In addition, this method can also be used for the development of any complex product. In carrying out this framework, there are roles in it. One of them is the scrum master which we will discuss here.
What is a Scrum Master?
A deep understanding of Scrum role is critical to implementing Scrum. Many times, this gets widely overlooked when organizations adopt Scrum for the first time. Even before Scrum can be useful for any team, a clear perception of “what is a Scrum Master” is important.
Simply put, a Scrum Master is the coach and facilitator of a Scrum team. The Scrum Guide describes the Scrum Master as a person chiefly responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum. As rightly stated in the guide, a Scrum Master helps everyone understand the Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values. A converter of “doing Agile” to “being Agile” is what defines a Scrum Master. Essentially, a Scrum Master is a servant leader responsible for facilitating Scrum processes.
That being said, a Scrum Master also helps people outside the Scrum Team understand which of their interactions with the Scrum team are useful. This, in turn, helps the Scrum maximize teams the value created by them.
According to Wikipedia, the Scrum Master is a facilitator of the team responsible for removing the impediments to deliver the project target. The Scrum Master is not a traditional project manager and acts as a buffer between the team and any distracting influences.
What a Scrum master is “NOT”
A better perception of “what is a Scrum Master” demands an understanding of “what a Scrum Master is not”. If you are in it for the long haul, this will help you become aware of the generic misconceptions around who a scrum master actually is.
Well, a Scrum Master is not a:
- Project manager
- Product Owner
- A position (it is a role)
- Role above the team
In this regard, it is also important to note that a Scrum Master is not an active participant in the daily scrum activities but only a moderator.
So what is it that a scrum master does for real? Let us try to understand.
What exactly does a Scrum Master do?
Being a Scrum Master entails a lot more than the list of priority activities of a Scrum Master you come across nearly everywhere. In addition to moderating the team activities, a Scrum Master has to help teams live by Scrum values.
A typical day in the life of a Scrum Master looks somewhat like below-
- Moderates team activities
- Helps organize meetings
- Keeps scrum processes moving
- Keeps the team focused on current sprint
- Ensures a power balance among management, Product Owner, and the team
- Actively works with the PO
- Removes impediments
- Helps the team achieve sprint goals
- Maintains transparency in processes
- Helps improve performance
- Ensures quick delivery of the final product
- Promotes a constructive feedback culture
- Identifies hidden issues and helps prioritize and address them
- Helps build self-organizing teams
- Encourages teams to learn from experience
We shall discuss the roles and responsibilities of a Scrum Master in further details in the upcoming sections.
To be an effective Scrum Master, one has to be a Scrum enabler first. If you have had the chance to work with highly successful Scrum Masters, there a few patterns you must have observed. These are nothing but the key attributes seen in Scrum Masters of high-performing teams.
Scrum Masters with these top qualities are found to lead their teams to success-
Effective communication is one of the top skills for any role. A Scrum Master, however, should be adept in two-way communication. (S) he should be a good speaker and listener. An efficient Scrum Master should be able to listen, comprehend, repeat, summarize, energize, observe, write, simplify, critique, suggest, assert, chat, and present with equal ease.
2. Responsibility and Ownership:
Scrum Master is a representative of the Scrum team. As a Scrum Master, if you are capable of building and gaining trust among the team members, you should be able to represent them in their success or failure.
3. Acknowledgment and appreciation:
Genuine leadership entails valuing your colleague’s efforts and enabling them to advance their performance. This is one of the top qualities of a Scrum Master, who happens to be a servant leader as well.
4. Good leader, not a ruler
A Scrum Master should not follow a command-and-control leadership. Instead, he should adhere to the principles of servant leadership, wherein decisions are made only after discussion with the team members instead of being directly imposed.
As a Scrum Master, you should be able to juggle parallel tasks and manage important scrum events within defined timeframes. Assuming an ideal Scrum team of 6-9 members, you are responsible for managing today’s tasks and planning for tomorrow’s tasks along with arranging the Scrum events for the team members to resolve their queries, planning for the next Sprint, and release. Multitasking, in fact, is one of the top qualities of a Scrum Master.
6. Resolve the obstacles and keep the team on track:
The Scrum Master always focuses on keeping the team on track and resolving the obstacles that are blocking their way to deliver a quality product. These obstacles may include unwanted meetings, unwanted procedural complexity, work environment or any other challenge. He / She ensures that the team is away from the distractions that are hindering the project success.
7. Encourage collaboration:
A Scrum Master has to look into the daily activities of the team members. Also, the Scrum Master can share his / her experiences through seminars. conferences, and meetings with the team members. A good Scrum Master should encourage collaboration with the help of planning sessions, daily stand-ups, sprint planning, and sprint review meeting sessions.
8. Initiating latest technologies:
A Scrum Master can use automated builds, simple designs, multi-level testing, automated development, and pair programming to reduce time and efforts while developing the project. He / she can also make use of the latest technologies and best practices that can help you in the early completion of the project.
9. Good coach for the team:
A successful Scrum Master should understand the different phases that his / her team is undergoing and the importance of team building. The Scrum Master coaches the team members by building self-organizing teams, tracking the project, implementing simple methodology rules, and by creating project vision. Other than being a coach to the team to explain Scrum processes clearly and enforcing the practice for Agile, the Scrum Master should have basic technical and project management knowledge.
10. Effective collaboration with the Product Owner:
This is considered as one of the key qualities of a Scrum Master. An effective Scrum Master should be able to collaborate with the Product Owner. While the role of a PO is to convey the user requirements to the Scrum team and push the team towards it, a Scrum Master facilitates a seamless execution of the processes. Together, the Scrum Master and Product Owner build a strong relationship with the team to provide the best results.
A Scrum Master develops many skills while working with team members. He / She builds his / her skills to develop emotions and to learn what the team members feel. This way, (s) he builds a strong connection with the team and understands their problems while also suggesting effective solutions.
12. A strong understanding of servant leadership and facilitation:
The role of the Scrum Master is not to assign the tasks to the team, it is all about supporting the team members in achieving the project goals. Servant leadership, which is one of the fundamental qualities of a Scrum Master plays a key role here. By serving and encouraging the team in every way possible, a good scrum master always helps the team members attain their full potential. Needless to say, this has a direct positive impact on the business value they create as a team.
13. A relentless approach to continuous delivery:
A successful Scrum Master always tries to improve the way a team works. The best way to do this is to arrange the retrospective, where each team member identifies what went well and what went wrong in the initial Sprint. The team members learn from the mistakes and these leads to continuous improvement.
14. A good relationship with the team:
A Scrum Master may act as a team leader, but he / she doesn’t have the authority of a true manager. Eventually, a Scrum Master has to be cordial with the team members, if he / she wants to influence specific actions.
15. Product, market, and domain knowledge:
A Scrum Master need not have end-to-end technical knowledge and domain skills. However, a fundamental understanding of the product, markets, and software development processes, makes it easier for them to address challenges in project delivery.
16. Encourage a self-organizing team:
A scrum master should know when to express his views and should mostly allow the team to be self-organizing. That said, he should be actively listening to the team members’ inputs and learning points and guide the team to perform better in subsequent sprints.
Here are the 4 Must Have Skills to Become a Scrum Master !
The roles and responsibilities carried out are of course not easy. Therefore, you need to have some of the skills needed to have a career in this position.
1. Communication skills
As someone who often provides coaching and mentoring to team members, of course you must have communication skills.
This is of course so that team members can understand what you are saying.
2. Planning and forecasting
As a person who is responsible for the smooth running of a project using the Scrum method, of course someone in this position must be able to plan and predict what might happen in the future.
A team will certainly face various risks and challenges. Therefore, this profession needs to be able to mitigate these risks.
3. Ability to think critically
As previously stated, of course there will be challenges that are not according to plans or predictions.
Therefore, you need critical thinking skills in order to find solutions to these problems.
4. Understand the concepts of agile and scrum
The main skill a scrum master needs to have is to know very well about the concepts of agile and scrum.
Because these two things are important elements in carrying out the implementation of project development effectively and efficiently.
Those are some of the important things you need to know about the Scrum master.
If you are interested in a career in that position, immediately register yourself to be part of IDStar! #BeIDStar