Agile is one of the most commonly used tools that can help your business maximise output value. Scrum is a popular framework within Agile that incorporates Agile’s best principles. Organisations are quickly recognising the benefits of adopting methodologies like Scrum. According to a report by CollabNet VersionOne, 56% of the surveyed organisations testified to using Scrum for their Agile implementation.

The role of a Scrum Master or a Scrum professional was among the top 10 Most Promising Jobs of 2019. If this is a role you want to take up as a career, great opportunities are waiting for you. So start preparing for your interview with these most common and important Scrum Master interview questions.

1. What is Scrum?

Scrum is an Agile framework that helps teams work together. It allows you to learn from past experiences, work on problems while self-organising and improve on victories and failures.

2.  What are the job roles in Scrum?

  • Product Owner - This person is responsible for increasing the ROI for the organisation. Their job is to determine product features, prioritise and list these features and much more. They continually re- prioritise these features.
  • Scrum Master - This person helps the rest of the team to apply Scrum to ensure optimum business value. The Scrum Master removes obstacles, keeps the team focused and helps them to adopt agile practices.
  • Scrum Team - This refers to a collection of individuals who work together to deliver all the requirements of stakeholders.

3. How does a Scrum Master help a Product Owner?

The Scrum Master helps with the following tasks:

  • Efficient product backlog management
  • Helping the Scrum team create a shared goal
  • Understanding and practising agility
  • Promoting Scrum events whenever requested or needed

4.  Why doesn’t an organisation need an Agile methodology?

There are many benefits to an organisation after adopting an Agile methodology:

  • It helps improve customer satisfaction with efficient delivery of useful software
  • It eases potential changing requirements even fairly late in a company’s development
  • It helps deliver working software repeatedly, which is the main metric of progress
  • It enables close operations daily between the company and the developers
  • It enables self-organising teams and, as a result, self-motivated team members
  • It assists communication through face-to-face conversations in situations of co-location
  • It pays constant attention to XP
  • It makes operations simpler.

Additional Read: What is the Difference between PRINCE2 vs Scrum?

5. What are the responsibilities of the Scrum Team?

A Scrum Team has five to seven members and is self-organizing. Their responsibilities are vast.

  • Developing and delivering working products during each sprint
  • Ensuring ownership and transparency for all the work assigned to team members
  • Providing correct and crisp information to ensure a successful Scrum meeting every day.
  • Collaborating with the team and themselves

6.  What are the artifacts of the Scrum process?

  • Product backlog: This is a list of new features, changes to existing features, bug fixes, infrastructure changes and other activities. Its purpose is to ensure a particular output can be obtained.
  • Sprint backlog: It’s a subset of the product backlog. A Sprint backlog contains tasks focused on by the team to accomplish the Sprint goal. Teams identify the tasks to be completed from the product backlog and add them to the Sprint backlog.
  • Product increment: This is a combination of all product backlog items completed in a Sprint and the value increments of previous Sprints. The output must be in usable condition even if the product owner does not release it.

7.  What are the phases of risk management?

Risk management can be broken down into five phases:

  • Risk identification
  • Risk categorization
  • Risk response
  • Risk review
  • Risk closure

8. What happens in daily Stand-up sessions?

Stand-up sessions are about fifteen-minute long daily discussions. The purpose of these discussions is to understand

  • Which tasks went well
  • Which tasks were completed
  • Which tasks are pending
  • The obstacles to the team

Stand-up sessions help the entire team to understand the overall scope and status of the project. Any further discussions or repercussions can take place after the sessions.

9. What is Scrum-ban?

Scrum-ban is a methodology that combines Scrum and Kanban. Scrum-ban is used to meet the needs of the team, minimize the batching of work and adopt a pull-based system.

Scrum-ban includes the structure of Scrum and the flexibility and visualisation of Kanban.

10.  What is Sprint 0 and Spike?

Sprint 0 is the small amount of effort invested to create a rough outline of the product backlog. It also includes insights into the estimated release of the products. Sprint 0 performs the following tasks:

  • Creating the project outline and framework along with research spikes
  • Keeping design minimal
  • Developing entire stories sometimes
  • Having low velocity and being lightweight

A spike refers to a set of activities that require extreme programming (XP) for research, design, investigation and creating POCs, among others. It aims to reduce the risks involved in the technical approach. This helps to gain knowledge for a better understanding of the requirements and also improves reliability.

You May Also Like: PMP vs PRINCE2 vs CAPM: Which One’s Right for Me?

11.  What is User-Story mapping?

User-story mapping represents and organizes user stories that provide insights into system functionalities, system backlog, planning releases and providing value to customers. Under user-story mapping, user stories are arranged on the basis of priority along the horizontal axis. The vertical axis represents these stories organized according to their level of sophistication.

12. How can a Scrum Manager track the progress of a Sprint?

Scrum Managers use the burndown chart to track a Sprint’s progress. The amount of work that still remains is represented on the vertical axis, while the total number of sprints is shown on the horizontal axis.

13. What is Empirical Process Control in Scrum?

Empiricism includes work that is based on facts, evidence, observations and experience. Empirical process control is established and followed in Scrum to ensure the progression of the project. All interpretations of the project are based on facts and observations.

Empirical process control relies on transparency, observation and adaption. A shift in the thought process and mindset of the entire team is essential to achieve the organisation’s desired level of agility.

14.  Can you differentiate between Agile and Scrum?

  • Definition: Agile is a set of principles. Scrum is an implementation of the Agile methodology.
  • Uses: Agile is used in projects that involve a small team of experts. Scrum is best suited for teams that handle constantly changing demands.
  • Command: There is a project head who takes care of all tasks under Agile. On the other hand, the Scrum Master and Team handle all issues without any distinct leader.
  • Agility: Scrum teams react to changes and handle them far better than Agile teams.
  • Delivery: Agile demands frequent delivery to the end-user. However, Sprints can produce WIPs of the end product for feedback.
  • Team meetings: Agile ensures face-to-face interactions between multi-functional teams. Scrum teams have daily stand-up discussions to collaborate better.
  • Design and execution: Agile has simple execution and design, whereas Scrum allows innovation and experimentation.

15. What are the key skills of a Scrum Master?

  • In-depth understanding of Scrum and Agile methodologies
  • Immaculate organisational skills
  • Familiarity with the technology the team uses
  • Ability to teach the team and coach them to follow Scrum best practices
  • Ability to quickly identify, handle and resolve problems
  • Capable of hand-holding and being a servant leader

16. What are the responsibilities of a Product Owner?

A Product Owner

  • Defines the goal and vision for the project
  • Can predict customer needs and create necessary user stories
  • Evaluates the progress of projects
  • Acts as a key point of contact for product-related questions

17. What is a Burnup and Burndown Chart?

A burnup chart tracks the amount of work that has been completed and represents the total amount of work to be done for a sprint or project.

A burndown chart represents how quickly Scrum Teams can work through user stories. It shows the total amount of effort against the amount of work required for each iteration.

18. How is estimation carried out in a Scrum project?

The estimation of user stories is based on the level of difficulty of each story. Various scales are used to assess the difficulty of each user story. Some scale types are:

  • Numeric (1-10)
  • Clothing sizes (XS, S, M, L)
  • Fibonacci series ( 0,1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 11)

19. How is Sprint progress tracked by the Scrum Master?

A Scrum Master takes many steps to track the progress of a Sprint.

  • Daily Scrum meetings
  • Sprint planning
  • Escaped defects
  • Defect density
  • Sprint burndown
  • Team velocity

20. What are the most common risks in Scrum projects?

  • A scope creep
  • Timeline issues
  • Budget issues

21. What does scope creep mean? How can it be prevented?

When the scope of work and requirements of the project are not clearly defined and when new features are added to a project in progress, a scope creep might occur.

  • Project requirements need to be specified before the project starts
  • Progress of the project needs to be monitored
  • Effective grooming of sprint backlog

22. What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in Scrum?

An MVP is a product with the lowest number of features that needs to be shown to the client and be eligible to start production on.

23. What is the key advantage of using Scrum?

Scrum allows early feedback and rapidly starts production. Scrum also helps organisations to produce the MVP to the stakeholders.

 

Important Tips Before Your Interview:

Since you’re looking up Scrum interview questions, you have either already gotten through an initial selection round. Some questions listed above are more important than others. Make sure you go through them all and pay attention to detail. Also, make sure you do your research on the organisation you are going to join. Whatever happens, be confident and do your best.

 If you’re looking to upskill further, enroll with the Scrum Master certification program on Koenig Solutions.

Armin Vans
Michael Warne is a tech blogger and IT Certification Trainer at Koenig Solutions. He has an experience of 5 years in the industry, and has worked for top-notch IT companies. He is an IT career consultant for students who pursue various types of IT certifications.

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