How Do You Hire a Scrum Master?

At SD West last week, one of the folks in my talks asked about how to hire a Scrum Master. First, don't do this:

Don't look for a CSM. A CSM means the person has taken a 2-day workshop where he or she may have practiced some pieces of Scrum. There is no guarantee that the candidate did get through an entire timebox or finish a project.

Ok, here's what to do. Ask these kinds of questions:

  • Give me a recent example of how you helped a team develop a drumbeat, a project rhythm.
  • How do you know the project is on track? (Ask for examples)
  • What have you done to help a project get back on track? (Ask for examples)
  • How do you obtain status from people? (Ask for examples)
  • Tell me about an obstacle you recently removed. … How long did it take?
  • Have you ever been in a position where the product owner wanted to add a new item to the iteration backlog after you'd started the iteration? What happened?

Because a Scrum Master helps the team stick with the process and remove obstacles, you can start with questions such as these. Consider adding an audition such as facilitating a standup meeting, working with the product owner on the backlog.

3 thoughts on “How Do You Hire a Scrum Master?”

  1. Also, i ve been asked recently (and stomped over it):
    – What it is you think doesnt work about the scrum/agile process? Give examples .
    (ideas to answer this welcome 🙂 ).
    I said ‘communication has to be key between the cross-functional teams”; but i think there may be better answers ..

    1. Well, I looked at your ebook. I would not ask most of those questions. Too many are hypothetical questions. Some have only One Right Answer (and I disagree with your conclusion). No, I don’t think it is a helpful ebook.

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