From questions to ask a ScrumMaster in the interview to…questions you should be asking…THEM!

Savvy has an interviewing article here - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/savvy-360o-how-interview-scrummaster-savvy-katham

And here’s a list from the Scrum Alliance - https://www.scrumalliance.org/agilecareers/careersblog/february-2016-(1)/38-scrum-master-interview-questions

Another from the Scrum Alliance for what Hiring Managers should look for - https://www.scrumalliance.org/agilecareers/careersblog/june-2016/what-do-you-look-for-in-a-servant-leader-or-a-scru

What about “Them”?

I’d really like to turn this around and provide some KEY questions for a potential ScrumMaster to ask during the interview. AND, I’d like to take it a step forward. If they got the opportunity to “look around”, what would be the behaviors to look for?

  1. Why are they hiring a ScrumMaster? What happened to the last one?
  2. Ask them to describe a “Day in the Life” of a ScrumMaster in the organization?
  3. Discover how impediments are escalated and resolved? Particular impediments that require management help?
  4. Ask to meet the team or teams you’d be working with. Sit down with them and explore their feeling around agile, Scrum, and your role?
  5. Ask a situational question. What if your team was struggling to meet the release commitments. What sorts of pressure and expectations would the leadership team have of you as a ScrumMaster? For example, would you be “in charge of” recovering things?
  6. Same situation, but there is an individual on the team that is causing most of the problem. How much individual performance management is expected of your role?
  7. Do they invest in ongoing training (conferences, certifications, training, reading, etc.) for you in your role?
  8. Ask to simply go out in the office space and “watch” some teams operate. See if you can attend some ceremonies as an observer.

The key thing I’ve learned in my agile journey is that words are cheap. And many people are confused about them.

For example, everyone says they understand Scrum. However, watch the team’s behavior during the standup to discover their true level of understanding. Or watch the managers interact with their teams, to see if they really understand servant leadership.

Point being, words are cheap and easy to throw about and fool people. But behaviors are the ultimate measure of what you’re getting yourself into.

As an interviewing ScrumMaster, look around and observe the behaviors. They will always answer your questions truthfully.

Wrapping Up

I just took a very brief stab at providing some questions for the ScrumMaster to ask to discover the “essence” of the hiring culture. I’m sure there are many more.

Does anyone have a question or a recommendation for ScrumMasters doing a better job of interviewing the company?

Stay agile my friends,

Bob.

 

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