Published on April 30, 2020
Updated on April 30, 2020
Read time 8 minutes
Everything You Need to Know about a Scrum Master
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We know that a Scrum Master sounds like another designation in the project management industry. However, this role defines not only a very serious position that comes with some very important responsibilities but also entails many different strategies that new PMs are not aware of.
The definition of a Scrum Master is that a person in this position is solely responsible to ensure that a proper scrum process is applied to all of the steps involved in developing a project.
They are the ones who ensnare the whole framework of the Scrum, enhances the capabilities of the organizational processes, scrum team, and the product owners.
Thanks to many of the benefits just like these, the concept of Scrum continues to grow more and more in popularity in the market. According to research, more than 85% of users that use Agile methodology in their project development, use the Scrum project management approach.
These stats show that a company must have a scrum master to oversee all of the activities performed by the Scrum Team and that’s why, in this article, we are going to be discussing what a scrum master is, what are the benefits of one, and everything else related to the role of SM.
Let us start from the very beginning.
What is a Scrum Master?
SM is the position in the company which is responsible for managing processes associated with the workings of a project and nothing else. They are not a part of any of the decision-making processes and they are only there to oversee the scrum process to be properly performed by their team.
When you work on a new project, not all team members are completely understanding of the scrum process, and this is very true for new teams.
This is why every company needs a Scrum Master to promote and support the processes that make it easier for the teams to get more knowledgeable about the rules, workings, and values of Scrum.
And If they are unable to procure one for their teams than most of their projects will ultimately break apart and bomb.
One other way to look at this type of leadership is to consider them a servant leader. This means that they are not involved in pushing their teams to respect the hierarchy or barking orders left and right or pushing the teams to generate more ROI.
Instead, they are the ones that generate more peace and tranquillity in the working environment which creates a sense of belonging in the office community and they become more invested in the success and failures of the company not by force but compassion for their workplace.
Another thing that the scrum masters need to keep in mind that they are not supposed to constantly point out the team members that are a bit careless and make a mess every time.
This brings out a very negative vibe in the office. Instead, they need to appreciate the ones that are doing their best and achieving their goals, to set a better example for the whole office including the ones who were not performing so great.
The Role of the Scrum Master
There are several roles of the Scrum Master in the projects of any company. Some of them are as follows:
- The Scrum Master is directly answerable to another big position in the company’s cast and that is the Product Owner. How? Well, the SM ensures that all of the milestones associated with the project, all the scope and product domains relevant to the project are crystal clear to everyone associated with the Scrum Team.
- Secondly, the Scrum Master offers useful tools and techniques to the team members so they can effectively manage a product backlog and keep all of the items included in it, ore accurate and clear.
The Scrum Team
When it comes to the actual team itself, the Scrum Master plays a very vital role that helps the members to self-organize and work across all parts of the project as a well-oiled machine.
They also help the team to form up and produce a high-value product by removing any sort of hindrance from their path by coaching them daily or weekly via meetings or through other ceremonies whenever they are needed.
A hindrance can be anything and everything that means to slow down the work of the team and delays them to achieve their goal.
This could also include different approval processes that need to be passed to get the team’s work started or the slow response from other departments or using outdated IT infrastructure and hardware.
The Scrum Master should be present at all times to assist the scrum team in facing anything and everything that comes in their way. This will help them focus on their work and achieve greater success down the road.
Check out the best scrum tools:
The Organization and SM
The last one on this list is the organization. The Scrum Master apart from everything else helps the organization by leading their teams into the world of Scrum and coaches them on how to play with the Scrum framework.
The Scrum Master also helps the team by introducing the teams to different changes in the whole process that helps to increase their productivity while working with other people in their position to infest the whole company with the concept of Scrum.
Another important duty of the Scrum Master is to dispense relevant information to all of the stakeholders involved in the project. This can be done through any and every collaboration and communication channel the company is using.
What does a Scrum Master Do?
Well, the Scrum Master has their hands in everything except the planning of the release, otherwise, it’s a very crucial part of the Scrum team. The planning of the release is performed by the product owner and the team itself.
A Scrum Master doesn’t manage the team as it is designed to be more and more self-organizing. If you think about it, a scrum master mostly doesn’t have any relation with any success the project’s results might display.
Yet as we know, that if there isn’t any scrum master involved in the project, the whole thing would fall apart quite quickly. By that logic, the Scrum Master is the glue that binds all of the elements attached to the project, together. And that even without being a participant of the daily stand-ups.
Is the Role of an SM, a Dedicated One?
There are always discussions going on around the organization paradigm, that whether or not the Scrum Master be included in the actual development process of the project when it’s underway.
One school of thought thinks that the actual development work will lead the scrum masters astray because of the day-to-day pressure that work exudes. They think that they should conserve their energy and help people be more productive when they are performing development.
On the other hand, the second school of thought thinks that the role assigned to them is too easy and should not consume 100% of their work time and energy, and so they should be more involved in the development processes of the project when it goes underway.
When you think about it, both of these approaches have pros and cons attached to them. If a Scrum Master performs the development tasks, they would find themselves dead center in the project development process.
This position can make them quite vulnerable in the time of crisis when the going gets bad. Why? Because when the going gets tough, they would have to take a step back and leave the development process to perform their primary role and that is to be a Scrum Master.
This will help the team be in a good position because they can get the development done without an extra hand in their team, but they can’t get their productivity increased and finish their work if they don’t have a Scrum Master to guide them through these dangerous waters.
The upside to the Scrum Master being on the development team is for the company because they get two employees for the price of one and don’t have to invest in more people to get the job done.
On the other hand, the Scrum Master that is 100% focussed on their work and doesn’t bother themselves with the burden of being on the development team, always has the bigger picture before them that shows them the way to success for themselves, the team and the company.
The only downside to this approach is to the company because if the Scrum Master doesn’t get involved in the development team, the company has to hire new people and spend more money on hiring and training which is not good for the budget.
Becoming a Scrum Master
The way to become a Scrum Master is to do a certification by a reputable organization. There are a lot of different certifications on the market that teach the candidates on how to get the scrum teams up and running and perform at their highest levels of productivity.
The most elite certifications on the market will teach all of the fundamental principles included in the scrum framework and help the candidates to become more and more in-sync with the venues and roles are of the team like what events of the scrum are, what are the terms involved in the processes and what are the different procedures involved in the scrum.
Having such an elite certification on top of the real-world working experience that they received while working on and off in the field will put the candidate in a good position to broaden their horizons and expand their work experience across a group of different industries.
Check out the best scrum and project management certifications:
Requirements to Become a Scrum Master
The requirements for becoming a certified scrum master are quite minimal. First of all, the candidate has to have some sort of familiarity with the scrum framework. Then all they have to do is complete a 16-hour course that is spread over two days. This course is taught by a certified trainer associated with the organization.
After the course is complete, the candidate has to pass an exam. If you pass it, you will get a two-year Scrum Master license.
What does an SM Certification Exam consist of?
The exam itself consists of about 35 MCQs and to pass the exam, the candidate needs to get 24 of them correct. The course from where the exam is conducted consists of the history of the scrum methodology and the basics of all of the processes involved in the Scrum methodology.
Other topics include planning releases, backlogs of products, the roles involved in the Scrum methodology, tasks, reports, and how to conduct daily meetings and such.
While the candidates are taking the exam, they can consult any material they want to like their notes or handouts. There is a time limit involved but you can pause that time limit if you need to go somewhere else. But you need to finish the test in 90 days from when you started the test.
Typical Salary of a Scrum Master
Depending on the industry they work in and the region they are located in, the average salary of a Scrum Master ranges from $70,000 to $100,000 annually.
Scrum itself is a different kind of work methodology that requires a lot of expertise. Although this write-up about makings of a scrum master is detailed, we still believe it to be inconclusive. There’s a lot more information from where these details came from.
Stay tuned for future updates by bookmarking this post. We’d also love to hear your thoughts about Scrum methodology in an Agile setup. You can write to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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