This tutorial provides frequently asked Scrum Master interview questions and answers with explanations to help you prepare for the interview:
Lack of adaptability/change in traditional software development was the main reason for the need for an Agile model, where development takes place over multiple iterations based on the priority of features required.
Various methodologies/frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, Lean and extreme programming are used in the Agile model in software development with agile practices like Behavior-Driven (BDD), Test-Driven (TDD), Continuous Integration/Delivery (CI/CD).
Product owner, scrum master, and development members constitute the scrum team in an agile model of software development. Scrum master organizes interactive sessions with the team to understand the pain points during project execution, lessons learned, and how to overcome them in future projects.
What You Will Learn:
About Scrum Master
Scrum master assists and trains development members for smooth functioning of assigned tasks resolves any roadblock that affects productivity, verifies the progress, reviews deliverables, maintains backlog, and includes them into a delivery schedule based on priority.
Scrum master is also known as an agile coach or iteration manager, should be someone with detailed knowledge of the Scrum framework, agile values, and principles. There can be various designations, such as agile coach, full-time scrum master with multiple scrum teams to monitor, dedicated or part-time, and rotating scrum master.
The scrum master will discuss and verify with the team working on software development that they follow agile values and principles, remove any obstacles that impede the productivity of the team, and educate members to handle specific situations based on their previous project management skills.
The interview questions given below will prepare the candidate appearing for the position of scrum master.
Frequently Asked Scrum Master Interview Questions
Q #1) Explain the importance of Agile.
Answer: Agile is a process of managing a complex software development activity into manageable tasks, by developing features based on priority and importance on multiple iterations.
Scrum and Kanban are well-known methodologies used in the software industries for delivering features quickly, with better quality and scope for changes if suggested by the client. Frequent inspection, adaptation, rapid delivery, align with client needs are some features of agile that make it important.
Q #2) Describe Scrum.
Answer: It is an agile framework that helps organization, teams, and people to develop software development adaptive to market needs or requirement changes that evolves product being developed with continuous learning and lightweight planning. Scrum reveals the effectiveness of current management, environment, and work techniques to improve the process.
Q #3) Explain Scrum Framework.
Answer: It is an agile project management framework used to develop, deliver and sustain software products to the customers. Scrum framework adapts to changes in client requirements, develops software through a series of iterations (known as sprint), and delivers a more frequent, quicker, and high-quality product with flexibility for change.
Q #4) Describe the responsibilities of the scrum master.
Answer: Scrum master works with the product owner and follows activities:
- Mentor the members of the team about their roles and contribution to the team, impart understanding about agile processes and how to implement them while working, sense of product ownership, and self-management in the team.
- Organize daily stand-up meets to get the updates about allocated tasks to the team members–task completed, the task scheduled today, and any obstacles to the member during work.
- Share information about product backlog. This includes a list of work that needs to be accomplished by the team to the product owner.
- Remove obstacles/roadblocks like attending meetings etc. by team members that prevent them concentrate on their task.
- Monitor scrum principles and practices are followed by team members during development activities.
Q #5) Describe Scrum artifacts.
Answer: Scrum artifacts are used by the scrum team and stakeholders to describe products under development, actions taken to develop the product, and in the entire project. Product backlog, Sprint backlog, and increments are some of the important artifacts used during a scrum.
- Product backlog: It is a cross-team backlog of activities such as bug fixes, enhancements, new features, tasks, and activities required to build a product like development and testing. The list of the product backlog is maintained by the product owner between sprint cycles and is expected to get completed during the sprint.
- Sprint backlog: It is the list of product backlog tasks that are carried over to the next product increment. These are created by breaking down product backlog into manageable minor tasks that can be completed in sprint intervals. If not completed, it can be carried to the next sprint.
- Product increment: It is a combination of previous sprint increments and customer deliverables that were achieved by completing product backlog activities/tasks. Product increments are useful in version tracking and rollback in continuous integration and development.
- Burn down chart: These are graphs calibrated that display completed tasks over sprint duration. This helps in evaluating active execution velocity (if expectations from the team are met or not during the sprint) of the team.
Q #6) Explain Scrum Sprint and its duration.
Answer: Scrum Sprint is a fixed interval of four weeks or fewer that commences immediately after the previous sprint concludes. Sprint planning, Daily scrums, sprint review, and retrospective are the activities carried out in the sprint.
The product backlog is refined, clarification on the scope can be negotiated with the product owner with no changes that affect sprint goal or decrease the product quality.
Q #7) List the Stakeholders in agile.
Answer: Stakeholders for agile development are explained below:
- Project fund managers
- Business architects/managers
- Data and Database administrators
- Project and portfolio managers
- Direct and indirect product users
- Sales and Accounts manager
- Engineering team that include
- Project Manager
- Business Analyst
Q #8) List five phases of risk management.
Answer: Following are phases for risk management:
- Identify Risk
- Measure Risk
- Examine Risk
- Implement Risk
- Monitor Result
Q #9) Describe the User story.
Answer: User stories explain the outline for the desired outcome expected from the perspective of the end-user. User stories in agile frameworks such as scrum and kanban are added into sprint backlog and run via workflow.
User stories help in estimation, and sprint planning brings more agility and accurate forecasting on the completion of these backlogs. It allows the team to work together, think critically to serve the user, and solve the goal.
Q #10) What are the tools used in Scrum Project?
Answer: The various tools used include:
- Zepel: Project management that helps create user stories, enhancements, bugs, tasks, draw burn-down charts has integration with GitHub, GitLab, etc.
- Jira: Custom Scrum/Kanban boards that list backlog tasks for the team, roadmaps that outline the project plans are a few features of Jira that can be used in the scrum.
- Zoho Sprints: Based on priority tasks that can be assigned, log time tracks down paid and unpaid hours to the team.
- Github: Versioning software that helps in code stored in one place, task coordination, attaching comprehensive documents on the product features are few features that Github helps in the scrum.
- Kanbanize: It has a built-in design feature for Kanban boards, Work In Progress (WIP) limits and agile reporting.
Q #11) Explain the importance of Timeboxing in the scrum.
Answer: All activities in the scrum framework are of fixed intervals, the amount of time is defined and is dedicated to an activity which is termed as time boxing. Any particular activity should be completed in the defined time period. There will be a deadline for each task. It is introduced, so that team uses their time productively.
For example, the sprint is of time box of one month or less.
Q #12) Explain estimation in the Scrum project.
Answer: Entire scrum team will be involved in the estimation of tasks assigned to them and how will they be able to deliver during the time box of the Sprint. The product owner will break down the user stories into small tasks/activities that can be completed, make sure that activity is clearly understood, and assign for the sprint based on the priority.
There are various techniques used during scrum estimation,
- Planning Poker
- T-Shirt Sizes
- Dot Voting
- The Bucket System
- Affinity Mapping
- Ordering metho
Q #13) What is the purpose of daily scrum?
Answer: Daily stand up scrum meeting is essential in order to
- Verify the progress towards the goal for the sprint.
- Track work completed from the sprint backlog.
- Update upcoming work can be planned accordingly.
- Validate that everyone has visibility and is aligned with what is going on.
Q #14) List the common risks in the scrum projects.
Answer: There are common risks involved with any agile/scrum project. The list is as given below:
- Budget Risk: The project may become expensive based on client changing requirements.
- Scope Creep: Changes in requirement may extend the timeline, deliverables, and cost of the project.
- Risk of not adhering to agile principles: The members of the team may have not understood the principles of agile.
- Project may not be suitable for agile: There can be a deviation in processes adopted that is different from the agile process
- Less predictability: In order to fulfill client demands, the costing of the project might become unpredictable
- Lack of agile compliant staff: Scrum masters have to mentor each of the team members and make sure they are following agile processes.
- Sudden stopping of Work: The product being developed may not remain suitable for the market and have to rethink the project.
- Technical Debt: The technical resources in the team may leave the organization during the scrum interval.
Q #15) What are the advantages of scrum methodology?
Answer: Following are the advantages:
- Products developed using scrum methodology are of higher quality.
- The scrum team operates in a highly efficient manner
- Efficient utilization of Sprint interval and financial resources during project development.
- Re verification of product before releasing in order to resolve any flaw that may come across.
- User stories are divided into smaller, manageable, and easier tasks that can be completed in a given sprint interval.
- Daily scrum meetings engage team members, track progress in each iteration, obstacles can be removed, tasks are completed as per their priority.
Q #16) What are the disadvantages of Scrum methodology?
Answer: Disadvantages include:
- Project work can be extended longer with customer requirements or change requests, as scrum does not have a pre-defined definite timeline and work.
- Difficulty adapting scrum methodology.
- Scrum members work independently.
- No micro-management of assigned tasks by scrum master or product owner.
- Difficulty understanding of scrum process or methods.
- Due to limited sprint, the scrum team does not test their product feature aggressively, resulting in inferior product quality.
- It is difficult to document or address every member with a large team.
Q #17) What is the definition of Done in Scrum?
Answer: In scrum, when a product backlog item (activity) or an increment is termed as “Done”. In short, Done means Releasable. DoD – Definition of Done in case of product development comprises business or functional requirements, Quality, and Non-Functional requirements.
Q #18) Explain Velocity in the scrum.
Answer: It is a conversion indication of the average amount of product backlog into increment during a Sprint by scrum team members. The product owner can estimate how quickly a team can work through the product backlog during the sprint. It depends on the size of tasks at hand and that can differ from team to team and reference points.
Q #19) Describe a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
Answer: MVP is a development technique when a new product with basic features is introduced in the market, just enough to get consumer attention. After sufficient feedback from the end-users final product is released with improvisation.
Understanding customers’ interest in your product without full development is one benefit of MVP. Based on the response, you can decide on how much to spend if the product will succeed in the market.
A product designed with minimum required features shown to stakeholders and its level of readiness to be shipped for production is a minimum viable product.
Q #20) List the elements of a good user story.
Answer: Following are some elements:
- It is mandatory to have a user for the user story.
- User stories should be small and simple.
- A qualifying value statement should be present in user stories.
- Acceptance criteria for the product should be one checklist of requirements for user stories.
- Making user stories user-centric, user stories should capture information that the user is looking for in simple sentences.
- The major elements of the user story are role, goal, and reason.
Q #21) Who should take part in a sprint retrospective?
Answer: Entire scrum team, including the product owner and scrum master, should attend the sprint retrospective meet. Sprint retrospective help to discuss and identify the previous sprint-like, what went well in the sprint, what could be improved, and what are the steps to be considered in order to improve the next sprint.
Q #22) List the steps to tackle boredom during the sprint retrospective.
Answer: Team retrospective meet can become boring, as there can be arguments and blame on another team instead of working towards improving processes.
- The feeling of working together can help resolve team-level impediments.
- Organization-level obstacles can be escalated to the next level for resolution.
- Appreciate the good work team has accomplished and the steps to prevent any impediments in the next sprint.
- It is essential to confirm that all stakeholders are available and attend this meeting.
- The work related to sprint should not get affected.
- The time of the meeting should be arranged based on how many time zones are involved to accommodate remote teams across various continents.
Q #23) What are the steps taken to follow up on action items?
Answer: Follow up on action items discussed in the meetings need the following steps:
- After the meeting concludes, follow up on action items being assigned and discussed during the meet begins.
- The minutes of the meeting that include a summary of the meeting should be circulated to the attendees.
- Mail sent should include a list of action items, the name of the person task assigned to, and deadlines.
- The person who owns the task should report back with an approximate date of completion of the task for each of the tasks assigned.
Q #24) How do you measure the value of the user stories?
Answer: The importance of the user story from the customer’s perspective can be evaluated from its business value. The matrix used in order to measure the value of user stories has the following effect:
- Improved revenue and rate of customer satisfaction.
- The rise in sign-ups, increase in cost-cutting through the process of improvement.
- Increased positive customer response.
Q #25) What is the contribution of the scrum team in sprint planning?
Answer: The contributions of each team resource is described below:
- The product owner explains the objective of the sprint and a list of backlog items that should be completed in the sprint.
- The development team will plan how the items in the backlog in the sprint will get completed based on value and effort to accomplish these tasks
- The scrum master will conduct daily stand-ups, overview the progress in converting product backlogs into deliverables, remove any impediment that reduces productivity, participate in sprint reviews and retrospective meetings. The scrum master helps streamline and enhance processes for the scrum teams to achieve their goals.
Q #26) What are the challenges faced as a Scrum master?
Answer: Following are challenges scrum masters have to overcome on a regular basis:
- Educate and monitor members of the scrum team for agile principles and processes as these members may not be familiar with the scrum environment.
- Sprint is time-boxed and user stories are divided into small achievable activities in this sprint, scrum masters have to keep motivating the scrum team to achieve goals within the sprint.
- Schedule meetings and invite members to various scrum events for members across a different time zone.
- Reply to various requirements from different managers on productivity, results, statistics, business value, and success.
Q #27) How to identify areas of improvement as a scrum master?
Answer: As a scrum master, you can work on the following areas to improve scrum team velocity:
- During daily stand-ups, make sure the team is focused on the achieving goal for the sprint.
- Remove distractions that prevent team members from performing.
- Involve product owner in case team is not clear with user stories, how to implement and test them, that will help to differentiate between not understanding requirement and defects.
- Appreciate the team for the benefits they bring to the product owner and stakeholders.
- Verify that team completes one thing at a time, rather than start multiple activities and not finish any of them.
- Implement what was learned from the retrospective.
- Find the ways of improving team collaboration.
- Break user stories into smaller activities that are easily achievable making it faster for the team to complete.
Q #28) What is the definition of a Release candidate?
Answer: Version of software or set of product features that is functional but not ready for the market yet is known as a release candidate. The functionality of the feature has been tested properly in the final release however, serious bugs may surface when exposed to a real-time production environment like multiple users accessing applications during peak time.
Q #29) Explain Scrum’s story point.
Answer: It is difficult to estimate the time that may take to complete assigned tasks during the sprint, which is in time format like days, weeks, and months.
Story points are units of measure for expressing estimate of overall efforts required by team members to complete implementation of the product backlog item. Team assign story points based on complexity, amount of work, and risk of uncertainty.
Q #30) Explain the difference between Burn up and Burn down Chart.
Answer: The definition below will explain the difference between them:
- Burn up chart: The tool that can calibrate the amount of work completed versus total product backlog – work pending for the sprint.
- Burn down chart: It is a graph that shows how quickly user stories are being worked upon. It displays the total efforts involved by the development team against the total amount of work for each of the iterations.
It is essential for a scrum master to keep the scrum team motivated to achieve their goals for the sprint. Scrum Master helps the team focus on creating high-value increments, remove any obstacles, assist product owners in sprint planning and evaluate lessons learned in the sprint by arranging sprint retrospective meetings for all scrum members.
Scrum master interview questions covered above have covered all the areas of activities carried out by the scrum master in the Scrum team during the agile production environment.