Top 20 Scrum Master & Agile Scrum Interview Questions
Congratulations! You got the interview! Whether this is your first Scrum role or you are a seasoned pro, it’s always helpful to know how to prepare for an Agile interview. Some of the top companies that use Agile and Scrum include Apple, Google, Valve, Philips, and more—so you’ll definitely want to be ready to answer the kinds of interview questions the best Agile and Scrum organizations would use.
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We’ve put together a list of 20 interview questions you may get on your interview—along with effective answers to help you prepare for your dream Agile Scrum job!
1. Explain Agile in 30 seconds.
Agile is a framework of approaches and behaviors that encourage “just-in-time” production that enables customers to receive quality software sooner.
2. What are the differences between Agile and traditional project management (Waterfall)?
Agile encourages that a little of everything, including design, development, and testing is done at the same time. Conversely, the traditional approach to projects closes and completes one phase before the next begins. Agile encourages short, frequent feedback loops and embraces changes to requirements. In Waterfall, feedback is usually not collected until the very end of the project, and changes are discouraged.
3. Are you a Certified Scrum Master?
Don’t be surprised if you don’t have a certification and they ask you this question! The job description may or not may have required a certification—and the interviewer may or may not believe that certification is enough to have the expertise to be a good candidate for the role for which you are applying. If you don’t yet have an Agile Scrum Master certification, let them know if you plan on investing in the certification in the near future. Make sure you mention the years of experience you have in the field.
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4. What are the roles in Scrum?
Scrum prescribes only three roles: the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and the Delivery Team. These roles should ideally be cross-functional and not shared among other projects. Many Scrum Masters have not had the opportunity to work with a team that was cross-functional or dedicated due to the organization’s resistance or inability to allow for what some refer to as a “luxury.” This question may lead the interviewer to ask how you would handle working with a team that did not have a designer or tester within the team or how you would handle a team that was not dedicated. Be ready!
5. What is the Daily Stand-Up?
One of the interview questions on Agile is sure to be about the Daily Stand-Up. The answer? Every day, preferably in the morning, the team meets for no more than 15 minutes to answer three questions:
What did you do yesterday?
What do you plan on doing today?
Are there any blocks or impediments that keep you from doing your work?
This Scrum ceremony is not meant to be a status meeting for stakeholders, but a way to energize the team and get them to set focus for the day.
6. Describe what happens in the Sprint planning meeting.
In Sprint planning, the Product Owner presents the goal of the sprint and discusses the high priority product backlog items. The Delivery team then chooses the amount of work for the next sprint.
7. What is the role of the Scrum Master?
Here’s how to handle a Scrum Master interview question like this: The Scrum Master serves the team and shields them from any distractions that could prevent them from completing a sprint goal. They also remove blocks, teach the team to become self-organized and serve as a coach who teaches Agile and Scrum values and principles.
8. Is there a difference between Agile and Scrum?
Yes! Agile is the broader umbrella which Scrum falls under. Agile has four main values and twelve principles. Scrum has its own set of values and principles and provides a lightweight “framework” to help teams become Agile.
9. Name some other Agile frameworks.
There are other frameworks in addition to Scrum, such as Kanban, Test Driven Development, and Feature Driven Development. Mention frameworks you have followed and provide scenarios.
10. When should you use Waterfall over Scrum?
Use waterfall if the requirements are simple, predictable, fully defined and understood, and will not change.
11. Would you recommend automated testing for your project?
Scrum encourages the use of automated performance or regression testing so that you can continuously deliver software as quickly as possible. Offer examples of any automated testing tools that your team may have used.
12. How long were your sprints?
An ideal sprint length is between one and four weeks, with a two-week sprint being the most widely used.
13. What is velocity?
Velocity is the average number of points from that past 3 – 4 sprints. It is used to help predict when backlog items will be delivered.
14. Is it okay if someone wants to change a requirement?
Yes. Agile encourages frequent feedback from customers and stakeholders so that the product can be improved. We need to be able to embrace change.
15. What type of metrics or reports have you used?
Sprint, release burn-down and burn-up charts are standard reports. Most companies also want to understand how many stories were committed versus completed per sprint and the number of defects identified post-release to production.
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16. What is a burn-down chart?
A burn-down chart displays the amount of work a team has burned through—such as hours during the sprint. Discuss how you have used these in the past.
17. What is a retrospective?
A retrospective is a meeting to inspect and adapt the process. This Agile methodology interview question is looking for the many ways to conduct a retrospective—so be ready to explain one or two formats.
18. How many Scrum teams have you managed at one time?
This is a popular question. Don’t offer that Scrum guidelines state only one Scrum Master per team as your answer! In this new role, you may be required to lead more than one team. Notice the use of the word “managed” versus “led.” Scrum Masters do not manage, they lead teams—so be sure to use this word in your response. Your interviewer is likely to be listening very closely!
19. What type of requirements did you use for your teams?
Requirements in Scrum are written as user stories using a standard, “As a ___, I want___ so that I can ___.” As a Scrum Master, you don’t necessarily write user stories, but you would assist the Product Owner to ensure that user stories are written, prioritized, and ready for the sprint.
20. Describe a time when your Delivery team members didn’t seem to be getting along. How did you handle this?
A little bit of conflict is always good, but your interviewer is looking for your ability to be an effective leader. Reflect on a time where you had a few team members that just never seemed to be able to work things out. How did you encourage those team members to work together? Was it a team building exercise? Did you make sure they had a common goal? State the problem you had, how you addressed it, and the outcome.
As with any interview prep, you’ll want to customize your answers to cater to the company for which you’re interviewing. Consider how companies like Cognizant, Phillips, Apple, etc. are using Agile Scrum methodology in their day-to-day practices. What are they going to want the person who fills this role to excel in?
For most Agile Scrum roles, being a Certified Scrum Master is an essential hiring criterion. Online Agile Scrum Master training from a solid, reputed training provider like Simplilearn will help you learn all you need to know about Agile Scrum—and be in top shape for your interview.
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