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I have a bunch of ideas around questions I can ask a potential candidate for a ScrumMaster position, but I wanted to reach out to the awesome community as to interview questions/exercises to do for a potential ScrumMaster role:

  1. What questions would you ask?
  2. What exercises would you have them do?
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4 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Explain to me what you do without using the words "Scrum", "Agile", "Iteration" or any other agile buzzwords. How does what you do add value to the organization?

The reason I think this is important is that the whole organization may not have drank the agile Kool-Aid and it's important for the Scrum Master to liaise with the customer(s) and other areas of the business to remove impediments and keep the team productive. In order to do that the Scrum Master must be able to communicate with non-"agile" team members in their language. If they can't do this, they are probably going to cause as many road-blocks as they remove.

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Number 1 with a bullet:

List the last 3 projects you worked on and what your contribution was.

Ask for references and everything else is PR.

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What I'd likely inquire:

  1. Have you ever had a role similar to this in previous positions? What was the hardest obstacle you had to remove in such a role?

  2. What do you consider to be the top qualities that a Scrum Master should possess and why?

  3. Have you had to convince people of the benefits of using Scrum? What were the keys to success in that? If you haven't had to do that, how do you think you would approach it?

  4. Where did you help the team's process mature in using Scrum? Do you believe this is part of the job of a Scrum Master? Why do you believe that?

These are just general questions to see what kind of past experience and knowledge is there that would likely be part of where I'm more curious in terms of tone and other factors in giving an answer than the words of the answer itself. There may be follow-up questions depending on the answer as there could be something that opens up that I'd follow-up in an attempt to "Finish him" as Mortal Kombat would dictate if the situation presents itself. ;)

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What questions would you ask?
  1. What do you see as your biggest mistake being a scrum master in your current position? How would you think back and fix it?

  2. We're moving back to a waterfall process, you're position has been closed....(this is where they should try and convince you what you are doing is a mistake, they might need a little prompting to get them started to make the argument as to why to keep moving with agile.)

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I like this, as a common interview question I ask is: "What is the worst code you've ever seen?". In most cases I expect that the answer is something that they wrote themselves. –  iivel Mar 18 '11 at 0:51
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