Today, 66% of the agile methods used by companies in the US is either scrum or variants of scrum. This lightweight process framework for agile development enhances productivity and makes project management more efficient, relatively seamless, responsive, iterative, and consistently evolving according to transforming scenarios as well as business goals.

It’s a popular, fast-growing profession, and I field questions from aspiring agile scrum professionals all the time. In this brief write-up, I hope to capture their key concerns and shed more light on this industry. I’m hoping this will guide budding agile project managers among you chart your way to a full-fledged career.

Who hires scrum professionals?

In the year 2015, a survey covering 5000 professionals across 108 countries covering 14 industries, yielded the following as the result:

  1. 82% of respondents are already using scrum, and another 11% are piloting Scrum.
  2. The general success rate of projects delivered using Scrum is 62%
  3. 81% of respondents believe certification has helped their Scrum practice.
  4. 95% of respondents say they plan to continue using Scrum moving forward.

The survey results speak volumes for the fact that Scrum is a powerful tool that can transform project management across every industry and every business. Anybody who has a complex project can benefit from using Scrum, which allows users to rank large to-do lists into controllable tasks with enhanced teamwork, improved communication, and faster outcomes.

Preparing to become a Scrum Master? Take this test to know where you stand!

Some of the most reputed global corporations that use Scrum in a big way are IBM, Cognizant, Thoughtworks and GE. According to a ranking survey by Glassdoor, Scrum Master was ranked 4th of the ‘25 hottest tech jobs of 2015’.

Scrum – A Lucrative Road to Employment Opportunities

According to Forbes -

  1. 22 in every 100 IT jobs in the UK require a Scrum qualification and offer an average salary of 48,150 GBP.
  2. In 2016, certified Scrum Masters can expect to make upwards of $112,000 a year.
  3. The average Agile Coach Scrum Master salaries for job postings across US are 95% higher than average salaries for all job postings.

While the salaries for certified Agile Scrum professionals are attractive, it’s not just this aspect that makes Scrum popular as a career path. Agile Scrum is a growing industry with a constantly updated body of knowledge and is linked to growth, improvement, innovation and evolution.  And where there is growth, you can expect to see a cascading effect on demand generation, with more jobs being created. With their contributions toward continuous improvements, process streamlining, and optimum resource utilization, Scrum teams are part of the growth story at every organization.

Scrum Masters gradually move into such roles as product owner, product manager, head product owner, head of product management, program manager, project director, program director, agile coaching, development manager, technology manager, and others. Most of these roles are created in organizations as a response to growth or diversification.

Be it a company or business with global footprint or a young start-up, Agile and Scrum are the indispensible tools for growth. A growth story is almost always followed by more and greater opportunities. So once the organization is on the growth path, who can be better positioned to move up and forward than the Scrum Master?

At the Helm of Scrum – Scrum Master

A Scrum team usually consists of 5-9 people and the team is spearheaded by the ScrumMaster. A ScrumMaster takes on the central and prime role in Agile. He/she is accountable for making sure that the teams correctly follow the rules and principles that govern scrum.

A scrum master must possess a skillset that is a mosaic of technical & soft skills. He/she needs to be a motivational speaker, a coach and manager, all rolled into one. The role of a scrum master involves monitoring and solving any concern that may arise throughout the course of development.

This is a list of skills that a Scrum Master must have in order to succeed -

  1. Knowledge of the basic fundamentals of iterative development
  2. Sound understanding of processes and methodologies and should be able to communicate eloquently about the processes to provide value to a team/enterprise
  3. Technically sound familiarity with the basic fundamentals of software development processes and procedures
  4. Understand of the value of commitments to delivery made by a development team
  5. Familiarity with incremental delivery and the value of metrics
  6. Fluency in backlog tracking, burndown metrics, velocity, and task definition
  7. Ease with common Agile practices, service-oriented environments, and better development practices

However, the most critical aspect of a Scrum Master’s job is the non-technical part – teamwork and leadership skills. Here are some of the traits that round out the Agile Scrum Master skillset -

  1. Servant Leader
  2. Communicative and social
  3. Facilitative
  4. Assertive
  5. Aware of situational criticalities
  6. Consistent improvement
  7. Conflict resolution
  8. Empowering Attitude
  9. Transparent Conduct

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