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As an internal Agile Coach, I'm often asked to help select new Scrum Masters for teams. I would like to develop a set of questions to evaluate existing employees for their fit for being a scrum master (which are often considered a subset of the Project Management profession).

While there is a lot that can be done on "gut" with this, senior management would like something more tangible to see how vetting is done.

Do you have "got to" questions you use when evaluating Scrum Masters?

closed as too broad by Thomas Owens, Mark C. Wallace, M0N4K0, Barnaby Golden, Sarov Sep 21 '16 at 13:13

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    This seems like a shopping list question. You do not even have a question mark to signal what exactly your question is. – nvoigt Sep 20 '16 at 5:33
  • I'm not entirely convinced that this is a question about project management. – Mark C. Wallace Sep 20 '16 at 15:52
  • Ask them to rate the most important things about scrum. Fire anyone who doesn't use the Fibonacci sequence – Ewan Sep 20 '16 at 21:27
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Morning Joel,

Having a standard list of questions can be beneficial in some cases. For instance, when I am interviewing potential new team members I have a list of 3 questions that I always ask to ensure I am asking the right questions to avoid not knowing how I feel about the candidate when they walk out.

With that being said, here are some questions I think you may find helpful to ask when considering bringing a Scrum Master onboard...

  1. As a Scrum Master on a team, what activities do you find to be the most important during a sprint? Can you share some examples of why you believe that to be the case?

This will give you a sense of how much they understand team dynamics and handling different scenarios throughout the sprint. It may also inform you on whether or not they understand the role of the Scrum Master.

  1. Say your team has spent a year building a product from the ground up and the release date is approaching quickly. What would you generally see yourself doing in the final weeks leading up to the release date?

This will help give you an understanding of your candidates ability to be proactive. You want to be sure you are hiring someone who will be ready to do what it takes to assist the team in being successful.

  1. What does being a Scrum Master mean to you and why does it matter?

In an agile atmosphere, it's important to have people on your team that understand and embrace their role. The fast pace nature of our industry especially, emphasizes this fact.

I hope this short list helps you in your search for amazing talent. Happy head hunting!

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    Isn't #2 a trick question? Given the goals of a shippable product every sprint and avoiding overtime, should the correct answer not be 'business as usual'? – Sarov Sep 20 '16 at 13:22
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Use the definitive source, The Scrum Guide, to develop a list of questions that have concrete answers proving knowledge of the framework. Be certain to keep it up to date.

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Scrum Masters should have clear coaching skills. Depending on their experience level I would ask them to give an adhoc 15 minute training session about subjects you find important. Preferable stuff that is not in the Scrum guide.

For example:

  • Explain Scrum to a potential new client
  • How do you kick start a new team
  • How do you teach the organisation to promote and create self-organizing teams

Also have a look at this Scrum Master job description, asking questions to verify that the person can execute most of these responsibilities should get you a nice list.

The main goal of having a Scrum Master at a company should be to create stable and self-organised teams with a clear and engaging direction, help to identify and resolve organisational impediments, as well as educate the organisation on Agile Methodologies.

  • Responsible for the Scrum Artifacts
  • Developing and nurturing team dynamics
  • Serving as a mirror to the team
  • Provide support to Product Owner
  • Update himself in order to teach and mentor the team and organisation
  • Responsible of helping the team to maintain the big picture

read the details here...

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