Scrum masters came into existence with the advent of scrum networks. The name was coined to refer to a person who has extensive experience with scrum and can coach others. Who then is a scrum master?
A scrum master is a team member who ensures that the team keeps up with agile values and principles while following all the processes and practices that members agreed on before the commencement of a given project.
Crum masters do not have any actual authority. However, to be eligible, you have to lead from the point of influence, which involves assuming a servant-leadership role. Scrum masters are at times referred to as agile coaches, iteration manager, or team coaches.
While helping you understand who a scrum master is, we need to define what scrum is clearly. A scrum is a famous software used in agile development that allows a cross-functional team to organize and work faster on projects.
Scrum encourages continuous feedback, which is useful in guiding decisions and coming up with better plans. While coining its name, the founders wanted to stress the importance of collective working and frequent correspondence in product development and program management. Therefore, it does not come as a shock when some people refer to scrum masters as team coaches.
Scrum Master Job Description
A scrum master job’s description is not as detailed as you would expect. He/ she is the go-to person for any company that wants to apply scrum and produce high-quality work. A scrum master is generally regarded as a servant leader or facilitator despite the master terminology on the job’s name.
Whereas he/ she cannot make any strategic or substantive decision about the project, he is responsible for managing the project’s process until it is executed. The scrum master does not take the blame for the outcome of a given project, unlike a project manager, because the whole team shares responsibility for whatever happens in a project.
Here is the job description of a scrum manager:
- Managing the scrum process alongside the scrum team in accordance with Agile rules and methodology.
- Removing any obstacles that the scrum team may face.
- Facilitating his/ her team for better creativity and increased efficiency in the development of a project.
- Arranging and scheduling meetings, demonstrations and decision-making processes for effective project completion and management.
- Looking out for the welfare of all the team members and solving problems that may accrue along the way.
- Conducting different team meetings.
We will have a more detailed look into some of the responsibilities of a scrum manager to help you understand just how important his/ her role is in a business setting.
Scrum Master Skills
This is more of a leadership position, and therefore calls for a relatively higher skill set. A scrum master links planners and doers, meaning that they play an essential role in ensuring everybody is on the same page.
Here are some of the necessary skills that every scrum master must-have for business success:
- Organizational skills
One cannot act as a link between different players without proper organizational skills. A scrum master must be able to implement a smooth flowing organizational system. Keep in mind that scrum teams must be appropriately structured and planned to keep everything organized and assist in executing projects.
A scrum leader must be organized, and we are not referring to the ordinary tidiness and proper desk arrangement. A scrum master is responsible for ensuring that the team is on schedule and not task goes past the set deadlines, explaining why most of them invest in online program management tools.
To enhance organization, a scrum maser may be forced to identify a system that works for all the stakeholders. While doing this, he must involve other team members, given that he lacks the authority to make substantive or even procedural decisions.
- Proper Scrum and Agile Training
As we mentioned, the central role of the scrum master is to ensure that the entire team keeps up with the guidelines of scrum and agile. Scrum may sound like a standard or common name, but it has its own set of terms and phrases that a scrum master must know for proper use of the framework and enhancement of business initiatives.
A scrum master must, therefore, know all these systems and terminologies. This calls for Scrum Certification programs that aim at promoting collaboration and success among teams. With the right training, one gets acquainted with Scrum values obtain a high level of expertise that beats typical project management.
We will look at some of the certifications you can pursue to become the best scrum master and a typical master of your game.
- Coaching ability
You must have realized that these professionals are also referred to as coaches. Their work is helping everyone follow all the Agile systems properly. Therefore, one must possess strong teaching skills to impart knowledge to different team members, especially those who are not yet familiar with the Scrum process.
A good scrum master should know how to go about his/ her duties and make everyone involved while at it. Do not be shocked when you find out that your scrum master is a member of your team. Since he/ she will be working with you on a project, one of the duties is encouraging all of you to improve your skills and enjoy working together.
A good scrum master should establish all team members’ strengths and weaknesses, which is everything a coach does.
- Conflict resolution
It would be best if you understood that even though team members are expected to work together towards realizing given objectives, they are people with diverging views, opinions, and personalities. Conflicts are expected to rise over time, with one of the most common reasons being different working styles.
Therefore, the scrum master must be ready to find ways of resolving conflicts that may arise among the scrum members to prevent stalling of the team’s progress. Whereas most teams end up compromising to agree, the scrum master should be at the center of it all.
A scrum master should be an excellent negotiator and facilitator to effect his roles. The leaders can also use several strategies to develop solutions, but it mostly begins with their interpersonal skills.
These will help them work through given disagreements and find workable solutions.
- Servant leadership
A scrum master is a servant leader. He is expected to show rather than tell. This means that he/ she should be prepared to act first, and others follow. Servant leadership involves leading by example, and most of us do not have it in us.
The scrum master should put other team members’ needs before his, helping them tap into their potential. He/ she should act as part of the team and do everything in his power to ensure that the tasks at hand are accomplished.
Therefore, this professional has two roles; he is a leader and a team member at the same time. He/ she guides the entire development team, ensuring that they stick to the Scrum guidelines even though he does not have the same authority as the manager.
It is only through servant leadership that one can guide and motivate a team to achieve success.
- Technological know-how
A scrum master is expected to work with the Product Owner to identify a system that can help the team achieve success. He/ she must have a given level of technical familiarity and training for this. Keep in mind that scrum is mostly expected to help software developers develop minimum programs without lots of challenges.
One needs a certified scrum developer certification training to master Agile Software development. Software development know-how can help one push their teams and techniques and, in return, build proper programs.
Whereas one doesn’t need to receive all these given certifications, you are better placed with them.
Scrum Master Salary
Scrum masters are paid well according to Payscale results. They earn a basic salary of $88885 annually, which translates to roughly $53.06 hourly, making it more lucrative than program management.
This amount also differs depending on the level of experience. Those with one year experience or less earn an average of $68,000 a year, whereas 1-4 years take home $83,000. You can clearly see the vast disparity of income between these two levels.
Those with 5-9 years of experience earn an outstanding $100,000, whereas 10-19 years of experience makes one $107 000. The highest-paid are those with 20 or more years of experience, who take home a staggering $114,000.
Apart from the salary, this job also comes with several benefits, including medical, dental and vision. It all depends on where you work. There are specific skills that also influence the salaries of scrum masters, which you should be aware of.
You will be paid differently based on your professional coaching, project management, agile software development, program management, and software development skills. Employees stationed in Seattle, Washington take home 11.1 % more than the national average.
Georgia comes second with 9.2% more and New York third at 9.2% +. The lowest salaries are paid in Chicago, Illinois, Austin, Texas, and Minneapolis. Scrum masters should therefore know the salary expectations in their preferred operation states to prevent let-downs.
Scrum Master Certifications
There are several certifications that Scrum Masters can take advantage of to better their careers. This is a top-leadership position that requires high levels of qualifications for overall success. Most of these certifications target Agile, which is the main idea behind the scrum master job title.
Here are some of the most common certifications:
- Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM) Certification. This teaches the fundamentals of agile and lean approaches, including Scrum, Kanban, and others.
- PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) Certification. It helps scrum masters to discover their skills, experience versatility by using agile principles and practices while working with an agile team.
- Disciplined Agile Senior Scrum Master Certification. It tailors scrum masters for more involved initiatives through Disciplined Agile. One can choose his way of working for agile success in different situations.
- Disciplined Agile Coach (DAC) Certification. This helps scrum masters train their teams on how to apply and optimize disciplined agile in their operations.
- Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant (DAVSC) Certification. This helps professionals master disciplined agile and use value stream management to lead entire organizations and implement their unique needs.
Those are some of the certifications that one can take to be at the top of the game. All of them are aimed at making the best scrum masters for the achievement of different business initiatives. Employers may also call for one or two certifications, and therefore, one has to ensure that he/ she is tailored for a given job.
The Role of Scrum Master in Software Development
Scrum masters play essential roles in their given teams and areas of management or coordination. They also play an indispensable role in software development. They are an important part of the team, given that they assume a servant-leadership stance.
Here are some of the roles these invaluable professionals play in software development.
- Facilitating teamwork. Scrum masters are charged with bringing every member aboard to ensure that an implemented project is developed accordingly. This makes him an indispensable member of the team, especially in software development projects.
- Helps the members understand the rules of engagement. A scrum master works closely with the product owner and ensures that the work is done per agile technology when developing software. These rules of engagement help the team to come up with the exact prototype.
- Communication. A scrum master defines the principles of communications in a software development team. Each team must have straightforward ways of communication for effective workflow. A scrum manager ensures that the principles of communication of a team are respected.
- Supervision. In as much as these professionals are tasked with leadership and coordination, they also ensure that the work proceeds according to the adopted goals and values, giving the product owner value for his trust.
- Elimination of distractions. Several distractions can occur in software development projects. It is the work of the scrum master to ensure that they do not hinder the team’s progress.
You can establish just how important the role of a scrum master is to the organization. This particular article should give you a head start if you intend to pursue a related career.