Top 11 Scrum Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 20, 2022 | Published October 7, 2019

Updated July 20, 2022

Published October 7, 2019

Many companies use the Scrum project management method to ensure an efficient product development process. If you’re interviewing for a Scrum role, your interviewer may ask you questions about Scrum processes and methods. Learning how to answer interview questions about Scrum concepts and activities successfully can help you make a positive impression on employers and advance in the hiring process.

In this article, we provide examples of the top Scrum interview questions and offer sample answers you can use for reference.

Scrum interview questions and answers

There are three categories of Scrum positions in Scrum project management—Scrum master, product owner and Scrum team. The Scrum team could contain a variety of jobs, including software developers, quality assurance testers and designers. The following questions are general questions you may encounter for any Scrum position:

1. How long is a sprint?

In Scrum, projects usually progress in smaller time frames called sprints. A sprint helps make a longer project more manageable. In your answer, describe your understanding of typical sprint lengths and explain how the length of a sprint helps a Scrum team maintain focus so they can accomplish tasks within a reasonable amount of time. If possible, try to use specific examples of your experience with sprints.

Example: “The length of a sprint can vary, though they usually last four weeks or 30 days. A month is usually sufficient time to finish one part of a project while staying on track. At one of my previous jobs as a designer, we had one project that lasted about a year. Almost every sprint lasted four weeks. There were a couple of shorter sprints based on the work that we needed to do to move forward with the rest of the project.”

Related: 22 Most Common Interview Questions and Best Answers (With Tips)

2. What is the purpose of a retrospective?

A retrospective is a key part of Scrum that occurs at the end of each sprint. A successful answer to this question might show your ability to evaluate obstacles and successes. Use this opportunity to explain how you used a retrospective to learn and grow as a team member.

If possible, try to use the STAR method for your answer. This method can help you deliver succinct and focused answers that properly explain processes and events. STAR stands for:

  • Situation: Describe a time when you encountered a particular challenge.

  • Task: Explain your role in the situation. 

  • Action: Talk about the steps you took to overcome the obstacle.

  • Result: Detail what happened after your action.

Example: “A retrospective helps a team review a sprint to see what each person learned. At one of my previous jobs, we had a particularly challenging sprint. As the front-end developer, I encountered a bug in the program that I could not solve on my own. When I spent too much time on it, I asked my product tester to look at the code to see what I was missing. They were able to find and fix the bug relatively quickly. I think retrospectives help increase teamwork and help the group learn together.”

Related: 15 Scrum Master Certifications To Improve Your Resume and Learn Skills

3. What is the most important function of a Scrum master?

Scrum masters guide the progress of a project and are heavily involved in planning realistic goals for their team. Even if you aren’t interviewing for a Scrum master position, your response can show your general knowledge of this method. When preparing an answer, reflect on past projects, and provide specific examples of Scrum master functions and Scrum skills you can offer.

Example: “I believe one of the most important functions of a Scrum master is communication. As a developer, I was working on a project to create an automatic lock system for a building. During one retrospective, our team was having trouble starting a discussion that reviewed our sprint.

“Our Scrum master helped us facilitate the conversation by using techniques they acquired during their training. They helped us discuss impediments we encountered during the sprint and how we could avoid them in the future. Their strong communication abilities helped us learn more and apply different techniques to become more effective.”

4. What is zero planning?

Zero planning, also sometimes called "zero sprint," is the preparation part of a project cycle. In your interview, try to explain what zero planning is and why it exists in the Scrum framework to show that you understand its important function. To provide a thorough answer, consider describing your personal experience with zero planning and how you successfully prepare for projects.

Example: “Zero planning happens at the start of a project to ensure the team meets all the requirements listed. As a Scrum master, I have a basic outline for my zero planning sprints. First, I review the requirements with the client and product manager to make sure we understand exactly what the client wants from the product or service. Then, I gather my resources, including the right team members and materials. After that, I plan the sprints, making sure my team can complete the sprint within the time frame by outlining the basics for each week, or each day.

“I try to use my zero planning time to create a smooth project plan with a successful ‌result. I believe zero planning has enabled me to be an effective Scrum master.”

Related: What Is a Scrum Meeting? Types and Tips

5. What’s the difference between Agile and Scrum?

Scrum is an Agile style of project management that focuses more on structured release times and team collaboration. Offering an answer that explains some of the key differences between the styles shows you have a thorough understanding that helps you better function in a Scrum environment. Try to offer a response that explains both similarities and differences. If you’ve worked in both Agile and Scrum frameworks, give examples.

Example: “Both Agile and Scrum are relatively flexible project management methods that help teams release a product or service in stages. They both involve client feedback to create a more satisfactory product. One of the main differences is that Scrum focuses on separating the project into manageable and consistent sprint periods. Scrum is also a team-oriented framework, while Agile has a project manager that leads the team.”

Related: 11 Common Project Manager Interview Questions and Answers

6. Tell me about a time you encountered an impediment during a project.

Impediments, or blockers, are obstacles you encounter during a project. The ability to identify and resolve impediments quickly shows interviewers ‌you can use your critical thinking and problem-solving abilities to overcome a challenge. Your answer can illustrate any specific skills you employed to address an impediment. Use the STAR method to create a specific answer to this situational question. 

Example: “There was one time when I was an integration developer working on an application programming interface. My team was able to get the program to work locally, but when we uploaded it into the production environment, we encountered an error because the data didn’t transfer correctly. We weren’t getting the same results, so we had to review our process to see what was causing the error. We finally found that we didn’t properly configure the settings, so once we fixed that, the program worked in production.

“The error caused a delay in our sprint. During the next planning period, we had to alter our tasks for the following sprint to make sure we finished everything on time. Ultimately, the program was successful, and my team created an upload checklist so we wouldn’t encounter the issue again.”

7. What is the function of stand-ups?

Stand-ups, or "daily scrums," are short meetings that help team members plan the rest of their workday. Understanding the purpose of stand-ups can reflect positively on your time-management and planning skills. When you prepare an answer, consider defining stand-ups and how you use them to schedule the rest of your day and week. 

Example: “Stand-ups are daily meetings where team members explain what they’re working on so everyone knows the progress of a project. Having a daily stand-up ensures the project is on track and everyone completes tasks as planned. It allows for more thorough communication among the team. At my last job, the team used stand-ups to share what we planned to do during the day and asked for help with specific tasks. That way, we knew we would finish all the assignments within each sprint.”

Related: 7 Items To Bring to a Job Interview

8. What is the importance of a product backlog?

A product backlog is a collection of tasks that help plan for and complete goals. An effective response can show your critical thinking skills and your ability to define goals and steps clearly. Craft an answer that explains what you believe is most important about product backlogs. Try to give a specific example of how you planned and used a backlog to work through a project successfully.

Example: “Product backlogs are a huge part of creating even sprints. They help teams make sure they develop sprint plans that aren’t too short or long, and they can help a team stay focused. At my last job, my team began a project to create an asset management program. In zero planning, we met to create a list of goals. We separated each goal and planned each one by outlining its associated tasks. We then assigned each task points based on its complexity. More complex tasks received higher point values. We then put the tasks in the product backlog.” 

9. What is the most important thing for a product owner to do?

Product owners are responsible for ensuring the success of the good or service a project produces. Regardless of whether you’re interviewing for a product owner position, explaining the key functions of the role shows you thoroughly understand Scrum. Your answer can be anything you believe is most important for a product manager to do, as long as you can explain your reasoning. 

Example: “It's important for product owners to stay flexible and to track the team’s progress. This way, when an issue arises, it's possible to change strategies quickly in a way that meets client expectations while keeping the team on track. By knowing the project's status, they can ensure changes won't disrupt the flow of the sprint."

10. What is a user story?

A user story creates a thorough understanding of the client’s needs. Developing an effective user story is one of the most important functions in completing a successful project because it can accurately describe the goal of a product or service. Use a specific example of a time you helped devise a user story and the result. 

Example: “A user story is a statement that helps define the project. In my first front-end developer position, my Scrum master explained a user story in three basic elements—role, goal and benefit, or RGB. We had a project where a client wanted us to help them create their client-facing portal to sell imported gourmet food. During zero planning, we developed the user story based on RGB, which was ‘I am an imported goods seller who wants to build a customer website to increase sales.' ”

11. What are Scrum ceremonies?

Scrum ceremonies are meetings that take place during the Scrum process that allow team members to review important project elements and milestones. An interviewer may ask this question to test your understanding of Scrum-specific vocabulary and to learn the value you place in Scrum processes. In your answer, define what Scrum ceremonies are and explain why you think they’re an important part of the Scrum process.

Example: “A Scrum ceremony is a meeting Scrum masters hold to understand project progress and adapt to any changes promptly. They can help teams adjust expectations and realign their efforts with the user story. Scrum ceremonies are an important aspect of the scrum framework because they prioritize communication and flexibility.”

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