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Download the 47 Scrum Master Interview Questions PDF

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Tools and insights for agile software development, product management, and lean methodologies to help you invent for your customers.
27, 000                        Free Ebook: 47 Scrum Master Interview Questions to Identify Suitable Candidates.
Scrum has proven time and again to be the most popular framework for software development.
Given that , .

A seasoned Scrum Master is nowadays in high demand

And that demand causes the market-entry of new professionals from other project management branches, probably believing that reading one or two Scrum books will be sufficient.

Which makes any Scrum Master interview a challenging task

Do you want to get this article in your inbox.
You can.
Update 2020-08-20: Comprehensive Content Refactoring and a New Document Stack.
I refactored the ebook completely, eliminating a lot of content debt, and migrated the document to a new format that will allow for much speedier updates in the future.
Download the 47 Scrum Master Interview Questions PDF.

The free 47 Scrum Master Interview Questions PDF is not merely listing the questions

but also contains background information on:Why the questions are useful in the process.
A range of appropriate answers.
Two to three questions from each category will provide more than enough ground for an engaging 60 minute-long conversation with candidates.
Cannot see the form.
Please click hereUpdate 2020-06-19: Remote Agile Transitions Challenges.
Three months into working with distributed teams, at least for the majority of us who are not working for one of the remote work pioneers like Automatic, Gitlab, or Buffer, operational issues at a tactical level have been addressed.
Zoom has fixed many of the problems reported, we learned how to organize engaging remote events, and more people start embracing techniques like Liberating Structures or Training from the Back of the Room to get all sorts of work done.
With a good outcome, as it seems that remote work improves productivity, at least when team members are engaged with their work.
Hence I do believe that the Scrum Master candidate needs to have a good understanding of how remote work is accelerating agile transitions and what the primary areas are that are affected.
For an extended list of remote Scrum challenges see Remote Agile Transitions — The Top-Ten Challenges.
Update 2020-04-08: The Scrum Master Interview Enhanced by Remote Scrum with Distributed Teams.
How can we learn during the Scrum Master interview whether a candidate has experience with facilitating remote agile events?To figure out the candidate’s level of competence, I like to run a Liberating Structures-based exercise during the interview.
I use  to task the Scrum Master candidate to come up with suggestions on how to sabotage a remote Scrum approach effectively.
These are some of the remote agile anti-patterns, the candidate should be able to identify:Neither fish nor meat: Hybrid events create two classes of teammates — remote and co-located — where the co-located folks are calling the shots.
(Beware of the distance bias—when out of sight means out of mind—thus avoiding the creation of a privileged subclass of teammates: “Distance biases have become all too common in today’s globalized world.
They emerge in meetings when folks in the room fail to gather input from their remote colleagues, who may be dialing in on a conference line.” (.) To avoid this scenario, make sure that once a single participant joins remotely, all other participants “dial in,” too, to level the playing field.
Surveillance: Trust won’t be built by surveilling and micro-managing team members.
Therefore, don’t go rogue; the prime directive rules more than ever in a remote agile setup.
— no matter how tempting it might be.
(Read more about the damaging effect of a downward spiraling trust dynamic from Esther Derby.) https://www.estherderby.com/the-future-may-be-remote-must-it-include-surveillance/.
For a comprehensive list of anti-patterns, read.
Update 2019-10-12: Have You Already Downloaded Your Copy of the Scrum Master Trends Report?.
Have you already dwnloaded your copy of the Scrum Master Trends Report 2019 that we produced in collaboration with Scrum.org, the leading Scrum training and certification institution founded by Scrum co-founder Ken Schwaber?The Scrum Master Trends Report 2019 is based on a survey of over 2100 participants—both from Scrum.org’s as well as Age-of-Product’s member and subscriber base.
The report focuses on trends useful to both new and experienced Scrum Masters and reveals salary trends, agile adoption patterns, .

While also exploring gender equality within the Scrum Master role

The participants represent 87 different countries and come from all levels of experience.
The highlights from the 2019 report include:Learn more: The Scrum Master Trends Report 2019.

The Scrum Master According to the Scrum Guide

While the Scrum Guide is sometimes detailing issues to a lesser degree, the Scrum Master role does receive appropriate attention:The Scrum Master is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide.

Scrum Masters do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory

practices, rules, and values.

The Scrum Master is a servant-leader for the Scrum Team

The Scrum Master helps those outside the Scrum Team understand which of their interactions with the Scrum Team are helpful and which aren’t.
The Scrum Master helps everyone change these interactions to maximize the value created by the Scrum Team.
Source: Scrum Guide 2017.

The Scrum Guide continues defining a Scrum Master’s services to the Product Owner

the Development Team, and the organization, which guided the creation of the following set the Scrum Master interview questions.47 Scrum Master Interview Questions.
Scrum is not a methodology, but a framework.
There are no rules that apply to every scenario, just best practices that have worked in other organizations before.
Hence, you have to figure out on your own what is working for your organization–which is a process, not a destination.
The role of the Scrum Master or agile coach in my understanding is hence primarily about leadership and coaching, but not about management.
And most definitely, the Scrum Master role is not about process enforcement.
This is also the reason, that the repository contains mostly questions that address a candidate’s soft skills.
‘Agile needs to be pulled; it cannot be pushed.
(Unless your organization is planning to waste significant investments on some version of cargo cult agile, see also ‘Cargo Cult Agile: The ‘State of Agile’ Checklist for Your Organization.’)The Scrum Master interview questions in this PDF are modeled after a holistic model of agile product development for software products: In this model, product discovery is moved as far as possible to the left to keep costs of validating hypotheses — derived from a vision and strategy — low and increase the speed of experimentation.
In this approach it is crucial that the Scrum Master coaches the scrum team to adopt such a holistic model, some call it dual-track agile, as well.
Therefore, the PDF contains additional background and contextual information, how the following set of questions can be interpreted as well as guidance on desired or acceptable ranges of answers for each question — based on such a holistic model.
The questions themselves are grouped into seven categories.

Scrum Master Interview Questions: How We Organized Questions and Answers

The ebook provides both questions as well as guidance on the range of suitable answers.
These should allow an interviewer to deep dive into a candidate’s understanding of Scrum and her agile mindset.
However, please note that:The answers reflect the personal experience of the authors and may not be valid for every organization: what works for organization A, may be failing in organization B.
There are not suitable multiple choice questions to identify a candidate’s agile mindset given the complexity of applying “agile” to any organization.
The authors share a holistic view of agile methodologies: agile equals product discovery (what to build) plus product delivery (how to build it).
Please find following 47 Scrum Master interview questions to identify suitable candidates for the role of Scrum Master or agile coach:I.
The Role Of The Scrum Master.
The Agile Manifesto says “People over processes.” Isn’t the Scrum Master – a role to enforce “the process” – therefore a contradiction?.
What are good indicators that “Agile” is working in your organization, that your work is successful?.
Are there typical metrics that you would track.
And if so, which metrics would you track and for what purpose?.
Your team’s performance is constantly not meeting commitments, and its velocity is very volatile.
What are the possible reasons for that.
And how would you address those issues?.
Shall the Scrum team become involved in the product discovery process as well, and if so, how?.
The Product owner role is a bottleneck by design.
How can you support the Product owner so that she can be the value maximizer?.
How do you ensure that the Scrum team has access to the stakeholders?.
How do you spread an agile mindset in the company across different departments and what is your strategy to coach these non-IT stakeholders?.
How do you introduce Scrum to senior executives?.
You already performed Scrum training to stakeholders.
After an initial phase of trying to apply the concepts, when first obstacles/hurdles are encountered, you see that these colleagues build serious resistance in continuing with Scrum adoption.
What are your strategy/experience to handle such situations?.
Product Backlog Refinement And Estimation.
The Product owner of your team normally turns stakeholder requirement documents into tickets and asks to estimate them.
Are you fine with that procedure?.
What kind of information would you require from the Product Owner to provide the team with an update on the product and market situation?.
Who shall be writing user stories?.
How shall a good user story look.
What is its structure?.
What should a “Definition of Ready” comprise of?.
Why aren’t user stories usually simply estimated in man-hours?.
The Product owner of your Scrum team tends to add ideas of all kind to the backlog to continue working on them at a later stage.
Over time, this has lead to over 200 tickets in various stages.
What is your take on that: Can the Scrum teamwork on 200 tickets?.
Sprint Planning.
How can you as a Scrum Master contribute to the sprint planning in a way that the team is working on the most valuable user stories?.
On what metrics would you base the assessment of the value of a user story and what metrics would be not acceptable?.
How do you facilitate the user story picking progress in a way that the most valuable stories are chosen without overruling the team’s prerogative to define the team’s commitment?.
How much capacity would consider being adequate for refactoring, fixing important bugs, exploring new technologies or ideas?.
How do you deal with a Product owner that assigns user stories or tasks to individual team members?.
How do you deal with cherry-picking tasks by team members?.
A user story is lacking the final designs, but the design department promises to deliver on day #2 of the upcoming sprint.
The product owner of your Scrum team is fine with that and pushed to have the user story in the sprint backlog.
What is your take?.
A member of the Scrum team does not want to participate in the sprint planning meetings but considers them a waste of time.
How do you deal with that attitude?.
Daily Scrum.
Would you recommend standups for all teams no matter their size or experience level?.
Do you expect experienced team members to wait until the next standup to ask for help with an impediment?.
How do you handle team members that “lead” standups, turning them into a reporting session for them?.
How do you handle team members that consider standups to be a waste of time and therefore are either late, uncooperative or do not attend at all?.
The standups of your Scrum team are not attended by any stakeholder.
How do you change that?.
How do you approach standups with distributed teams?.
Can you draw a draft of an offline Kanban board for a Scrum team right now?.
Sprint Retrospectives.
Who shall participate in the retrospective?.
Do you check the team health in a retrospective or isn’t that necessary.
If so, how would you do it?.
What retrospective formats have you been using in the past?.
How can you prevent boredom at retrospectives?.
A team is always picking reasonable action items, but is later not delivering on them.
How do you handle this habit?.
How do you recommend to follow up on actions items?.
Agile Metrics.
Your Scrum team is consistently failing to meet commitments, and its velocity is volatile.
What might the possible reasons be.
How would you address this issue with the team?.
What suitable agile metrics have you used in the past?.
What qualitative agile metrics would you consider tracking?.
How to Kick-Off A Transition to Scrum.
How would you prepare to kick-off transitioning to Scrum?.
How would you create the first Scrum team?.
What do you recommend a newly formed Scrum team works on first?.
Scrum Anti-Patterns.
What anti-patterns might a Scrum Master fall into during a sprint?.
What anti-patterns do you know of that can happen during a retrospective?.
How can you (as a Scrum Master) identify where you need to improve?.

How To Use The Scrum Master Interview Questions

Scrum has always been a hands-on business, and to be successful in this, a candidate needs to have a passion for getting her hands dirty.
While the basic rules are trivial, getting a group of individuals with different backgrounds, levels of engagement and personal agendas to form and perform as a team, is a complex task.
(As always you might say when humans and communication are involved.) And the larger the organization is, the more management level there are, the more likely failure is lurking around the corner.
The questions are not necessarily suited to turn an inexperienced interviewer into an agile expert.
But in the hands of a seasoned practitioner, they support figuring out, what candidate has been working the agile trenches in the past./p>So, go for a pragmatic veteran who has experienced failure in other projects before and the scars to prove it.
Last, but not least: Being a “Certified Scrum Master” – or having any other certification of a similar nature – does not guarantee success.
Get the PDF!Recommended Reading.
Regarding the general preparation for the Scrum Master job interview, I recommend the following literature on Scrum, Scrum Master, and team building:The Scrum Guide.
The Nexus Guide.
The Manifesto for Agile Software Development.
Gunther Verheyen: Scrum — A Pocket Guide (Amazon advertisement.).

Geoff Watts: Scrum Mastery (Amazon advertisement.)

Stanley McChrystal: Team of Teams (Amazon advertisement.).
Patrick Lencioni: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (Amazon advertisement.).
Scrum Master Trends Survey Results          Note: If the browser will not start the video automatically, click here to watch Update 2018-11-25: The Webinar Replay ‘Scrum Master Anti-Patterns’ Is now Available.
The video of the webinar is available now—you may want to check it prior to your interviews: Scrum Master Anti-Patterns — (Hands-on Agile Webinar #8)       Watch this video on YouTube   Note: If the browser will not start the video automatically, click here to watch the replay of the webinar Scrum Master anti-patterns directly on Youtube.
The Scrum Master Trends Report 2019The Scrum Guide Reordered — Understand the Scrum Guide’ Patterns and Concepts Quickly.
, , , , ,   34 thoughts on “Free Ebook: 47 Scrum Master Interview Questions to Identify Suitable Candidates”.
2018-03-24 at 10:52 AM   Darrell, I think it is unlikely that you will be hired as a scrum master or agile coach right away.
Try and become a member of a product development team in whatever capacity first to learn more about how all of this works.
Darrell Kirk     2018-03-23 at 5:11 PM   Great information, but yes, .

How does someone break into Agile and become a Scrum Master

I immediately received a CSM, and now studying for PSM.
Yes, means nothing as I come from an apparel manufacturing background.
I love the Agile process and the people it creates.
How do I get that first Scrum Master job to build experience.
Anna     2017-12-17 at 12:58 PM   Thank you for the response.
2017-12-17 at 9:49 AM   Thank you so much for pointing at it — what a blunder.
We will fix the 2018 edition that should be available in early January 2018.
Аnna     2017-12-16 at 7:14 PM   Thanks for this useful book.
I’ve noticed one controversial issue.“A ‘definition of ready’ (also known as a ‘definition of done’) is an agreement between the scrum team and the product owner about what must be included in a user story (before the story can be considered ready for estimation).
It defines what a good user story looks like.”But ‘definition of ready’ and ‘definition of done’ it is absolutely different things.
Mayby, you meant another.
Could you explain, please.
2017-03-28 at 6:35 AM   Hi Arian, I get the point.
Let me briefly sketch the background of the document.
It resulted from a Scrum Master recruiting effort for one of my clients.
Here, the team in question was involved in the interviews, however, at a level that required to split questions among interviewers.
The questions were primarily used to filter those candidates that had no previous experience with Scrum except for a certification, and – say – ten years of PMO practice.
(Who, nevertheless, believed that they would be able to master agile software development with Scrum.) Those turned out to be a waste of time as they had the wrong mindset.
And junior Scrum Masters, of course, we all need to start somewhere, were not suited for the position due to the complicated stakeholder situation.
Hence “imposter” is applied to the first, not the latter category.
By the way, the recruiting process I prefer, which was modeled after that experienced, is described here in detail: https://age-of-product.com/peer-recruiting/.
arian shehu     2017-03-28 at 12:17 AM   Hi StefanWhile its great what you have done, I have a question for you.
How do you propose then to get new blood, new Scrum Masters.
Assuming that a person have not worked on IT before but would like to move into that direction.
After all scrum is not a framework that is specifically made for IT, but it seem that its been embraced widely by the software companies and we all know why.
We all know that technical minds are not the best in leading in general.
2017-02-22 at 8:36 AM   Hi Kahuli, just wait for 2 weeks with the download – then the brand new 2017 edition will be available….
Kaluhi     2017-02-22 at 7:34 AM   Hi,Kindly send me the answers to the questions.
Very Insightful.
2017-01-11 at 7:35 AM   My apology Armando that it took so long!I came across that same question last week — I am currently working on the third edition of the Scrum Master interview questions — and couldn’t make sense of it either.
So, the new version will be as follows:Answers to Question 18: It is the prerogative of the Product Owner to define the scope of an upcoming sprint by identifying and prioritizing the most valuable user stories in the product backlog.
The best way for the Scrum Master to ensure that the Scrum team is working on the most valuable user stories is as follows:● The Scrum team is involved in 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.
(This should be supported, for example, by the creation of a “Definition of Ready” standard for user stories.) ● All user stories are created in a collaborative effort between the Product Owner and the Scrum team.
(A shared understanding of the user stories and thus joint ownership is the goal.)The candidate should note that while the Product Owner is defining the scope of the sprint (and the sprint goal), it is the Scrum team prerogative to address technical debt and bugs at the same time.
(The team can allocate up to 25 percent of available capacity for that purpose.)”I hope that this will be helpful.
Armando G.
2017-01-09 at 8:40 PM   Hello Can some one help in the understanding of this answere: “The scrum team should never select user stories according to any kind of ranking established by the product owner or anyone else” (Answers to Question 18).
2016-12-24 at 5:04 AM   That is awesome news, Ali.
Thanks a lot for sharing…


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