Within a tech team, a Scrum master wears multiple masks. Depending on the project and the requirements, they sometimes become a product manager or coach and other times, a disciplinarian. That’s why the demand for Scrum masters is skyrocketing with an annual growth rate of 24 percent. But acing the Scrum master interview is not a piece of cake. It involves thorough preparation, research on the company’s profile and the position, and going through the possibly asked interview questions.
This guide will take you through some of the frequently asked Scrum master interview questions and answers that will help you face the interviewer with complete confidence. But before that, let’s understand how you can prepare for the Scrum master interview.
How to Prepare for the Scrum Master Interview
Having a clear understanding of the Scrum master’s job roles and responsibilities is the first step toward the preparation for the interview. Additionally, you must have relevant technical skills such as software design and development, programming and process integration, and knowledge of frameworks like Agile, Waterfall, and Kanban to support the Scrum methodology. These are the bonus points to get through.
Frequently Asked Scrum Master Interview Questions
Here are some of the common questions that interviewers may ask you during the interview session.
1. What are the Responsibilities of the Scrum Team?
A Scrum team consists of three responsibilities and roles: Scrum master, product owner, and developers. According to certified Scrum trainer Roman Pichler:
“The product owner maximizes the value the product creates. The development team creates products that offer a great user experience and have the right quality. The Scrum master offers process and method coaching to the product owner, developers, and stakeholders. Additionally, the Scrum master acts as a change agent and facilitates organizational development.” Let’s understand this in greater detail.
These are the responsibilities of the Scrum master:
- Facilitates meetings, training, conversations, and improvements
- Guide the Scrum team to focus on the sprint goal and enable them to collaborate with other team members
- Prevent the team from external distractions so that they can meet their deliverables
- Bridge the gap between developer and product owner to bring them on the same page
The responsibilities of product owner are outlined below:
- Define the Sprint goal by prioritizing the backlog defined by the product roadmap
- Collaborate with other Scrum team members to establish goals and priorities for the next Sprint
- Be responsible for executing product discovery, strategy, and product vision
The developer/development team are responsible for:
- Organizing and planning how to achieve the set target with quality
- Manage the sprint backlog, inspect and adapt through the daily Scrum, and contribute to the sprint goals
2. Is Velocity a Good Proxy for Productivity?
In this fast-moving world, the term velocity refers to the speed of delivery in terms of a particular product, vision, and objective. If a company delays the delivery of the product that customers need urgently, then there won’t be any value in the product produced. So yes, velocity is a good proxy for productivity with respect to the speed of delivery of products created to fulfill customers’ requirements.
3. Which is the Most Important Scrum Ceremony?
In the world of agile software, Scrum is an empirical approach that consists of five basic events:
- The Sprint
- Sprint Planning
- Daily Scrum
- Sprint Review
- Sprint Retrospective
If you’re wondering which one is important, Sprint Retrospective is highly valuable as it helps Scrum teams with an opportunity for continuous improvement.
4. What is Velocity in Scrum? How is it Measured?
Velocity is a prime metric to measure the amount of work a development team does during a single Sprint. You can calculate Scrum velocity by dividing the total number of completed story points by the number of Sprints. For instance, if the Scrum team has completed 100 story points over 5 Sprints, then the average velocity of the team would be 20 points per Sprint.
5. What are Some Situations When Scrum Cannot be Useful?
People often believe that Scrum is a solution to all problems. But that’s a myth. Applying Scrum unnecessarily results in a waste of time and effort and a loss of efficiency. So here are some of the situations where you can’t implement Scrum:
- In a complicated environment where you can’t predict the future, upcoming requirements, and technology changes, it’s tough to plan Sprint, which means Scrum is not applicable
- Scrum is avoidable when the company lacks allocated people or a team who should be cross-functional and independent
- You can’t employ Scrum when stakeholders are not allowed to join the Sprint review, as they share valuable feedback on your work during the Sprint
6. How do You Justify the Scrum Master Job?
You have to understand the roles and responsibilities of the Scrum master in-depth to justify their job. The responsibilities include:
- Supporting software development with tactics to apply the Scrum framework
- Strategizing deliverables and monitoring team performance
- Providing solutions to issues that hinder team works
- Bridging the gap between the development team and product owner to bring them on the same page
7. What Will You do as a Scrum Master if the Product Owner is Assigning Tasks Directly to the Team Member?
One of the prime roles of a Scrum master is to help and coach the product owner. So, in the above case, you (as a Scrum master) can make the product owner discover the true sense of self-organization. A self-organized team knows how to accomplish its work rather than being governed by others from the external team.
8. Your Team’s Velocity Drops Over the Course of Several Sprints. What Should You do?
Scrum velocity is all about being consistent. In case of a decline in the Scrum team’s velocity, being a Scrum master, you can take the following steps:
- Motivate the team to focus on the primary objectives of the Sprint
- Restrict all distractions and eliminate all the team interruptions such as explanations, new ideas, curiosity, and seeking help
- Help the product owner collaborate with the team as it results in a clear understanding of user stories, implementation, and testing of user stories
- Break the stories so that these become easier to do and move faster through the workflow
- Optimize team performance and collaboration and refine the backlogs
9. How Often do You Think Scrum Masters Should Meet with the Entire Team?
According to Ken Schwaber, a product manager, software developer, and industry consultant, Scrum meetings should occur daily, similar to daily stand-up meetings. He also suggested limiting the team meeting duration to not more than 15 minutes.
Useful Tips for Scrum Master Interviews
Though the above questions and answers covered everything that you should know to crack the Scrum master interview, small tips and tricks never go to waste. Be confident and honest. Practice these interview questions to enhance your knowledge. Also, explore project management courses on Emeritus to enhance your skills.
By Shweta Kamal
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