Preparing with sample questions for the Scrum Master certification exam is a great way to ensure you pass the exam.
In this article, we present sample questions and answers to many situations related to the Scrum Master role.
We asked many BVOP Certified Scrum professionals to share their knowledge. Reference: https://bvop.org/scrummaster/
In this article, we present the entire collection that you can use for your preparation.
Preparation with sample questions for CSM & PSMI Scrum Master certification exam
The director of your organization wants to start developing three new products and informs you that for the largest product in terms of volume, he wants a team of 10 people. The available specialists for all new products are a total of 15 people.
According to what I understand here, these are 3 different products, the largest of which wants 10 people (out of 15). Anyway, divide them when it comes to Scrum way of working team of 10 (developers not a total of 10) is a lot. The maximum number of developers is 9. By forming a team with more than 9 developers we risk losing orientation in the project and complicating the work process. Focus is lost, orientation in who is doing what and at what stage, communication becomes more complicated.
It needs to be clarified whether these 10 people, along with the big product, will be involved in the development of the other 2 smaller products – if so, we are not talking about Scrum at all. From what we have learned so far and seen in practice, I see that this, if not completely forbidden as a practice in Scrum, is either quite atypical or almost impossible. So far I have not read anywhere that it says that members of one development team can sometimes (or in parallel) participate in another development team, but it seems to be quite illogical, judging by the fact that they have to estimate their time to and IN the definitions project. Reference: “Free preparation for the Scrum Master certification exam (CSM, PSMI, PSMII, BVOP)”, https://brightonbot.com/preparation-scrum-master-certification-exam/
In the above I say ‘project’, but I understand it as a product (a project develops only one of the listed products). I understand the task as 3 separate products, but all three may be part of the same project. Then, however, we again touch on the issue of maximum participants.
In any case, some balance must be found – it does not matter if all three products are part of the same project (for which there is only one team of developers). They just shouldn’t be less than three and no more than nine.
The director thinks that lower priority products do not need to have a Product Owner role.
OK. From here I already understand that we are talking about 3 separate projects with one product each. Ie there must be 3 different teams. According to Scrum, the Product Owner role should always be there. The Product Owner is part of the Scrum team, no matter what. As well as Scrum Master. It doesn’t depend on how priority or big the project is, it’s just a written rule in Scrum.
Even if the product is a lower priority, the work of the product team should nevertheless be prioritized and the quality and performance of tasks and progress should be monitored. The role of the Product Owner cannot be avoided, as he is the person who watches over these things. He is the person who helps the development team with the communication with the stakeholders, if necessary – the explanation of the tasks. If there is no Product Owner, then who will create and prioritize the backlog and tasks? Who will be responsible for the release management and who will be responsible for all the work to the stakeholders?
If there is no Product Owner, then the whole project loses its meaning – neither will there be any specific tasks to solve, nor will anyone be responsible for what is done.
The director insists that because he has many years of experience in managing people, he wants to be the general manager of the largest team, set tasks daily, and request reports from each member of the team.
Here we return to one of the questions on previous topics. The director is a director – he is not directly involved in the Scrum team. The director is part of traditional senior management and is not part of Scrum. There is no such position as ‘general manager’ at Scrum. If he wants to be part of the Scrum team, he can be either a Product Owner or a Scrum Master, or part of the development team. As described, the role is most similar to Product Owner – setting tasks daily, but setting tasks should be done according to Scrum’s practices – through prioritization and planning (sprint planning).
This, with the requirement of reports from each member, is not a Scrum practice, or at least it is not recorded as such. At Scrum, no one requires reports from anyone – it is believed that the team voluntarily informs about the work done and the problems of the events organized for this purpose Scrum. Of course, there are situations in which the status of one of the team members must be required, but this should not be taken in the sense that someone is necessarily watching everyone under a magnifying glass and in no case should be accepted as a normal practice. . Of course, this does not have to sound like a project going “by itself” – there is always monitoring and analysis of progress, but it is not every day. In general, a lot relies on the self-organization and initiative of the team and the assumption of responsibility by each member to the tasks and their implementation.
The director tells you that for each product, the client has appointed a project manager, who in case of urgent requests, will assign to each member of the team, a priority task for the day.
That he wants to hire a project manager is OK. It seems a bit strange to me, however, that he considers some of the products to be less of a priority, but he still wants to have a project manager for each of them. But that’s OK for me as a member of the Scrum organization, I shouldn’t have anything to do with it.
Regarding the intervention of the project manager (and any other managers) in the work of the Scrum team, I will comment that this is a bad, if not completely wrong practice.
The development team receives its tasks from the Product Owner after the Product Owner and Scrum Master agree and are aware that this work will be done in the specified sprint. Tasks do not come from other managers in the organization – or at least if they do, they are not assigned by the management directly to developers. Here Scrum Master plays a key role – it protects the team from any external interference that can defocus and slow down the work of the team. Such intervention is possible, but it is not direct, but agreed with the Product Owner and Scrum Master before being set as a task for the development team. The task must be prioritized (Product Owner), specified, and described (Product Owner) as such – to exist in the backlog. Plan in a release and sprint (Product Owner, with the assistance of Scrum Master) and make sure the team understands it and will have time to complete it.
My last comment is that it sounds a little confusing and frightening that someone may suddenly come and give you a task for the day – this may be possible in some extreme situations, but this moment of ‘surprise’ should be avoided. The team should work calmly and with tasks planned and known in advance, and not work should be planned from day to day, let alone on the day itself. Again, it would be considered out of focus and stress if managers ‘drop’ tasks that suddenly become so important that they can’t wait until the next sprint planning and need to be resolved immediately. Sounds like a problem in planning or knowing the product, if that’s the case.
One of the senior programmers of the teams told everyone that since the team is large and he has a lot of experience, he will officially accept the role of Team Lead. He adds that he will choose technologies, offer a way of work to each member of the team and monitor the progress of the tasks.
A basic principle of working in a development team is that no one can declare himself a leader and set tasks or tell others how to complete the tasks. The team decides for itself which tasks to choose for development, without anyone else giving them. The work in the development team is based on equality and high professionalism in the specific field. There are no leaders or people on the team with ‘more stars on their shoulders. Everything is decided by common consensus throughout the team.
As for the fact that this senior specialist will choose for himself what technologies to work in and how to solve the tasks – this is again contrary to the understanding of Scrum. He can offer the team new technology, but he can’t impose it. If the team considers by consensus that the new technology contributes to the product, then there is no problem to accept it as a solution. But this should be done with open discussion and general consent, and not for someone to impose something. Here it is important to mention what you write in the lecture – that the fact that this specialist thinks that the new technology is very good does not mean that everyone else on the team feels confident in using it. If there is such a sharp change in the tools used, it leads to stress and mistakes and the team is not effective in their work.
A new employee in your organization, hired recently, tells you that because he is a novice and still on probation, he prefers not to interfere in team decisions and does not want to take responsibility for working on the product.
At the beginning of the course, we explained that very often in the Scrum teams there are people with different qualifications and fields of activity, as well as different levels of this qualification. Scrum implies teamwork and openness and awareness – a member of the team should not feel threatened in any way if his qualifications are not at the level of others. On the contrary, honesty in relationships is considered an advantage and is encouraged.
Each member of the team contributes to the development of the product – those with lower qualifications, too. One cannot break away from the team on one’s own and not want to participate, as this is considered a lack of interest and commitment to the project and the work.
If a person is insecure, it would be good to talk about their problems with Scrum Master and tell him that he needs additional qualifications, this should not be hidden, because it interferes with efficiency and expectations. This is not a problem of the individual team member, but should be considered a problem of the whole team and solved as soon as possible. Reference: “Free training to prepare for the Scrum Master Certification exam”, https://www.islandjournal.net/scrum-master-certification-exam/
The successes in the Scrum team and in particular the development team are common, but the problems are also common.
You understand that most of your team members have already talked to your HR manager and received permission to work outside the office.
I think it is problematic for everyone to negotiate with HR or someone outside the team on their own before discussing the problem with the team itself. If office work is a problem, then this should be resolved with the general consent and participation of the team, and not everyone should talk to HR alone. As stated in the question, only part of the team was allowed to work outside the office, but some did not, or did not consult, HR.
The lecture emphasizes that the team must be physically in one place during work, I think this is also mentioned in the Scrum bagpipe. I understand what the problems may be here – again related to unclear communication, distractions from the environment, even a bad internet connection (if there are frequent calls or video conferences).
However, I dare say that the business is slowly learning and getting used to the idea that people can work in a team perfectly, even when they are at a distance. In my opinion, this is a slightly outdated notion that we must sit in one room. Recent experiments and analyzes now, in connection with the Corona situation, prove that things are entirely possible, even when people do not have direct physical contact.
A member of the Development team introduces you with joy and enthusiasm that outside of working hours, he has written a large collection of program code that he can easily add to the product and through it speed up many of his tasks and some of those of the rest of the team.
In general, I don’t see anything wrong with someone working on a project in their spare time – as long as they do it of their own free will. Of course, one must also take into account the fact that a person needs to take time off from work to be more efficient when he is at work.
The only problem I see here is that he may not have coordinated his development with the rest of the team. If he did and everyone on the team is aware and agrees with the solutions he offers, I don’t see a problem with the code being added to the increment. However, the goal is common – if the decision helps others, it is welcome, but it must be with their explicit consent. Provided that the code also solves the tasks of the others on the team (who have committed themselves to the task and have taken responsibility for it), they must give their approval for the solution after having read it in advance. However, the estimates for solving the task are the time a person spends working on the task – people are not expected to work extra from home (and some companies do not even pay for these hours).
The development team offers you the idea that you set an estimated time to complete the tasks, and that they focus on their work and devote their time to the tasks. They shared this with the Product Owner role, and he was quite pleased.
This is against Scrum. Estimates are something for which the development team is responsible and is done by him alone. This is because they are the ones who have to solve the tasks – according to their own pace and abilities. No one else can do it for them.
The teams of the three parallel products that your organization is developing have decided to reorganize. Their desire is to be divided into teams according to their profession and qualification. One team will be programmers, the second will be designers, and the third will be quality control. You have been nominated as an activity coordinator.
Again, it doesn’t match Scrum. The goal of the Scrum development team is to deliver a sufficient, complete, and complete product. By dividing the tasks in this way, none of the teams can create a team to provide an MVP that can be tested and work according to the requirements for what is developed in the sprint.
The development team shares its view that User Story contains too little information and wants more details.
Quite right that they turned to me. I will arrange a meeting with the Product Owner to clarify the gaps.
The Product Owner role
The Product Owner has asked one of the team members not to temporarily report problems and defects on the product publicly in your defect recording system, but to fix them himself.
He is obliged to register them in the system because otherwise, he will use the time that is estimated for other tasks. After the repair, it may be necessary to test again (by quality control and/or stakeholders) – they will not know how to plan their time or what to test. This is completely wrong, as it is possible that the problem is not a ‘problem’ – a small, minor, or non-priority defect that does not need to be corrected now. Furthermore, the developer can never be sure that the problem is exactly what he thinks (unless it is technical, due to his work), and he cannot be sure that what is fixed is actually what is required (no acceptance criteria).
The Development team shares your idea that they want to nominate you for a Product Owner appointment and take over its functions, and for the Product Owner assigned to your team to go to another team and have no contact with it.
I would make it clear that the Product Owner and Scrum Master often have ‘different interests’. The Product Owner is more focused on meeting the needs of stakeholders and developing a quality product. However, Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring that the development of a quality product is not at the expense of team breakdown, a rupture in interpersonal relationships in the team, stress, overtime (overtime), neglect or trampling of the Scrum process and practices, and disrespect of their roles and responsibilities.
I would talk to the team to find out why they want me to change my position and whether they mean to be both a RO and a Scrum Master. As I wrote above, this will be a conflict situation.
However, the final decision depends on the management – in all situations, this should be discussed both in the team and outside the team – with the one who is responsible for me (HR or a senior manager or team leader depending on the organizational structure). However, it is important to consider whether I will also have time to perform my role of Scrum Master satisfactorily, as things do not overlap and are not interchangeable.
I would assess the situation – whether I think that I have the professional qualities to be a reliable Product Owner and if I think I have, I would talk to the one who is responsible for me. In the conversation, I would emphasize that the proposal does not come from me, but the team, and that it has been discussed with them and they agree. I would hope that the person in charge of me will accept the request – I hope that after the team has proposed me, there will be a good reason for that, and I think it would be good for the team itself to accept the request. But this will depend solely on the current Product Owner and the decision of the one who is my direct boss. And I sincerely hope I don’t have to be a Scrum Master at the same time.
After 2 days you have a meeting to present the current progress of the product. Your Product Owner role and most of the Development team are on leave for another 5 days.
I guess this is happening towards the end of the sprint – a demonstration of current progress. I would look at things in retrospect – if the majority of the team will be on leave for 5 days from the whole sprint, then their work must be consistent with this and be set in the plan that they will be on leave. And eventually, it should be completed before they go on vacation so that I can present it (if they agree!), Using materials that they have developed themselves before they go on vacation. Being on leave should not be a problem if it was planned.
Business stakeholders share the view that the product is not progressing as expected.
I would involve everyone in the team – this is not good news.
I would start with Product Owner: I want to clarify whether there is a discrepancy in expectations because the team was not aware of the expectations and whether it is because the Product Owner was not transparent enough in this or because stakeholders were not aware of the possibilities of the team.
I would arrange a general meeting – this discussion with the Product Owner should be available to everyone on the team so that it does not turn out that I am somehow trying to ‘hide’ information.
I think before I look for the problem in the team, I would like to be sure why the stakeholders think so. Whether there are gaps and ambiguities in the assigned tasks, whether the problem is in the processes and the speed and accuracy with which to work, or is there something else.
Everyone on the team should be aware that there is such a problem – even if the problem is not related to the work of the team. But I would not present it as if it were the end of the world – there is room for improvement and it should always be sought. By no means do I want to convey that I recommend for the team to be inactive.
If it turns out that the problem is in the team, I will take responsibility for it not to reappear – whether with a more productive discussion or more frequent contact with the Product Owner or stakeholders to clarify the tasks. I will comment that I will try to correct the error in the next sprint and I will insist that the Product Owner prioritize the problems.
You notice that the team spends more and more time in the games and entertainment room in your office.
First, I would make sure quite informally (for example, a conversation at the coffee machine or lunch) that this is because the team simply has no tasks. If it turns out to be simply because they don’t have a job, I’ll look at the estimates that have been put in and compare them to the time used. If it turns out that the tasks are overstimulated, I will talk to the team, hoping to understand why – with very positive intentions. I will be glad that they are working faster than planned. I will look into this issue in planning the next sprint and try, together with the whole team, to minimize this ‘free time.
If we are in the middle of a sprint and even then it turns out that people no longer have anything to do, I will talk to the Product Owner and suggest that he prioritize or add more tasks to the sprint if he deems it good. And if they can be completed by the end of the sprint. If there aren’t any, and there’s no way to work on a next sprint (maybe it’s not planned yet at this point), I’ll just congratulate the team and suggest they use the time to improve their skills (if the Product Owner agrees) – through conferences, short courses…
If they have tasks (I can see that myself) I will ask if they have any problems and I will try to help them with solving them. I can just invite them to a meeting ‘without warning’ and tell them that I notice that they are playing, and I see (in TFS, for example) that not everything is over. I will ask the reason for this and remind them that the Scrum team is self-organized and focused primarily on its tasks. I will ask them to stop the game as soon as possible and get down to business so that we can deliver on what we have promised.
In any case, I think I would consult with the Product Owner on how to use the time before making any specific decision – if it is one of the more extreme situations described above. But in general, if I find myself in such a situation, I will assume that it is because people have done their job and I will accept it as a mistake in estimating. I hope that people will be smart and honest enough with the team and work when they have tasks – if not, then we need to return to the topic of interest in the overall success of the team at Scrum. I will remind them that following Scrum practices is the responsibility of everyone on the team.
The Product Owner role in your team goes on a business trip for 2 months in one of your customer support centers. No one has made any plans, no comments. The client has not shared anything more, the Development team does not know what they will work on and your colleagues are worried about the future of the project.
This shouldn’t come as a ‘surprise’, I guess it will be planned that it won’t be there and all the Scrum events he has to take part in will be shifted and aligned with that plan. But let’s say it was a surprise.
I will try to talk to him – on the phone. If I can’t find it, I will escalate the problem to management outside the Scrum team and together with him, I will decide what to do. I would not decide without consulting anyone, and 2 months is a long time. I would not take the responsibility to prioritize things from the backlog myself, as I do not think I have the skills and knowledge to do so. If the management does not know what to use the time for (it is unlikely …), I will suggest the team spend time discussing the problems in the team or if they have any ideas or requests, or for personal development – innovations, improvements, courses.
I’m not sure if I can let the team (developers) tell me what they think is important to do (if there are any bugs) and prioritize them on this basis? (awaiting your comment here)
Programmers and QA
One of the programmers in the team asks the designer for regular adjustments to the visual concepts he offers.
I will talk to both of them and insist on specifying the goal of the task – the task must be completed in some specific form in the sprint in question, which must be pre-arranged by the Product Owner (and not by the programmer and/or designer self-union). If the ultimate goal is not clear, then there is a problem with DoD or some misunderstanding in communication. This needs to be clarified quickly, as one cannot keep coming back to the same task over and over again.
The QA specialists on your product testing team plan to integrate additional technologies, tools, and testing procedures. According to the product owner, this will double the work and the progress after the sprints will decrease.
At the risk of the team being negative about me, I will support the Product Owner solution. However, the Product Owner is responsible for ensuring that we comply with the deadlines and that we produce with the agreed quality.
If the Product Owner thinks this may be possible at a later stage, that’s OK. I hope that the Product Owner is aware that there must be a balance between the demands of the team and the stakeholders – but the decision is entirely up to the Product Owner. If he and the stakeholders consider that they can use the time to introduce new technologies and reschedule everything, the team will be happy to implement them.
The designer and the programmer have decided to exchange part of their work on their initiative. The designer will take on some of the easy programming tasks, and the programmer will do parts of the interface.
Cross-functionality. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone and the project is going according to plan, it will be OK. Tick here: we think that this will not slow down the production, because they will be ‘new’ in the field, we think that they have the qualifications to complete the tasks with the same speed and quality as if they would not exchange them.
QA specialists want you to assign them good testing tools for the next sprints, as you will already be developing new components that require a different type of test.
I will do my best to help them get the tools they need.
The development team wants to replace a major software part of your product. We currently use the paid Enterprise popular environment. The license is paid by your customer, who does not think that the cost is a problem.
If the Product Owner deems it necessary to prioritize this, there is no problem. I would expect the Product Owner to support the solution – as it largely protects the customer’s interest. Since development teens don’t feel threatened or insecure in any way by the new environment, I don’t see a problem.
The Product Owner role requires the designer to increase communication with the product testing team.
I will stand by the opinion of the Product Owner and offer my help to improve communication.
Your client is not happy with the tests and wants to urgently increase the number of QA specialists in your team, with an additional 6 people as soon as possible. He wants three more senior programmers to join the team by the end of the week. The project budget has been increased accordingly.
I would talk to the Product Owner – if we respect the request, the team will become too big to work under Scrum. I would suggest to him to prioritize which tests should be completed soon and for the team to focus on them, instead of striving to do everything by attracting more people to the team.
“Advanced Certified Scrum Master Certification Training” by Ashton Williams, Scrum Time, ISSN 2652-5445, https://scrumtime.org/advanced-certified-scrum-master-certification-training/
“How to become a Scrum Master?”, 2020, https://brightonbot.com/how-to-become-a-scrum-master/
“Professional Scrum Master vs Professional Scrum Developer”, 2019, https://stc-montreal.org/professional-scrum-master-vs-professional-scrum-developer/
“Scrum example team and projects scenarios”, 2020, https://phron.org/scrum-example-team-and-projects-scenarios/
“Best Scrum Master Certifications for 2021 and 2022”, 2020, (EduWiki.me), https://eduwiki.me/best-scrum-master-certifications-for-2021-and-2022/
“Certified Scrum Master vs Professional Scrum Master”, 2029, https://wikipedia-lab.org/certified-scrum-master-vs-professional-scrum-master/
“Advanced Certified Scrum Master training course. Free, online and modern”, 2019 (PGOV), https://pgov.org/advanced-certified-scrum-master-training-course-free-online/
“Why do you want to be a certified Scrum Master?” by Rita Gavelis, https://www.mmrls.org/why-certified-scrummaster/
“What is a Scrum master? A key role for project success” By Moira Alexander (CIO.com), https://www.cio.com/article/3223139/what-is-a-scrum-master-a-key-role-for-project-success.html
“What is it like to be a Scrum Master?”, https://projectmanagers.edublogs.org/2020/09/14/what-is-it-like-to-be-a-scrum-master/
“Responsibilities of the Scrum Master role”, https://projectmanagers.joomla.com/11-responsibilities-of-the-scrum-master-role.html
“A certified Scrum Master shares the Daily Scrum event”, https://projectmanagement.freesite.host/a-certified-scrum-master-shares-the-daily-scrum-event/
The director wants you to move temporarily, for about a month, to another team. He has discussed moving your role with the Product Owner, who will take over the Scrum Master function in a month, as he said he has time for that.
I would listen to the director – since he thinks that he should move to another team, then he eventually decided that this is best for both the team and the product. I will discuss with him the possibility of having time to catch up after returning to my team in a month. It is not debatable whether the director has made the right decision, but it is best to do your job with the team you are used to working with. But since he thinks it’s better that way, I don’t mind. I just need to have time to get to know the new team and the work and their progress to be fully effective.
As for the fact that the Product Owner will take on my role – we have already discussed that this is a bit wrong, because they protect different interests, although they have a common goal. But again – the director decides.