Scrum Product Owner Certification – Questions & Answers

While preparing for getting the Scrum Product Owner Certification (or any other Scrum certification) you might find useful a list of questions and answers which can add some clarification and help you organize your thoughts. So, here we are!

Is SCRUM a methodology or a framework?

SCRUM is a lightweight framework founded on empiricism and lean thinking.

Can SCRUM be used outside the software development industry?

Yes. SCRUM can be used in many domains holding complex work, helping teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems.

Can SCRUM be applied to services (daily operations)?

No. While adopting Agile principles is a great way of optimizing work in any organization, SCRUM was (mainly) designed for delivering products. 

Can SCRUM be adapted to better fit the organization structure and practices?

No. Changing the core design or ideas of Scrum, leaving out elements, or not following the rules of Scrum, covers up problems and limits the benefits of Scrum, potentially even rendering it useless.

Which are the main benefits of SCRUM lean thinking?

Lean thinking reduces waste and focuses on the essentials.

Which are the main benefits of the iterative and incremental SCRUM approach?

Scrum employs an iterative, incremental approach to optimize predictability and to control risk

Which are the empirical SCRUM pillars?

SCRUM is laying its foundations on the empirical pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation.

Who should be allowed to view and track the progress of an ongoing SCRUM project?

The emergent process and work must be visible to those performing the work as well as those receiving the work. 

The SCRUM transparency principle should apply to people from organization outside the SCRUM team?

Not necessary. While people outside the SCRUM team can be invited to attend the Sprint Planning event, the SCRUM Guide doesn’t impose any rules for transparency outside the SCRUM team.

Why is Inspection important in SCRUM?

Inspection is important because its role is to detect potentially undesirable variances or problems. 

Who falls under the incidence of Inspection?

The Scrum artifacts and the progress toward agreed goals.

How often and how deep should inspection be performed?

Frequently and diligently.

What is Adaptation in SCRUM?

Adaptation is the process of adjustment applied to the processes or resulting products if they deviate outside the acceptable limits.

What is the scope of Adaptation?

The scope of adaptation is to minimize further deviation.

When the actions related to Adaptation should be applied?

The adjustment must be made as soon as possible.

How can you improve Adaptation in SCRUM?

Adaptation is easy when the people involved are empowered and self-managing. A Scrum Team is expected to adapt the moment it learns anything new through inspection.

Who is not a member of SCRUM core team?

Anyone who is not the Product Owner, the Scrum Master or part of the Development Team is not a member of the SCRUM core team. Some Non-Core Role in SCRUM might be (and not limited to): stakeholders, vendors, CTO, CPO, Chief Scrum Master, suppliers, creditors, etc.

Which are the five values of SCRUM?

Commitment, Focus, Openness, Respect, and Courage.

What is the definition of the SCRUM Team?

The fundamental unit of Scrum is a small team of people, a Scrum Team.

Which are the three roles within a SCRUM team?

The Scrum Team consists of one Scrum Master, one Product Owner, and Developers

Can you have sub-teams or hierarchies in SCRUM?

No. Within a Scrum Team, there are no sub-teams or hierarchies. It is a cohesive unit of professionals focused on one objective at a time, the Product Goal.

Who decide who does what, when, and how in a SCRUM team?

The SCRUM team is cross-functional and self-managing, meaning they internally decide who does what, when, and how.

How big or small a SCRUM team should be?

A SCRUM team typically consists in 10 or fewer people. The Scrum Team is small enough to remain nimble and large enough to complete significant work within a Sprint.

Why SCRUM advocates in favor of small teams?

Smaller teams communicate better and are more productive.

Can you have multiple SCRUM Teams within a project?

If Scrum Teams become too large, they should consider reorganizing into multiple cohesive Scrum Teams, each focused on the same product. Therefore, they should share the same Product Goal, Product Backlog, and Product Owner.

What are the main responsibilities of the SCRUM Team?

The Scrum Team is responsible for all product-related activities from stakeholder collaboration, verification, maintenance, operation, experimentation, research and development, and anything else that might be required.

Can SCRUM Team be in direct contact with the stakeholders?

The stakeholders are allowed to participate only in the Sprint Review meeting. However, any member of the SCRUM Team can interact with them any time.

Who is accountable for the success of work in a SCRUM Team?

The entire Scrum Team is accountable for creating a valuable, useful Increment every Sprint. Scrum defines three specific accountabilities within the Scrum Team: the Developers, the Product Owner, and the Scrum Master.

What skills are necessary for the Development team members?

Scrum Teams are cross-functional, meaning the members have all the skills necessary to create value each Sprint. 

What are the Developers accountable for?

The Developers are always accountable for:

  • Creating a plan for the Sprint, the Sprint Backlog;
  • Instilling quality by adhering to a Definition of Done;
  • Adapting their plan each day toward the Sprint Goal; and,
  • Holding each other accountable as professionals.

What is the Product Owner accountable for?

The Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Scrum Team and for effective Product Backlog management.

What is the role of the Product Owner in the Backlog management activity?

  • Developing and explicitly communicating the Product Goal;
  • Creating and clearly communicating Product Backlog items;
  • Ordering Product Backlog items; and,
  • Ensuring that the Product Backlog is transparent, visible and understood.

Can Product Owner delegate his/her responsibilities related to the Product Backlog management?

Yes. The Product Owner may delegate the responsibility to others but remains accountable.

Who needs to approve Product Owner decisions in SCRUM?

The Product Owner doesn’t need any approval for his/her decisions. For Product Owners to succeed, the entire organization must respect their decisions. These decisions are visible in the content and ordering of the Product Backlog, and through the inspectable Increment at the Sprint Review.

Can you have a committee as the Product Owner in a SCRUM Team?

No. The Product Owner is one person, not a committee. The Product Owner may represent the needs of many stakeholders in the Product Backlog. Those wanting to change the Product Backlog can do so by trying to convince the Product Owner.

What is the SCRUM Master?

The Scrum Master is accountable for establishing SCRUM as defined in the Scrum Guide. They do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory and practice, both within the Scrum Team and the organization.

What is the SCRUM Master accountable for?

The Scrum Master is accountable for the Scrum Team’s effectiveness. 

Who serves the SCRUM Master?

The Scrum Master serves the Scrum Team, the Product Owner and the organization.

Who facilitates the collaboration with the stakeholders when requested or needed?

The SCRUM Master is facilitating stakeholder collaboration as requested or needed.

Who is resolving the conflicts in the SCRUM Teams?

The SCRUM Team is self-managing so they need to resolve the conflicts by themselves. The Scrum Master has to guide the team and make them understand that the conflict is a common problem in the workplace and can be resolved using an assertive approach. 

How many formal events are in SCRUM?

Five. Scrum combines four formal events for inspection and adaptation within a containing event, the Sprint.

What are the five events in SCRUM?

  1. The Sprint (container of the other four SCRUM events)
  2. Sprint Planning
  3. Daily Scrum
  4. Sprint Review
  5. Sprint Retrospective

Who is accountable for the SCRUM events to take place?

The SCRUM Master is ensuring that all Scrum events take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox.

When should SCRUM events be scheduled?

Optimally, all events are held at the same time and place to reduce complexity.

What is the Sprint event in SCRUM?

Sprints are the heartbeat of Scrum, where ideas are turned into value.

How long the Sprint event should be?

The Sprint must be fixed length events of one month or less to create consistency. A new Sprint starts immediately after the conclusion of the previous Sprint. All the other SCRUM events happen within Sprints.

What is the ideal duration of a Sprint?

While Sprints in scrum can be as long as you want, it’s most common for sprint length to be between 1 and 4 weeks with 2 weeks being the most popular choice.

Why the Sprint duration is better to be short?

When a Sprint’s horizon is too long the Sprint Goal may become invalid, complexity may rise, and risk may increase. Shorter Sprints can be employed to generate more learning cycles and limit risk of cost and effort to a smaller time frame. Each Sprint may be considered a short project.

How do you forecast progress during a Spring?

The best way to forecast progress is by using previous experience – empiricism – but there are also various practices like burn-downs, burn-ups, or cumulative flows. SCRUM doesn’t impose any tools or practices, other than empiricism for forward-looking decision making.

Can a Sprint be cancelled?

A Sprint could be cancelled if the Sprint Goal becomes obsolete.

Who has the authority to cancel a Sprint?

Only the Product Owner has the authority to cancel the Sprint.

What is the Spring Planning event in SCRUM?

Sprint Planning initiates the Sprint by laying out the work to be performed for the Sprint. The resulting plan is created by the collaborative work of the entire team.

Who is participating to the Sprint Planning event?

The entire SCRUM Team is participating to the Spring Planning event, plus any other invited people. 

Who can invite other people, outside the Scrum Team, to participate in the Spring Planning event?

Anyone from the Scrum Team can invite other people to participate in the Spring Planning event.

What topics are being addressed in the Spring Planning event?

  1. Why is this Sprint valuable?

  2. What can be Done this Sprint?

  3. How will the chosen work get done?

Who is defining the Spring Goal during the Spring Planning event?

The whole Scrum Team then collaborates to define a Sprint Goal that communicates why the Sprint is valuable to stakeholders. The Sprint Goal must be finalized prior to the end of Sprint Planning.

Who is selecting the items to be included in the Sprint?

Through discussion with the Product Owner, the Developers select items from the Product Backlog to include in the current Sprint. The Scrum Team may refine these items during this process, which increases understanding and confidence.

How many items should be included in a Sprint?

It’s up to the Developers to decide how much can be completed within a Sprint. However, the more the Developers know about their past performance, their upcoming capacity, and their Definition of Done, the more confident they will be in their Sprint forecasts.

Who is deciding what needs to be done in order to fulfill the Spring Goal?

The Developers plan the work necessary to create an Increment that meets the Definition of Done. How this is done is at the sole discretion of the Developers. No one else tells them how to turn Product Backlog items into Increments of value.

What is the Spring Backlog?

The Sprint Goal, the Product Backlog items selected for the Sprint, plus the plan for delivering them are together referred to as the Sprint Backlog.

How long does Sprint Planning last?

Sprint Planning is timeboxed to a maximum of eight hours for a one-month Sprint. For shorter Sprints, the event is usually shorter.

What is the difference between a Sprint Goal and a Sprint Scope?

To be answered…

What is the Daily Scrum?

The Daily Scrum is one of the five Scrum Events. It is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team with the purpose of inspecting progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapting the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work.

What are the benefits of the Daily Scrum meetings?

Daily Scrums improve communications, identify impediments, promote quick decision-making, and consequently eliminate the need for other meetings.

Can Daily Scrum take more or less than 15 minutes?

The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event that is held every day at the same time. However, in some cases, the Daily Scrum may take less than 15 minutes, for example, if the team is well-organized and has no significant issues to discuss.

Is it mandatory for the Product Owner or the Scrum Master to participate in the Daily Scrum?

The people who must attend the Daily Scrum are only members of the Development Team. They are responsible for getting it right. The Scrum Master, the Product Owner, or any Stakeholder may attend as listeners, but are not required to do only as long as it is useful to the Development Team. If the Product Owner or Scrum Master are actively working on items in the Sprint Backlog, they participate as Developers.

Are Developers allowed to held any other meeting during the day, beside the Daily Scrum?

The Daily Scrum is not the only time Developers are allowed to adjust their plan. They often meet throughout the day for more detailed discussions about adapting or re-planning the rest of the Sprint’s work.

What is the Sprint Review?

The Sprint Review is the event held at the end of each Sprint in SCRUM with the purpose of the Sprint Review is to inspect the outcome of the Sprint and determine future adaptations. The Sprint Review is a working session and the Scrum Team should avoid limiting it to a presentation.

Who is participating to the Sprint Review?

The Scrum Team and the stakeholders review what was accomplished in the Sprint and what has changed in their environment. Based on this information, attendees collaborate on what to do next. 

How long does Sprint Review last?

The Sprint Review is timeboxed to a maximum of four hours for a one-month Sprint. For shorter Sprints, the event is usually shorter.

What is Spring Retrospective?

The Spring Retrospective is the 5th event of SCRUM and the purpose of it is to plan ways to increase quality and effectiveness. The Sprint Retrospective concludes the Sprint. 

Who is participating in the Sprint Retrospective?

The entire Scrum Team: the Product Owner, the Scrum Master and the Development team.

Can other people outside the Scrum Team be invited to the Sprint Retrospective event?

People outside the Scrum Team can be invited to the Sprint Retrospective event, depending on the specific needs of the project and the team. For example, stakeholders, customers, or other people who have an interest in the project can be invited to the Sprint Retrospective to provide feedback and input on the team’s performance and to help identify areas for improvement.

How long does Sprint Retrospective last?

It is timeboxed to a maximum of three hours for a one-month Sprint. For shorter Sprints, the event is usually shorter.

What are the SCRUM Artifacts?

Scrum’s artifacts represent work or value: the Product Backlog, the Sprint Backlog and the Increment. Each artifact contains a commitment to ensure it provides information that enhances transparency and focus against which progress can be measured.

What are the commitments of each SCRUM Artifacts?

  • For the Product Backlog it is the Product Goal.
  • For the Sprint Backlog it is the Sprint Goal.
  • For the Increment it is the Definition of Done.

What is the Product Backlog?

The Product Backlog is an emergent, ordered list of what is needed to improve the product. It is the single source of work undertaken by the Scrum Team.

When is the Product Backlog adjusted?

At any moment. Many times, during the Sprint Review the Product Backlog may also be adjusted to meet new opportunities. 

When does a Developer become the sole owner of an item on the Sprint Backlog?

Never. All Sprint Backlog items are “owned” by the Developers on the Scrum Team.

Is there any difference between the Spring Goal and Sprint Scope?

The Sprint Goal defines the purpose of the sprint, and the Sprint Scope defines the specific work that the team will do to achieve the Sprint Goal. The Sprint Goal helps the team to stay focused on delivering value, and the Sprint Scope helps the team to plan and execute the work needed to achieve the Sprint Goal.

Who is required to attend the Daily Scrum?

Only the people doing the work described on the Sprint Backlog need to inspect and adapt at the Daily Scrum. If the Product Owner or Scrum Master are actively working on items in the Sprint Backlog, they participate as Developers, they will need to be at the Daily Scrum.

Who is responsible for managing the progress of work during a Sprint?

The Developers use the Daily Scrum to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and to inspect how progress is trending toward completing the work in the Sprint Backlog.

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