Scrum Master Interview Questions


When conducting interview it’s especially hard to determine if someone doing the interview really knows enough to do the role they’re applying to. While it’s impossible to fully vet someone in just a quick 30 minute interview below are a few questions I ask to try to determine if they have real world experiences they can share, or if they’re going off hearsay.

I usually start asking a general overview of how they became a ___________ and what have they enjoyed/not enjoyed about that role. Their answer here can start to give you early insights into their potential to be a good culture fit, and if their goals match the goals the hiring manager is desiring.

  • How long have you been a SM?
    • If they include time spent as a project manager I would ask them what the difference is, honestly these are very different roles, a project manager is general more directive and is responsible for a specific scope of work, a SM is more facilitative and is responsible for guiding mature execution of scrum
  • What have been some of your biggest challenges and how have you overcome them?
    • Usually a SM’s biggest challenge is getting clarity around what is needed to be delivered and then getting management to empower the team to define “how much” and “when”. I would expect a SM to have lots of stories about working in an ecosystem that limited mature scrum
    • I would also expect an SM to have problems with dependency management. They would get extra attention if they said they set up a scrum of scrums or SAFe program level coordination to address those challenges
  • How many teams do you support?
    • Usually a SM supports 1-2 immature teams or 2-3 established mature teams. If they have significantly more I would question if they were able to effectively do that role and might be describing a different role
  • What tool do you currently use?
    • I’d expect an SM to be familiar with one of the following: Rally (CA), VersionOne, Jira, Agile Craft
    • A red flag would be MS Project or excel
  • Have you worked with teams doing automated testing? If so how has that impacted your story writing?
    • Often teams will start to use Gherkin format for automated testing, a SM may coach the PO to start to lean more on QA resources to help with story writing when starting their journey to automation
    • The SM’s level of understanding here is good to know as devops maturity can be a huge organizational constraint. If a SM has worked in a mature devops org it is a definite positive and would be likely to move forward faster than a Sm that has no exposure to that type of environment

Originally published here

Danny Presten

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