Download the 54 Scrum Master Interview Questions to Identify Suitable Candidates

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Our ebook “54 Scrum Master Interview Questions” is available in its fifth edition. Learn about eight topical areas essential for an assessment of candidates for Scrum Master positions.

47 Scrum Master Interview Questions to Identify Suitable Candidates — Age-of-Product.com
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Food for Agile Thought #309: Say Agile One More Time, Scrum Master Salary Report 2022, Don’t Waste Your New Feature, How to Annoy Your Engineers

TL; DR: Say Agile One More Time, Scrum Master Salary Report 2022 — Food for Agile Thought #309

Welcome to the 309th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 33,012 peers. This week, we enjoy agile in memes — ‘Say Agile One More Time;’ we learn about a remarkable transformation of an industrial behemoth, and we share a beginner list of decision-making patterns, from consensus to rock, paper, and scissors.

We then reflect on the unfortunate ‘practice’ of putting carts before horses when product managers talk to the C-level, and we share six tips on how product folks can annoy their engineering teammates with outstanding efficacy. Also, we point at a critical part of the product creation process that bears many risks: Adding product features is fun and addictive. Now, what if no one uses them?

Lastly, we suggest a practice to test the health of your product creation process, and we shed some light on how long it took startups at Altar.io to build minimum viable products across several industries.

Food for Agile Thought #309: Say Agile One More Time, Scrum Master Salary Report 2022, Don’t Waste Your New Feature, How to Annoy Your Engineers — Age-of-Product.com
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Free Ebook: 54 Scrum Master Interview Questions to Identify Suitable Candidates

Scrum Master Interview: Demand Creates Supply and the Job Market for Agile Practitioners is No Exception

Scrum has proven time and again to be the most popular framework for software development. Given that software is eating the world, a seasoned Scrum Master is nowadays in high demand. And that demand causes the market-entry of new professionals from other project management branches, probably believing that reading one or two Scrum books will be sufficient. Which makes any Scrum Master interview a challenging task.

If you are looking to fill a position for a Scrum Master (or agile coach) in your organization, you may find the following 54 interview questions useful to identify the right candidate. They are derived from my fifteen years of practical experience with XP as well as Scrum, serving both as Product Owner and Scrum Master as well as interviewing dozens of Scrum Master candidates on behalf of my clients.

So far, this Scrum Master interview guide has been downloaded more than 22,000 times.

54 Scrum Master Interview Questions to Identify Suitable Candidates — Age-of-Product.com
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Join the Scrum Master Salary Report 2022 — Let Us Create Transparency

TL;DR: Scrum Master Salary Report 2022 — An Anonymous Poll by the Community for the Community

The purpose of this anonymous Scrum Master salary report is to create a clear, data-backed benchmark that allows everyone in the agile community to understand whether their compensation is adequate. (And yes, the report will cover Scrum Masters as well as Agile Coaches, both employed and freelancing.)

The goal is to have a sufficient number of replies – that would be at least 1,000 – by the end of November 2021 to create the report in time for January 2022. Of course, the report will be available for free.

Join the Anonymous Poll for the Upcoming Free Scrum Master Salary Report 2022 — Age-of-Product.com
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Do We Need Agile Coaches when Practicing Scrum?

TL; DR: Agile Coaches vs. Scrum Masters

Do We Need Agile Coaches when Practicing Scrum? Don’t get me wrong; my LinkedIn profile states “Professional Scrum Trainer, Agile Coach, and Scrum Master,” as ‘agile coach’ is an important search term. (Many seem to confuse agile coach with Scrum Master or believe both terms can be used interchangeably. However, that should not be a reason to reduce your chances of meeting a new employer or client.)

I like to point at a scheme, though, that I have encountered several times in the past, particularly in organizations, where the people folks still believe in orchestrated career paths: The Scrum Master is a role at the team level, while the agile coach is dealing with organizational issues.

I do believe that this construct is flawed: When practicing Scrum correctly, Scrum Masters are all you ever need.

Do We Need Agile Coaches when Practicing Scrum? — Age-of-Product.com

🗳 Update: Join the poll and its lively discussion on agile coaches vs. Scrum Masters.

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Join the Anonymous Poll for the Upcoming Free Scrum Master Salary Report 2022 — Age-of-Product.com

📈 Join the Anonymous Poll for the Upcoming Free Scrum Master Salary Report 2022.

You can download the Scrum Master Salary Report 2019 here.

The Scrum Master Accountabilities According to the Scrum Guide

Scrum Guide 2020 reserves a lot of attention to the role of the Scrum Master; for example, including ways to support the organization in practicing Scrum:

  • Page 7: The Scrum Master serves the organization in several ways, including leading, training, and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption.
  • Page 7: The Scrum Master serves the organization in several ways, including planning and advising Scrum implementations within the organization.
  • Page 7: The Scrum Master serves the organization in several ways, including helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact an empirical approach for complex work.
  • Page 7: The Scrum Master serves the organization in several ways, including removing barriers between stakeholders and Scrum Teams.

Source: Scrum Guide 2020. (The aggregation is taken from the Scrum Guide 2020 Reordered.)

How Scrum Masters Allocated Their Time when Working with Scrum Teams

It is a fallacy to believe that the Scrum Masters’ accountabilities revolve around the Scrum team. If we were to limit their role to the Scrum team level, all we would accomplish is creating tiny islands of limited agility in an otherwise non-agile environment. (Consequently, these half-hearted approaches of agile transformations result in statements like: ‘We tried Scrum, and it did not work.’)

The fact is that Scrum Masters, when a Scrum team becomes more fluent in Scrum, allocate more time to working with the organization. Let’s take Dominik Maximini’s pyramid to visualize the work of a Scrum Master with a newly formed team and add a timeline. We can then imagine working with an experienced Scrum team by turning the original time allocation pyramid upside down. Now, Scrum Masters dedicate more time to support the organization in fine-tuning adjacent and organizational processes to meet the needs of embracing business agility.

Do We Need Agile Coaches when Practicing Scrum? — Age-of-Product.com

Source: Dominik Maximini. (The site lacks SSL encryption; hence I am not linking to it directly.)

If this is a plausible scenario, why would you then seek to limit the work of Scrum Masters to the Scrum team level and engage agile coaches to do the work at the organizational level? Wouldn’t it be advisable to task people with that kind of job who have a thorough understanding of the challenges Scrum teams face in daily operations? Again, what is the benefit of creating a chasm here?

The only argument I have encountered so far is a perceived career path that starts with the Scrum Master role, and if you prove worthy, you are promoted to the next level—working with management and organization—represented by the ‘agile coach.’ (Some may say that Scrum Masters often lack a proper coaching education. However, in my experience, this is also true for many ‘agile coaches.’)


The Agile Community Needs You: Join the Scrum Master Salary Report 2022

The purpose of this anonymous survey is to create a clear, data-backed benchmark that allows everyone in the agile community to understand whether their compensation is adequate. (And yes, the report will cover Scrum Masters as well as Agile Coaches, both employed and freelancing.)

The goal is to have a sufficient number of replies – that would be at least 1,000 – by the end of November 2021 to create the report in time for January 2022. Of course, the report will be available for free.

Join the Anonymous Poll for the Upcoming Free Scrum Master Salary Report 2022 — Age-of-Product.com

📈 Join the Anonymous Poll for the Upcoming Free Scrum Master Salary Report 2022.


Conclusion: Do We Need Agile Coaches when Practicing Scrum?

I do believe that the construct of employing agile coaches for work at the organizational level while limiting Scrum Masters to operational tasks at the Scrum team level is flawed: When practicing Scrum correctly, Scrum Masters are all you ever need.

Is your organization employing agile coaches as well as Scrum Masters? If so, please share your learnings with us in the comments.

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📖 Agile Coaches vs. Scrum Masters — Related Posts

Scrum Master Salary Report 2019

Scrum First Principles — How to Elon Musk the Scrum Guide

Download the Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide for free.

📅 Join Our Scrum Training Classes, Workshops, and Events to Improve your Skills

DateClass and LanguageCityPrice
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 September 7, 2021GUARANTEED: Hands-on Agile #34: Core Protocols for Psychological Safety w/ Richard Kasperowski (English)Live Virtual MeetupFREE
🖥 💯 🇩🇪 September 21-24, 2021GUARANTEED: Professional Scrum Product Owner Training (PSPO I; German; Live Virtual Class)Live Virtual Class €1.199 incl. 19% VAT
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🖥 💯 🇬🇧 October 5, 2021GUARANTEED: Hands-on Agile #35: Designing Powerful Questions to help you Coach & Create w/ Daniel Stillman (English)Live Virtual MeetupFREE
🖥 🇩🇪 October 12-15, 2021Professional Scrum Master Training (PSM I; German; Live Virtual Class)Live Virtual Class €1.199 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 October 19-22, 2021GUARANTEED: Professional Scrum Master Training (PSM I; English; Live Virtual Class)Live Virtual Class €1.199 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 October 26, 2021GUARANTEED: Hands-on Agile #36: Real Cross-functional Teams w/ Jutta Eckstein & Maryse Meinen (English)Live Virtual MeetupFREE
🖥 🇬🇧 October 26-29, 2021Professional Scrum Product Owner Training (PSPO I; English; Live Virtual Class)Live Virtual Class €1.199 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 🇩🇪 November 2-5, 2021Professional Scrum Product Owner Training (PSPO I; German; Live Virtual Class)Live Virtual Class €1.199 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 🇩🇪 November 9-12, 2021Advanced Professional Scrum Master Online Training (PSM II; English; Live Virtual Class)Live Virtual Class €1.199 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 🇩🇪 November 15-16, 2021Professional Agile Leadership Essentials Training (PAL-E; German; Live Virtual Class)Live Virtual Class €1.199 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 🇬🇧 November 23-26, 2021Advanced Professional Scrum Master Online Training (PSM II; German; Live Virtual Class)Live Virtual Class €1.199 incl. 19% VAT

See all upcoming classes here.

Professional Scrum Training by PST Stefan Wolpers, Berlin  Product People

You can book your seat for the training directly by following the corresponding links to the ticket shop. If the procurement process of your organization requires a different purchasing process, please contact Berlin Product People GmbH directly.

If you like to learn more about how to avoid skipping Retrospectives, consider attending Stefan’s Professional Scrum Master classes.

Food for Agile Thought #308: From Hierarchy to Network, Doing vs. Experiencing Design Thinking, Analyzing Team Boards, Update Agile Principles Now!

TL; DR: From Hierarchy to Network, Analyzing Team Boards — Food for Agile Thought #308

Welcome to the 308th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 32,931 peers. This week, we dissect the consequences of hierarchies of authority and explain why CEOs, nevertheless, tend to stick with a hierarchy over a network. Also, we advocate applying the ideas of Inspect and Adapt to the Agile principles and values themselves. Moreover, we suggest several actions you can take to identify ‘conflict entrepreneurs’ and other troublemakers and mitigate their negative impact.

We then listen to an interview with Jeanne Liedtka on the importance of distinguishing between Doing vs. Experiencing vs. Becoming; we learn about the end-to-end research process that builds outstanding products, and we dive into premature scaling and its consequences.

Lastly, we share examples of team boards, delving into the importance of visualizing ‘what is actually happening on your team.’ Also, we provide a primer on creating visibility into the waste in a system and what you can do to improve the situation.

Food for Agile Thought #308: From Hierarchy to Network, Doing vs. Experiencing Design Thinking, Analyzing Team Boards, Update Agile Principles Now! — Age-of-Product.com
Continue reading Food for Agile Thought #308: From Hierarchy to Network, Doing vs. Experiencing Design Thinking, Analyzing Team Boards, Update Agile Principles Now!