15 Scrum Master Interview Questions (2024)
6 min read
3 Jan, 2024
Dive into our curated list of Scrum Master interview questions complete with expert insights and sample answers. Equip yourself with the knowledge to impress and stand out in your next interview.
1. Can you describe a time when you implemented a significant process change during a sprint?
Understanding how one handles change, especially during a sprint, provides insight into their adaptability and leadership skills. As a Scrum Master, you must be willing to accept changes that increase the project’s value, even if the change occurs in the middle of a sprint.
In a previous role, our team was working on a new feature in a sprint when the Product Owner realized that customer requirements had changed. After discussing with the team and reviewing the new requirements, we decided to pivot our focus. We updated the sprint backlog and informed all stakeholders about the change. It was a challenging process, but it increased the project's overall value.
2. How do you handle disagreements within the Scrum team?
Scrum Masters must manage conflicts effectively to maintain a productive environment. A good leader can mediate disagreements and guide the team towards a beneficial resolution.
Whenever disagreements arise, I always encourage open communication within the team. I arrange a meeting where all parties can express their views. We then weigh the pros and cons of each point of view, considering the project's goals. Ultimately, we aim for a compromise that benefits the project and satisfies the team members involved.
3. How do you encourage team members who are not participating actively in Scrum events?
Active participation in Scrum events is vital for successful project execution. It is crucial to encourage less engaged team members without imposing undue pressure on them.
I would first try to understand why a team member is not actively participating. If it's due to workload or personal problems, I would work with them to find a solution. If it's a matter of understanding or interest, I would highlight the importance of their roles and how their contribution impacts the project's success.
4. How have you implemented Scrum in a company where Waterfall was primarily used?
This question probes the candidate's experience and skill in transitioning teams to Scrum. The response reveals the candidate's problem-solving skills and ability to handle resistance to change.
I once led a team through a transition from Waterfall to Scrum. I started by conducting training sessions to explain the benefits and processes of Scrum. We then gradually transitioned by first implementing Scrum in smaller projects, then moving on to larger ones. We faced some resistance, but frequent communication and demonstrating Scrum's benefits helped overcome it.
5. Can you describe how you have used metrics to improve team performance?
Scrum Masters must effectively use metrics to track and improve team performance. This question tests the candidate's understanding of various metrics and their ability to use them wisely.
On one occasion, our team's velocity was consistently lower than expected. Using the sprint burndown chart, I identified that our user stories were too large. We then started breaking down user stories into smaller, manageable parts. This improved our velocity and made planning and execution more efficient.
Would you like a 4 day work week?
6. How would you handle a Product Owner who is constantly changing requirements?
The Scrum Master's ability to manage a fickle Product Owner is crucial. Their response will illuminate their capacity to maintain the project's integrity while accommodating necessary changes.
I would first explain to the Product Owner the impact of frequent requirement changes on the team's productivity and the project's timeline. We would then work together to prioritize the requirements and limit changes to the Sprint Planning phase. For unavoidable changes, I would ensure they're properly assessed and communicated.
7. How have you dealt with a team member who is consistently underperforming?
Interviewees' answers will illustrate their approach in managing underperformance, teamwork, and maintaining high morale.
I had an instance where a team member was constantly falling behind. I arranged a one-on-one meeting to understand their challenges. We found that improper task allocation was the issue. I then worked with the team to balance workload, which greatly improved performance.
8. How do you ensure everyone in the team understands the project's goals?
Project success hinges on each team member's understanding of project goals. This question tests the candidate's communication and leadership skills.
I always make sure that project goals and their significance are clearly communicated during the Sprint Planning phase. I also encourage team members to ask questions and voice their concerns. This open communication ensures everyone is on the same page.
9. Describe how you handled a major impediment that blocked your team's progress.
The candidate's response will exhibit their problem-solving skills and ability to act under pressure.
Our team once faced a significant technical roadblock that halted our progress. I arranged a brainstorming session where we identified possible solutions. We then chose the most feasible solution through a team vote. The block was cleared, and we learned a lot in the process.
10. How have you used the Daily Scrum to improve team communication?
The Daily Scrum is a vital tool for communication. This question tests the candidate's ability to facilitate effective communication within the team.
I have always emphasized the importance of the Daily Scrum in keeping the team aligned. By ensuring that each member shares their progress, challenges, and plans, we maintain transparency and mutual understanding, fostering better teamwork.
11. How do you manage stakeholder expectations in a Scrum project?
Managing stakeholder expectations can be challenging. This question gauges the candidate's skill in balancing stakeholder expectations with team capacity.
I constantly engage with stakeholders, ensuring they're aware of the team's progress and any challenges we face. I also negotiate deliverable dates based on the team's velocity to keep expectations realistic and prevent burnout.
12. How do you keep your Scrum knowledge up to date?
This question probes the candidate's commitment to continual learning, a valuable trait in the rapidly changing field of Scrum.
I regularly attend webinars, seminars, and workshops to stay updated. I also follow several Scrum and Agile blogs and forums. Additionally, I find that each new Scrum project brings new learning opportunities.
13. What measures have you taken to improve your team's quality of work?
A Scrum Master must work towards improving the team's work quality. The candidate's response will show their initiative and leadership skills.
I implemented peer reviews and retrospectives to identify areas of improvement. I also facilitated training sessions on best practices. These methods significantly improved our work quality.
14. Describe an instance where you had to defend the team from external interference.
This question tests the candidate's commitment to protect the team from distractions, a key responsibility of a Scrum Master.
In one project, an external department constantly requested direct updates from my team, disrupting their work. I stepped in and communicated that all updates would go through me, leaving the team free to focus on their tasks.
15. How do you handle a team member who doesn't agree with Scrum?
Resistance to Scrum can hamper project success. The candidate's response will reveal their skills in managing such resistance.
I would first understand their concerns. Then, I would explain how Scrum benefits the project, providing real examples from past experiences. If resistance persists, I would suggest they try it for a couple of sprints before making a final judgment.