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Certified Scrum Master exam preparation with sample questions

Preparing for the Certified Scrum Master exam with sample questions is much easier than memorizing the entire Scrum Guide.

The Certified Scrum Master exam is difficult and requires careful study of many topics. In this article, we share various sample situations that will be of great help to you in preparing for your exam. Reference: “Preparation for the Certified Scrum Master exam (PSM, CSM, BVOSM)“, https://mpmu.org/preparation-for-the-certified-scrum-master-exam-psm-csm-bvosm/

Certified Scrum Master exam preparation: PSM, CSM, and BVOSM with sample questions

Development team

Your team is very eager to go on holiday and asks you to postpone the retrospective of your sprint to the beginning or end of the other sprint.

The Scrum Master does not have the authority to manage people, work, or anything else. However, it has the authority over everything that concerns the Scrum processes, events, rules, ideas.
Leave is determined and authorized by the development team manager.

Your client and Sprint Review meeting

The client informs you that he/she is starting repair procedures in his / her office and asks you to send him/her a summary by e-mail from your meeting with the team and your opinions about the Sprint Review meeting. He trusts you completely for your analysis.

The role that takes care of the communication with the customer is Product Owner. The Sprint Review meetings are organized by both the Product Owner and the Scrum Master role. Reference: “Preparation for Scrum Master certification exam on Sprint event“, https://medfd.org/preparation-for-scrum-master-certification-exam-on-sprint-event/

The client informs you that he/she is starting repair procedures in his / her office and asks you to send him/her a summary by e-mail from your meeting with the team and your opinions about the Sprint Review meeting. He trusts you completely for your analysis.

No problem, I will assist the client as he requested. It is his decision not to be present, we cannot force him to participate. If his opinion is particularly important to us on any issue, I will simply prepare it together with the summary of the meeting.

As a Scrum Master, I have to keep notes anyway, to have a plan and expectations for the meeting, to be its “moderator” when necessary. I don’t think the client’s request will make it difficult for me.

In case we need more active assistance or opinion from the client, I will ask him most adequately – phone call/meeting / I can even send him a video of the meeting itself, if there is an important demonstration that I want to see with his eyes, for example.

The Director and Scrum Sprint

Your principal has heard that your Sprint is over, but there is unfinished business. He is angry and asks you to remove some of the big User Stories from those planned by the end of the sprint and replace them with smaller ones that you can find in the general list.

It is not desirable for the management to interfere in the work of the team because it is not sufficiently familiar with the needs of the client. The role that can remove or add tasks in a sprint is software and usually, one task in a sprint is pre-commented with the Development team and is pre-estimated in time. Reference: “Preparation for Scrum Master certification and tips for Scrum professionals”, https://www.kievpress.info/preparation-for-scrum-master-certification/

Your director has heard that your Sprint is over, but there is unfinished business. He is angry and asks you to remove some of the big User Stories from those planned by the end of the sprint and replace them with smaller ones that you can find in the general list.

I will not agree with the director. However, for the dialogue to be productive, I will explain to him that this proposal is harmful to the work process, will significantly reduce productivity, and is also in total violation of the established rules.

It does not make a good impression to teach our colleagues the rules and then violate them. What example do we give? I will present my argument more or less in this direction.

In the end, I will explain to the director that the meaning of these sprints is precisely an objective assessment of the team’s skills to plan adequately! This happens by learning from your mistakes. If we adjust every time, we will not be able to draw any useful conclusions.

The mistake in Scrum (in this case, incorrect planning) can only serve as an invaluable lesson to colleagues on what they can improve. As for short and non-priority tasks – we are not looking for stuffing, this would be an absolute waste. It is pointless to fill the sprint with short but insignificant tasks. Read more: “Preparation with sample questions for Scrum Master certification exam CSM & PSMI”, https://wikipedia-lab.org/preparation-sample-questions-scrummaster-certification-exam/

I understand that in practice, the risk of “exposing” ourselves to customers is high, but there are things that can be compromised and things that cannot be compromised. If they learn to fill the backlog with surpluses every time so that we don’t expose ourselves, then all the planning becomes initially useless and pointless.

I will not back down here. In such a situation, we can break the User story into smaller components and indicate how many of them we have completed. This is the maximum, but to “replace” – no.

Your director tells you that he has read a lot of information on the Internet about Scrum and asks you to set a time for your sprints to be one working week to reduce any risk.

I would answer him that it is not desirable for the management to interfere in the work of the Scrum team. And I would like to explain in due course that the duration of the sprint is determined in the Sprint Planning meeting based on the tasks prepared by the Product Owner and the Development team.

Only the Development team can give time to the tasks, which subsequently determines the duration of the Sprint.
Theoretically, and at first glance, it seems inappropriate to change the entire temporal organization of work, because of the right to leave, which is flexible and can be easily exercised at many other times. Read more: “Free preparation for the Scrum Master certification exam (CSM, PSMI, PSMII, BVOP)”, https://brightonbot.com/preparation-scrum-master-certification-exam/

However, if I imagine in practice how in the midst or at the very beginning of the holiday season, a large part of the team enthusiastically expects a well-deserved vacation and I have to ruin their plans to keep the framework on its own – I would not do it.

Moreover, with the longest possible sprint (month), the team is expected to have one such meeting every month of the year – at some point, the holiday will affect an event in a hurry. I don’t think that’s a problem.

As a Scrum Master, I educate them in the idea that a scrum is here to help, not to be a convenient excuse or an obstacle to feeling free to exercise their legal rights.

If everyone’s presence at this particular meeting is particularly important, I will simply postpone the meeting for the start of the next sprint (before planning – they are already connected). If it can pass without everyone’s participation, we will do it with as many people as possible.

Exceptionally and as a last resort, we can consider a compromise together – everyone goes on vacation, but is committed to a single day for about 2 hours to find a way to join 1 meeting to discuss what is needed. We will make this decision together.
Flexibility and understanding – this should be the approach. Read more: “Free training to prepare for the Scrum Master Certification exam”, https://www.islandjournal.net/scrum-master-certification-exam/

Questions about the Development team

The team informs you this morning that they are ready with all their work two days before the end of the sprint and ask you to arrange a meeting with the client to hold a Sprint Review meeting with him and start the new sprint tomorrow.

While you are at the Sprint Review meeting, they will attend an interesting company training, but promise to make amends by asking the HR department to give you an extra day off this year.

In general, a situation that sounds absurd. Here again, it should be clarified that the Scrum Master does not have the authority to manage people, work, or anything.

Here the decision is to organize the meeting after the training of the Development team. Anyway, the work is done 2 days from the planned, and after their manager has organized this training, the sprint review will have to be done after they return from training. Read more: “Best Scrum Master Certifications for 2022 and 2023“, https://eduwiki.me/best-scrum-master-certifications-for-2021-and-2022/

The Development team informs you that they prefer not to work with a fixed time for sprints, but prefer each sprint to have a duration according to their work and judgment. They have already discussed this proposal with the Product Owner role and he said he has no claims.

Here I would like to talk to the Product Owner to explain to him again the basic principles and rules of Scrum and that it is good to follow if we want to make the product on time for customers.

All Sprints are prepared after a preliminary estimate of the tasks and have a specific time in the range of 1-4 weeks. Scrum is not a leader of people BUT it is the role that should be reminded of the processes and rules in Scrum.

Your assigned Product Owner on a project goes on a business trip to the client and sent you a Sprint Goal this morning for the next sprint. He has also made a collection with all the user stories that the team will work on.

Sprint planning is done by the entire Scrum team. This means that planning for the next Sprint can be done a few days before the Product Owner leaves the customer. The Scrum Master role does not control the order of tasks in a sprint. This is done by the Product Owner and Development team.

The team informs you this morning that they are ready with all their work two days before the end of the sprint and ask you to arrange a meeting with the client to hold a Sprint Review meeting with him and start the new sprint tomorrow.

While you are at the Sprint Review meeting, they will attend an interesting company training, but promise to make amends by asking the HR department to give you an extra day off this year.

In no case will I change the deadlines as provided, especially for such a trifle. Once my colleagues are overworked and have free time left (if that is the case and they have not overworked), they will receive my support to attend the company’s training.

However, I don’t see any sense in pulling the sprint earlier so that I can conduct the sprint review meeting on my own, and they probably don’t have serious reasons.

I don’t think anything fatal will happen if two days have a free program, exceptionally. In order not to like and deliberately plan the sprint so that they always have a buffer of a few days, at the next retrospective meeting we will discuss the practice of frequent completion of work before the deadline what additional, bonus tasks to provide.

The goal is simply to break down a possible strategy of choosing easy and deliberately shorter tasks to have free, otherwise working time, to be inactive at the end of each Scrum sprint. Read more: “Best Scrum Master certification online”, https://scrumtime.org/best-scrum-master-certification-online/

The team informs you that they prefer not to work with a fixed time for sprints, but prefer each sprint to have a duration according to their work and judgment.

They have already discussed this proposal with the Product Owner role and he said he has no claims.

I will not agree with this idea. I will explain to them that it is no coincidence that fixed time is an integral part of the framework. It is one of its main pillars.

This allows them to easily compare the results of sprints (speed of work, forecast of time required for development); to become better at planning with each sprint, and to build work habits and rhythm. Like many sports competitions and games, participants are limited by a specific time.

When preparing for the competition, they always take into account this factor, no one goes out on the field to score goals for half a day, another is ready in 5 minutes and the whole game turns out to be meaningless.

It’s the same here, only they are in the role of opponents, the victory is to improve their performance with each sprint.

Sample questions for the Product Owner role exam

The Product Owner of the project has sent you an email stating that he will collect detailed information on many details and plans to communicate with the client on an ongoing basis so that he can describe as many details as possible about the work for a long time to come.

Product Owner is the person who knows the customer’s needs best and it is normal to collect and plan future changes.

You are returning from vacation. The project team and Product Owner tell you that there is no time and the sprint should start without planning, as the team will work independently and choose User Stories, ranked at the top of the Product Backlog collection.

I know from personal experience that this will be a bad decision. I would recommend organizing a meeting for Sprint Planning which should take place immediately and be as focused as possible on sprint preparation and tasks.

In most cases, starting work without proper planning leads to a lot of problems during work. Ultimately, the Product Owner decides what work to run and how.

The Product Owner role has told your team that some functionality is expected in a few months. Your team plans to do technology research from now on to save yourself any problems and lack of competencies over time.

It is not bad for the team to be prepared for future tasks. This is good to do in the free time of the team – between sprints, for example. During sprints, the team must be focused on the tasks.

A member of your team who is planning to go on vacation soon has just started working on User Story, which is expected to be planned for the next sprint.

The development team should choose its tasks only from those prepared in the current Sprint.

I would like to talk to my colleague to explain to him again the main processes and ways of working in Scrum. It is desirable to stop work on this task and work on it when it is planned in a Sprint.

If this is not possible – the Product Owner may consider including it in the current sprint or the next. The colleague should explain to one of his colleagues what has been done so that he can continue when he goes on leave.

A member of the Development team expresses dissatisfaction with the idea that everyone knows what the other is doing. He is used to solitude. He prefers to work without explaining exactly what or to see his work in software systems. It guarantees that it will deliver very good results and on time.

I would talk to him to explain the basic principles in Scrum. And one of the important principles is to work in an environment where everyone knows who is doing what to help each other and to know exactly what is done.

Your assigned Product Owner on a project goes on a business trip to the client and sent you a Sprint Goal this morning for the next sprint. He has also made a collection with all the user stories that the team will work on.

At first glance, I don’t see a problem, anyway, the last word is on Product Owner. I will inform the team about its decision and only in case the colleagues have a comment on the issue / need clarification/suggestions I will contact the Product Owner remotely.

From the task formulated in this way, it seems that the Product Owner has decided on their own what to do, and not in a discussion with colleagues from the development team, which can lead to some problems and disagreements. We will have to solve them on the go.

The Product Owner of the project has sent you an email stating that he will collect detailed information on many details and plans to communicate with the client on an ongoing basis so that he can describe as many details as possible about the work for a long time to come.

Good idea. Detailed information is never superfluous, sometimes details can be a good starting point for making important decisions. If we have a clear vision for the future, this can only help us.

Our working methods are flexible and adaptable enough, if there is a change later we will be ready to react. If everything goes according to plan – fine. I don’t think more information will hurt us, especially if we critically sift out what exactly is right for us right now.

You are returning from vacation. The project team and Product Owner tell you that there is no time and the sprint should start without planning, as the team will work independently and choose User Stories, ranked at the top of the Product Backlog collection.

By no means will we miss the planning. As in other situations, I will make colleagues come to the unproductiveness of the ideas they offer.

In addition to the argument discussed in the previous questions about the importance of fixed time, the exact definition of the tasks in the specific sprint is added here.

Again, I would make an analogy with something quite ordinary and prosaic. If we want to make a new, complex dish – we must always shop for a recipe with an exact list of products. If we go unprepared, we will always miss a product, and when we remember what we have forgotten, it will most likely be at home (when it is too late).

Unless our goal is to make a “mess” of incompatible products or a familiar dish, but only with some of the products (which is an example of waste). Achieving optimal results without planning is possible, but only if we rely on miracles.

We can take less time, have a tight discussion, but without planning all the next scrum events lose their meaning (daily / review/retrospective meetings – we will monitor progress, but without criteria; from what point of view).

The Product Owner role has told your team that some functionality is expected in a few months. Your team plans to do technology research from now on to save yourself any problems and lack of competencies over time.

I would rather register this initiative as potential waste. If the study will take too much time for colleagues, and future functionality is not very sure if and when it will appear, it is not a good idea to spend so much time. After all, the study can be a stand-alone item in the backlog.

When it becomes a priority on the agenda – it will be given the necessary time, we will provide all the necessary resources – if you need training or other sources.

If, however, the Product Owner insists that it is particularly important, the study of future technology as a separate item may be included in the next sprint. However, the PO sets the priorities. In the current sprint, however, there is no reason to spoil the organization and change the plan.

Scrum Master role

A colleague of yours, Scrum Master from your organization, meets you in the hallway and asks for advice on the length of his team’s sprint. None of the teams can offer a duration for their sprint. He asks you to recommend a time for their sprint.

The duration of the sprint is determined at the Sprint Planning meeting. There, the Product Owner together with the Development team prepares the tasks for the Sprint.

The length of the sprint is determined by the time required for each task. The development team is the people who give this time. The Scrum Master does NOT set time for tasks like the Sprint itself.

The Product Owner role of your team wants to change the duration of the sprint to 6 weeks as you start integrating very complex systems and does not want to discredit yourself, your team, and the organization in front of the client with sprints where you risk not being able to deliver real work done.

I will talk to the Product Owner and explain to him the basic principles in Scrum, namely that sprints in Scrum are 1-4 weeks long. The idea is to provide a product that can be used by the customer in the shortest possible time. In general, the Product Owner is the person who decides how his project will move.

You receive an email from your client’s Project Manager. He asks you if there is a problem if your sprint is 6 working days. He expects a quick response so he knows what to pass on to his superiors.

In general, I would redirect this email to the Product Owner of the project. He communicates with the client, and I would like to remind the Product Owner that the scrum sprints last 1-4 weeks. The Client can NOT decide and decide how long the Sprints should be. This is done by the Product Owner and Development team.

General sample questions for the Certified Scrum Master exam

A member of your team who is planning to go on vacation soon has just started working on User Story, which is expected to be planned for the next sprint.

This is not a bad initiative, as long as it does not jeopardize the successful outcome of the current sprint. Completing the current sprint is the most important and priority task, everything else comes after that.

If exceptionally, the colleague’s leave coincides with a task that requires his personal and active participation, we will adapt. Flexibility in emergencies is a valuable quality. I find this to be just such a need (if, of course, all the above requirements are met).

If it is possible to work without a problem without the participation of the colleague, or the task can be postponed for the next sprint, then we will direct him to concentrate only on the current tasks. We will respond as appropriate and in close collaboration with the Product Owner.

A member of the team expresses dissatisfaction with the idea that everyone knows what the other is doing. He is used to solitude. He prefers to work without explaining exactly what or to see his work in software systems. It guarantees that it will deliver very good results and on time.

It smells like a bad experience here. To convince my colleague that this is not productive, I will first need to understand where this attitude comes from. He’s used to it or there’s something more.

If it’s just a habit, it’s surmountable, albeit difficult and gradual. If he has a bad experience with repulsive micromanagement or an unpleasant team, then I will try to convince him that these things will be absent here.

On the contrary, it will be good for him to give a chance to a new and different opportunity, which he may like more. Relying only on yourself and working alone has its disadvantages.

In conditions of collaboration, mutual assistance, and team spirit, he can rediscover himself and other qualities and skills that he does not suspect he has.

I will note that we do not doubt the high quality he will provide on time, but we want his skills to be learned by other colleagues. To impart knowledge and receive support and assistance from them.

I will insist on giving such a new opportunity a chance, as he will be able to count on my support at all times and will feel free to share anything that bothers him so that we can resolve it together.

Here the problem is entirely psychological. The approach to each person is different according to his needs and peculiarities.

A colleague of yours, Scrum Master from your organization, meets you in the hallway and asks for advice on the length of his team’s sprint. None of the teams can offer a duration for their sprint. He asks you to recommend a time for their sprint.

If I have observations about a similar product or functionality, I will only share my experience so far. I will refrain from recommending a precise period, emphasizing that this is the responsibility of his team.

Running away from responsibility is not uncommon, but I will give him advice on how he can mobilize the team and encourage them to decide for themselves.

Specific advice can be to reassure them that there will be no bad consequences; to explain to them how useful it will be to try to set the deadline yourself (especially if they make a mistake – then there will be something to learn).

Otherwise, purely technically, we will discuss the advantages of short and long periods, as well as their dependence on the essence of the product they will create.

If their product is simpler, they quickly get ready-made increments – the answer is shorter sprints. If he doesn’t know either, he will have something to discuss with his teammates.

I would give him advice like Scrum Master on how to deal with the problem in the team, instead of giving him a number that then does not work.

The Product Owner role of your team wants to change the duration of the sprint to 6 weeks as you start integrating very complex systems and does not want to discredit yourself, your team, and the organization in front of the client with sprints where you risk not being able to deliver real work done.

For more than a month, in addition to not being recommended according to the scrum guide, it is not productive to continue a sprint.

The period is getting too long. Rather, we will discuss whether we cannot break down the tasks into smaller components that we can safely complete in one sprint. It is good to make a good impression, but not at any cost. Again, the maxim works smart, not hard is the key.

Together with the team, we will come up with a strategy that will allow us to do our job as planned and at the same time present good results. It is not necessary to always be visible, to have a product ready for demonstration.

It is enough to have ready-made components with independent significance. Because of the specific product, we will think what is the best solution.

You receive an email from your client’s Project Manager. He asks you if there is a problem if your sprint is 6 working days. He expects a quick response so he knows what to pass on to his superiors.

The length of the sprint is a matter of internal organization in the team and is determined by the difficulty/duration and available resources entirely at the discretion of the team developing the product. External influences of this nature are unacceptable.

If this request pursues some other goal (they want a specific functionality by a certain date) – this is a completely different question for which they can turn to the Product Owner.

For all the results they want to be achieved as a ready functionality/product and for a certain time, the Product Owner will be responsible.

From there, I will kindly explain to her that the internal organization of the team depends entirely on its rhythm and style of work and is not subject to analysis/recommendations/decisions from outsiders, even from me and the Product Owner. They decide these issues themselves.

Your director tells you that he has read a lot of information on the Internet about Scrum and asks you to set a time for your sprints to be one working week to reduce any risk.

I will explain to him that in theory the sprint can be from 1 week to 4 weeks, but to choose based on this period means to take into account only one factor.

When deciding how long to work, the team must take into account many different dependencies – mostly related to the nature of the product itself.

When all factors are taken into account: work resources/complexity of the project/nature of the individual tasks/priority planning/number and capacity of employees, only then can a reasonable decision be made, and in a team spirit.

A rule dropped from above can compromise all their work and prove to be non-functional and even harmful to the work process.