Are you about to interview for a scrum role or agile project management position?
Wondering how to best prepare for your interview?
Use this guide of 18 common agile scrum interview questions and answers and you’ll have the confidence to show off what you know and get the position you’re after.
Here’s how to set yourself up for success:
Show interviewers that you understand both agile and scrum
These days, interviewers don’t have time to ask you basic definitions when it comes to both agile and scrum.
Instead, they’re more likely to ask questions to prove you understand what they mean and how they’re used.
So here’s a list of potential interview questions designed with that purpose in mind:
1. How long have you been working with agile and scrum?
To answer this, briefly explain your previous history, along with any roles you’ve held.
Next, share the exact details of some of your most recent projects to back up your experience.
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2. Describe some agile projects you’ve worked on before
Whenever you’re mentioning previous experience, it’s crucial to focus on the right aspects.
So rather than mentioning how some of your team members didn’t get along and the project fell apart, discuss these points instead:
- The problem
- How it was approached (i.e., the methodology)
- Your role in the project
- What was achieved
- What you would do differently
- What else you learned from the project
From there, your interviewer may also want to hear about the professional certifications you hold, such as:
3. Are you a certified scrum master?
Keep in mind, not every employer is looking for a certified scrum master.
So just because you don’t hold a certification doesn’t mean you should be worried about this question.
If you are concerned, however, let the interviewer know you’d be more than happy to get certified to fulfill the position.
And if you are currently certified, be sure to mention a few details about why you decided to get certified and when and where you obtained it.
You may also be asked to explain your understanding of the biggest key terms in this area of expertise.
These questions are designed to assess your skill level so it pays (literally, in the form of compensation) to know what you’re talking about here.
4. What is a daily stand up meeting?
Many businesses use what’s known as a pre-shift meeting. And while a daily stand up meeting is similar to this, there are three specific questions that need to be asked when it comes to agile projects.
Your answer to this question tells the interviewer just how much experience you really have here.
To show you know your stuff, the correct response to this question is:
- What did I do today?
- What do I plan to do tomorrow?
- Are there any roadblocks or impediments preventing this from happening?
The next few questions are also easy weed-outs interviewers use to gauge your skill level.
5. How long does a scrum sprint normally last?
The answer here is between two and four weeks.
6. Describe a user story
A user story is a way for team members to design software features from the perspective of what the end-user actually finds useful.
This would include details about who the user is, what they need or want, and why.
7. What does velocity measure?
Velocity is the sum of all the user stories a scrum team completes in a given sprint.
8. What are burn down charts?
You can use burn down charts to track the project’s progress.
This tool can be implemented to track projects on a day-to-day basis to ensure user stories are moving towards completion.
9. What is increment?
Whenever you complete product backlogs during a sprint, you’ll add them up and this number becomes your project increment.
You’ll continue to add these increments together during each completed sprint.
The next few questions will dive deeper into your knowledge of agile and scrum.
10. How do you handle impediments in scrum?
Impediments, as you know, are those bumps in the road that slow your team down.
An interviewer wants to know you’re able to identify impediments and come up with a plan for working around them. That’s why it’s important to highlight specifics in your answer.
This question, in particular, gives interviewers a peek inside your thought process, which makes it a good answer you can use to stand out.
And the same happens with this next question.
12. How are agile and scrum similar?
Both agile and scrum are iterative in nature; it may take several attempts to get it right, but each one gets you closer to finding the solution (or should at least).
Agile and scrum are also similar in that they both take incremental steps in order to complete the project.
But there is one big difference here.
13. How do they differ?
Think of agile as the broader picture; it’s the project management method being used.
Scrum is one popular method of agile that focuses specifically on the process and necessary steps to take.
So basically, agile is the plan for which methods will be used and scrum is the actual step-by-step procedure itself.
And while your interview may be mostly agile-focused, you should always expect and be prepared to answer these next interview questions as well.
Be prepared to talk about yourself too
No matter what you’re interviewing for, you should always have a response in mind for these questions since they will more than likely come up:
14. Tell me more about yourself.
Be careful as this question is twofold:
While the interviewer probably earnestly wants to know more about your personal interests, this question is usually more about: What other skills do you bring to the table?
These can be soft skills such as communication, time management, teamwork, and organization or they can be connected to other project management styles you’ve had before.
If a company uses more than one, they may be interested in hearing how you can manage multiple different types of projects too.
So this question then becomes the perfect place for you to highlight all the skills you bring onboard.
But interviewers are still interested in you as a person so once you answer this part of this question, you can then move on to sharing a small bit about what you enjoy doing when you’re not busy working
Bonus points if you can make a connection with the interviewer based on your outside interests.
Next, the company will want to see if you’ve done your homework on their business. So you may often see this next question pop up:
15. Why do you want to work for us?
The easiest way to answer this question is to respond with what initially compelled you to apply for the position in the first place.
Did you like the job description itself and then, after reading more about the company, were attracted to their mission statement?
Or have you spoken to current employees and noticed everyone seems genuinely happy working there?
Whatever drew you to the position is what you should answer with here.
But you should also be prepared to take it a step further.
16. What makes you a good fit for our company?
This question is another one you’ll need to answer smartly because it’s really a polite way of asking: What can you do for us?
First, interviewers are looking for how you can or will bring them results.
But they also want to know you align with their values and company culture too.
So it’s important to highlight how your experience makes you a good fit and how you personally fit within the culture and the company’s mission.
And while you may hate hearing these next two questions, they’re bound to come up so it’s worth your while to have an intelligent answer prepared.
17. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Most people don’t have a crystal clear vision of where they’ll be five years from now, but you should at least show employers you’ve given your career some long term thought.
This doesn’t need to be the exact plan you’re going to follow for the rest of your life -- just a peek at your roadmap.
So for instance, do you see yourself becoming an Agile Certified Practitioner in the near future?
Or are you already certified and your future vision relates to managing a larger team and bigger projects?
Whatever your professional goals, share this information with your interviewer to show you’re thinking about both short and long term successes.
And no matter what, you should always have an answer for this last question.
18. Do you have any questions for us?
Hiring managers also want to know you’ve done your homework on them.
That’s why it’s always a smart idea to prepare a few questions of your own.
You don’t need to ask each one, and some may already be answered during your interview process, but you should show employers you’re making sure this will be a good fit for both of you.
So a few solid questions to ask include:
- What’s the office environment like? Is there an open floor plan?
- What does a typical day in this role look like?
- What defines success in this position?
- Can you tell me why this role is available? Are you expanding or did someone leave?
- Where do you see this company in the next 5-10 years?
- What are the biggest challenges and opportunities within this company?
Use these questions as your starting point and then feel free to come up with a few questions of your own.
Bonus: Ray Sheen's top 10 agile scrum tips
Ace your next agile and scrum interview
Now that you’ve read through these common interview questions, it’s time to think about your own responses and questions to ask.
Practice your answers in front of a mirror and you’ll be able to work out your pre-interview nerves and jitters and ensure you nail your interview.
To gain even more confidence, consider taking your scrum education to the next level by getting certified.
This is an easy way to stand out from other job applicants and helps you gain the necessary skills to land the job of your dreams.
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