The role of Scrum Master has evolved in recent times, but the basic tenets remain the same. It involves leading, coaching and inspiring a team to turn visions into reality. For all aspects of the overall project, the Scrum Master can be described as the go-to individual, the one who can facilitate the smooth passage of ideas, concepts and, ultimately, products within the target timeframes.

Duties and responsibilities - What does a Scrum Master do?

This is a highly responsible role, with a list of duties that includes:

  • Creating a working environment that nurtures talent, removes obstacles and inspires creativity
  • Ensuring distractions and interruptions are kept to a minimum, for the team to work as effectively as possible
  • Promoting team dynamics to maximise opportunities
  • Coaching team members in the adoption of Scrum frameworks and the way they affect the team overall
  • Working within timeframes and budgets, and making sure all Scrum members are aware of such issues
  • Bringing together the required strands to strengthen the whole, including knowledge, skills, experience, and creativity

Qualities needed for a successful Scrum Master

A Scrum team will consist of several highly committed and highly driven individuals, and the Scrum Master will need to be just as dedicated. Managing a talented group which has the will to succeed can be difficult, so the role suits a person who is just as capable of listening as they are of talking. Handling stress when the pressure is on will also be a major factor of the job.

While the role tends to suit those who consider themselves to be born leaders, it’s also worth noting that sometimes the Scrum Master will be the one being led, especially on occasions when input from the Scrum is at its most intense. The ability to read people and to read situations should be at the very top of the list of required attributes.

Scrum Masters often act as a bridge between Scrum members and the outside world, so there will be a need to liaise accordingly with customers, clients, suppliers, and other stakeholders. The role in general requires someone who’s adept at conflict resolution, personal development, self-discipline, and strategic planning.

Qualifications and technical skills - How to become a Scrum Master?

Successful Scrum Masters will have a thorough understanding of the principles of Scrum, and will have studied the concepts of Agile Methodology in the past. There are several applications that can help with the role, including the likes of Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Velocity Chart and Task Board. Agile project management tools include Jira, Clubhouse, Pivotal Tracker, Trello, ScrumDesk and VivifyScrum.

While required academic qualifications needed for such a role will differ from one employer to another, most of the Scrum Masters will have a bachelor’s degree in subjects similar to computer science. Experience in the development using Agile and Sprit methodologies along with certifications such as CSM (Certified Scrum Master) will be seen as a major plus point in an application.

Career development - What is the next step after Scrum Master?

Effective Scrum Masters are constantly evolving and developing, and they tend to have a career path reflects this, Many go on to mentoring roles, overseeing the careers of other Scrum Masters, and some go on to become Product Owners, in part because they enjoy being part of a dynamic team. In some cases, there can be opportunities to become QA Directors and Development Managers.

Salary and remuneration - How much does a Scrum Master make? Is it a good career?

Scrum Masters earn very well, especially if they are experienced and have a proven track record of success.

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