10 Questions For Your Scrum Master Interview
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10 Questions For Your Scrum Master Interview

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My Slide Deck presentation for the popular 10 Questions for your Scrum Master Interview Tips as published on InfoQ.

My Slide Deck presentation for the popular 10 Questions for your Scrum Master Interview Tips as published on InfoQ.

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  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
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  • These questions and answers give you the chance to evaluate the level of scrum methodology adoption and understanding of your future employer (or the interviewer). You may see as opportunities if they responded poorly as you can potentially be the champion and making your presence felt. nice!
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  • No offense taken.

    This is a litmus test to determine where they are with Agile, and for a newbie Scrum Master you may not want to jump into an Agile transformation head first.

    If you are up for some heavy transformation work as a consultant, the red flags may actually entice you :)
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  • Hi David,

    No offense intended, but:

    Your 'green' answers desrcibe how I would like my client to be when I leave - so why should I start there in the first place if he's already there?
    Or is the idea to use the questions only for possible employments (in contrast to contracted consulting) to rule out the challenging ones?

    Or did I get something wrong?

    Michael Mahlberg
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  • Like it, short, sweet and full useful information, thank you
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  • It is up to the job seeker to ask hard questions.

    Is your potential employer a Waterfall shop pretending to be Agile? If so, then these are quite effective in peeling away the facade.

    Obviously if they are XP or Kanban then questions like 'Can you describe your Iterations' may not apply.
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  • Indeed.com job trend data can be found: http://www.indeed.com/jobtrends Google.com search volume data can be found: http://google.com/trends
  • You need to ask precise questions to determine agility. The Interviewer may not offer up these insights with a bit of prodding from your side.
  • Ideally this is 2 weeks, but if it is close within reason it is a positive sign. Be wary of extremely long answers that slip into months, as these are not agile characteristics.
  • Small, cross functional teams are important. Take note of any answers that lean towards large silos of developers. You may also want to follow up on whether or not the team is distributed or co-located.
  • A non-existent Product Owner can wreak havoc on an agile team. This could be why the Scrum Master position is vacant!
  • It is difficult to remain true to the tenets of agile with a clunky batch process for code deployment. Try to pin them down on what tools they use here to prevent them from sidestepping the question.
  • Similar to CI above, TDD is another indicator of agility. Again try to find out the tool set they use for this process, as it will vary by technology stack.
  • There is no one perfect answer for this, but they should touch on small excerpts of functionality that are on a task board or in project management software. Lengthy SRS or functional specifications should raise a red flag.
  • Points or hours should be sufficient. I’d pay attention on whether or not their fibonnacci scale goes to extremes. Measuring actuals vs estimates can lead the conversation to some interesting areas. Try to determine whether or not actuals are used against team members.
  • This should be every day if you are playing the role of a true Scrum Master. This can be more challenging with distributed teams in different time zones.
  • Agile isn’t only bottom, it is also top down. Try to determine if the person selling you on this agile position actually has any say within the company.
  • Depending on the organization this can vary, but it is worth asking especially if they responsibilities do not interest you in the least. It is better to know about them now!

10 Questions For Your Scrum Master Interview 10 Questions For Your Scrum Master Interview Presentation Transcript

  • 10 Questions for your Scrum Master Interview David J Bland [email_address]
    • Agile / Scrum Job Data
    • Interview
    • your
    • Interviewer
    Just how Agile is this position? View slide
    • Question #1
    • Can you describe
    • your iterations?
    (Agile) – 2 weeks max (Agile?) – Over 1 month (Red Flag!) – What’s an iteration? View slide
    • Question #2
    • What is the team
    • size & make up?
    (Agile) – Small & cross functional (Red Flag!) – 20+ members in vertical silos (Agile?) – Large but collaborative
    • Question #3
    • Are Product Owners
    • available for Q&A?
    (Agile) – Yes & often (Agile?) – Yes about once a week (Red Flag!) – They weigh in after launch
    • Question #4
    • Can you explain your
    • code deployments?
    (Agile) – Automated continuous integration (Agile?) – Frequent manual deployments (Red Flag!) – Very large, infrequent batches
    • Question #5
    • Do you practice Test
    • Driven Development?
    (Agile) – Yes & Behavior Driven Development (Agile?) – Yes on the important bits (Red Flag!) – We have QA for testing
    • Question #6
    • Can you describe
    • your requirements
    • documentation?
    (Agile) – User Stories with INVEST model (Agile?) – Small paragraphs of requirements (Red Flag!) – Large SRS documents
    • Question #7
    • How do you use
    • project metrics?
    (Agile) – Story Points for Release Planning (Agile?) – We estimate most of our tasks (Red Flag!) – Only use MS Project with Gantt
    • Question #8
    • How often do your
    • teams meet?
    (Agile) – Daily Stand Ups (Agile?) – A couple times a week (Red Flag!) – Only monthly status meetings
    • Question #9
    • Do you have executive
    • buy-in for Agile?
    (Agile) – Yes and we’ve trained our teams (Agile?) – They suggested we try it out (Red Flag!) – My boss thinks it is a fad
    • Question #10
    • Can you explain other
    • responsibilities for the
    • Scrum Master?
    (Agile) – Mentor, Tester, Coder, Designer (Agile?) – Also Project Manager (Red Flag!) – Also the Product Owner
  • Good luck future Scrum Masters! David J Bland [email_address]