A Scrum Master facilitates all the communication and collaboration between leadership and team players to ensure a successful outcome. What Is a Scrum Master (and How Do I Become One)?
As described in the Scrum Guide, 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.
The Scrum Master is accountable for the Scrum Team’s effectiveness. They do this by enabling the Scrum Team to improve its practices, within the Scrum framework. Scrum Masters are true leaders who serve the Scrum Team and the larger
What does a Scrum Master do?
Scrum is an Agile framework for developing complex projects, most often software. The Agile project management methodology uses short development cycles, called sprints, that result in the continuous improvement of a product or service. There are many Agile frameworks, and Scrum is a popular option for fast-moving projects. The methodology is highly collaborative and requires efficient processes, and the results of the process depend upon the expertise of the Scrum Master.
Agile methodologies may have started in tech companies, but Scrum Master jobs can be found in all kinds of industries and for all kinds of companies around the globe.
Scrum Master vs. project manager
The fundamental difference between a Scrum Master and a project manager is in their focus. Project managers focus primarily on project outcome, including budget, timeline, resources, and communication between teams. Where a project manager focuses on the project, a Scrum Master focuses on the team, taking steps to ensure the team and individual team members achieve success.
Tasks and responsibilities of a Scrum Master
The role of a Scrum Master is to use Agile project management to champion a project, teams, and team members. Since Scrum Masters can work in many settings, your tasks and responsibilities may vary. Depending on where you work, you may find yourself taking on the role of a facilitator, coach, or project manager. Your duties will often vary from day to day but might include:
- Leading daily stand-up meetings, reviews, demos, and other project-related meetings
- Supporting team members in their tasks
- Coaching the team on Scrum principles and best practices
- Facilitating open discussion and conflict resolution
- Proactively identify and resolve issues
- Updating activities in a project management tracking tool
Scrum Master skills
Effective Scrum Masters often have a set of workplace skills in common. Whether you’re just getting started or advancing within your career, building these skills will empower you to lead your team to the best of your ability.
- Problem-solving skills help you navigate complex projects.
- Adaptability enables you to make changes as necessary to achieve the best possible outcome.
- Motivational skills empower you to bring out the best in your team to improve productivity.
- Communication skills allow you to collaborate effectively with team members and stakeholders.
- Organization skills help you manage multiple tasks, meetings, resources, and priorities.
As a Scrum Master, it’s also important to be proficient in specific technical skills related to Agile management and software development.
- With the Agile project management methodology, you can ensure that your teams follow specific processes to complete and release projects and products in stages for customer input at every step.
- Software development and management skills are necessary when working on software projects and products. You’ll need to know the goals, structure, and expectations, processes, requirements, planning, and monitoring that goes into producing better software.
- Business analysis skills help you focus on how to continuously improve a product to meet customer, stakeholder, and company needs.
Why pursue a career as a Scrum Master?
As a Scrum Master, you can play an integral role in a company’s success. You may also have the opportunity to develop products that positively impact the world around you by making people’s lives better. On a more granular level, you’ll have the opportunity to foster a positive working environment for team members in a company and ensure the most successful outcome of a product or project.
Scrum Master salary and job outlook
As of June 2022, Glassdoor reports that Scrum Masters in the US make an estimated $108,369, and LinkedIn has over 154,000 US Scrum Master job listings [1, 2]. LinkedIn’s Most Promising Jobs of 2019 report showed that there is ample opportunity for career advancement in this field. New job openings have seen substantial year-over-year growth .
How to become a Scrum Master
While not strictly required, most companies prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in IT, business administration, or a related field. Earning a college degree can also open up opportunities to gain on-the-job experience, another requirement that often shows up on Scrum Master job listings.
Earning an industry credential is another excellent way to validate your knowledge of the Scrum framework to potential employers. Among the most popular options for Scrum Masters is the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) from the Scrum Alliance. As you prepare for the certification exam, you can begin to build practical skills to help you successfully lead teams.
Scrum Master career path
Becoming a Scrum Master will open up doors to numerous careers, companies, and industries. Many people who start as Scrum masters advance to become Scrum coaches, product owners, or project managers.
Get started in project management
Choosing a career as a Scrum Master puts you on a path toward using your communication, business, and product development skills to help companies get their products successfully to market. Build a foundation in Agile project management, and learn how to implement Scrum events and build Scrum artifacts with the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate.
Scrum Master Training
Core Classes for Scrum Masters
- The Applying Professional Scrum (APS) is a 2-day course that teaches Scrum by experiencing what it’s like to deliver products using the Scrum framework. Working in a series of Sprints, students break into Scrum Teams fulfilling all of the roles on a team to deliver, simulating real-life problems.
- The Professional Scrum Master (PSM) is a 2-day course where students learn how to use Scrum to optimize value, productivity and the total cost of ownership of software products. Tools are provided to enable students to relate to behavioral shifts, work with people and teams, coach and facilitate techniques, and address the organization.
Deep Dive Classes for Scrum Master Skills
- The Professional Scrum Master II (PSM II) is a 2-day Advanced ScrumMaster course designed to support experienced Scrum Masters in their professional journeys. This course is a combination of instruction and facilitated exercises looking at the challenges that Scrum Masters face and how the principles and values of Scrum help them to deal with those situations.
- The Professional Agile Leadership-Essentials (PAL-E) is a 2-day hands-on workshop that uses a combination of instruction and hands-on exercises to help managers and other leaders who work directly with agile teams understand how to best support, guide, and coach their teams to improve their agile capabilities.
Additional Practices to help Scrum Masters and their Scrum Teams
- Scaled Professional Scrum (SPS) with Nexus is a 2-day course designed for anyone involved in building products across multiple teams to learn how they can scale product delivery with Scrum. In this workshop, students use a hands-on case study to learn about the Nexus framework and over 50 practices to reduce dependencies at scale.
- Professional Scrum with Kanban (PSK) is a 2-day course that teaches Scrum practitioners how to apply Kanban practices to their work without changing Scrum. Through theory, case studies, and hands-on exercises, participants will understand the importance of transparency and flow as it pertains to the Scrum framework.
- Professional Scrum with User Experience (PSU) is a 2-day hands-on course where students with some Scrum experience will learn how to integrate modern UX practices into the way they are working in Scrum and how to work most effectively within Scrum Teams.
Scrum Master Certification
Scrum.org provides 3 levels of Professional ScrumMaster certification.
PSM level I demonstrates a fundamental level of Scrum mastery.
PSM level II demonstrates an advanced level of Scrum mastery.
PSM level III demonstrates a distinguished level of Scrum mastery.
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