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Scrum Master Interview Questions

Apr
11
2014

Hiring a Scrum Master? Interviewing a Scrum Master? Here are 28 interview questions or scenarios to consider:

Phone Interview Questions
I would use these questions to quickly determine if a candidate has a base understanding of Scrum and should be brought in for in-person interviews.

  • In two minutes or so and at a high level, describe the Scrum process. Overall Scrum knowledge
  • How many teams have you been a Scrum master for and what were the size of those teams? Experience
  • What deliverables should emerge from a sprint planning session? Detailed Scrum knowledge
  • A new Scrum team has launched and you are the Scrum Master. How do you get them started? Ability to facilitate, coach, and build teams
  • If you could describe the Scrum Master role in one or two words, what would it be? Understanding the role

In-Person Questions
If the candidate has made it this far, it’s time to see what they are really made of. These questions are based on the expectations and noble cause from the Scrum Master vision sketch I have created for the Scrum Masters on my team.

Shaping Team Experience

  • You have some team members who are quiet and not as social as the others. How do you ensure their voice is heard? Looking for a strong approach to facilitation and possibly coaching and mentoring techniques.
  • How would you ensure team inclusion for team members who are located remotely?
  • You have new team members who are new to Scrum. What is your approach to teaching them?
  • A product owner (or team member) is struggling with writing meaningful stories with clear and concise acceptance criteria. What would you do to help them?

Team Flow

  • What characteristics does an Agile team in “flow” have? Looking for things like consistent velocity, rare story carry overs, team camaraderie, creativity, self-healing, frequent deployments of valuable features, low internal stress
  • What role does a Scrum Master have in keeping a team in “flow”?
  • What are some signs that a team is out of flow?
  • Team members are not stepping up at grabbing tasks from the task wall – it seems like they are waiting for someone to assign tasks to them. How do you coach “pull” vs. “push”?

Team Health

  • You see the developers and testers consistently working independently of each other, what approach would you use to promote collaboration?
  • How would you respond if after a retrospective, a team member asked you “Why do we have the retrospectives? They are a waste of time!”
  • The team does not feel like a cohesive unit and the retrospectives are feeling like blame sessions. What steps would you take to discover the problem? Looking for strong listening skills and the self-awareness not to try to solve or force things
  • One of your team members does not seem to be pulling their weight with the team. How do you coach the team to be self-accountable?

Information Radiation

  • What purpose does the burn down chart serve?
  • How should a Scrum Master react to an over-committed or under-committed burn down?
  • Why is it important to meet every day at the task wall?

Removing Impediments

  • What are some likely impediments you would see within a Scrum team?
  • What approach do you use to remove those impediments?
  • How long would you wait to escalate an impediment?
  • An email thread has been bouncing around the team discussing an issue that has clearly become an impediment. What do you do?

Change Your Community

  • How do you make your retrospectives powerful and meaningful?
  • What are some effective retrospective techniques you have used in the past?
  • How do you track actionable change items emerging from a retrospective?
  • During your retrospective, consistent issues continue to emerge around technical environments. How would you handle this?

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