Preparation for Scrum Master certification exam

Preparation for Scrum Master certification exam

Preparing for the Scrum Master certification exam is a difficult process. Applicants for a Scrum Master Certificate must put a lot of effort into learning the Scrum rules.

The Scrum framework is a popular work model. Although many people confuse Scrum with project management practices, Scrum is simply a framework for events, artifacts, and roles. Reference: Preparation for BVOP Scrum Master certification exam: sample questions

The development team is one of the roles in Scrum. In this article, we describe some interesting examples in Scrum related to the Development team. Scrum Master certification includes exam questions on all topics. In the sample situations, however, we describe only those related to the Development team. See the links in the article for references to more materials for preparation for the Scrum Master certification exam.

Table of Contents

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.

At first glance (formally and mathematically) it seems that there is no problem, as long as the minimum for a team is 3 people and the maximum is 9. With 15 people, this makes 3 teams an average of 5 people each. Slight changes are possible (+1.2 people to be redirected from one team to another).

However, the complexity comes from the director’s insistence that one team should be 10 people, so for the other 2 projects there would be a total of 5 people left, ie. even the minimum will not be covered for at least one remaining team. Reference: MuzoNet, Management and Business,

My suggestion is that this will not do the job optimally. Moreover, the rule for min/max number of members is imperative, it does not allow deviations. Therefore, in any case, I would suggest an alternative, but only after getting to know the projects and assessing what and how many resources are needed for each project (with the help of colleagues). Depending on the results of the analysis, different solutions and combinations can be devised:

The two smaller projects can be implemented by smaller teams of 3 to 4 people, so for the larger one there will be a larger number of people, but of course not as many as 10.
Another option is, if possible, for an employee to take on 2 functions at the same time or to participate in 2 teams if this will not make it difficult and feasible.
Whatever solution I propose, I will certainly try to be in line with the rule – minimum 3, maximum 9.

The director thinks that lower priority products do not need to have a Product Owner role.

There are 3 roles in the scrum that are mandatory for each team. The framework, quite rightly, does not imply combinations in which any of the roles are missing. Such a proposal can only be made by someone who does not know the framework in detail at all. In this case, I would investigate what problem the director wants to solve by eliminating the software, and then I will offer him an alternative and explain why such a situation is impossible. Reference: “Preparation for Scrum Master certification exam on Sprint event“,

If other methods can be applied in this case (such as waterfall) using only PM more effectively, this is again an alternative. It is conceivable and acceptable. However, if we are talking about Scrum, I would not support the idea of ​​a scrum team without software, any project. This cannot be a solution to any problem, probably the solution is elsewhere and waiting to be found.

In addition, I honestly think that there are no “minor” projects (if they are small because minor does not automatically mean simple) to assign a common Product Owner to the same or different teams. It is possible to apply such an approach somewhere, probably the possible motive would be savings. Although I wouldn’t want to be a Product Owner for “low priority products” if that’s the criterion.) Reference: “Preparation for Scrum Master certification and tips for Scrum professionals”,

The director insists that because he has many years of experience in people management, he wants to be the general manager of the largest team, set tasks daily, and request reports from each member of the team.

This reminds me of the idea of ​​the director appointing an inspector to monitor the teams daily. Here, however, I find the situation even more worrying, as the director himself wants to take on this role. I will need a lot of diplomatic skills in such a situation.

I will have to remind the director that he can receive a detailed update on the status of the work from me and the Product Owner at any time, but the situation with the teams is more complicated. I will have to make an effort to convince him that this will cause stress, insecurity, the tension in the teams and will affect the quality of work. In any classic method of work, such micro-managerial techniques harass employees and have been shown to reduce their productivity. I will do my best to dissuade him from this utterly inappropriate idea. Reference: “A Management Educational Library”,

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.

Another challenge for affirming Scrum’s core values. In cooperation with the Product Owner, we will take active steps to negotiate with the customer to explain to him that such a practice is contrary to his interest. We will share with him all the bad examples and concrete experiences we have from such situations. The goal is to eliminate such manifestations, in the worst case we will ensure that communication passes through us.

It is the responsibility of the Product Owner to determine the tasks if changes are required – he is the contact person. In no case will we allow (with joint efforts) external pressure on our specialists. Of course, with a good tone, long explanations, and patience, I will try to achieve this result without conflicts. However, if necessary, I think that in such a situation we must be firm.

If we allow such an organizational change, it means that we have refused to apply Scrum at all. Read more: “Preparation with sample questions for Scrum Master certification exam CSM & PSMI”,

Looking at these potential situations, in which it is probably possible to find myself, I think how important is the initial training in the company (including in terms of senior management). If it is adequately and clearly explained, it seems to me that such inadequate ideas will be addressed from the very beginning, and at a higher level.

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 to work to each member of the team, and monitor the progress of tasks.

Honestly, it is practically difficult for me to imagine a development team in which there is no person with more experience or at least enviable technical and leadership skills, which is always the first point of contact we turn to if we need a quick and adequate response. However, this from ch. The Scrum team item should be completely informal, happen naturally, and not be stated. Read more: “Free preparation for the Scrum Master certification exam (CSM, PSMI, PSMII, BVOP)”,

Otherwise, it will create many problems – it will discourage inexperienced colleagues; it will make the rest of the team lazier, it will take away their creativity, their initiative, and everyone will be waiting for someone else to decide on technology (way of working), etc. Scrum’s idea is quite different.

Here again, I would like to remind you of the characteristic qualities of the Scrum teams – self-organizing; cross-functional; shared responsibility. I will also explain to my colleague in a separate conversation, if necessary, that the weight of his experience and knowledge will be taken into account in any discussion, regardless of the name of his position. He will be able to make all kinds of suggestions, give ideas and even train other colleagues, pass on his knowledge to them. However, I will emphasize the disadvantages for the team that would cause the appointment of a formal “Team lead”.

A new employee in your organization, recently hired, tells you that because he is a novice specialist and still on probation, he prefers not to interfere in team decisions and does not want to take responsibility for working on the product.

Such a reaction from a new colleague is not surprising. Ignorance of the new team and style of work may to some extent discourage the initiative of a new employee.

As a Scrum Master (which includes a leader and coach), it is my responsibility to stimulate the activity of the colleague, to include him in the team, and to inspire him with courage and self-confidence. I would explain to him that he has nothing to worry about because the word of no one is decisive anyway and every opinion (even of inexperienced or new colleagues) has its potential contribution. I would also explain to him that this is an approach to work/way of thinking that is an integral part of our Scrum organization. Read more: “Free training to prepare for the Scrum Master Certification exam”,

Shared responsibility is inherent in the Scrum team at all times and is not subject to any additional conditions (deadlines, previous experience, position). As for all the questions, hesitations, and information he needs, he can count on me and everyone on the team at any time. I will explain to him that it is with active participation in the team that he will more quickly establish the reliability of our perspective for joint work, so there is nothing to lose and nothing to fear.

You understand that most of your team members have already talked to your HR manager and received permission to work outside the office.

That would be bad news, especially if I’m the last to hear it. In any case, the spontaneous reaction is not reasonable. I would carefully consider the main motives of the team members, which is not a difficult task if I know them well. Once I have formed my position on the issue, I would organize a meeting, if not in person, then online. In the same, I will ask my colleagues to share their preferences for work and the motives for them. Then I would suggest a compromise option, which would still include an on-site presence at least once or twice a week.

I do not think that even remote work will make cooperation impossible. Difficult to, but not impossible. Especially in a pandemic emergency like the current one, finding a compromise is a must. I am well aware that in this particularly competitive environment, the technical members of the team will very easily and quickly find an alternative that will give them the working conditions they want (even if our organization refuses to provide them). More on the topic: “Professional Scrum Master vs Professional Scrum Developer“,

Here I would approach them very carefully and with understanding. Of course, I will not forget to remind them that such decisions are made in a team spirit, after discussion with all team members. There is no strict licensing regime that worries them, so next time they can boldly call me to arrange a meeting on the subject, and only then turn to the HR team, which in this case has only a procedural security function, irrelevant to the actual working process.

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.

Such extraordinary enthusiasm and devotion from a colleague cannot be met with anything but a benevolent attitude. Any manifestation of proactivity, creativity, and initiative are welcome in any team that wants to develop and grow.

Prima vista, I don’t have a technical background to tell me if my colleague’s effort is productive. After talking to him and consulting with other colleagues, if he finds that his idea works and is useful, it will certainly be noted as a significant contribution. I will try to assess it adequately and stimulate it.

If it was completely unnecessary, very tactful, and empathetic, I will explain to my colleague that we value his time and find optimal the effort he puts in intensively during working hours and in collaboration with the team. I would present all this to him as a goal to save him valuable time and make it easier (My idea is not to lose your workforce and charge in completely unnecessary and uncoordinated with the Product Owner and the team non-priority or unproductive tasks).

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.

Here my reaction will certainly be a surprise. I guess the development team is running away from responsibility, and the Product Owner was happy because it could pull the strings more efficiently, and timing remains my task, and in a sense, his. In any case, this is a strange and unproductive proposal. There is no way for a person who is not involved in the technical implementation and is not aware of the specific parameters to determine the time.

A meeting will be needed here to explain to colleagues that this is part of their freedom of choice and creative approach to work, which should not be given up so easily. I will ask what their motives are, whether they have any worries about the management, whether someone has not pressed them in time and therefore refuse to take responsibility. Once I find the root of the problem, I will address it and will do everything possible to make them feel at ease to determine undisturbed the way and time of each task in their competence.

The teams of the three parallel products being developed by your organization have decided to reorganize. Their desire is to be divided into teams according to their profession and qualifications. 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.

This is an interesting initiative that I find in complete contradiction with the idea of ​​Scrum. If this happens, it will mean that the teams did not understand the essence of Scrum or it was not explained to them at all. In this case, you will have to actively engage in training in the basic principles, including why Scrum teams should be: cross-functional (which they eliminate with their proposal). By no means would I support such a proposal, I would just take the time to come up with the best strategy, without conflict and effectively, to eliminate it.

However, I will first ask why colleagues think this will be more effective. This will show me what problem they are trying to address. Then I will try to solve it with other Scrum tools. I imagine that there may not be a good collaboration between different types of specialists (misunderstanding between programmers and designers, for example) and with this proposal to aim to minimize their communication. There may not be enough manpower somewhere if one of the projects is complex or large, and so they seek to ease the process. Read more: “Best Scrum Master Certifications for 2022 and 2023“,

In any case, I will explain to my colleagues that this will not be effective, that it will further complicate the process, jeopardize the success of the project and suggest alternative ways to solve the problems. Due to the scale of the initiative, I will certainly not act alone, I will seek the support of the Product Owner, as well as senior management, if necessary.

The development team shares the view that User Story contains too little information and wants more details.

As a Scrum Master, I would immediately take action to resolve this issue quickly. To the extent that the Product Owner prioritizes the work by arranging all the items in the product backlog, his commitment is to ensure that all tasks are completely clear, detailed, and understandable. Of course, if I also have enough information, I would help immediately. Otherwise, I will ask the questions as soon as possible to the Product Owner, who respectively. to share the necessary information and details. Read more: “Best Scrum Master certification online”,

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 yourself.

I would be very surprised if the Product Owner asked for such a thing. I think that would compromise one of Scrum’s three main pillars, namely transparency. In Scrum’s Agile mindset, error or defect has only one meaning and that is a chance for improvement; a necessary indicator that something in the original idea needs to be corrected. Mistakes must not be covered up, on the contrary. This is a condition for the third pillar – adaption.

In this situation, I would take action, as tactfully, friendly, and understanding, I wonder what is the idea of ​​the Product Owner behind this request. If it is related to concerns from senior management, I would try to either dissuade him or eliminate such manifestations at least at the team level. Every member of the team must know when such problems arise and be resolved in a team spirit.

This way, not only one person will be burdened with this task, but the user experience will be available to everyone. Ultimately, the goal is for all team members, incl. both me and the Product Owner to work calmly and productively, not under stress or some kind of fear of criticism and failure. This is far from the definition of an optimal workflow.

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