Scrum Master: What Do They Do and How to Become One

Scrum Master

Scrum, a prevalent project management framework, has found its place in virtually every organization worldwide. To ensure optimal utilization of scrum’s benefits, the role of a scrum master is indispensable. But what exactly is scrum, and what does a scrum master do?

Scrum is a dynamic, agile methodology that streamlines project execution by emphasizing collaboration, adaptability, and incremental progress. A scrum master serves as the connecting point, facilitating communication and collaboration between the team and leadership. They remove obstacles, foster a productive work environment, and follow the Scrum process diligently.

Becoming a scrum master involves a structured journey. You’ll need to deeply understand Scrum principles, participate in training, and gain practical experience. 

Whether you’re an aspiring scrum master or simply curious about this pivotal role, this article will delve into the intricacies of scrum and guide you on the path to becoming a proficient scrum master. Unlock the secrets to success in agile project management and propel your career forward.

Who Is This Guide for?

This guide welcomes individuals from diverse professional backgrounds and experience levels who harbor ambitions of excelling as a scrum master. 

This guide offers insightful advice and helpful tips to help you on your path, whether you’re an experienced project manager looking to adopt agile approaches or a newbie excited by the possibility of a bright career in agile project management.

If you possess traits such as effective communication, adaptability, problem-solving prowess, and a genuine passion for nurturing collaboration within teams, then the role of a scrum master could be tailor-made for you. 

Regardless of your technical or non-technical origins, if you’re dedicated to continuous improvement and fostering agile practices, this guide will aid you in evaluating your suitability for this pivotal role and guide you to embark upon a fulfilling career in agile project management.

Why Choose a Career as a Scrum Master?

A scrum master is a professional who helps teams use the scrum framework to deliver products and services effectively. They do this by removing obstacles, facilitating communication, and coaching the team on scrum practices.

Reasons Why You Should Become a Scrum Master

Here are the main reasons to become a scrum master are:

Bridge the Gaps

Scrum masters are the glue that binds teams together. They help team members collaborate and stay aligned with their goals and objectives. If you are good at fostering teamwork and resolving conflicts, then becoming a scrum master is a great career choice for you.

Facilitate Progress

Scrum masters are facilitators, mentors, and servant leaders. They create an environment where continuous improvement is the norm. This is your role if you are passionate about helping teams learn and grow.

Become an Agile Transformation Expert

Businesses need to be able to adapt quickly to change. Scrum masters are experts in agile transformation, and they can help companies adopt this methodology to improve their efficiency and effectiveness.

Why Scrum Masters Are in High Demand

Scrum masters are professionals who help teams use the scrum framework to deliver products and services effectively. They do this by removing obstacles, facilitating communication, and coaching the team on scrum practices.

Growing Job Opportunities

The demand for scrum masters is on a constant upward trajectory. Job portals like LinkedIn currently list over 113,000 job opportunities for scrum masters.

Moreover, Indeed has recognized ‘Certified Scrum Master certifications’ as one of the top-paying IT certifications in 2022. This growth trend signifies the rising significance of scrum masters in the tech world.

Adapting to Hybrid Work

With companies adopting hybrid work models, scrum masters have assumed a new role as facilitators between remote and distributed teams. They ensure a seamless workflow and expedite product delivery. This shift in work dynamics further amplifies the importance of scrum masters in the modern workplace.

Expansive Career Opportunities

The opportunities for those experienced in the scrum master role continue to expand. As businesses increasingly recognize the value scrum masters bring, roles such as Agile coaches, Agile project managers, and executive positions open up for those with a strong scrum master background.

What Does a Scrum Master Do?

Let’s delve into their multifaceted responsibilities.

Facilitating Scrum Events

One of the primary duties of a scrum master is to facilitate Scrum events. These events include sprint planning, daily stand-ups, sprint reviews, and sprint retrospectives

The scrum master ensures the effective organization of these meetings and maintains their focus on achieving their objectives. They guide the team in adhering to these events’ time frames and structures, ensuring they are valuable and productive.

Removing Impediments

In software development, obstacles and impediments are bound to arise. It’s the scrum master’s responsibility to identify and eliminate these roadblocks to keep the team moving forward. Whether it’s a technical issue, a resource constraint, or an interpersonal conflict, the scrum master steps in to resolve these challenges promptly. It will allow the team to maintain its momentum.

Coaching the Team

Scrum masters are not just managers. They are coaches, too. They support and empower the team members by providing guidance, feedback, and mentorship. They help individuals and the team as a whole to improve their skills, adopt agile practices, and embrace the scrum framework. Through coaching, scrum masters foster a culture of continuous learning and growth within the team.

Ensuring That Scrum Is Being Implemented Correctly

It’s essential to implement scrum correctly to reap the full benefits. Scrum masters are the guardians of scrum practices and principles. They ensure that the team follows the Scrum framework faithfully, adhering to roles, artifacts, and ceremonies. 

If deviations occur, the scrum master intervenes to bring the team back on the right path, maintaining the integrity of the Scrum process.

Promoting Scrum Values and Principles

Scrum is not just a set of rules. It’s a mindset. Scrum masters play a vital role in promoting the core values and principles of scrum, such as transparency, inspection, and adaptation. They help the team embrace these values, fostering a culture of trust, collaboration, and continuous improvement. By instilling scrum values into the team’s DNA, scrum masters contribute to the long-term success of agile projects.

The Scrum Master’s Skills and Qualities

Let’s explore the key attributes that make a scrum master exceptional.

Communication Skills

Effective communication is the cornerstone of a scrum master’s role. They must excel in verbal and written communication, ensuring that team members, stakeholders, and product owners are all on the same page.

 A scrum master’s ability to facilitate meetings, convey ideas clearly, and actively listen to others is essential for maintaining transparency and fostering collaboration within the team.

Problem-Solving Skills

In the complex software development landscape, problems and obstacles are a given. Scrum masters are the troubleshooters who identify issues and find creative solutions. Their problem-solving skills extend beyond technical challenges to encompass interpersonal conflicts, process inefficiencies, and impediments hindering the team’s progress.

Coaching Skills

As coaches, scrum masters guide teams towards self-organization and continuous improvement. They deeply understand agile principles and scrum practices, which they use to mentor team members. Effective coaching empowers individuals to make decisions, take ownership of their work, and continuously enhance their skills.

Leadership Skills

Scrum masters are not just facilitators. They are also leaders. They exhibit a leadership style known as servant leadership, prioritizing the team’s needs above all else.

They lead by example, exhibiting qualities like empathy, humility, and a commitment to the team’s success. Their leadership ensures the team remains motivated, focused, and aligned with their goals.

Technical Skills

While not mandatory, having technical skills can be a significant asset for a scrum master, especially in tech-focused environments. 

Technical knowledge enables them to better understand the team’s work, anticipate challenges, and offer valuable insights. It also fosters credibility with the development team, as they can relate to the technical aspects of the work.

How to Become a Scrum Master?

If you aspire to become a scrum master and excel in the world of agile project management, here are the essential steps and skills you need to acquire:

Obtain a Degree in a Related Discipline

While not mandatory, having a degree in a related field, such as computer science or business, can provide a strong foundation for your scrum master journey. However, what truly matters is your passion for agile and your willingness to learn and adapt.

Master the Basic Concepts of Scrum

Before diving into certification and practical experience, it’s crucial to master the fundamental concepts of scrum. Familiarize yourself with scrum roles, events, artifacts, and the principles that underpin this agile framework.

Choose a Scrum Certification

Consider obtaining a scrum certification to validate your scrum knowledge and boost your career prospects. The industry widely recognizes certifications such as Certified Scrum Master (CSM) or Professional Scrum Master (PSM). These certifications require you to attend training sessions and pass an exam.

Adopt a Product-Owner Mentality

As a scrum master, it’s essential to adopt a product-owner mentality. Understand the product’s vision, customer needs, and business goals. This perspective helps you align the team’s efforts with the organization’s broader objectives.

Enroll in a Scrum Course

Enroll in a scrum course or workshop to deepen your understanding of scrum and agile practices. These hands-on experiences provide valuable insights and practical knowledge to apply in real-world scenarios.

Top Skills Needed to Become a Certified Scrum Master

Soft Skills

  • Communication: Scrum masters need to be excellent communicators. They need to articulate their thoughts and ideas verbally and in writing clearly. They also need to be able to listen actively to team members and understand their perspectives. They need to be able to facilitate productive discussions and mediate conflicts.
Effective communication within the team with Chisel Team Alignment
Effective communication within the team with Chisel Team Alignment
  • Leadership: Scrum masters need to be strong leaders. They must inspire team members, foster cooperation, and create a culture of continuous improvement. They need to be able to motivate team members to achieve their goals and to overcome challenges.
  • Empathy: They need to be empathetic. They need to be able to understand and appreciate the perspectives of their team members. They must build rapport with team members and create a positive and supportive work environment.

Hard Skills

  • Project Management: They need to be skilled in project management. It includes planning, estimating, risk management, and stakeholder management. They should be familiar with the scrum framework. 
  • Agile Methodologies: Scrum masters need to understand the principles of the Agile Manifesto. They should be familiar with different agile methodologies and how they align with these principles. It will allow them to choose a suitable method to the specific project or team.
  • Technical Awareness: Scrum masters need to have a working knowledge of the technology used by their team. It includes the team’s procedures, technology stacks, and tools. Technical awareness will help them to better communicate with the team and support their needs.

Challenges You Can Expect When Becoming a Scrum Master

Becoming a scrum master is a rewarding journey but comes with challenges. Here are some common hurdles you may encounter along the way and effective solutions to address them:

Managing Time-boxing Is Challenging

Challenge: As a scrum master, you enforce time-boxing during meetings and events. Failure to do so can lead to unproductive meetings and delays.

Solution: Maintain meeting agendas, emphasize the importance of strict time-boxing, and redirect off-topic discussions. Ensure participants understand that the team values its time and that they can address any issues outside the meeting separately.

Agile Meetings Aren’t Being Held Appropriately

Challenge: Some team members may perceive meetings as unproductive, significantly if they don’t actively contribute. However, agile relies on regular meetings for transparency and collaboration.

Solution: As a scrum master, ensure that all meetings add value to each participant. Keep meetings focused, encourage collaboration, and emphasize their role in overcoming obstacles and preparing for upcoming tasks.

Handling Modifications in Scope

Challenge: Handling changes in project scope can be confusing for the team, even though it’s primarily the product owner’s responsibility.

Solution: Collaborate closely with the product owner to collect feedback daily. This feedback loop helps the team adapt to changing requirements, ensuring clarity and minimizing confusion.

Scrum Master Undertaking Administrative Tasks

Challenge: Scrum masters might perform administrative tasks that distract from their core responsibilities.

Solution: Delegate administrative tasks whenever possible and focus on your primary role as a team facilitator. Effective communication can ensure that the team oversees all tasks without overburdening the scrum master.

Poor Rapport with the Product Owner

Challenge: Conflicts and communication breakdowns between the scrum master and product owner can hinder project progress.

Solution: Address conflicts promptly and collaboratively with the product owner. Building a supportive relationship based on mutual understanding and compromise is crucial for the team’s success.

Quick Problem Resolution

Challenge: It’s the scrum master’s responsibility to resolve issues quickly, but some problems may be complex and time-consuming.

Solution: Foster a culture of shared responsibility within the team. Encourage open communication and a willingness to help each other. With the team’s support, you can tackle obstacles more efficiently.

Managing Challenges

Challenge: Constraints such as conflicting mindsets, emergent conflicts, unclear requirements, or technology limitations can stress the scrum master.

Solution: Identify a sponsor or a supportive member of the management team who can assist in overcoming these constraints. Create a list of constraints and work collaboratively to find solutions that allow the project to progress smoothly.


Becoming a scrum master is a transformative step in your professional career. As a scrum master, you will act as a servant-leader, facilitating collaboration and ensuring the effective implementation of the Scrum framework. 

Your responsibilities will include coaching teams, removing impediments, and fostering an environment of continuous improvement. You will be crucial in delivering value to customers, enhancing team dynamics, and achieving organizational agility.

Why should you become a scrum master today? The answer is simple: the demand for skilled scrum masters is on the rise as more organizations recognize the benefits of agile practices. 

This role offers rewarding career prospects, a chance to make a real impact, and the opportunity to drive innovation and efficiency in your workplace. So, why wait? Join the scrum master path right now to learn about a world of exciting opportunities, personal development, and the potential to be the change-maker your organization needs.

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