How to Become a Scrum Master: A Step-by-Step Guide

Scrum has evolved into a universally adopted methodology across nearly all global organizations. These organizations hire Scrum Masters to guarantee that they fully adopt and leverage Scrum's benefits. By employing skilled Scrum Masters, companies aim to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of their teams. This role is critical in helping organizations implement the Scrum framework correctly, ensuring its principles and practices are understood and applied to achieve optimal performance and outcomes. This way, Scrum Masters drive project success and enhance organizational productivity. 

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What Is Scrum?

Scrum is a framework used in agile project management that helps teams work together to manage and complete complex projects efficiently. It was originally developed for software development projects, but its principles and practices have been adopted in various other fields due to its effectiveness in managing teamwork and iterative progress. Here are some key components of Scrum:

Roles: Scrum has three primary roles:

  • Product Owner: Responsible for maximizing the product's value and managing the Product Backlog.
  • Scrum Master: This person acts as a coach and facilitator for the Scrum Team, helping to resolve impediments and ensure the Scrum framework is followed.
  • Development Team: A group of professionals who deliver the product increments.

Events/Ceremonies: Scrum defines several structured events to create regularity and to minimize the need for meetings not defined in Scrum:

  • Sprint: The basic unit of development in Scrum, typically lasting two to four weeks, during which work is completed and ready for review.
  • Sprint Planning: A meeting at the beginning of each sprint where the team decides what work will be done.
  • Daily Scrum (Daily Standup): A short (usually 15-minute) meeting held each day of the sprint, during which team members synchronize activities and make plans for the next 24 hours.
  • Sprint Review: Held at the end of a sprint to inspect the increment and adapt the Product Backlog if needed.
  • Sprint Retrospective: This occurs after the Sprint Review and before the next Sprint Planning; it is a time for the team to reflect on the past sprint and improve its processes.

Artifacts: Scrum uses several artifacts to help manage work:

  • Product Backlog: An ordered list of everything that might be needed in the product, which the product owner maintains.
  • Sprint Backlog: A set of items chosen from the Product Backlog that the team commits to complete during a sprint.
  • Increment: The sum of all the Product Backlog items completed during a sprint and the value of the increments of all previous sprints.

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Who Is a Scrum Master?

A Scrum Master is a key role within the Scrum framework, acting primarily as a facilitator and coach for a Scrum team. The Scrum Master helps the team and the organization adopt and implement Scrum practices effectively, ensuring that the team adheres to the Scrum methodology while remaining flexible and responsive to the team's needs. The role is not that of a traditional project manager or team leader but more of a servant-leader and process owner.

What Does a Scrum Master Do?

Here are some specific responsibilities and duties of a Scrum Master:

  1. Facilitating Scrum Ceremonies: The Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring that all Scrum ceremonies (Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective) are held appropriately and are productive. They help the team understand the purpose of these events and ensure that they are conducted efficiently.
  2. Supporting the Product Owner: The Scrum Master assists the Product Owner with managing the Product Backlog, ensuring it is well-maintained and clear to all. This involves helping to refine and review backlog items to ensure clarity and understanding.
  3. Coaching and Mentoring: The Scrum Master coaches the team in self-organization and cross-functionality, helping each team member understand their role in Scrum and encouraging them to work collaboratively. The Scrum Master also provides guidance to the team on becoming more agile and efficient.
  4. Removing Impediments: One of the Scrum Master's primary duties is identifying and removing obstacles that may impede the team’s progress. This can involve addressing external blockers, such as dependencies on other teams, or internal issues, such as communication breakdowns.
  5. Promoting Scrum Practices: The Scrum Master helps everyone involved understand Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values. This includes promoting the adoption of Scrum within the wider organization and helping stakeholders understand how to interact with the Scrum team effectively.
  6. Shielding the Team: The Scrum Master protects the team from external interruptions and distractions to keep them focused on the tasks at hand during the sprint.
  7. Facilitating Communication: The Scrum Master's crucial function is to ensure clear, open, and honest communication among team members and between the team and external stakeholders. This also includes helping the team improve internal communication practices.

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Scrum Master Qualifications

Becoming a Scrum Master typically involves a combination of formal training, certification, and practical experience in agile project management. Here are some key qualifications and steps that can help someone become a proficient Scrum Master:

1. Understanding of Agile and Scrum Principles

  • Fundamental Knowledge: An in-depth understanding of agile methodologies and the Scrum framework is essential. This includes knowledge of roles, events, artifacts, and rules defined in the Scrum Guide.
  • Training Courses: Formal training in agile and Scrum practices can provide foundational knowledge and practical skills.

2. Certification

  • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM): The Scrum Alliance offers this one of the most recognized Scrum certifications. Obtaining the CSM requires attending a formal CSM course led by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) and passing the CSM test.
  • Professional Scrum Master (PSM): This certification is offered by There are several levels (PSM I, PSM II, and PSM III), each indicating a higher level of understanding and mastery of Scrum.
  • SAFe Scrum Master: This certification focuses on the Scaled Agile Framework and suits Scrum Masters working in large organizations where multiple Scrum teams are coordinated.

3. Soft Skills

  • Leadership and Facilitation: Ability to guide and support the Scrum Team and effectively facilitate meetings and discussions.
  • Communication Skills: Strong interpersonal and communication skills to interact effectively with team members and stakeholders.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: Capability to identify problems quickly and facilitate the process of finding effective solutions.
  • Adaptability and Flexibility: The ability to handle change and help the team adapt to shifting circumstances or requirements.

4. Experience

  • Practical Experience: Working as a Scrum team member in any role provides valuable insights and experience. Being involved in real-world projects helps understand the dynamics and challenges of working in an agile environment.
  • Mentorship: Learning from experienced Scrum Masters and agile coaches can enhance understanding and effectiveness.

5. Continued Education and Learning

  • Advanced Courses: There are numerous advanced courses and workshops that can help deepen knowledge and refine skills.
  • Community Engagement: Participating in Scrum or agile communities, attending seminars, and contributing to discussions can provide ongoing learning and networking opportunities.
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10 Key Skills Required to Become a Scrum Master

Certain skills are essential to excel as a Scrum Master. These skills help facilitate smooth operations within a Scrum team, support the team's agile practices, and guide the project toward successful completion. Here are ten key skills that are crucial for anyone aiming to be an effective Scrum Master:

  1. Agile and Scrum Knowledge: Profound understanding of agile methodologies and the Scrum framework, including its practices, roles, events, and artifacts.
  2. Facilitation Skills: The ability to effectively facilitate meetings (such as daily stand-ups, sprint planning, and retrospectives) to ensure they are productive and stay on track.
  3. Leadership and Influence: While not a traditional commanding role, a Scrum Master needs strong leadership skills to guide and coach the team, influence without authority, and promote enthusiasm and commitment.
  4. Communication Skills: Excellent verbal and written communication skills are crucial for articulating project goals, tasks, and feedback clearly to all stakeholders, including the team, management, and external entities.
  5. Conflict Resolution: The ability to manage and resolve conflicts constructively, ensuring the team remains focused on its goals and the work environment stays positive.
  6. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: Understanding and addressing team members' personal and professional needs, fostering a supportive environment, and promoting a positive team culture.
  7. Problem-Solving Skills: The ability to quickly identify problems, think analytically, and navigate the team toward effective solutions.
  8. Adaptability: Flexibility to adapt to changing project needs, team dynamics, and organizational shifts. This also includes adopting new tools, technologies, and methodologies as needed.
  9. Coaching and Mentoring: Skills in mentoring team members in agile practices, providing guidance and feedback, and helping them grow professionally within the framework of Scrum.
  10. Organizational Skills: Strong ability to manage multiple priorities, keeping the team on track with sprint goals, and ensuring deadlines.

How to Become a Scrum Master? (Step by Step)

Becoming a Scrum Master involves a combination of education, gaining relevant experience, and developing key skills. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to become a Scrum Master:

Step 1: Understand Agile and Scrum Principles

  • Learn the Basics: Start by understanding the fundamentals of Agile methodologies and the Scrum framework. Many resources include books, online articles, and video tutorials.
  • Resources: Consider reading the official Scrum Guide or books like "Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time" by Jeff Sutherland or "Agile Estimating and Planning" by Mike Cohn.

Step 2: Formal Training

  • Attend Training Workshops: Enroll in a Scrum Master training course. These courses are typically two days long and are offered by various accredited organizations.
  • Certification Prep: These workshops will prepare you for Scrum Master certification exams.

Step 3: Get Certified

  • Choose a Certification: Decide which Scrum Master certification suits your career goals and industry. Popular certifications include Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) from the Scrum Alliance, Professional Scrum Master (PSM) from, or SAFe Scrum Master.
  • Pass the Exam: Study the materials provided during training, take practice exams if available, and pass the certification exam.

Step 4: Gain Practical Experience

  • Join a Scrum Team: To gain firsthand experience of Scrum, start by working in any role within a Scrum team, such as developer, tester, or product owner.
  • Volunteer: If you’re new to the field, you might consider volunteering in community projects or startups to gain experience.

Step 5: Develop Essential Skills

  • Soft Skills: Enhance your leadership, facilitation, conflict resolution, and communication skills. These are crucial for effectively managing a team and facilitating Scrum events.
  • Continuous Learning: Stay current with the latest trends and changes in Scrum practices by engaging in ongoing education through workshops, webinars, and conferences.

Step 6: Seek a Scrum Master Position

  • Apply for Jobs: With certification and experience, start applying for Scrum Master positions. Tailor your resume to highlight your Scrum knowledge, certification, and experience in agile environments.
  • Network: Attend industry meetups, seminars, and other networking events. Connecting with professionals in the field can lead to job opportunities and collaborations.

Step 7: Excel and Advance in Your Career

  • Mentorship: Find a mentor who is experienced in Scrum practices. This can be invaluable as you navigate your early experiences as a Scrum Master.
  • Advanced Certifications: Consider pursuing advanced certifications like Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM) or Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster (CSP-SM) to deepen your knowledge and improve your career prospects.

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Responsibilities of a Scrum Master

  • Facilitating Scrum Ceremonies: Ensure that all Scrum events (Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective) are conducted effectively and efficiently and serve their intended purpose.
  • Supporting the Product Owner: Assist the Product Owner in managing the Product Backlog, ensuring it is clear and prioritized and that the team understands the items in the Product Backlog to the needed level.
  • Coaching the Development Team: Help the team understand Scrum theory and practice within the Scrum framework and in their implementation during the project.
  • Promoting Scrum Values and Principles: Foster an environment where the Scrum values of commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect are embodied, and the principles behind the Agile Manifesto are embraced.
  • Removing Impediments: Identify and remove obstacles that may prevent the team from achieving their Sprint Goals. This could involve external processes, team dynamics, and other organizational impediments.
  • Shielding the Team from Interruptions: Protect the development team from external distractions and interferences that could impact their performance and focus during the sprint.
  • Facilitating Communication: Ensure all communication channels within the team are open, and that important information is appropriately shared among team members and external stakeholders.
  • Tracking and Reporting: Monitor progress and performance, facilitating transparency and visibility through appropriate metrics and tools. Communicate the team's progress and achievements to external stakeholders.
  • Ensuring Continuous Improvement: Lead and facilitate the Sprint Retrospective to ensure lessons are learned and continuously applied to the next Sprint, aiming for process improvements in every cycle.
  • Educating and Advocating for Agile Practices: Educate the broader organization on interacting with and supporting the Scrum team and advocate for an environment conducive to successful Agile practice implementation.
  • Building a High-Performing Team: Encourage and support the team in becoming self-managed, focusing on continuous improvement, collaboration, and high standards.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Scrum Master?

The time it takes to become a Scrum Master can vary based on several factors, including an individual's background, experience, and the specific path they choose for certification and training. Typically, the process begins with a basic understanding of Agile and Scrum methodologies, which can take a few weeks through self-study or formal training courses. Following this, attending a two to three-day certification course and passing the associated exam can be accomplished fairly quickly, often within a month of starting the process.

Who Needs a Scrum Master?

Scrum Masters are essential for organizations and teams implementing or seeking to optimize their use of the Scrum framework, particularly in agile project management settings. Here are some scenarios where a Scrum Master is typically needed:

  1. Software Development Teams: This is the most common setting where Scrum Masters are utilized. Teams developing software products benefit greatly from the Scrum framework's flexibility and focus on iterative progress and feedback.
  2. Marketing Teams: More non-technical teams, such as marketing departments, are adopting Scrum to manage projects where conditions can change rapidly, and adaptability is crucial for success.
  3. Product Development: Beyond software, teams developing physical products or services can use Scrum to manage development cycles, incorporating user feedback and making iterative improvements.
  4. Startups: Fast-moving companies that need to adapt quickly to market changes can benefit from having a Scrum Master to help streamline processes and increase development speed without sacrificing quality.
  5. Large Corporations Implementing Agile Transformation: Companies shifting from traditional project management methodologies to agile practices often employ Scrum Masters to guide the transition and help teams adjust to the new process.
  6. Educational and Research Organizations: Teams working on research projects or collaborative educational initiatives can use Scrum to manage their work and ensure timely results delivery.
  7. Government and Non-Profit Organizations: As these entities increasingly adopt project-based work to improve efficiency and effectiveness, Scrum Masters can help implement and maintain agile practices suitable for their unique environments.

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Scrum Master vs. Project Manager

The roles of Scrum Master and Project Manager differ significantly, particularly in their approach to team management and project execution. Here's a table that outlines some of the key differences between these two roles:


Scrum Master

Project Manager


Facilitates the Scrum process and supports the team in agile practices.

Oversees the project from start to finish, managing resources, timeline, and budget.


Servant-leader who enables and supports the team; does not have direct authority over team members.

Often has direct authority over team members; leads planning, execution, and project closure.


Ensures the team adheres to Scrum practices, removes impediments, and facilitates Scrum ceremonies.

Responsible for the project’s success—meeting deadlines and staying within budget and scope.


Adheres strictly to the Scrum framework, a subset of Agile methods, focusing on iterative progress and flexibility.

Various project management methodologies may be used, including Waterfall, PRINCE2, or Agile.


Helps the team to become self-organizing and make decisions collaboratively within the framework.

Often makes key decisions and is responsible for strategic direction, resource allocation, and risk management.


Facilitates communication within the team and with stakeholders to ensure transparency in the Scrum process.

Manages communication across all stakeholders and is often the primary point of contact for project updates.


Focuses on Agile metrics such as velocity and sprint burndown to measure team progress.

Focuses on traditional project metrics such as budget spent, time to delivery, and scope adherence.

Outcome Orientation

Focused on team dynamics and process adherence, ensuring the team is efficient and continuously improving.

Focused on delivering the project outputs per the agreed specifications, on time and within budget.

Why Pursue a Career as a Scrum Master?

Pursuing a career as a Scrum Master can be highly rewarding for several reasons, particularly for those who are passionate about facilitating team dynamics and delivering efficient project outcomes in a collaborative environment. Here are some compelling reasons to consider this career path:

  • High Demand
  • Opportunity for Impact
  • Leadership Development
  • Professional Growth
  • Versatility and Flexibility
  • Collaborative Environment
  • Competitive Salary
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Influence on Organizational Change

How to Succeed in a Scrum Master Interview?

Succeeding in a Scrum Master interview involves demonstrating your knowledge of Scrum principles, experience with Agile practices, and interpersonal skills. Here are some tips to help you prepare and make a strong impression during your Scrum Master interview:

  • Understand the Scrum Framework Thoroughly
  • Prepare for Common Interview Questions
  • Demonstrate Your Soft Skills
  • Show Your Ability to Remove Impediments
  • Highlight Continuous Improvement
  • Understand the Company’s Context
  • Ask Insightful Questions
  • Practice Your Interview Skills
  • Be Professional and Positive
  • Follow Up

CSM Exam Details

The Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification is one of the most recognized certifications for Scrum Masters, offered by the Scrum Alliance. It is designed to certify that individuals understand the Scrum framework and can apply it to facilitate team performance. Here’s an overview of what to expect from the CSM exam and the certification process:

Certification Process

  • Training Course: Before taking the CSM exam, you must attend a formal, in-person or live online CSM course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST). The course typically lasts two days and covers all the basics of Scrum, including theory, practices, and roles.
  • Registration: After completing the course, the CST will register you with the Scrum Alliance, giving you access to the CSM exam.

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CSM Exam Details

  • Format: The exam is an online test you can take from home or office.
  • Duration: You have 60 minutes to complete the exam.
  • Number of Questions: The exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions.
  • Passing Score: You must score at least 74% and correctly answer 37 out of 50 questions.
  • Attempts: Two attempts are included in the course registration fee. If you fail both attempts, you must pay a fee for each additional attempt.
  • Exam Content: The exam questions are based on the Scrum Guide and the course learning objectives. Topics include:
  • Scrum basics and values
  • Scrum roles: Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Development Team
  • Scrum ceremonies: Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective
  • Scrum artifacts: Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, and Increment
  • General Agile principles and other concepts related to the Scrum framework.

After Passing the Exam

  • Certification Validity: Once you pass the exam, your CSM certification is valid for two years.
  • Renewal: To renew your certification after two years, you must earn Scrum Education Units (SEUs) and pay a renewal fee. You need at least 20 SEUs to renew your certification.
Learn from a course that has been designed to help you ace your Certified Scrum Master exam in the first attempt! Check out our CSM Course today!

Salary of a Scrum Master


Average Annual Salary


$95,000 - $120,000


INR 12,00,000 - INR 20,00,000


£50,000 - £75,000


€55,000 - €85,000


AUD 110,000 - AUD 160,000

CSM Course by Simplilearn

The Certified Scrum Master (CSM) course offered by Simplilearn is a popular choice for individuals looking to gain a foundational understanding of Scrum methodology and earn the CSM certification from the Scrum Alliance. Here’s a detailed overview of what Simplilearn typically offers in their CSM course:

Course Content

  • Scrum and Agile Methodologies: Introduction to Agile, Agile methodologies, and the Scrum Framework.
  • Scrum Roles: Comprehensive overview of the roles of the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the Development Team.
  • Scrum Ceremonies: Detailed insights into Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective.
  • Scrum Artifacts: Understanding the Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, and the Increment.
  • Scrum Rules and Values: Examination of the rules and values that underpin the Scrum framework, ensuring a thorough understanding of how to implement Scrum in practice.

Features and Benefits

  • Interactive Learning: Participants engage in discussions, simulations, and exercises that reinforce the concepts being taught.
  • Comprehensive Exam Prep: The course includes specific preparation for the CSM exam, often with practice questions or mock exams to help participants gauge their readiness.
  • Certification: After completing the course, participants can take the CSM exam. The course fee typically includes a voucher for the exam and a two-year membership with the Scrum Alliance.
  • Post-Course Support: Simplilearn often provides access to additional learning resources, webinars, and continued learning paths after completing the course.


1. Can I become a Scrum Master without a technical background?

Yes, you can become a Scrum Master without a technical background. While Scrum is commonly used in IT, the role itself focuses on facilitation, coaching, and process management rather than technical execution. A strong understanding of Scrum principles and excellent interpersonal skills are more critical for success in this role than technical expertise.

2. Is Scrum Master an IT job?

Scrum Master is often associated with IT because Scrum is widely used in software development. However, the role is fundamentally about managing processes and teams, making it applicable across various industries beyond IT, such as marketing, healthcare, and manufacturing.

3. Can a fresher become Scrum Master?

Yes, a fresher can become a Scrum Master, especially if they have received proper training and certification like CSM (Certified ScrumMaster). Gaining hands-on experience through internships or entry-level roles in Agile teams can also provide practical skills and better prepare a fresher for a career as a Scrum Master.

About the Author


Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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