What does a Scrum Master do?
If you’re in software development long enough, you might have encountered a Scrum Master. Have you ever wondered what role they play in a software team? Let’s find out.
Scrum is a type of Agile framework which allows software teams to collaborate on projects and deliver high-quality software. It is a dynamic way of project planning which usually involves an iterative process.
A study by 3Back revealed that 87% agree that Scrum significantly improves the work-life for their employees. The study also shows that 95% will continue to use Scrum in the future.
This is because Scrum is organized in cycles and focuses on time-boxed iterations called sprints. By segmenting work in this manner, the scrum team will have improved focus and performance.
Scrum teams function as a cohesive unit. Hierarchy doesn’t create lines between the product owner, Scrum Master, and software developers. Here, the entire team is responsible to deliver quality output within increments in a sprint. They work together to achieve the product goal.
Furthermore, teams actively exchange valuable feedback and user stories to help Scrum masters address client needs. But does that make them the same as project managers? Let’s delve further into the role.
What is a Scrum Master?
A Scrum Master is not at all similar to a project manager. Project managers focus on outcomes, including budgets, resources, timelines, and communication between teams.
Meanwhile, a Scrum Master facilitates the productivity of the team and its members. Though they have some functions similar to a project manager, their focus is more on optimizing productivity than managing tasks.
Scrum masters also lead the team and make sure that product requirements are met. It is the Scrum master’s job to keep the team on track and ensure success in achieving the product goals.
A great Scrum master must have top qualities such as:
- Excellent problem-solving skills to overcome unexpected problems during a sprint.
- High adaptability to easily make necessary changes and conquer team goals.
- Motivational or influential speaker to help engage the hearts and minds of the team. This will help the team become more productive.
- Communication skills to collaborate with the team and stakeholders.
- Organize and manage different tasks, meetings, deadlines, project resources, and priorities.
It is also vital that a scrum master has a certain amount of experience and familiarity with the Agile Scrum framework. This will guide Scrum masters to perform their roles and responsibilities to the team.
Scrum Master Roles and Responsibilities
As one of a software team’s leads, Scrum Masters use Agile project management techniques. This would make them more effective in doing their jobs. They also facilitate collaboration between the leadership and the software development team.
The Scrum Master is arguably the most well-known Scrum role. But, what they perform daily is a bit of a mystery; here are the general things Scrum Masters do.
Scrum prioritizes collaboration through high-value conversations. That’s why the Scrum framework includes several meetings that take place during the Sprint. The Daily Scrum, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective are all part of the Scrum framework.
All of these meetings are necessary for the team to communicate challenges, user stories, and progress. The Scrum Master makes sure that the team delivers commitments they define for themselves during stand-up meetings. They do this by applying the Scrum framework when facilitating team processes and workflows.
2. Trainer, Mentor, and Coach
Besides helping the team to self-organize, Scrum masters assist the organization members in learning how to use Scrum well. The philosophy behind Scrum is based on continuous improvement. So, a Scrum master must aid in boosting everyone’s performance.
Upskilling teams should be one of the main tasks of a Scrum master. They do this through training programs, mentoring, and coaching sessions. By observing and experimenting, they will improve the team’s skills.
Scrum masters can also be seen working with managers and leaders in the organization. They help the management team apply Scrum methodologies and adapt them into their management styles.
3. Removes Obstacles
One thing that Scrum masters should be good at is to remove impediments that might hinder team performance. Problems might come up during a sprint that will put a project to a halt.
If the development team cannot solve the problem, Scrum masters step in. Scrum masters must reduce risks to avoid any challenges that will come their way during the sprint.
4. Initiates Adaptation and Learning
An effective Scrum master wouldn’t wait for a Sprint Retrospective to present learning opportunities for the team. They can make use of day-to-day challenges as examples. Doing so will allow teams to look at best practices and learn what to avoid. The Scrum master’s learning exercises will help the team to grow.
5. Introduce Agile Engineering
Agile engineering practices help software teams be more efficient; this is one of the cornerstones of a Scrum master. They encourage the use of Continuous Integration (CI) tools to centralize development repositories and processes. This methodology dramatically reduces time, risks, and effort.
Another Agile technique they advocate for is “pair programming.” This is where two developers come together to collaborate in real-time. The fun part is that they will be using the same workstation. This practice reduces the development time and significantly increases the software architecture’s quality.
How to Become a Scrum Master
If you’re aiming to become a Scrum master, you have the opportunity to make an impact. It could be by helping your team grow and by delivering quality software products. Whatever the result is, being a Scrum master requires a bit of passion in leadership and change. So how can you start a career in Scrum?
1. Get Scrum and Agile Training
Since you will become an advocate for Scrum, you must clearly understand the philosophy behind it. You need to know the methodology, terms, systems, and phrases used. Also, you must have a deep understanding of different Scrum practices.
2. Have Technical Knowledge and Familiarity
You will need to help teams and clear roadblocks along the way; gain enough technical knowledge and familiarity with tools that will make you a successful Scrum master. Getting sufficient training will help you get the right experience to prepare you for the role.
3. Learn how to Coach
Having the ability to teach will allow you to become an effective Scrum Master. You must explain the how’s and why’s of Scrum. Being a coach means that you need to help encourage members to hone their skills and work on their weaknesses.
4. Be Good at Conflict Resolution
You might be put in a situation where you cannot avoid conflict. Scrum masters need to ensure that nothing gets in the team’s way. Having good negotiating and interpersonal skills will help you handle disagreements to find a favorable solution.
Now that we have an idea about the roles and responsibilities of a scrum master, here are steps that one must take to reach this career goal:
- Get the right training and certification.
- Ask your employer to get on-the-job training you need to upskill.
- Look for a good mentor. It will be beneficial to have a guide with the right experience in scrum methodologies.
- Practice being a coach, problem solver, and leader.
- Learn to become impartial when faced with conflict within the team.
Hire a Scrum Master Today!
Understanding the role and importance of a Scrum Master helps employers find the right candidate. But you won’t have to do it yourself. Offshoring businesses, like Full Scale, have a pool of qualified candidates you can select from.
At Full Scale, we dedicate time and resources to help our employees design their own career paths. And, that includes honing skills necessary to become Scrum Masters. By opening up opportunities for the employee, we help our clients in the IT industry flourish.
We have programs that train our employees to keep updated with the latest IT trends. That just shows how dedicated we are to reaching our goals for our company and our customers. Talk to us about kick-starting candidate selection for your own Scrum Master and learn more about how you can grow with us!