Changes are integral part of life. If we want to strive and prosper we need to be ready to change and adapt to changes. The Scrum Master role is one of the most crucial roles in driving the organizational change. People of different professions and profiles are considering a role of Scrum Master as their next professional step. It is not a surprise, bearing in mind that Scrum Master has become more and more popular occupation in different industries. However, it is not clear to everyone what a Scrum Master position represents and what exactly does a Scrum Master do?
Scrum Master is one of the roles defined in Scrum Framework, which says that one Scrum team consists of a Product Owner, Development Team and a Scrum Master. In a nutshell, the Scrum Master is responsible for the Scrum team living the Scrum values and principles. But what does that really mean?
When we list the Scrum values - commitment, focus, courage, openness and respect – not everyone understands their true meaning.
Team members are fully committed to achieving set goals on a team level. They are encouraged to solve complex work problems the way they believe is right and not prescribed. Each of them focuses on the tasks that are defined within a given Sprint and on achieving the goals of the entire team. The Scrum team and all stakeholders agree on openness in terms of taking into account all the challenges that may arise during the work. There is a mutual respect between the members of the Scrum team in terms of capabilities and individuality.
To start with, the role of the Scrum Master is to explain to the team what exactly those Scrum values mean, because from their understanding and implementation of the values depends how successful the team will be in implementing Scrum.
For the Scrum Master we can say that he/she is a coach and protector of the team. He/She creates a balance between the team and the stakeholders, that is, the Product Owner. The job of the Scrum Master is to help the team work at their best.
Am I the right person for the Scrum Master role?
You will often hear that the Scrum Master should be an excellent servant leader. The “servant leader” is a compound noun that does sound logical if you look at each word separately, but when we think about it as a synergy – this is precisely the role of the Scrum Master. He/She is in the first place a “servant”, which means that he/she is “at the service” of the team, that his/her role is to serve the team, to help them. On the other hand, the Scrum Master does not have direct “authority” to control what the Scrum team does or to tell the team what they should do. He/She is a leader, his/her authority is „non-formal“. What does that mean?
Scrum Master is living the values they promote and serve as an example to other team members. He/She is helping the team in their day-to-day challenges, removes obstacles, builds positive atmosphere in the team, which increases the motivation and satisfaction of the team members. Therefore, being a team player is ideal for a Scrum Master position. It goes without saying that, first and foremost, that person should have good communication skills, be able to perceive and overcome challenges, be able to manage feedback, recognize and resolve conflicts, and of course inspire and motivate team members.
Extroverts are also good for this role, since they build good relationships both internally with the team and with other stakeholders, spread a “positive vibe” and constantly improve communication and collaboration inside and outside the team. Also, it is advisable that the Scrum Master is a compassionate person, he/she needs to actively listen with a dose of empathy. The Scrum Master needs to understand the context in which the team members finds themselves, and, with a sense of reliability and trust, help them overcome challenges without prejudice and accusations.
It is extremely important for the Scrum Master to be a very emotionally stable person, capable of controlling the sudden stressful situations that may occur in the team. He/She should always be able to see the bigger picture and not allow emotions to “take control” of the situation.
When we talk about the set of skills desirable for the Scrum Master, one more question often emerges:
“Do I need technical background?”
Generally, the more the Scrum Master knows about the product, the market, and the development process, the easier it is for him/her to understand the “technical challenges” that the team members may have, and how to overcome obstacles in the team’s work.
The Scrum Master position is increasingly in demand in companies, regardless of the industry. There are currently over 15,000 open positions for Scrum Masters in the world. In Serbia, interest in Scrum Masters is constantly growing.
Since there is no formal education for this position, there is an informal form of education, through Agile & Scrum education and certification. The certification is the first and most important step to take, since more and more companies are looking for a Certified Scrum Masters.
In Serbia, Agile Serbia has the longest experience in organizing Agile & Scrum certification courses, in collaboration with the Scrum Alliance, a prominent global Scrum certification body. This is also a place where you can exchange experiences, share good practice, find solutions to various challenges and get answers to many other questions regarding Scrum and Agile.
Let your new journey to Agile world begins. 😊