Agile has been a popular project management framework ever since its inception. The agile adoption rate increased from a mere 37% in 2020 to 86% in 2021. 

As per the 15th State of Agile Report, the following reasons were attributed to agile adoption by the respondents-

  • 64% cited Enhance ability to manage changing priorities 
  • 64% stated Accelerate software delivery 
  • 47% opined increased team productivity 
  • 47% said Improved business and IT alignment 

Another revelation that came to light- 94% of the respondents opined that their organizations use agile while 65% have significant experience in agile. 

This has opened up a ton of career opportunities in Agile. While the demand for agile certifications has seen a sharp increase, agile interviews are a tough nut to crack.  

Preparing for an agile interview can be a herculean task. All sorts of questions can be asked and one can always feel overwhelmed. 

If you are going to appear for an agile interview, here are 50 Agile Interview Questions and Answers that will help you become confident in no time. 

Grab a chair and start reading!

1. What is the difference between Agile and Scrum?

Agile

Scrum

Agile describes a set of guiding principles that uses an iterative approach for software development. Agile management represents various software-development methodologies that have been influenced by iterative and incremental development, which include Extreme Programming (XP), Rational Unified Process (RUP), Scrum, and others. Scrum is one of the frameworks of Agile with a specific set of rules that are to be followed while practicing Agile software development. It follows an iterative and incremental approach called sprints which last 2-4 weeks.
Agile works best for organizations with small but experienced development teams. Scrum is best suited for projects where requirements keep changing.
Leadership plays a key role in Agile. Scrum supplements a self-organizing and cross-functional team.
Lacks flexibility when compared to Scrum. Scrum’s flexibility is its biggest strength since it can adapt to changes quickly.
Open communication is the norm in Agile where face to face interactions happen between cross-functional teams. Daily stand up meetings are held where Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the team members.
Agile needs a lot of structural and developmental changes before the start. Not many changes are required when applying Scrum.
The client feedback loop should be regular in. The client is asked for feedback after every sprint for review.
In Agile methodology, each phase of the development process like requirements, analysis, and design is tracked regularly. A demo is given to the client after every sprint for feedback.
The Project head oversees the tasks and is the decision-maker. The team has no leader so the entire team resolves issues and tasks.
Design and implementation should be simple. Innovation should drive design and implementation.
Continuous delivery of the working product is the priority in Agile. Empirical process control is followed in Scrum.
Functional software is the measure of progress. Functional software is the measure of progress

 

You might be interested in reading: The Definitive Guide to What Is Agile and Scrum

2. What is Velocity in Agile? How do you measure it?

Velocity is the sum of completed user story points within a sprint. It is an indication of the average amount of Product Backlog turned into an Increment of product during a Sprint by a Scrum Team.

This can give you an idea of how much work a Scrum team can forecast in upcoming sprints. For example, if the team has pulled five stories worth 30 story points and completed all by the end of the sprint, team velocity is 30.

3. What is User Story Mapping?

User Story Mapping is a technique used in product ideation, like discovering a new product or new feature in an existing product. It can be used to identify MVP (minimum viable product).

4. Name the estimation techniques in Scrum

The techniques used for estimation in Scrum are-

  • Planning Poker Estimation 
  • Disaggregation Estimation 
  • T-Shirt Estimation Technique 
  • Estimation by Analogy

5. What is the Definition of Done?

Definition of Done (DoD) is a checklist of items that need to be completed to declare a project or a requirement or a task as ‘Done.’ The checklist includes written codes, comments on coding, unit tests, integration testing, design documents,  release notes and everything that is needed to be completed to make the working software releasable to the end-user.

6. What are the three pillars of Scrum?

The three pillars of Scrum are-

  • Inspection – As a scrum user, you have to check things like your project’s status and goals regularly and analyze whether or not they are deviating from your expectations. Inspections should be done as often as you feel necessary, but it’s important to note that too many will become a burden. The ideal inspection is when an experienced person goes over everything with a fine-tooth comb at the point where it’s being done, i.e., the developer during development, the graphic designer after the design, etc.
  • Adaption – If an inspector or inspector finds out that one or more parts of a process deviate beyond acceptable boundaries, the method or the material being processed must be modified because everything in a workflow should always strive to remain efficient and effective. Any problems should be looked into as soon as possible. That way, you can ensure that the same problem(s) will not occur again since it’s crucial when it comes down to getting your workflow and business up and running at peak efficiency.
  • Transparency – Transparency is essential when implementing a process in any sort of business. This prevents any miscommunication from occurring that could result in the product not meeting its intended criteria. It’s important for all participants working on the end goal to refer to their actions in the same terms. 

7. What is Acceptance Criteria? Who defines it?

Acceptance Criteria is the set of predefined conditions that must be fulfilled to declare completion of a user story. The Scrum Team decides the acceptance criteria and is usually written during the Product backlog Refinement.

8. What is the difference between Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective?

Sprint Review focuses on the product, while Sprint Retrospective focuses on the process. Sprint Review is concerned primarily with optimizing and maximizing product value, whereas Sprint Retrospective is involved with individuals & interactions, processes, tools, and quality of the product.

Recommended reading:  Difference Between Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective

9. What is a BurnUp and Burndown chart?

  • Burndown Chart — The Burndown chart is a visual representation of a graph that assesses how much work a development team has done through a user story.
  • Burnup Chart — The Burnup chart is a graph that shows the amount of work done against the total project work.

10. What is Agile testing? Mention its principles

Agile testing is a software process where the product is tested for bugs, errors, and other issues. It brings the development team and the QA team together to work together to ensure delivery of high-quality deliverables. 

Agile testing revolves around eight principles- 

  • Continuous Testing 
  • Continuous Feedback 
  • Teamwork  
  • Clean code 
  • Minimum Documentation
  • Test-Driven Development 
  • Customer satisfaction 

11. What are the elements of a good user story?

The elements of a good user story are-

  • All deliverables are related to UI
  • Defined acceptance criteria
  • Dependencies
  • Performance criteria
  • Tracking criteria
  • A description

12. What is a Product Roadmap?

A product roadmap is a guide that outlines where a company plans to go and how soon they plan to get there. A good product roadmap helps companies organize, prioritize and communicate their long-term goals and strategies.

While creating a roadmap, the following aspects should be considered: 

  • Product strategy to achieve product goals
  • Priorities based on business value.
  • Product development accountability. 
  • Product timeline.

13. What are the values of Scrum?

The five values of Scrum are- 

  • Openness 
  • Courage 
  • Focus 
  • Respect 
  • Commitment

14. What is the difference between epics, tasks, and stories?

Epic: An Epic is a project that requires the definition of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and approval by Lean Portfolio Management before implementation. Because they have such large scope, it is necessary to define an MVP for this type of project to ensure its success. 

Stories: Story or User Story is a tool used in Agile to record the description of a software product from the end-user perspective. These user stories are divided into small phases and then developed in single sprints by Agile teams. 

Tasks: Tasks refer to partitions of stories that are broken down to ease work. It is the smallest unit in Scrum that is used to denote work.

 15. Who decides the sprint goal?

The Scrum Team decides the Sprint goal during the Sprint Planning, where the Product Owner comes up with a clear business objective.

16. What is Refactoring?

Refactoring refers to the improvement of the internal structure of a current program’s source code without changing the functionality.

17. What are Agile Metrics? Mention the commonly used metrics

Agile Metrics are standards of measurement that help businesses measure productivity, development process, work quality, predictability, and quality of products produced.

Some of the commonly used metrics are-m

  • Sprint Burndown chart 
  • Epic and Release Burndown chart
  • Velocity 
  • Control chart 
  • Lead Time 
  • Cumulative Workflow 
  • Cycle Time

18. State the difference between Definition of Done and Definition of Ready

Definition of Ready refers to a checklist or criteria that indicates that a user story is ready to be added to the next sprint. However, Scrum doesn’t prescribe a definition of done, but it is a popular way to describe what it takes to say user stories are ready to develop.

Definition of Done includes activities such as coding, designing, testing, comments, and release notes.

Definition of Ready also refers to entry criteria for user story and Definition of Done as exit criteria.

19. What is Scrumban?

Scrumban is an agile methodology that is the fusion of the best features of Scrum and Kanban. It combines the structure and predictable schedules of Scrum with Kanban’s flexibility making teams efficient, effective, and agile. 

Scrumban works well if the organization is focused on working on strategic tasks and working on improving processes in parallel. 

20. What are Scrum Artifacts?

Scrum artifacts provide vital information to the Scrum team and stakeholders about the product that is being built. 

The following are the scrum artifacts- 

  • Product Backlog: The product backlog is a list that contains and prioritizes the details of every little task you require to include in your product. If you want to make any changes to your product, then the product backlog is the only source of requirements. 
  • Sprint Backlog: A Sprint Backlog is a list of tasks finalized by the Scrum team to work on during the current sprint. 
  • Increment: Increment is the total of all the product backlog items completed during a sprint and the value of all the increments from the previous sprints. 
  • Burn-Down Chart: Burndown chart is a visual representation of a graph that assesses how much work a development team has done through a user story.

21. What is a Release Candidate?

Release Candidate is software that is yet to be developed in its final stage. It’s the preview of the software. The core focus of the release candidate is on the functionality, security codes, and quality.

22. What is “timeboxing” in Scrum?

Timeboxing refers to devoting a time slot to an activity. A timebox is a unit of time. A timebox should not exceed 15 minutes for Daily Scrum or 8 hours for Sprint Planning. Attend Professional Scrum Master training to learn the rules of timeboxing.

23. What is the difference between Sprint 0 and Spike?

Sprint 0 is the minimal effort to create a rough sketch of the product backlog. However, there is nothing called Sprint 0 in the Scrum Framework, so it is better to avoid connecting with Scrum. It consists of the understanding of the estimation of the release of the products. It is similar to the release planning or discovery phase of a product.

A Spike is an Enabler Story that checks out the viability of a proposed technical approach, gains the knowledge necessary to understand a requirement, or optimizes the reliability of a story estimate. 

24. Who writes the user stories?

Any Scrum team member can write the user stories. The team discusses the requirements during the primary stages and translates them into user stories. With the collective contribution of the team members, the requirements are clearly defined.

25. What is Scrum of Scrums (SoS)?

Scrum of Scrums is a scaled agile technique that helps organizations connect their multiple teams to develop and deliver complex solutions. To get something done efficiently, we need integrated teamwork and a way to do that is through transparency, inspection, and adaptation combined with agile techniques because if you focus on delivering value instead of working in silos you can scale your projects much more effectively.

26. What is Scope Creep and how do you manage it?

Scope creep refers to the continuous and uncontrolled changes that occur after the project begins. 

Scope creep can be handled through the below: 

  • Monitoring the project progress and establishing a baseline scope 
  • Compare actual work performance metrics to baseline scope using variance analysis 
  • Pinpoint the source and the gravity of the changes noticed 
  • Deciding whether preventive or corrective action is required in reply to change requests 
  • Manage all the change requests using suggested actions using the perform integrated change procedure

27. What does INVEST stand for?

The acronym INVEST stands for Invest, Negotiate, Valuable, Estimable, Small, and Testable. It is a guide to writing good user stories.

28. What is the Cone of Uncertainty?

The “Cone of Uncertainty” describes the reduction of the uncertainty about scope after each sprint. There can be a lot of variability at the beginning of a project and that may lead to higher uncertainty in estimation as the team makes progress, variability starts reducing and so is uncertainty in predictability.

29. Mention the purpose of Release Management

Release management helps you provide value to your customers by coordinating the work that goes into deploying new features and bug fixes. Release management plans for each deployment need to include development, testing, and release timelines with actionable tasks assigned to specific stakeholders.

30. What are the qualities of an Agile Tester?

These qualities make an Agile Tester successful-

  • Has a positive outlook and is solution-driven 
  • Goal-driven 
  • Exceptional communication skills
  • Understands and meets customer needs
  • Working knowledge of agile principles and process 
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Express ideas effectively
  • Plan and prioritize according to requirements
  • Adapt to change

31. Explain the difference between Agile and Waterfall methodologies

Agile Methodologies

Waterfall Methodologies

It breaks down the project into short iterations called Sprints. The development cycle is broken down into different phases.
It has an incremental approach. Waterfall has a sequential design process.
It delivers frequently so that the feedback could be gathered faster. The Waterfall is a structured development methodology hence it is rigid.
Agile has mobility. The Software development process happens in one single cycle.
Agile is a set of numerous different projects. Not possible to add features once the development process begins.
Agile is flexible and accommodates changes even after the primary planning. Key processes like testing, designing, and development happen once.
Agile follows a repetitive pattern where planning, development, prototyping and other activities happen more than once. The test plan is seldom discussed in the test phase.
The Testing plan is reviewed after every sprint. The method works for projects where is no change in requirements.
Agile development process hence requirements evolve with time. The testing phase comes after the build phase.
Development and testing go hand in hand. The sole aim is to complete the project and deliver optimum value to the customer.
Agile follows customer satisfaction where the product caters to the needs of the customers and evolves as per customer demands. Team collaboration and coordination are limited.
Small teams with a superlative degree of coordination and synchronization work well. Business Analysts gauge the requirements before the start of the project.
The Product Owner refines the requirements continuously. A detailed description is required to the implement waterfall approach.

 

32. What are the 5 phases of Risk Management

The 5 phases of risk management are as follows-

  • Risk identification- The primary step is to identify the organization’s risks in its routine operating environment. The risks include regulation, environmental, legal, and market risks. 
  • Risk analysis- After identifying risks, it is critical to evaluate the damage they can cause. You should also study the association between the risk and the intrinsic components.  It is mandatory to identify the danger of the risk and its effect on the business operations. 
  • Risk in order of severity – Risks that are ranked can be easily neutralized. Risk management solutions cater to risks that are ranked from high to low. 
  • Solving the risk- A risk is still a threat until its solved and eliminated. Risk specialists are consulted to eliminate the risk. This means regular meetings with the concerned stakeholders till it is no longer a threat. 
  • Risk review- the risk is reviewed to ensure that it is completely removed.

33. Define Iterative & Incremental Development

Incremental Development: Incremental Development is an approach where a product is broken into small pieces that are functional called Increments.

Iterative Development: Iterative Development is the recurring process of developing to improve the product. The development happens in sprints or iterations that typically last one to four weeks.

34. What is Pair Programming? What are its benefits?

Pair Programming is an agile technique where two programmers work together in one workplace. 

Its advantages include- 

  • Write optimum quality code 
  • Minimize the error occurrences
  • Constructive way of knowledge sharing
  • Increased productivity 
  • Renewed team collaboration 

35. What is the purpose of Daily Stand Up meetings?

Daily Standup Meeting is a daily meeting where Scrum Masters, Product Owners, and the Development team meet to discuss the progress till date.

In the stand-up meetings, each teammate shares what they did the day before towards achieving iteration goals as well as what their plans are for tackling the day’s work and any obstacles that come along with all of that.

36. What is the difference between a Scrum Master and an Agile Coach?

The most significant differences are the level at which the two are operating, single team vs. enterprise. A Scrum Master works with ONE or a limited team and influences those teams concerning scrum values and principles. An Agile Coach works with multiple IT or business areas, executives, including middle management and senior management, influencing them on an agile way of working. 

Become an Agile Coach by enrolling in the Certified Agile Coaching (ICP-ACC) Certification Training

37. Mention the distinction between MVP and MMP

Minimum Viable Product(MVP) is the prototype of a product with basic features released in the market so that early customers can use and provide critical feedback on the product. 

Minimum Marketable Product is the functional software that is ready for monetization. It consists of all the minimum essential features. It is ready to be launched in the market. It saves you the time of building the whole product with all functionalities. You can give the customers what they want.

38. Are user stories estimated in hours or days? If not, why?

Using hours or days to estimate user stories may sound practical but isn’t so in reality. Here’s why- 

  • Few tasks are impossible to estimate. For instance, legacy tasks 
  • If an estimate is given to one team member, but another completes the task, the estimate is a waste
  • Everything is dependent on the experience of the developer when it comes to completing the task 
  • Teams face an error of judgment and simply go with the best possible scenario

39. Is the Scrum Master a management position?

The Scrum Master is a management position, but it isn’t a manager position. The Scrum Master only manages the scrum process and not the team. Although the Scrum Master doesn’t have manager authority, they would resolve impediments. 

40. Define the Planning Poker estimation technique

Planning poker is an agile estimation technique that makes use of story points to estimate the difficulty of the task at hand. 

Based on the Fibonacci sequence, the story point values that can be assigned are 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, and 100. Each of these represents a different level of complexity for the overall project.

41. What is Systems Thinking?

Systems thinking is vital to good product management. A holistic perspective enables the strategy of a product to be understood along with an increased ability to predict any environmental changes that might affect it. 

The Product Owner needs to have an in-depth understanding of a product and have others who are also integral parts of a team responsible for it. It means people from different teams must work towards the same shared goal and not on their own agendas simply.

42. What does a decent product backlog mean?

A decent product backlog item should meet the DEEP criteria-

  • D denotes Detailed Appropriately
  • E denotes Estimated
  • E denotes Emergent
  • P denotes Prioritized

43. Can Product Owners cancel the sprint?

The Product Owners have the authority to cancel a sprint but should do so after prior consultation with the key stakeholders and when the sprint goal becomes obsolete.

44. Who can participate in Scrum retrospective meetings?

The sprint retrospective is a time to reflect upon processes, the team, and anything else that could contribute to increased productivity. The entire Scrum team should be in attendance—including the Scrum Master, product owner, the engineering team (including everyone who’s designing, building, and testing the product), and any outsiders with a stake in its completion.

45. What does “empirical process control” mean in Scrum?

Empiricism is a very important term when discussing Scrum. It is defined as work that’s based on facts, experiences, evidence, observations, and experimentation.

Empiricism is used in Scrum to improve transparency by providing information about what has happened/happening within the team, as well as keeping track of progress and making any changes when required for observation purposes.

Instead of relying on gut feeling or guesswork alone, empirical thinking improves with agile practices such as refactoring code in iterations for example

46. What are the limitations of Scrum?

Scrum requires individuals who are experienced with the format. Teams need to be collaborative and committed in order to guarantee that results are achieved. Those who aren’t very familiar with the format can cause the termination of a project.

While there may be a possibility for tasks to have inaccuracies, it is more optimal for smaller projects. It works well for small teams but scaling it up becomes difficult with larger projects that have many complexities in their makeup.

47. How do you follow up on action items?

Action items are one of the primary outcomes of the retrospectives-

  • Open the list of action items and their owners
  • Mark the progress of all items 
  • Include newly pinpointed items 

48. Mention the difference between estimating and committing

When agile teams work on the product backlog, they break it down into smaller bits and align them into a roadmap for delivery. This process takes a high-level view of an item’s completion, functional approach, and complexity.

Estimates tell us what it takes to deliver the item. Commitments are promises made by agile teams assuring item delivery during their sprints or in a release.

49. How does the PO screen the user stories before putting an idea in a backlog as a Product Backlog item?

While the product owner should welcome new ideas and give them serious consideration, ultimately, they have to filter out only those ideas that will effectively create what your company is looking for.

All new ideas need objective analysis, and this analysis can include test runs with customers (in the form of pilots). Every idea needs to be carefully evaluated before it can be incorporated into your product backlog – especially when it comes to deciding which ones are worth including. 

Take your first step towards becoming a Product Owner- Enroll Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO-I) Certification Training 

50. Should velocity be increased for optimum productivity?

Velocity matters but it does not equal productivity. Your team’s attempt to raise their velocity may actually be detrimental if you’re not careful. If your time is short, a team might sacrifice unit or acceptance testing, reduce customer collaboration, fix fewer bugs, and other important factors required for agile development and deliverables.

While there may be an advantage in doing this at first glance, these things will come back to haunt you down the line. You’ll want to try and find your sweet spot over time which requires focusing on a variety of things that can help or hinder your progress such as end-product quality and the know-how of your team. 

Wrapping Up

Agile Interviews will now be less overwhelming, when you now are fully prepared with these 50 Agile interview questions. Fundamental knowledge of Agile practices, principles, and processes  is a must if you want to succeed in your Agile career. Refer to the Agile glossary to improve your knowledge of all the key agile terms. 

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Agilemania

We are a team of Professional Scrum Trainers (PST) and Enterprise Agile coaches actively working as Scrum Trainers, Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters/Product Owners aimed at delivering quality and consistency for our students across the globe.