What is a Scrum Master and how to become one? Job responsibilities, Day-to-day tasks, FAQs.

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scrum master

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What is Scrum Master?

Scrum Master is a professional occupation whose designated role is in the scrum framework. The responsibilities of a scrum master include assigning activities and supervising tasks of the development team and based on the scrum methodology. 

What are the different roles of Scrum Master?

Before we understand what the roles and responsibilities the scrum master undertakes, let’s understand what Scrum is. 

Scrum is an agile framework which is commonly used in project management as well as software development. The team needs to be assigned specific roles so that they can commit to the assigned tasks and the project is carried out efficiently. 

A scrum team consists of a Scrum master, product owner, and development team. They are all working collaboratively on any given project. In larger companies, the team members could be a part of many scrum teams where each team is working towards achieving a goal. 

Apart from the above-mentioned people, other individuals may be interested or affected by the project. However, they are not a part of the Scrum activities such as scrum meetings, standups, sprints, etc. 

The teams could either be distributed or cross-functional, however, the roles assigned in scrum are fixed. For instance, the scrum master or the product owner is never part of the development team. 

Nevertheless, practically speaking, the scrum master’s role is very flexible as compared to the others depending on the resources available and the individual approach. 

There are other instances which are possible. For example, not hiring a scrum master at all and instead assigning the roles of a scrum master to an appointed product manager. Another example is when a scrum master is hired who is also working for several other scrum project teams in varied organizations. 

It is also possible for the team to collectively decide if they actually need a scrum master. If not, they can also choose to alternatively take turns to carry out the responsibilities of a scrum master. 

What does the typical day of a Scrum Master look like?

Dedication to Scrum

One of the primary responsibilities of a scrum master is to create a conducive environment for the team members to successfully accomplish the required goals. 

The workflows that have been applied need to be communicated to the team where they are informed about the meeting’s structure of organization. Here, the goal is to allow team members to work independently without unnecessary measures that hamper their performance. 

The scrum master sticks to the methodology of the scrum and ensures the presence of agile development procedures with right execution of tasks and their effectiveness. 

Administration

Scrum master spends a significant amount of time planning scrum meetings, moderating sprint planning, and reviews.

Any problems or suggestions that come up outside or during the meetings are effectively converted into calls for action to stay on track. If there are any significant changes made such as optimizing the way the team collaborates, the scrum master informs the team and makes sure that it is documented properly. 

The scrum master is also responsible for the proper executions of all the agreements that come up in the meetings. Support and guidance is offered whenever necessary to ensure the same. 

Research

An additional responsibility of the scrum master apart from the ones mentioned above is to scrutinize the company’s procedures in comparison with its leading competitors. 

Since agile development methods are flexible in terms of actions, it logically makes sense to also have management methods that are constantly evolving. Thus, Scrum master has to interact with other scrum masters from different teams to discuss and exchange ideas. 

It is crucial to exchange knowledge and be a proactive participant in the agile development community. The individual who has several years of experience as a scrum master and a desire to pass their knowledge on can become an Agile Coach.

An agile coach is not included in the scrum network, but they are known to have immense knowledge about different agile frameworks. Agile coaches don’t work on a specific project. Rather, they help companies to implement the agile methodology that suits them the best. 

Coaching

By now, it must be clear that Scrum Master is literally the master of Scrum. However, that’s not all! There is more. 

The development team and the product owner are expected to rely completely on the scrum master; especially for things related to management and administration while simultaneously receiving coaching about Scrum from the Scrum master. 

This is specially important if the company is new to agile framework, the team is developing, and if there are new team members who are coming on board.

In order to merge cross-functional teams, the different departments in the scrum master’s company can offer their advice and coaching. 

How to become a certified Scrum Master?

In order to become a scrum master, you cannot afford to take the traditional ways because no public education or degree is offered which authorizes you as a scrum master. 

So, are you wondering how such a profession exists? 

Well, there are other routes that you can consider in order to become a scrum master. On the side note, a practicing scrum master is usually called a certified Scrum master, abbreviated as CSM. Following are some of the steps you can undertake if this is a field you are interested in. 

Step 1: Prepare for a CSM course

A CSM course typically assesses whether the participants are ready to undertake the studies and if they have got what it takes. 

Hence, it is important to understand scrum frameworks, theories, and principles before enrolling for the course. 

Step 2: Attend the CSM course

The CSM course is often taught by practicing Scrum masters or Agile coaches. It requires the dedication of two full days and physical presence. 

The coursework consists of Scrum principles, theories, real-life case studies, exercises, and discussion. 

Step 3: Pass the CSM exam

The CSM exam is conducted online in the format of multiple choice. There are 35 questions in all. The passing mark is to get 24 out of 35 questions correct. 

The attempts to the exam are unlimited. However, only the first two attempts are free of cost. All the following attempts will be charged. You are awarded a certificate, once you pass the exam. 

Just like any other job, the more experience you have, the better advantage you will get. Thus, it is important to continue gaining knowledge in the field and keep yourself updated with the fields of management and software development.

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