40+ Best Scrum Master Interview Questions To Get You Hired

The Scrum Master is a pivotal part of the agile software development team. They are the ones who help the team ensure work not only gets done but that the proper amount of work is being determined for each employee. This allows engineers and designers to feel like they have a full plate of work each week or bi-weekly, but also ensure they aren't overly stressed and unable to do their job. Being a Scrum Master is not always the easiest of jobs since you can be caught in between two parties — those who want to see work get done quicker, and those who may need more time to get the job done properly. Below are some Scrum Master interview questions and answers to get you started for your next job interview.

1. What is the duration of the scrum sprint?

The duration of the scrum cycle would be dependent on the size of the project as well as, the team that is working on it. The team size could vary from 3 to 9 members. The scrum script complete in 3 to 4 weeks. So on average, the duration of the scrum sprint is 4 weeks. This type of sprint based Agile scrum interview questions is very common in agile or scrum master interview.

2. What is velocity?

Velocity is posed to understand if one has done some work and is familiar with the term. The velocity is the rate at which the team progresses print through sprint. The important feature when it comes to velocity is the fact that it cannot be compared to two different scrum type teams.

3. What is the advantage of doing scrum?

• It increases the return on investment.
• There is a minimal risk in response to the changes, which have been made to the system.
• It improves the process on a continuous basis.
• It rapidly looks into the actual working software

4. Who are the personnel involved in scrum and how long does the scum?

The cycle is dependent on the type of the project the team is doing at the time. Usually the range is between two and four weeks to about a month. The scrum cycle includes the product owner, team and the scrum master.

5. What is the duration of the scrum sprint?

The duration of the scrum sprint is dependent on the size of the project and the team that is working on it. The size of the team can vary from 3 to 9 members. The scrum script can be complete within a time of 3 to 4 weeks. So on average the duration of the scrum sprint or the scrum cycle would be 4 weeks.

6. How is agile different from waterfall?

• In waterfall the work tends to be done sequentially where the previous phase has to be over before the initiation of the next phase which is the design, development or testing. In agile all of them are done in every sprint or iteration.
• In waterfall, the progress is evaluated as the percentage of completion though in agile, it is measured through working software.
• The requirements need to be finalized before the initiation of the development activities. At the time the requirements are locked down, the alterations are done via change requests. In agile, the changes can be welcomed at every stage.
• The feedback from the user end is received at a later stage towards the end of the development cycle though when it comes to agile the feedback from the customer is received on a continuous basis.
• In waterfall, the decision making or controlling authority would be within the hands of the project manager though in agile, the self- motivated and organizing teams are the ones who drive the projects.

7. What are the main advantages of Agile compared to Waterfall?

• There is minimization of the risk in response to changes done to the system and better return of investment through the reduction of waste. • The agile approach and culture assists people to work as a united team.
• It helps to achieve customer satisfaction through the early and continuous delivery of useful software.
• There is close and daily operation between business and the IT team which improves the level of collaboration.
• In Agile, the sustainable level of development assists the team to remain continuously engaged and motivated.

8. What are the ceremonies that are performed within scrum

• Planning meeting: this is where the entire team meets and discuss of the items from the product backlog so they are able to then work on the sprint. When the story is estimated and well understood by the team it can move into the sprint backlog.
• Review meeting: this is where the scrum team shows their work done to the stakeholders.
• The retrospective meeting: this is the location the scrum team and the master as well as the product owner meet and retrospect on the last sprint, which was worked on. There are three things, which are discussed in the meetings.
• What went well.
• The action items.
• What could be done better.

Apart from these ceremonies there is one which is termed as the ‘backlog grooming’ meeting. In this meeting the product owner gives the business requirements, which are the main priority and the team discusses the matter. The complexities and efforts to accomplish the requirements are also discussed.

9. What are the main components of Agile?

• Stand up meetings that are done on a daily basis
• Class Responsibilities and Collaborators cards
• Test Driven Development, regular code reviews, continuous integration, pair programming, automated builds and delivery
• There are iteration planning meetings that carry out the iterative development

10. How can the study board be defined in Agile?

The Storyboard represents a visual representation of the progress of the software project. There are four columns one would participate in which are ‘To do’, Test’, ‘In Progress’ and ‘Done’ for different colored posts, the notes are placed within each of the columns to show the progress of the individual development items. Storyboards are usually used in agile development.

11. How much time should a person have to spend on scrum master activities?

A scrum master ought to make this role their main priority so as to focus on the advantages of the entire team. Their load varies depending on the sprint, not to mention the impediments and issues the team could be dealing with at the time. The newly formed teams usually take more of the scrum master’s time, which may be from 50 to 100 percent of their schedule. The experienced scrum masters that have established and well-functioning teams could spend even 50 percent or less of their time within the scrum master role.

12. How does one measure if Agile is working within your team and organization?

• Increasing velocity of the team and there would be continuous improvement
• There would be increased participation of the stakeholders in the agile meetings during the sprint demo
• Working software delivered frequently
• An increase in the quality of the software which is less bugs and better maintenance

13. What are the impediments in scrum?

Impediments are the obstacles or issues faced by scrum team, which slows down the speed of work. If something is attempting to block the scrum team from their getting ‘done’ then it would be an impediment. Impediments can come in a variety of forms.

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

14. What is the difference and similarity between scrum and agile?

Agile is a broad spectrum as it is a methodology utilized for project management while scrum is just a form of the Agile, which describes the process, and it steps more concisely. Agile is a practice though scrum is a process for pursuing the practice.

The similarity between agile and scrum is the former involves the completion of projects in steps or in an incremental manner. The agile method is seen to be iterative in nature. Being a type or form of agile, scrum is the same as that of the agile considering it is incremental and iterative.

15. What is ‘build-breaker’?

The build-breaker is a scenario, which arises when there is a bug in the software. Because of this sudden unexpected bug, the compilation process stops or the execution fails. The responsibility of the tester is then to get the software back to the normal working stage removing the bug.

16. What is evident about scrum ban?

Scrum ban is a scrum and Kan-ban based model for the software development. That model is specifically utilized for the projects which needs continuous maintenance has different programming errors or have some sudden changes. this models promotes the completion of a project in minimum time for a programming error or user story.

17. What is the ideal duration for Sprint and how does it affect the workflow usually?

Sprint when it comes to scrum tends to last 30 days or two weeks. The two-week sprint is preferred for different reasons as it makes it better for the team to be able to estimate and complete the work within a span of two weeks. The other thing is it gives sufficient time to the product owner so they are able to change the priorities at a more frequent rate. It allows the team so they can adapt quickly to the pressures of the market.

18. What is a product backlog when it comes to scrum?

Before the scrum sprint begins, the product owner reviews the list of the new features, enhancements and change requests as well as the reports and determines the ones that of the highest priorities. In the event the project is new, then it would include new features, which the new system has to give. This list of items would be the product backlog. The items, which are kept on sprint then, would be referred to as Sprint backlog.

19. What is the role of the scrum master in scrum?

• To maximize the productivity of the team
• Removes any obstacles the team faces during the pursuit of the sprint goals
• Making sure the scripting language utilized for system testing and unit testing would be written in the same language
• Guides the team and the product owner so they can improve the effective nature of their practices. Makes sure that all of standard scrum practices are followed.

20. What does the scrum burn down chart entail?

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

21. What is scrum of scrum?

Scrum of scrum is utilized to refer the meeting after the daily scrum. The responsible person from each team attends the meeting and discuss their work and answer the questions such as:

• What the team is expected to do or should accomplish before the next meeting
• Since the last meeting what the progress of the team is
• What the obstacles the team is faced with during the completion of the tasks
• Were you going to allocate any of the work to the following team.

22. What is the particular objective behind a Sprint retrospective meeting?

The goal behind the Sprint retrospective meeting would be letting the members know how things went during the sprint and discuss the potential means for future sprints.

23. What would be the difference between Sprint and Iteration in Scrum?

• Iteration: this is a terminology utilized for defining single development cycle in general agile methodologies. This is one the common terms utilized within the iterative and the incremental development process.
• Sprint: it would be utilized to define one development cycle or iterative step in a specialized agile method referred as Scrum. Sprint is scrum specific and not every form of iteration would be Sprints.

24. Explain attribute in Scrum would be the Story.

The Story point is one of the arbitrary measures utilized by the Scrum teams and it is a metric utilized by agile teams for determining the difficulty of the implementation of a particular story.

25. What is the role of Sashimi in Scrum methodology?

Sashimi plays one of the significant roles when it comes to Scrum methodology. Sashimi is a method that is used by Scrum to check the completion of the functions created by the developers. With the use of this technique, all of the requirements like analysis, coding, testing and documentation, which is used in the constitution of the product, are checked and only after the product would be displayed.

26. What are the skills of a good Agile Tester?

An agile tester is one that implements agile software development principles for software testing.

• Should have a good communication to communicate with the team and the clients
• Required to be familiar with the concepts and principles of Agile
• Ability to set priority for the tasks according to the requirements
• Should be able to understand the requirements in the right manner
• Understanding the risks involved with a project because of the changing requirements

27. Why does Scrum encourage the utilization of automated testing for projects?

Scrum encourages the utilization of the automated testing in order to make the fastest potential delivery of the project. While answering this query, you may start to explain some tools that you have utilized for automated testing.

28. What do you know about ‘Planning Poker’, technique?

Planning poker is also known as Scrum Poker refers to a card based agile technique, which is utilized both for estimation and planning. In order to begin a session of planning poker technique, the agile user story would be read by the product owner. The steps done within the poker planning technique would include:

• Each estimator has a deck of poker cards with the values such as 0,1,2,3,and 5 and so on in order to denote the story points, not to mention the ideal days or something that the team would use for estimation. • If the cards that have the same value are then selected by the estimators, it is considered as an estimate. If not the estimator would discuss the high and low value of their estimates.
• Then again, each estimator privately selects a card and reveals. That process of poker planning is repeated to reach a general agreement.
• Each estimator has a discussion with the product owner and then privately selects a card according to the basis of their independent estimation.

29. What was the length of sprints/ iterations in the project?

This is the most common question asked within agile interviews. The idea would be to judge in which sort of environment an individual has worked.

30. Where does automation fit into scrum?

Automation plays a vital role when it comes to scrum. For a continuous feedback and making sure a quality deliverable, then TDD, BDD and the ATDD approach should be attempted during the development. Automation in scrum is not only related to testing but it is also for every aspect when it comes to software development. The introduction of BDD, TDD and ATDD is going to speed up the development process along with the maintenance of the quality standards. The automating of the build and deployment process is also going to assist with speeding up the feature availability in different environment. When it comes to testing, regression testing should be the one that would have the most attention. With progress at every sprint, the regression suit would keep on increasing and it becomes challenging to implement the regression suit manually for each sprint. Considering the sprint duration is two to four weeks, the automation would be imperial.

31. What is DoD? How is this achieved?

DoD represents the Definition f done. It is achieved when:

• The story is development complete
• The story meets and satisfies the acceptance criteria
• QA complete
• Regression around the story would be complete
• The feature is eligible to be shipped and deployed in production

32. What is MVP in scrum?

This stands for minimum viable product is a product that has just the bare minimum required attribute, which can be demonstrated to the stakeholders and is eligible to be shipped to production.

33. How do you calculate a story point?

A story point would be calculated through taking into the consideration of the development effort + Testing effort + resolving dependencies and other factors which would be required to complete a story.

34. Is it possible that you come across different story points for development and testing efforts?

In this case how would one resolve this conflict? This is one of the common scenario. There may be an option that the story point provided by the development team is 3 though the tester gives it 5. In this case, the developer and the tester have to justify their story point and have discussions in the meeting and collaborate to conclude a common story point.

35. Say you are in the middle of a sprint and suddenly the product owner comes with a new requirement, what are you going to do?

In the ideal scenario, the requirement becomes a story and moves to the backlog. Then according to the priority, the team can take it into the next sprint. Though if the priority of the requirement is very high, then the team would have to accommodate it in the sprint but it has to be communicated to the stakeholder that incorporating a story within a story in the middle of the sprint may result in spilling over few stories to the next sprint.

36. What is difference between Epic, User Stories & Tasks?

Epic is a group of related user stories. User Stories define the actual business requirement. Generally created by the business owner. The Task is to accomplish the business requirements, development team initiates tasks.

37. How tracer bullet can be utilized?

• Tracer bullet may be used as spike with the current architecture or the current set of best practices. The purpose of the tracer bullet would be to see how an end-to-end process would work and then examine the level of the feasibility.
• It is a fictional detective, alter ego of Calvin in the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes.
• Tracer ammunition which is a part of bullet built with a small pyrotechnic charge in their base
• It is used in Scrum to describe a proof of concept deliverable.
• Pathfinder (library science) - a term for the pathfinders produced by the Library of Congress.

38. How QA can add value to the Agile Team?

QA may provide value addition by thinking in a different about the various scenarios in order to test a story. They can provide quick feedback to the developers whether the new functionality is working fine or not.

• Quality Assurance is empowered to support projects and then add value in whoever manner the situation would need. Some of the examples would include; requirements assessments, design reviews, browser and device, process, tools, risk assessments and assisting to determine the ‘Definition of Ready’ and ‘Definition of Done’.
• QA may provide value addition through thinking in a different manner concerning the different scenarios for testing a story. They would provide quick feedback to the developers if new functionality is working appropriately or not.
• QA is not a separate silo though it is part of a cross-functional project team. This is included in the project from the beginning and the whole team works together on the user stories using the same tracking tools. The Director of the QA team would be working closely with the executive management to identify technology and staffing needs as compared to project pipelines.
• QA sits with the project team at any time possible allowing for increased conversation and problem solving in real time. The QA team attends and contributes to every relevant planning meetings and sprint and ceremonies and also works directly with clients on quality and testing processes.
• Members of QA teams always learn as individuals, as the project team members and as the representatives of a skilled discipline within the organization. Our process and approach to testing evolves testing in order to keep up with advances in technology and the changing needs of clients. What works for one client or project might differ radically from another. Flexibility is the key.

39. What are the characteristics of Dev. Team in Scrum?

• Dev. Team is cross functional
• Dev. Team ought to be 7 to -2 people
• Dev. Team is self-organizing

40. Define Extreme Programming (XP).

It is a type of agile software development. It allows for frequent releases in the short development cycles that is intended to improve the productivity and introduce checkpoints where the new customer requirements may be adopted. The methodology then takes its name from the ideology the beneficial elements of the traditional software engineering practices would be taken to extreme levels. XP addresses the analysis, development and the test phases with novel approaches, which make a substantial difference to the quality of the end product.

41. Say the team is failing to meet commitments, and the performance velocity. What would the possible reasons be and how would one address the problem?

• The factors could be the new team members are being on board.
• Levels of seniority
• Team members are leaving
• Working with legacy code which is mostly undocumented
• Unexpected technical debt
• Holidays and sick leave
• Executive intervention

42. How can one as a Scrum Master contribute to sprint planning in such a way the team is only on the most valuable user stories?

The scrum team should never have to select user stories according to any ranking established by the product owner. Sprint planning is determining the most efficient path towards value creation. The best means of accomplishing this would be to make certain the;

• The scrum team is involved within the product discovery process at an early stage.
• The product-backlog refinement process is well understood by both the scrum team and the product owner.
• All of the user stories created in a collaborative effort between the product owner and the scrum team.

43. A member of the scrum team does not want one to participate within spirit planning and sees the meetings as a waste of time? how would you as the scrum master deal with this behavior?

This passive aggressive behavior is not a problem when it comes to scrum but it is toxic and may affect the team building and performance.

This kind of passive-aggressive behavior is not a problem particular to scrum. It is however, toxic and may affect both the team building and performance. If a member of a scrum team is behaving in this manner, the Scrum Master is going to need to take action because the behavior should not be ignored or tolerated if the team is to function. Dealing with it would also require an escalating approach.

• The scrum master would then have to address the team member privately in order to discuss the particular reservations. It could be they need more coaching or longer period for a change of attitude. • As the second step, the entire team may make it an issue during one or more retrospectives and give support to the member of the team.
• If there is no change in the behavior still, then a meeting with the team member and their manager would be advised.
• If there is still no change the team member has to be reassigned potentially to another team, which is not doing Agile. On the other hand, the kan-ban team that would not force the team member out of their comfort zone may be tried.

44. Should the scrum team be involved in the product discovery process and if that is the case, how?

The scrum team needs to be involved in the product discovery process as early as can be.

• The earlier the engineers participate in the product discovery process, the lesser the chances are the solutions are pursued which are not technically viable or that would not result in a return on the investment.
• Early involvement makes certain the scrum team and the product owner develop a shared understanding and ownership on that which is to be constructed. This would improve the chances the resources are allocated to the most significant issues, maximizing value for the customer and mitigating the investment risk.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams.

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