum and the interviewer wants to assess whether you are aware of it.
Tip #1: Describe the concept by providing a clear definition
Tip #2: Be precise and direct with your answer
Timeboxing is the practice of assigning specific amount of time to an activity. The fixed time unit allocated to the activity is known as a time box. In scrum, the maximum time box is 15 minutes.
17. What is Done During Sprint Review and Retrospective?
The interviewer seeks to know whether you are conversant with what happens during these processes.
Tip #1: Describe what is happens during sprint review
Tip #2: Explain what is done during retrospective
Sprint review involves walking through stakeholders or demonstrating to them the story or feature implemented by the scrum team.
On the other hand, retrospective consists of identifying what went well collaboratively as well as determining what may be done better including coming up with action items for continuous improvement.
18. Do You Find any Disadvantage with Scrum?
Here, the interviewer wants to know whether you have identified any drawbacks when using scrum.
Tip #1: Provide a direct answer
Tip #2: Support your answer by explaining it briefly
I have not found any shortcomings with scrum. However, problems occur when the members of the scrum team lacks understanding of the principles and values of the scrum. Issues may also arise if they are not flexible to change.
19. In your opinion, can scrum be applied in the development of all kinds of software?
The interviewer invites your opinion concerning whether scrum can be applied in developing all types of software.
Tip #1: State situations where scrum is most suitable
Tip #2: Be brief and ensure your answer is relevant to the question
Scrum is particularly useful when developing complex projects. In addition, it is appropriate for projects with a strict or early deadline. Besides, scrum is most suitable when developing an application from scratch.
20. Describe Velocity in Scrum
Here, the interviewer seeks to know if you understand what is meant by velocity in scrum
Tip #1: Define the term velocity
Tip #2: Demonstrate that you understand the application of velocity in scrum
In scrum, velocity is the measure of the total work that a team can handle during one sprint. The measure is determined by adding story points from the previous sprint. Velocity acts as a guide for understanding the stories that the scrum team can perform.
These questions and answers offer a broader understanding of the scrum master role. They will help you conduct a successful hiring process. Use these questions to find the most qualified candidate for the position of a scrum master.