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What is a Scrum Master?

One day, I noticed a new hire on my team named Chris walking around with a puzzled look on his face. He was asking the other members of my team what they were doing all day long at work, but he didn’t seem to get their answers. They told him that they were working in sprints or “sprints” for short (each one lasts 2-4 weeks), so they would each have items called “user stories.”

Chris said, “So you guys sit around and just talk about user stories?”😂
A few people chuckled and we explained we didn’t just chat, we also use different techniques like standups and retrospectives to make sure everything is going well. While that answer seemed to satisfy him for the concept about what a scrum actually is.

Now the question is what a scrum master is? It’s a group role accountable for ensuring that the team adheres to agile methodology and principles and conforms to the team’s processes and practices.

A scrum master facilitates collaboration among members of an agile development team. Scrum is a technique that enables an agile team to self-organize and implement modifications rapidly.

Scrum Master
Scrum Master

This position is responsible for the following:

  • Creating an atmosphere favorable to team effectiveness.
  • Dealing with team dynamics.
  • Ensuring a positive working relationship between the team, product owner, and external stakeholders.
  • Defending the team against external disruptions and diversions.

As part of the Scrum methodology, the scrum master position was established. Moreover, the term was meant to refer to someone who is an expert in Scrum and capable of coaching others.

Generally, the position lacks real authority. Individuals who occupy this job must lead from a position of authority, often adopting a servant-leadership attitude.

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Scrum Master’s roles, duties, and abilities

Scrum Master does not act as a project leader and is not responsible for project results. It is the responsibility of the whole team to deliver good results accordingly. The Scrum Guide implies to the Scrum Master as a servant leader because their role is to serve the team by establishing a framework where each team member may perform their best work toward a shared objective. Also feel free to check out some of the tasks of each role with a real scrum implementation example.

In an ideal Agile team, the process would be managed by the team as a whole rather than by a single person. However, the Scrum Master role developed to assume responsibilities while maintaining a team-oriented approach.

The Scrum Master position is very dynamic, and it entails the following responsibilities:

  • Assisting the team in reaching an agreement on what can be accomplished within a certain time period known as a sprint.
  • Helping the team in achieving agreement during daily scrums.
  • Assisting the team to remain focused and adhering to the daily scrum guidelines.
  • Eliminating barriers to the team’s development.
  • Defending the team against external distractions.
  • Ensuring that project plan items are well-defined and effectively handled

The primary function of the Scrum Master is that of a facilitator. They supervise the use of best practices and the progress of the team’s tasks. Moreover, A scrum methodology that adheres to best practices should foster visibility, inspection, and adaptability.

Skills Required

  • Capability to enable team communication and to foster a sense of belonging.
  • Capacity to teach and train team members to adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Ability to interact with external teams about the team’s progress and requirements.
  • Ability to deal with shifting interpersonal dynamics, behavioral patterns, and dispute resolution using soft skills and empathy.

Along with the Scrum Master, additional scrum positions include project manager and product owner, which are separate but equally important on the team. In addition, These roles will collaborate with the Scrum Master to accomplish a well-defined shared objective.

Challenges

A Scrum Master’s duty is to guarantee that the group carries the Scrum Procedure and that those outside the group provide the team the necessary space to do so. Although the job of Scrum Master is probably the simplest to describe, it may be difficult to do. Therefore, we have mentioned three difficulties that often occur in a team:

1. Change resistance

Resistance is by far the most significant obstacle. It may be aggressive or passive, obvious or hidden, and take a variety of forms. Change is necessary for every industry, and change management requires teams to adapt to new techniques and processes. The beauty of agile methods is that transition is critical to their success. To demonstrate, the team must be adaptable to any situation, and the scrum master must guarantee that the team adjusts to the change correctly.

2. Failure to understand the process  

Because Scrum methodology fundamentally alters the way people operate, experts believe there is potential for considerable misunderstanding in its everyday execution. It is typical for individuals to believe they understand Scrum as they are confusing traditional terminologies and techniques with Scrum procedures and terminology.

3. Failing to adapt to shifting roles  

Moving to Scrum alters responsibilities across teams, departments, and even the whole organization (cross-functional and self-organization), which may be unsettling. For example, managers may fear losing influence or control, while team members may struggle to adapt to a group-driven approach.

Project Manager vs. Scrum Master

A Project Manager is in charge of directing the team and creating and managing the strategy. But, if the team is Agile, what about all those project management activities?

  • A project manager assists in the management of the project’s schedule, personnel, and scope to fulfill business needs. A Scrum Master, on the other hand, aids in the success of the scrum team.
  • A Product Owner establishes guidance with the help of the client and the team.
  • A Scrum Master is a coach and facilitator who guides the development team through Agile methods to accomplish the task that the Product Owner has prioritized.
  • The Scrum Master collaborates with the Product Owner and development team accordingly to guarantee that the team can move ahead with development without obstacles and that Scrum practices are followed.
Project Manager Vs Scrum Master
Project Manager Vs Scrum Master

Agile Scrum Master Certifications

Individuals may become Certified Scrum Masters by completing a 16-hour certification course offered by the Scrum Alliance (CSMs). The scrum structure and the different team roles, events, and artifacts included in Agile development are all explained throughout the certification process.

Scrum certification path
Scrum Certifications

There are many additional certificates available. For instance:

  • Scrum Master certification by Scrum Inc.
  • Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I) by Scrum.org.
  • Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM) through the Scrum Alliance.
  • Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) from the Project Management Institute.
  • SAFe Scrum Master (SSM) from Scaled Agile.

Statistics

Zippia conducted research and discovered the most prevalent sectors that employ project managers/scrum masters based on the number of workers in each industry. Among these sectors are technology, finance, and health care.

Scrum Master Statistics
Top sectors for Scrum Masters

This indicates that scrum master is a rapidly increasing profession in recent years and that large businesses need scrum masters to complete their projects, which is why more than 20% of Fortune 500 organizations depend on scrum masters to complete their projects.

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By Usama Ahmad

Usama Ahmad is an aspiring Technical Writer at NiHao Cloud. Along with his engineering and management degrees, he has a lifetime passion for information technology. He is dedicated to analyzing complicated information technology topics and optimizing sophisticated software development strategies.

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