Asking the right questions during your interview is just as important as your own responses to the questions you get asked. It also helps you get to know the people you’ll be working with, build rapport and make sure the organization is the right fit for you.
Below are some questions you, as a Scrum Master or Agile Project Manager, can ask the interviewer of the company looking to hire.
Understanding how the Scrum Master fits into the Organization
- How involved is this Scrum Master role in deployment activities?
- How many teams share the same code? Do you already have any processes in place to make working on shared code a smooth experience or would you like help from the Scrum Master to improve that process?
- What roles are part of the dev teams? Does the Scrum Master here coordinate with UIUX, Technical Writers, DevOps, Marketing, Legal or others?
Responsibilities that a Scrum Master or Project Manager Sometimes Help With
- What reporting does the Product Owner handle and what does the Scrum Master own?
- Will the Scrum Master have access to the application? Is the Scrum Master expected to help test?
- Is the Scrum Master also a Project Manager? Do you have Project Managers? How involved in monitoring the budget and resources are your Scrum Masters?
- Will the Scrum Master need to work with any vendors?
Test the Waters and Get to Know the Organization
- What do you think will be this Scrum Master’s biggest challenge?
- What support from a Scrum Master is most important to you?
- Are you looking for a Servant Leader? How important is that to this part of the organization?
- Who currently joins demos? Does anyone outside of the technical team join demos?
- Does each dev team currently have a Scrum Master and Product Owner?
Some Questions You’ll Wish You Asked Before You Accepted Their Offer
- How long is this dev team expected to work together? Will the team be growing this year?
- Is the organization growing? Are you expecting any new dev teams to emerge this year?
- How do you get user feedback?
- How big are your dev teams? How many developers and testers are on your dev teams?
- How many teams does each Scrum Master manage in your organization?
Knowing About Their Processes Will Be Helpful
- How flexible is this part of the organization with process changes?
- If the team wants to switch from Scrum to Kanban, does someone need to approve it?
- If the team is using JIRA and wants to change swimlanes or the workflow, is that OK?
- Is process currently owned by each dev team or by leadership?
- Does this team support sustaining work or is it all new development?
- Does the Product Owner approve every ticket before it gets closed?
- Who provides sign-off before a release and approves deployments? Are the Product Owner and Quality Assurance involved?
- What kind of support, on deployments, does the team provide? Is the team expected to work nights and weekends?
Are They Even Agile?
- Do you use traditional project plans?
- Do you use release maps?
- What tools do you use to track work? JIRA, Asana, Microsoft Team Foundation Server, Trello, HP Application Lifecycle Management, Microsoft Project, or others?
- How long are your sprints?
- How often do you have major releases? How often do you push out hotfixes?
- Does the dev team currently hold refinement sessions?
- Is the backlog shared by multiple teams?
- Do all the team leads and Scrum Masters have Scrum of Scrum meetings regularly?
- How often do the Scrum Masters in the organization get together in person?
- How often does the development team get together in person?
- How often will this Scrum Master or Project Manager need to come into the office?
- How many Scrum Masters or Project Managers currently work remote?
Obviously you should not ask ALL of these questions or too many. Use your intuition to judge how many and what kind of questions you should ask. Make sure you listen to the person interviewing you, and that you don’t ask the same questions they just asked you!
And make the interview more of a conversation in some respect. Meaning, ask your questions throughout the interview as organically as you can. You don’t need to necessarily wait until the end of the interview to ask questions.
Let us know what other questions you asked during your interview.
Good Luck! And more importantly– Enjoy Life!
Are you looking for an Agile Coach or another Scrum Master to bounce ideas off of? Joanna Kasperek has years of experince running projects in Agile and coaching organizations through their transition from Waterfall to Agile. Reach out to Joanna at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a phone session today!