Qualities of a Successful Scrum Master

Qualities of a Successful Scrum Master
Author

Naren Madan

Last updated June 4, 2018


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In today’s world, agile methodologies are gaining popularity among IT enterprises. These methodologies, including Scrum, have contributed to faster market times, greater flexibility, higher quality products, and customer satisfaction. In the scrum methodology, the product owner creates a wishlist, and the project team breaks the list down to smaller pieces known as sprints. A sprint typically lasts two to four weeks, and should result in project deliverables ready to be shipped to the customer The team repeats this process over several sprints. The scrum master is at the center of the scrum, coordinating all project activities and linking customers and different teams that are part of a project. 

The Qualities of a Successful Scrum Master

Influential

A scrum master is usually tasked with leading various project groups to achieve specific project milestones and deliverables. This means that a scrum master must be able to strategically motivate various teams and stakeholders at an organizational level. As a team leader, the scrum master must bridge the gap between conceptualizing and actioning project ideas within a team. They are also expected to motivate and inspire team members and maximize the team’s potential. The scrum master demonstrates leadership skills within the sprint teams and organization at large.

Collaborative

The scrum master forms an all-important link between the product owner and project teams. While the owner drives the teams towards delivery goals and results, the scrum master nurtures the team. A successful collaboration between the scrum master and product owner results in fascinating products that meet the customers’ goals. The scrum master should also be able to introduce innovative games to increase productivity and involvement in the project. The scrum master must encourage self-organization within the team and empower team members to make important decisions, estimate work done and improve their collaboration on the project. 

Observant 

The scrum master is not a manager, but a team member and facilitator. They should be good listeners and pay attention to the challenges faced by the project team. The scrum master should also be observant and soak in the team’s daily activities, gain a clear view of members’ roles and contributions in the sprint sessions. The scrum master should also possess strong leadership skills and inspire others in the team to lead and achieve in their roles.

Knowledgeable

Besides resolving impediments, the scrum master prevents potential problems. This requires absolute knowledge on the product and discipline. The scrum master’s experience allows the team be proactive to avoid any challenges or roadblocks. The scrum master should possess knowledge on various work formats based on previous experience and reflection. Besides scrum, these scrum masters should be knowledgeable on agile methodologies such as XP, Lean and Kanban, their strengths, weaknesses and how they can be used together with scrum. 

The Roles of a Scrum Master

Coach Teams in Project Management Best Practices

The scrum master is responsible for creating and onboarding project teams and integrating them into the organization by providing them with a clear vision of the product. The scrum master also facilitates communication and information exchange between external groups and the project team. The scrum master monitors project progress, provides timely feedback and drives a culture of agility and learning. The scrum master also guides the team in implementing methodology rules to deliver rapid and reliable business products.

Facilitate Scrum Collaborations

The scrum master hosts daily meetings to get hands-on updates on the project, address potential impediments and link up team activities with the product owner’s wishlist. They also hold demo sessions to demonstrate the project progress to the stakeholders. These sessions are a platform to gain feedback which is important for the project team. The scrum master creates release plans that include deliverables and the release deadline. The scrum master also plans and estimates the highest value deliverables for the next release. A scrum master must also ensure the success and sustainability of the project by reflecting on process issues and taking appropriate actions.

Introduce Engineering Practices That Result in Deliverables

A scrum master encourages the use of automated builds and continuous integration, thus improving project efficiency. These builds reduce the risk, time and effort associated with traditional processes and integration of large project modules. They also facilitate the use of simple design and incremental development which evade poor project architecture. Through the use of practices like pair programming, the scrum masters help improve product quality without lengthening delivery times. These practices also help reduce testing time, enabling project team members and developers to make changes to the product. 

Responsibilities Towards the Product Owner and Organization

Product Owner

The scrum master is responsible for supporting product owners in the following aspects:

  • Find methods to effectively manage the product backlog.
  • Help communicate the owner’s wish list to the project team.
  • Arrange and optimize product backlog.
  • Organize scrum events as necessary.

Organization

The scrum master is responsible to the organization in the following aspects:

  • Lead and coach scrum adoption.
  • Plan scrum implementation.
  • Implement changes and steps to increase the team’s productivity.
  • Collaborate with other scrum masters to improve the methodologies’ efficiency.

 

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Conclusion

The scrum master has a diverse portfolio of roles, attributes, and responsibilities. A successful scrum master must internalize all these characteristics, and apply them to ensure timely and high-quality project deliveries. If you’re interested in building a career in this domain, you might want to consider an Agile Scrum Master certification to help you gain and improve upon these necessary skills to become a scrum master. 

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Name Date Place
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Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) 30 Jun-1 Jul, 2018, Weekend batch New York City View Details
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About the Author

Naren Madan is a Content Marketer with close to three years of experience in B2B marketing. An avid football fan, Naren follows the key trends in digital marketing and how sports teams leverage new marketing technologies and analytics to connect with their global fan base. This section provides access to all the insightful resources that Naren has contributed to our audience.


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