Scrum is the most popular agile project management framework and in this article I will define the function of the scrum master in this guide. Outline the duties of the scrum master, explain how this person interacts with the other scrum positions (product owner and scrum team), and provide advice, resources, and certifications to consider if you want to become a scrum master.
- What is Scrum?
The rugby term “scrum” refers to a small group of players that get together to push an opponent and seize possession of the ball.
Scrum is a framework for managing knowledge work such as product development.
Scrum is empirical in the sense that it gives teams a way to form a hypothesis about how they believe something should operate, test it out, look back on the experience, and make the necessary improvements.
When the framework is properly applied, that is. Scrum’s organizational design enables teams to apply techniques from other frameworks when doing so makes sense in the context of the team.
Scrum is a framework used in agile product development that makes it easier for small teams to collaborate. Scrum encourages strong cooperation, laser-like focus, and ongoing improvement to accelerate development and seize control of the product delivery process.
- Who is a Scrum Master?
The scrum framework and its three distinct roles—the product owner, scrum team, and scrum master—are described in the scrum Guide, which was authored by scrum’s co-creators Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.
The scrum master, as the name suggests, is in charge of ensuring that the scrum framework is adhered to. Each member of the scrum team works with the scrum master to coach and guide the team through the scrum framework. Scrum has a well-defined set of roles and rituals that should be followed.
- What does a scrum master do?
The scrum master’s role is to guide the team to success, as the name suggests. They oversee many of the scrum rituals as a result, including the daily scrum meetings, backlog refinement meetings, and sprint retrospectives.
Collaboration and communication with team members are required, as well as pressing for clarity and cultivating an openness to learning.
What a scrum master does on a daily basis frequently depends on the people they are working with. The relationship between a scrum master and one position or department may be substantially dissimilar from their relationship with another function or department.
- Scrum Master’s Responsibilities
In the ideal agile world, a team would manage its own processes and tools. Yet we’ve found that many teams making the leap to agile often rely on the scrum master as the owner of their process.
It takes time for responsibility and authority to diffuse through a team. In this transformative context, the role can be as lightweight as scheduling the scrum ceremonies or as involved as any other scrum team member.
Although the Scrum Guide lists how the scrum master serves other scrum roles, this is not an exhaustive list of responsibilities.
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Indeed, we find scrum masters often perform some or all of the following, not all of which are defined by scrum:
- Standups – Facilitate daily standups (or the daily scrum) as needed.
- Iteration/sprint planning meetings – Protect the team from over-committing and scope creep. Aid in estimation and sub task creation.
- Sprint reviews – Participate in the meeting and capture feedback.
- Retrospectives – Note areas for improvement and action items for future sprints.
- Board administration – Work as the administrator of the scrum board. Ensure that cards are up to date and the scrum tool, Jira software or otherwise, is working well.
- 1 on 1s – Meet individually with team members and stakeholders as needed. Iron out team disagreements about process and work styles. While many scrum practitioners are anti-1on1, as they believe these communications should happen during standups, some teams, particularly for new teams, prefer to have these regular face-to-face interactions with specific team members. The scrum master may decide that these individual interactions are crucial for team development and getting to know one another.
- Internal Consulting – Scrum masters should be prepared to consult with team members and internal stakeholders on how best to work with the scrum team.
- Reporting – Regular analysis of burndown charts and other portfolio planning tools to understand what gets built and at what cadence.
- Blockers – The scrum master aids the team by eliminating external blockers and managing internal roadblocks through process or workflow improvements.
- Busy work – If the scrum team isn’t humming, that’s the scrum master’s problem. Maybe that means fixing broken computers, moving desks around, or even adjusting the thermostat. Scrum masters should be comfortable doing just about anything to help their team and should be not slink away from grabbing coffees or some snacks if that’s what the team really needs.
- Scrum Master and the Scrum Team
Project managers are in charge of creating project plans that include all the requirements for successfully managing projects, including scheduling, planning, and risk management.
In order for scrum teams to succeed, scrum masters streamline processes and guarantee that the atmosphere is dynamic.
Kanban boards are a popular tool used by Scrum teams to organize their user stories, product backlog, and schedule agile sprints.
In order to keep scrum masters, project managers, product owners, and scrum teams on track, Project Manager offers award-winning project management tools for agile teams like kanban boards and reporting features.
- How to become a Scrum Master
How does one go about becoming a scrum master? Formal scrum master training and certification is the most direct path to becoming one. Scrum master certification programs are offered by a number of organizations.
For instance, “Disciplined Agile Scrum Master” (DASM), a scrum master certification program offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), qualifies you as a qualified scrum master.
The Certified Scrum Master (CSM) designation, which is offered by the Scrum Alliance, teaches the candidate how to encourage scrum teams to perform at their peak.
- How to Transition into Scrum Master Career
The Scrum Guide and talking to those who have experience in the role—the majority of whom are very kind with their time and excited about sharing information and experiences—are the finest sources for learning what a Scrum Master is and what a Scrum Master does.
The actual definition of the Scrum Master role is quite straightforward, understandable, and condensed.
The examples you hear from the knowledgeable people will help you understand the intricacy of using those simple rules in challenging circumstances.
The team is enabled by the Scrum Master’s role when they successfully implement the Scrum framework, are collectively disciplined and structured, and when they invest time and effort removing obstacles in the way of their development.
If the role of scrum master sounds like it might be right for you, I’d advise you to give it a try.