What is a Scrum Master?

In this article, we will take a closer look at exactly what a Scrum Master does, their key responsibilities and why this is so important in Scrum. We also have information on how to become a Scrum Master, so if you are short on time, skip to the bottom to find out more.

A Scrum Master is an individual who uses the Agile project management framework named Scrum to lead a team through a project. They play a crucial role and are responsible for facilitating the collaborations and exchange of information between the various team members. 

What does a Scrum Master do?

The Scrum Master is accountable for establishing Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. They are in charge of protecting the framework by ensuring the team is adhering to the Scrum rules. The Scrum Master wouldn’t usually provide input when it comes to decisions regarding the development of the product but would rather act as a coach and mentor for the team on Scrum theory. 

It is also the Scrum Masters’ responsibility to enable the efficiency of the team. This includes eliminating any distractions or obstructions the team might come across in their day-to-day work. In particular, the Daily Scrum meetings should be facilitated by the Scrum Master, who will usually help the team asking themselves the below three main questions:

  1. What did you achieve since yesterday?
  2. What will you achieve today?
  3. Are there any impediments in your way?

Once they have established the answers to these questions they can make an informed decision on any changes that must be made to help the team’s progress.

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Key Tasks and Responsibilities of the Scrum Master

The specific tasks and responsibilities of the Scrum Master can vary depending on the team and the type of project on hand. They can also change day-to-day and remain dynamic. They serve the Scrum Team in various ways, often including: 

  • Coaching the team on the Scrum rules, self-management and cross-functionality.
  • Facilitating the Daily Scrum meetings. 
  • Removing any impediments to the team’s efficiency and progress.
  • Helping the team to focus on creating high-value Increments that meet the Definition of Done.
  • Supporting Scrum events and ensuring they are positive, productive and kept within the assigned timebox.

The Scrum Master also supports the Product Owner by:

  • Supporting the team with defining clear and concise Product Backlog items. 
  • Helping techniques for effective Product Goal definition and Product Backlog management.
  • Facilitating stakeholder collaboration and removing barriers between stakeholders and Scrum teams. 

Finally, the Scrum Master also supports the organisation by: 

  • Planning and advising the implementation of Scrum within the organisation. 
  • Coaching, training and leading the adoption of Scrum and ongoing practices. 
  • Supporting both the team and stakeholders in understanding an empirical approach to complex work. 

Benefits of having a Scrum Master

It’s clear that having a Scrum Master can prove significantly useful. Understanding how they help to support the team, Product Owner and the organisation (which we covered in the previous section) already alludes to some of the advantages of employing them. Some key benefits also include the following: 

  • Teams can adopt Agile methodologies.
  • There is a designated leader for Scrum who is specialised in the job. 
  • The team has a leader dedicated to meeting individual needs and promoting the prosperity of the team. 

It’s also worth noting that the Scrum Master might either be hired as an internal employee, or organisations might opt to hire an external consultant. Both options have pros and cons and the best solution will be dependent on the organisation and team’s specific requirements.

Summary

In summary, having a Scrum Master is extremely beneficial to teams who plan to use Agile project management. They provide the expertise and knowledge required to guide teams through Scrum and enable effective collaboration. Scrum Masters are true leaders who serve the Scrum Team and the wider organisation by being frontline change agents.

How to become a Scrum Master

Scrum Masters are in high demand which makes this an excellent career path. As you can probably tell from reading this article, being a Scrum Master is more than just facilitating a couple of meetings, which is why we have put together a full training course. 

In our Certified Scrum Master course, the emphasis is on participants gaining a deep understanding of the principles behind shaping team identity and fostering high efficiency.

Get started on your journey to becoming a Scrum Master and find out more about our Scrum Master Certification by clicking here.

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