Top 35 Scrum Master Interview Questions

May 25, 2023

In your quest to become a Scrum Master, one crucial hurdle you’ll need to cross is the job interview. This is where you get the chance to showcase not only your knowledge of Scrum but also how you’ve applied it in real-world scenarios. To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a list of the top 35 Scrum Master interview questions.

1. Can you explain what Scrum is?

Explain Scrum as a lightweight, iterative, and incremental Agile framework used for project management. Highlight the importance of flexibility, continuous learning, and adaptation. Talk about its emphasis on delivering high-value, working products in short cycles called Sprints.

2. How does Scrum differ from traditional project management frameworks?

Talk about the flexibility of Scrum, which allows for changes and iterations throughout the project. Contrast this with traditional frameworks like Waterfall, which require all project requirements to be defined upfront and proceed in a linear, sequential phase manner.

3. What are the roles in a Scrum team?

Explain that a Scrum team consists of the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the Development Team. Briefly describe each role’s responsibilities, emphasizing the collaborative and self-organizing nature of Scrum teams.

4. What are the Scrum artifacts and ceremonies?

Mention the three Scrum artifacts – Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, and Product Increment. Also, outline the Scrum ceremonies – Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective.

5. How does the Scrum Master role differ from the Product Owner role?

The Scrum Master is a facilitator and coach for the team, helping remove impediments and ensuring the team follows Scrum practices. The Product Owner, on the other hand, represents the customer’s interests and is responsible for maximizing the value of the product by managing the Product Backlog.

6. How does the Scrum Master role differ from the Team Lead or Project Manager role?

The Scrum Master is a servant-leader, focusing on enabling the team to work effectively rather than managing them. In contrast, traditional roles like Team Lead or Project Manager often involve more directive leadership and control over the team’s work.

7. Can you describe a challenging situation you faced as a Scrum Master and how you overcame it?

Provide a specific example from your experience. Demonstrate your problem-solving skills, your ability to facilitate conflict resolution, and your commitment to upholding Scrum values and principles.

8. Can you give an example of how you have helped your team understand Scrum principles and values?

Discuss specific strategies you’ve used to educate and coach your team about Scrum, such as workshops, mentoring sessions, or practical exercises. Show how these efforts resulted in improved team performance or better adherence to Scrum principles.

9. How do you measure the success of a Scrum team?

Talk about metrics such as velocity, sprint burndown charts, or product quality measures. Also mention less tangible measures like the team’s happiness, collaboration levels, customer satisfaction, and adherence to Scrum values.

10. How do you deal with team members who are resistant to Scrum?

Discuss your approaches to resistance, such as building trust, providing education about Scrum benefits, and involving resistant members in decision-making to increase their buy-in.

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11. How do you facilitate communication between the development team and stakeholders?

Describe how you use Scrum ceremonies like Sprint Review for stakeholder feedback. Also, talk about facilitating regular communication channels and promoting transparency about project status.

12. How do you ensure the Product Owner is creating well-formed Product Backlog Items?

Mention techniques like coaching the Product Owner in writing clear and concise user stories, encouraging regular backlog refinement sessions, and promoting the use of acceptance criteria.

13. What would you do if the team is continuously failing to meet their Sprint goals?

Discuss the importance of retrospectives to identify and address issues. Talk about techniques like adjusting the volume of work taken into a Sprint or improving estimation practices.

14. What is velocity in Scrum, and how is it used?

Explain that velocity is a measure of the amount of work a team can tackle during a single Sprint and is used for planning future Sprints and predicting project timelines.

15. How would you facilitate conflict resolution within the team?

Talk about the importance of open and respectful communication, fostering a safe environment for conflict resolution, and facilitating problem-solving discussions. Highlight the value of conflict as a potential source of improvement and innovation.

16. Can you explain the importance of the Daily Scrum and how you would conduct it?

Describe the Daily Scrum as a crucial opportunity for the team to synchronize their work and plan for the next 24 hours. Discuss how you’d facilitate it to be efficient and focused, respecting the 15-minute time-box.

17. How do you handle scope creep in Scrum?

Explain that in Scrum, scope creep is managed by keeping changes outside of the current Sprint. Discuss the role of the Product Owner in managing the Product Backlog and making decisions about what enters the next Sprint.

18. How do you ensure a potentially shippable product increment at the end of each Sprint?

Talk about practices such as Definition of Done, continuous integration, automated testing, and regular backlog refinement to ensure work is well-defined and achievable within the Sprint.

19. What tools have you used to facilitate Scrum?

Mention tools like Jira, Trello, or Rally that you’ve used for backlog management, sprint planning, or tracking team progress. Also, talk about collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Confluence, if you’ve used them.

20. How do you guide your team in sizing Story Points?

Explain the concept of Story Points and techniques like Planning Poker for estimation. Emphasize the importance of team collaboration and shared understanding in this process.

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21. Can you describe what “Definition of Done” is and its purpose?

The Definition of Done is a shared understanding of what it means for work to be complete. It guides the team in knowing how much work to select for a Sprint and ensures quality, consistency, and transparency.

22. How would you handle external stakeholders who try to disrupt the team during a Sprint?

Discuss the role of the Scrum Master as a protector of the team’s focus and productivity. Talk about managing stakeholder interactions, educating stakeholders on Scrum principles, and deferring changes to the next Sprint Planning.

23. How do you engage the team during Sprint Retrospective meetings?

Talk about different Retrospective formats you’ve used to make the meetings engaging and productive. Discuss the importance of fostering a safe and open environment for feedback.

24. What is your approach to coaching a new Scrum team?

Discuss techniques like workshops, mentoring, or hands-on practice. Emphasize the importance of patience and gradual growth in Scrum mastery, and of modeling Scrum values in your own behavior.

25. How do you handle a team member who is not completing their tasks?

Discuss approaches like one-on-one conversations to understand the issue, offering help or resources, or facilitating discussion within the team. Highlight the importance of addressing such issues openly and promptly.

26. What do you think is the most challenging aspect of being a Scrum Master?

This question seeks your self-awareness and openness. You might talk about challenges like resistance to change, maintaining the team’s focus amid disruptions, or continually growing in your own Scrum knowledge and skills.

27. What are some methods to achieve continuous improvement in a Scrum team?

Discuss the role of Retrospectives in continuous improvement. Also talk about other methods like introducing new tools or practices, fostering a culture of learning and innovation, or regularly seeking and acting on feedback.

28. Can you explain the concept of technical debt? How do you handle it in your team?

Technical debt refers to the future cost incurred due to shortcuts or quick fixes in the present. Discuss strategies like regular refactoring, dedicating a certain percentage of each Sprint to address technical debt, or using code reviews to prevent new technical debt from accruing.

29. How do you facilitate the team’s decision-making process?

Highlight your role as a facilitator and not a decision-maker. Discuss techniques like consensus decision-making, decision by voting, or time-boxed discussions followed by a decision from the Product Owner.

30. What is your approach to handling interruptions during the Sprint?

Talk about strategies like deflecting changes to the Product Backlog for consideration in the next Sprint, educating stakeholders about Scrum principles, or maintaining a buffer in the Sprint for urgent, unexpected work.

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31. How do you help a team estimate and decompose requirements into tasks?

Discuss techniques like user story mapping, breaking stories down by workflow or data, or using INVEST criteria for user stories. For estimation, talk about Story Points, Ideal Hours, or T-shirt sizing, and how you coach the team in these techniques.

32. How do you motivate your team?

Mention methods like fostering a culture of recognition and respect, providing opportunities for learning and growth, maintaining open communication, or keeping work challenging and meaningful.

33. How do you handle a Product Owner who is over-assigning tasks to the team?

Discuss the importance of sustainable pace and the Scrum principle that the team decides how much work to commit to in a Sprint. Talk about how you’d coach the Product Owner in these principles and negotiate a realistic scope for the Sprint.

34. How do you keep up with the latest Agile and Scrum practices?

Mention resources like books, blogs, webinars, podcasts, conferences, or communities of practice. Highlight your commitment to continuous learning and improvement.

35. Why do you want to work as a Scrum Master at our company?

Research the company values, culture, products or services, and challenges, and discuss how these align with your own values, career goals, or areas of expertise. Show your enthusiasm for contributing to the company’s Agile journey.

Interviews for Scrum Master positions can be challenging. Remember, the objective is not just to understand your theoretical knowledge of Scrum, but also how you’ve applied it in practical situations. Your responses should demonstrate your experience, skills, and commitment to Agile values and principles. Good luck with your preparation!

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