Are you getting ready for a Scrum Manager interview? Then, you’ve come to the right place.
Scrum masters play an important role in the success of any Scrum team. They keep the team members on track and ensure that they collaborate and communicate effectively to achieve success. They help the team adapt to changes that may arise and help them adopt the Agile methodology to optimize success.
The interview process is crucial to hiring managers because they want to hire individuals who will bring great value to their company.
An impressive resume does not always get you the job. Scrum master interviews give hiring managers the opportunity to get to know your personality, character as a professional, and experience in managing Scrum teams.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate the interview process:
- Understand the purpose of every question. Every question is significant, and understanding the intent gives you the opportunity to provide the best answer.
- Ensure that all your responses convince the interviewer that you are the perfect fit for the job. Provide specific details about your achievements that will prove your value and competence in the position.
- As you get ready for the interview, take time to understand the type of candidate the company will want to hire. This insight will help you provide responses that align with their requirements.
- Take time to get to know the person who will be conducting the interview. This will help you prepare adequately for the type of questions you may be asked. For example, a human resource manager may ask you more general questions, while an experienced senior Scrum Master may ask more technical questions.
This article contains sample interview questions and answers that will help you prepare for an interview and secure your dream position as a Scrum Master.
The questions are divided into the following categories:
- General Questions
- Technical Questions
- Organization and Time Management Questions
- Feedback Questions
- Conflict Resolution Questions
- Scrum Process Questions
- Career Path Questions
- Management and Leadership Questions
Let’s get right into it.
Scrum Master Interview Questions: General Questions
Generally, interviewers start with general questions. These questions help them to get to know more about you and your reasons for applying for the position.
1. Tell us about your experience as a Scrum Master.
This open-ended question is the ideal opportunity to prove your competence. While there is no correct or wrong answer to this question, be sure to provide enough valuable information about your work experience and your best achievements in managing Scrum teams.
Give specific details about some of the challenges you encountered in previous positions and how you overcame them. This will demonstrate your problem-solving skills, which are essential for a Scrum master.
It is also important to give specific details about how you have helped Scrum teams in previous organizations adopt the best agile practices to stay on track to achieve their sprint goals.
You will definitely want to use this question as an opportunity to sell yourself as a competent candidate for the position. However, remember to be honest about what you have accomplished as a Scrum master. Giving specific examples and details will improve your credibility.
Variations for this question include:
- Describe your related work experience.
- How does your previous experience prepare you for this role?
- Does your experience match the demands of this role?
2. What motivated you to pursue a career as a Scrum Master?
This question is important because interviewers want to know the aspects of the job that you are passionate about. When answering this question, be sure to draw on the areas of Scrum management that excite you and what exactly led you into the field of Scrum management.
Interviewers also want to see that you are intrinsically motivated. While extrinsic factors such as salary and other benefits are great motivators, avoid mentioning those when you respond to this question.
There are multiple reasons why a professional will pursue a career in Scrum management. Here are a few of them:
- An interest in leading and managing cross-functional teams.
- Relevant education and experience in Scrum management.
- Interest in implementing agile methodology and Scrum framework.
- Passionate about the theory, practices, and values of Scrum.
Remember, the interviewer wants to see that you are passionate about leading a Scrum team and that you enjoy helping development teams and the company, by extension, meet their goals.
Variations for this question include:
- Why are you interested in this role?
- Why are you passionate about this role?
- What about this role inspires you?
3. What are your greatest strengths as a Scrum Master?
Professionals should always know their strengths. This is a good indicator that you know what you are good at and the areas where you will excel.
When answering this question, it is important to be confident and demonstrate your value by giving specific examples and details about previous work experiences. However, do not exude arrogance or too much humility.
Be sure to show that you possess skills that are relevant to the Scrum master position. Some of the skills you can mention include:
- Complex problem-solving skills
- Decision-making skills
- Leadership and management skills
- Communication and collaboration skills
- Ability to implement and manipulate agile software
- Negotiation skills
- Time management
Remember to give specific examples of how you applied these skills in previous work experiences and be sure to draw on your knowledge about agile methodology and Scrum processes. This will reassure the interviewer that you are credible.
Variations of this question include:
- How did your strengths help your performance?
- What are your best qualities as a Scrum master?
4. What is your approach to research?
Scrum masters must possess extensive knowledge about best agile practices and must demonstrate effective research and analytical skills.
In your response to this question, ensure that you demonstrate to the interviewer that you have the aforementioned skills. Explain the processes and tools you use to gather information and how you use that information to optimize success.
Consider outlining the following when describing a typical research strategy:
- Where to search for authentic information
- The correct keywords to use
- Analysis of search results
- Compiling helpful information for the future
Variations to this question include:
- What are your top methods for conducting research?
- What is the first thing you do with new information?
Scrum Master Interview Questions: Technical Questions
Technical questions are an important part of the interview process. These questions will help the interviewer determine how well you will be able to carry out the day- to-day operations associated with the Scrum master position.
A Scrum master plays an important role in helping the development team and helps improve the team’s capacity to meet sprint goals. You will need to demonstrate how well you can use theoretical knowledge of agile and Scrum practices to deal with real situations.
Here are some technical questions that an interviewer might ask:
1. What are the core principles of the Scrum framework?
The Scrum framework is built on six core principles. The interviewer may ask this question to see how well you understand these core principles and how you are prepared to implement them in your role as a Scrum master.
The six core scrum framework principles are:
- Empirical process control
- Value-based prioritization
- Time boxing
- Iterative development
Be sure that you are able to explain these core principles and give some information on how they add value to product development within an organization.
2. What are the Scrum artifacts?
This question is important because interviewers aim to determine the extent of your knowledge about the Scrum process. A Scrum master must have knowledge about the features of the Scrum framework and the purpose they serve.
In your response, be sure to mention the three main Scrum artifacts, which are:
- Product backlog: an ordered list of what needs to be done to improve a product. The Scrum team uses the product backlog to assign tasks during sprint planning.
- Sprint backlog: this is a subset of the product backlog. It contains tasks from the product backlog that the Scrum team hopes to accomplish during each agile sprint.
- Product increment: This is the integration of all completed product backlog items during a sprint.
3. Explain the importance of your role as a Scrum master.
This question is relevant because interviewers want to determine how well you understand your role as a Scrum master and the value you bring to Scrum teams and the organization, by extension.
In responding to this question, be sure to mention that you see yourself as a leader, mentor, and facilitator to the Scrum team.
Here are a few reasons why the Scrum master is important during the Scrum process:
- Understands and promotes the rules, values, and principles of Scrum and ensures that the Scrum team follows them.
- Identifies and resolves obstacles that may affect the Scrum team during a sprint.
- Ensures that the Scrum team delivers value during a sprint
- Provides training and mentorship to team members.
- Uses appropriate tools and methods to monitor the progress of the Scrum team during a sprint and keeps team members on track.
- Helps the Scrum team prioritize tasks from the product backlog during sprint planning.
- Acts as a liaison between product owners and the Scrum team to improve team performance
4. How would you help the Scrum team deal with impediments that may affect progress during a sprint?
The Scrum master is responsible for helping the development team manage and remove any obstacles that may prevent them from achieving their tasks outlined in the sprint backlog. The interviewer will want to know how exactly you plan on dealing with impediments.
When answering this question, it is important to remember that the Scrum master communicates and collaborates with team members to resolve issues. Some issues can be resolved by the Scrum team on their own, and others may need help from the Scrum master or product owners. The key is to communicate effectively during daily Scrum sessions about challenges that arise and to identify the best approach to resolving these issues in a timely manner.
Resolving impediments depends on effective communication, collaboration, and decision-making skills. All these skills are essential to successful Scrum masters.
5. What Scrum management software tools are you familiar with?
There are a variety of software tools that help the Scrum process run smoothly. These tools provided built-in Scrum boards and automated processes that alleviate some of the headaches associated with sprint planning. It is important for Scrum masters to know how to use and manage sprints within these tools.
While a Scrum master may not know how to use every single software tool. He/ she should become familiar with as many tools as possible. This ensures that they can adapt to the changing needs of their organization and their career.
Here is a list of the top Scrum management software tools:
- Target Process
It is also important to let the interviewer know that you are also open to working with any tools that exist at the organization and that you are willing to learn and adapt as the needs of the organization evolve.
Scrum Master Interview Questions: Organizations and Time Management Questions
Organization and time management are essential faculties for a Scrum master. A company’s success is determined by its ability to deliver customer needs in a timely manner. The interviewer will ask particular questions relating to time management and organization to determine your ability to manage and deliver projects on time.
Here are some questions you may be asked:
1. How do you handle deadlines for multiple projects?
A Scrum master may be responsible for leading multiple development teams. Be sure to highlight any systems or tools that have assisted you in delivering multiple projects in the past. Be sure to give details about how these methods or tools helped you remain on task to deliver your projects on time. This will demonstrate that you are able to organize, prioritize and manage an efficient workflow.
Variations to this question include:
- What software do you use to manage tasks?
- What are the pros and cons of your task management processes?
2. How do you prioritize tasks?
Value-based prioritization is a key principle in managing Scrum projects. A Scrum master has to determine which tasks from the product backlog require immediate attention and which ones can be done later.
When answering this question, be sure to demonstrate to the interviewer that you know how to select tasks that are more valuable in comparison to others. Be sure to give details of an example/s where you had to do that in the past.
Variations of this question may include:
- Explain your prioritization process.
- What are the pros and cons of your prioritization process?
Scrum Master Interview Questions: Feedback Questions
Another core principle of the Scrum framework is collaboration. A major part of collaboration is effective communication. It is important for Scrum masters to provide avenues for team members to share feedback about ways to improve projects and the overall Scrum framework.
1. How do you deal with criticism from development team members?
This is an important question because interviewers want to see how you handle criticism from others. When answering this question, draw on the fact that you do not know everything as a Scrum master and that you are always willing to listen and accept feedback that will help improve the overall success of the team. Be sure to give a specific example if necessary.
Variations to this question include:
- Tell me about a time you received constructive feedback.
- What do you think is a weak point for you?
2. What is your approach to giving feedback to team members?
A key feature of Scrum is constant evaluation and giving feedback. This ensures that team members remain on track with how the project is progressing. A Scrum master is required to have daily stand-up sessions where they assess what is going well, challenges, and changes that will help optimize the team’s success.
When delivering feedback to the team, it is important to show empathy and prudence. When answering this question, it is important to show the interviewer that you possess these qualities and that you are able to deliver difficult criticism without deflating the team’s morale. A good method to use when delivering difficult feedback is the sandwich method:
- Start with something that the team did well.
- Provide suggestions for improving deficient areas.
- End with positive feedback about their overall work.
Be certain that you give specific examples of past experiences that will help solidify your response.
Variations for this question include:
- Explain how you would give difficult feedback.
- Tell me about a time when you had to say no to a project or idea.
Scrum Master Interview Questions: Conflict Resolution Questions
In every professional setting and in our daily lives, we encounter people with different personalities and opinions. Sometimes dealing with people with differing views from us may result in conflict.
These interview questions are designed to determine your approach to identifying and resolving conflict between yourself and members of the Scrum team and also among Scrum team members.
1. What conflicts have you encountered as a Scrum master, and how did you resolve them?
When answering this question, it is essential to describe a specific situation and how you resolved it. Remember that it is best to resolve conflict as soon as it arises. It is also important to listen to the perspective of everyone involved and try to find the root cause of the problem.
There are many conflict resolution strategies, and the one you use will also depend on the situation. However, if you are unsure, you can draw reference to the Thomas- Kilman model, which provides the following approaches to conflict resolution.
- Accommodating: This involves taking steps to meet the needs of the other person at the expense of your own.
- Compromising: involves finding a solution that will partially meet the needs of everyone involved. With this approach, everyone gives up part of their demands.
- Competing: involves satisfying your own needs at the expense of others involved.
- Collaborating: everyone works together to find a solution to the problem.
- Avoiding: This involves ignoring the conflict altogether. This is not usually a healthy approach to conflict resolution.
Effective conflict resolution skills are an invaluable asset to a Scrum master. He or she needs to know how to diffuse any tensions between team members to ensure that project delivery and team morale are not compromised.
Variations to this question include:
- Describe a situation where there was conflict. How did you handle it?
- Have you ever experienced conflict with product owners or team members?
2. Did you encounter any team members with irritating qualities?
As previously mentioned, it is inevitable to encounter people in the workplace with differing ideas and sometimes difficult personalities.
This interview question aims to determine your level of emotional intelligence when responding to individuals who sometimes get under your skin. In your response, be sure to give details about what you did in past experiences that helped you maintain a cordial working relationship with such individuals.
It is important to remember that getting the job done should be your main priority.
Here are a few tips to consider when dealing with difficult team members:
- Find common ground or interests
- Focus on getting the job done
- Maintain a positive attitude towards them
- Be diplomatic
- Aim to hash out differences in a respectful and polite manner
Variations to this question include:
- How did you deal with difficult coworkers?
- What is your response to irritating colleagues?
Scrum Master Interview Questions: Scrum Process Questions
The following questions are specific to the Scrum process.
1. What is a user story?
In responding to this question, explain exactly what user stories are and the purpose they serve in agile software development.
User stories are agile software development tools that describe the value of a product from the end user’s perspective.
User stories ensure that all team members are working toward the same goal, and they are the building blocks of agile frameworks such as epics and tasks.
The product backlog contains a list of user stories. These user stories are then prioritized and included in the sprint backlog by the Scrum team during a sprint planning meeting.
2. Explain the user story structure giving an example.
When answering this question, be clear in your explanation of a typical user story structure. Use a relevant example to solidify your response.
Here is the structure of a user story:
As a: (type of user)
I want : (to perform a particular task)
So that :(I may achieve a particular goal)
Here is an example of a user story for a person who buys clothes online.
As a customer,
I want to purchase clothes online
So that I do not have to go to a store.
3. What is a Scrum burndown chart, and how have you used it?
This is a relevant question because the interviewer wants to determine the methods and tools you use to track the Scrum team’s progress during a sprint.
In responding to this question, be sure to explain what a burndown chart is and how you have used it in the past to help the Scrum team stay on track to deliver the project on schedule.
A burndown chart is a visual measurement tool that measures the scrum team’s velocity. It shows how many user stories they have completed versus the total amount of work for each iteration.
4. What are the five Scrum values?
This is another important question that will help the interviewer determine your knowledge of the five Scrum values, which form an integral part of agile methodology.
In your response, state the five Scrum values and give some information about how they contribute to the scrum team’s success.
The five Scrum values are:
- Openness: All team members, especially the Scrum master, must be open and give honest feedback during daily Scrum meetings to help the team achieve success.
- Courage: Team members must ask for help when it is needed and try new techniques to help mitigate risks. The Scrum master must also demonstrate courage in dealing with product owners to avoid scope creep and changes during the sprint.
- Focus: All team members must stay on task to ensure that they achieve the sprint goals. Scrum masters must ensure that they engage all team members in daily Scrum sessions.
- Respect: The Scrum master and the Scrum team must share a mutual respect for each other and must respect the product owner. All team members should respect the contribution of their colleagues.
- Commitment: The product owner, Scrum master, and Scrum team must be committed to achieving their tasks and delivering their best. It takes a collaborative effort from all team members to deliver success.
5. What is the role of the Scrum master in daily Scrum?
When responding to this question, be sure to explain in detail how you take charge of daily Scrum meetings and the steps you take to encourage all stakeholders to attend daily Scrum meetings.
Scrum masters should conduct daily Scrum meetings every day to assess the progress of the project. They must explain the importance of daily Scrum sessions to ensure that all team members attend.
Scrum managers should present clear projections during daily Scrum meetings and encourage the team members to share any obstacles or concerns that may affect the project delivery.
Scrum Master Interview Questions: Career Path Questions
As a Scrum master, it is important to hone your skills and keep up with knowledge of best Scrum practices and management tools. These types of interview questions help the interviewer determine your intention to improve your skills and expand your knowledge within the field of Scrum management.
1. What is your process for improving your Scrum management skills?
There are a variety of programs and courses available both online and in-person to help Scrum masters improve their knowledge and skills. When answering this question, be sure to draw reference to any certification or training programs you have completed or hope to complete to help you improve in your role.
Interviewers want to see that you are ambitious and want to keep up with evolving knowledge of best practices within your field.
Here are a few avenues to consider:
- Learning new information from books, podcasts, webinars, and other relevant platforms
- Understanding and improving knowledge of best Scrum practices through mentorship and workshops
2. Where do you see your career in five years?
All organizations want to hire ambitious professionals who endeavor to grow in their careers. When employees expand their knowledge and expertise, the company stands to benefit in a number of ways.
When you respond to this question, be clear and direct about your goals and how exactly you intend to achieve them. Interviewers want to know that you have a clear career path and that you are decisive about achieving your career goals.
Here are a few points to consider in your response:
- Show how your career goals align with the company’s needs. For example, if the position requires you to travel or work from home, express your willingness to do so.
- Research the company to determine its typical career path and training opportunities. Determine what appeals to you and express your willingness to participate.
- Ensure that your responses highlight your desire to develop skills relevant to Scrum management.
- Show that you are enthusiastic about Scrum core values and principles and that the position as a Scrum master excites you. However, be realistic in your desire to grow in your career. Do not allude to becoming a product owner immediately.
Variations of this question include:
- Describe your long-term or short-term career goals.
- What steps will you take to achieve your career goals in the next five years?
Scrum Master Interview Questions: Management and Leadership Questions
A significant part of a Scrum master’s role is to lead the Scrum team and help the entire Scrum team deliver success. A Scrum master’s leadership style will determine how successful the entire Scrum team will be during a sprint.
1. What is your management style as a Scrum master?
This interview question is important because the interviewer wants to determine how well you are able to foster cohesion among Scrum teams and maintain a productive and positive work environment that delivers results.
Here are some management styles you can draw reference to in your response:
- Autocratic/Coercive: These leaders take complete control of the situation without seeking input from the team.
- Democratic/Participative: These leaders provide guidance but allow the team to contribute to decision-making.
- Laissez-faire/Delegative: These leaders give the team complete freedom when making decisions.
- Persuasive/Charismatic: These leaders make the final decisions but convince team members to agree when they arrive at a conclusion.
When responding to this question, be sure to show the interviewer that you maintain a dynamic approach to management. As a Scrum master, it is imperative to consider all key stakeholders in decision-making. The Scrum framework requires a collaborative effort to yield successful results.
A successful Scrum master relies on the Scrum team and product owners to get the job done.
2. What is your experience with managing Scrum teams?
This question gives you the opportunity to highlight your leadership and team management skills as a Scrum master.
Be sure to use your past experiences to give specific examples of when you used various soft skills such as time management, communication, and collaboration. Include details about the size of the Scrum team, what your responsibilities were, and the steps you took to ensure that the entire team was on track to meet their deadline.
Scrum Master Interview Questions: Conclusion
The role of a Scrum master is paramount to the success of the Scrum team. Scrum masters are leaders, mentors, and facilitators who must have a deep understanding of the Agile methodology and must align themselves with the core principles and values of Scrum in order to achieve success.
Scrum masters must also possess a variety of transferable skills that will be valuable to the company they work for.
Before you get hired as a Scrum master, you must go through the interview process. During the interview, the interviewer will use the opportunity to get to know you on a personal and professional level. They will aim to assess your knowledge as well as your ability to use that knowledge in a practical work setting.
Therefore, it is important, to be honest in your responses and use specific details about past experiences to strengthen your responses.
It is also essential to prepare adequately for an interview. Be sure to get to know more about the organization and its requirements. However, do not rehearse your responses. Ensure that there is a natural flow of conversation during the interview.
Use every interview as a learning opportunity for the next one. After an interview, you should reflect on what went well and areas you could have improved. This will help you in future interviews.
Finally, remember to leave a lasting impression and really show the interviewer that you are the right fit for the position.
What is the average Scrum master salary?
According to estimates from Salary: Scrum Master (October, 2022) | Glassdoor, at entry level, a Scrum master’s salary in the US ranges from $58, 751 to $129, 728 per year. A senior Scrum master with 8 years of experience can make a salary in the range of $88, 408 to $141, 862 per year. According to Zippia, the top five highest-paying states for Scrum masters in the United States are Delaware, Rhode Island, Nevada, California and Virginia.