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Scrum Master

Table of contents

What is a Scrum Master?

A Scrum Master is an essential player in the Scrum Team. He or she ensures that Scrum is well implemented, as explained in the Scrum Guide. They do this by helping everyone, both in the Scrum Team and throughout the entire organization, to understand and apply Scrum properly.

The Scrum Master is also responsible for helping to improve the way the Scrum Team works. They are leaders who support both the Scrum Team and the entire organization.

What does a Scrum Master do?

1. Supporting the Scrum Team

The Scrum Master supports the Scrum Team in various ways, including:

  1. Coaching team members in self-management and multidisciplinary working;
  2. Helping to focus on creating valuable product updates that meet agreed quality requirements;
  3. Removing obstacles that hinder the team’s progress;
  4. Ensuring that all Scrum events take place, are useful and stay within the agreed time (timebox).

2. Supporting the Product Owner

The Scrum Master also supports the Product Owner in various ways, such as:

  1. Helping find techniques for defining an effective Product Goal and managing the Product Backlog;
  2. Helping the Scrum Team understand the importance of clear and concise items in the Product Backlog;
  3. Assisting in creating an empirical product plan for a complex environment;
  4. Facilitating stakeholder collaboration, when necessary or requested.

3. Supporting the organization

Finally the Scrum Master also supports the organization in a number of ways, including:

  1. Leading, training and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption;
  2. Planning and advising Scrum implementations within the organization;
  3. Helping employees and stakeholders understand and engage with an empirical approach to complex work;
  4. Removing obstacles between stakeholders and Scrum Teams.

Essential skills and qualities as a Scrum Master

To be effective as a Scrum Master, certain skills and qualities are essential. These include:

  • Clear communication – Ability to communicate clearly and effectively with the Scrum Team, the Product Owner and stakeholders.
  • Good facilitation skills – Skill in facilitating meetings and discussions to ensure they are productive and purposeful.
  • Ability to coach – The ability to coach and guide the team and individuals in Scrum and personal development.
  • Conflict resolution ability – Skill in (facilitatively) resolving conflicts.
  • Empathetic and people-oriented – Ability to listen well, show empathy, and consider the needs and perspectives of everyone.
  • Flexible and highly adaptable – Ability to adapt to changing circumstances and to be flexible in approach.
  • Servant leadership skills – Strong leadership qualities, not by authority, but by servant leadership and setting the right example.
  • Knowledge of Agile and Scrum – In-depth understanding of Agile principles and the Scrum framework.
  • Great problem-solving ability – Effectively identify and help solve problems (that hinder the team’s progress).
  • Continuous learning and improvement – Ongoing drive for self-development and the urge to stay up-to-date with developments in Scrum and Agile.

In summary

The Scrum Master is a key role in Scrum focused on supporting the Scrum Team and the organization in applying Scrum.

Looking for a Scrum Master?

As a freelance Scrum Master, I support teams in their adoption of Scrum. Read more here.

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