A scrum master interview questions can be a tough nut to crack. Research and well-preparation is the key to crack a scrum interview successfully. Therefore, we have prepared a well-researched guide to scrum interview questions and answers to unlock the door to abundant job opportunities.

Stick with us until the end to ace your next scrum interview. Read the following scrum master interview questions to make your next scrum interview a cakewalk.

Scrum Master Interview Questions

1. 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).

2. 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.

3. Name 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.

4. What are the techniques for estimation 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 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 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.

6. What is Scope creep, and how do you handle 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

7. What is DoD?

Definition of Done (DoD) is a checklist of items that need to be completed to declare a project or task as ‘Done.’ The checklist includes written codes, comments on coding, unit tests, integration testing, design documents, and release notes.

8. What does the acronym INVEST stand for?

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

9. What is 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.

10. 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.

11. 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

12. How would you describe 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.

13. What are the tools used in Scrum projects?

The popular tools used in Scrum are-

  • Jira
  • Microsoft Azure DevOps
  • Trello
  • Asana

14. Would you suggest daily stand-ups to all teams irrespective of size and experience level?

Making daily stand-ups, a ritual will help the team members know the project’s progress.  The duration of the daily stand up meetings will differ according to the size and the level of experience-

  • Small & Experienced – For an experienced but small team, the members can either meet over a quick break or go to a casual meeting
  • Less experienced but smaller team – Despite its small size, the daily stand-up meetings of less experienced smaller teams should conduct a formal meeting to help them understand the technical details and business functionality. In addition, it will help the team understand the meeting’s practices, processes, values, and principles.
  • Large Teams – Formal meetings suit best large teams
  • Remote teams – Remote teams are geographically distributed. The daily stand-ups in such teams should be conducted using dial-in or video conferencing calls.

15. How can you stop fatigue at retrospectives?

Following a routine for far too long becomes monotonous. Conducting the sprint retrospective the same way will leave the scrum team tired. The Scrum Master can change things by conducting the sprint retrospective differently. The Scrum Master should make sure that the purpose of the retrospective is not lost in the quest to create a conducive environment for the retrospective.

The Scrum Master serves the organization by leading, training, and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption.

16. Is 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.

17. What does the Scrum Master do to enhance the productivity of the development team?

The Scrum Master facilitates their decisions and eliminates hurdles of the development. Take note, the Scrum Master doesn’t manage the development team as they are responsible for their own management. The Scrum Master shields them from extrinsic troubles.

18. Name 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 on a regular basis 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 at the completion of 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.

19. When should a Scrum Master not act as a facilitator?

As per the process, the Scrum Master is supposed to help the team get the best results. Acting as a facilitator for internal and external workshops can sometimes be challenging.

A workshop facilitator must stay impartial while discussing topics and refrain from adding facts or opinions to the discussions. If you have the necessary expertise, you’ve got all it takes to facilitate most general product development workshops.

However, if the workshop is about changing your company’s Scrum process, you should not facilitate that session.

20. How do you follow up on action items?

Action items are one among 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

21. What do you mean by 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 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.

22. 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, engineering team (including everyone who’s designing, building, and testing the product), and any outsiders with a stake in its completion.

23. What is the difference between product backlog and sprint 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 product backlog is the only source of requirements.

Whereas, a Sprint Backlog is a list of tasks finalized by the Scrum team to work on during the current sprint.

24. What does a Scrum Master do during a retrospective meeting?

Self-organized team member. Sprints allow you to inspect the progress and make adjustments that will move you closer towards your goals. A Scrum Master helps their team stay motivated and works with their other peers to ensure everything is going according to plan.

Self-organization has a lot of perks- there’s less structural planning or work which creates more freedom for everyone and allows them to decide on how best to achieve the Sprint goal.

25. What is Scrum of Scrums?

A 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 Scrumban?

Scrumban is an agile methodology which is the fusion of the best features of Scrum and Kanban.

27. Explain empirical process control 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 require 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.

28. What is a Burndown and BurnUp chart?

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 is a graph that shows the amount of the work done against the total project work.

29. What elements constitute a good user story?

The elements that constitute a good user story are-

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

30. What are the drawbacks 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.

31. 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 less 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.

32. How is a Scrum Master, a servant leader?

“Servant leadership” is a type of leadership that focuses on maintaining trust and confidence. What’s great about this type of leadership is that it can apply to many situations, no matter what the industry or group may be.

The scrum master needs to be a facilitator, a guide, and mentor/friend to all team members. As an example: facilitating meetings where they take notes on everyone’s ideas, guiding team members through their error reports, mentoring them via one-to-one communication, anything that helps make each individual involved more empowered for the role in which they play.

33. What are the values of Scrum?

The five values of Scrum are-

  • Openness
  • Courage
  • Focus
  • Respect
  • Commitment

34. Is only the Product Owner responsible for communicating with the stakeholders?

No. The entire team collaborates with stakeholders and subject matter experts during the product review.

The Scrum Master is responsible for educating stakeholders in order to make sure they’re communicating effectively with the rest of the team and that everyone is on the same page when it comes to getting things done by certain deadlines.

35. How do you ensure action items are delivered before the deadline?

The team must create action items so that the retrospective is successful. To start this process, a simple way is to simply list everyone’s ideas.

While listing, you can also tag anyone who is responsible for either tackling one of these tasks or figuring out what to do with them further. You should immediately move on from action item creation to discuss how each person’s idea can be used for product development and improvement.

Some things might seem like no problem, others may require additional discussion, or even others may not work as efficiently as intended.

You should end up with tangible benefits from product development after going through the entire process since you will have researched the market needs and your target audience too.

36. Can the Scrum team be part of the product discovery process?

Getting the scrum team involved in your project early on is beneficial because what we have to understand is this – agile methodology calls for breaking down the development process into small pieces, or sprints in the case of Scrum, which will require focused attention and regular feedback from all parties involved.

37. Explain the distinction between epics, stories, and tasks?

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.

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

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 people, processes, and tools.

39. Differentiate between Agile and Scrum

Agile

Scrum

Agile is a development methodology that follows an incremental and developmental approach Scrum is one of the frameworks of Agile. It follows an iterative and incremental approach called sprints which lasts 2-3 weeks
Agile works best for organizations which 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

 

40. What are the Scrum Methodology steps?

The Scrum Methodology consists of-

  • Build the Product Backlog
  • Sprint planning and sprint backlog
  • Sprint in progress
  • Beta testing and Product Demo
  • Sprint Review and Retrospective

Are You Ready for Your Scrum Interview?

We have skipped discussing some of the very basic scrum interview questions such as what is scrum, roles in scrum, artifacts and events of the scrum process – still if you want to learn about these topics, we will attach a few resources below for your reference.

The scrum master interview questions discussed above are sufficient to get you to walk in the interview room with confidence and walk out with a smile. However, if you are looking for a formal Scrum Training, you can check out our upcoming training that can help you upskill yourself and stand out of the competition.

Check Our Upcoming Training

We will help you become Scrum-qualified, enhancing your ability to develop and deliver high-quality products and apply Scrum concepts on the job.

 

Author's Bio
Agilemania

Businesses transform when they realize that the current ways of working can no longer address the fast-changing market dynamics and rising user expectations. Agilemania, a small group of passionate Lean-Agile-DevOps consultants and trainers, is the most trusted brand for digital transformations in South and South-East Asia.