How to Become a Scrum Master?

Introduced back in 1993 by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, Scrum is a framework that has seen considerable growth in the last few years. Scrum has now become commonplace in just about every organization in the world. And to make sure an organization incorporates and maximizes the value they can obtain from the scrum, scrum masters are employed.

And before you get started on how to become a scrum master, here’s a background of what exactly scrum is. 

Also Read: Top Scrum Master Interview Questions and Answers for 2022

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a popular framework that aims to enable teams to work together. With the help of scrum, teams can:

  • Learn from experiences
  • Self-organize working on problems
  • Reflect on their victories and losses 
  • Provide deliverables efficiently
  • Use time and money effectively 
  • Divide projects into timeboxed iterations called sprints
  • Provide better visibility to all team members
  • Incorporate feedback from clients and customers regularly and
  • Focus on the efforts of individual team members

Next up - all you need to know about the role of a certified scrum master. 

What is a Scrum Master?

A Scrum Master is a professional who leads a team using Agile project management throughout the project lifecycle. They use scrum project management framework to manage the flow of information between team members.

A scrum master is the scrum team leader and takes charge of handling the project, guiding the team as well as the product owner, and ensuring that team members follow agile values and practices. A scrum master enables communication and collaboration between the business, the product owner, the team, and other individuals involved, and works behind the scenes and is not included in product ideation or strategy.

So now, let’s find out what the responsibilities of a scrum master are. He/ she has a high-level view, enabling them to help the team understand technical and organizational dependencies while handling chokepoints. 

Scrum Master Skills

Top companies look for specific skills in a scrum master. To complete their duties, a Scrum master uses the following soft skills:

  • Communication: To mentor teams, inspire members, and lead meetings.
  • Interpersonal skills: Strong interpersonal skills like empathy and active listening are vital to building positive relationships with others. 
  • Collaboration: Help them share ideas and responsibilities with professionals.
  • Coaching: Help mentor and inspire their team members.
  • Conflict resolution: Assists in solving problems and helps create positive team environments to improve performance.
  • Adaptability with change: Agile development focuses on the concept of change. The framework and processes must adapt to best suit the team.

The technical skills for a scrum master are as follows:

  • Scrum and Agile knowledge: Scrum masters must be experts in Scrum and Agile principles to ensure that their teams follow specific processes for completing and releasing projects and products.  
  • Software development and management skills: For working on software projects and products, a basic knowledge of structure, expectations, processes, requirements, and software monitoring is important.
  • Business analysis: Help focus on continuously improving a product to meet stakeholder, customer, and company needs. 

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Responsibilities of a Scrum Master

  • Ensuring that the team incorporates agile practices into their work
  • Performing daily scrum meetings to help the team reach an understanding of What work they did yesterday, what they plan to do on that day, and the obstacles they faced
  • Ensuring there’s a pleasant relationship between the product owner and the team, as well as with other components outside the team
  • A scrum master also ensures that the team is making progress, making sure they are working on the right tasks, removing any obstacles they might be facing, and protecting them from distractions

Are you wondering how a scrum master helps the other essential components of a scrum framework? Here the answer:

1. The Product Owner

  • The scrum master helps ensure that the team has a strong understanding of the project's scope and goals.
  • Assists and  maintains the product backlog along with the product owner
  • Sets up events like daily standups (scrum events) as and when required

2. The Development Team

  • Scrum Master coaches the development team to be self-organized
  • Helps in removing obstacles faced by the devs
  • Sets up scrum events like daily standups (per the requirement)

3. The Entire Organization

  • The scrum master helps the organization incorporate the scrum methodology into their workflow
  • Coaches the organization to transition into a working scrum framework
  • Keeps the organization and the project’s stakeholders informed about the scrum team’s progress on their projects

The next probable question in your mind might be: How to become a scrum master? Your answer is here:

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How to Become a Scrum Master?

1. Scrum and Agile Training

You must have a clear understanding of the terms, phrases, systems, and terminologies that need to be understood to safely incorporate the methodologies. A certified scrum master certification would also help provide an understanding of the different scrum practices that need to be followed. This will also have a significant impact on the success of the team and the project by extension. 

2. Technical Familiarity 

A scrum master would usually have to help software development teams to build programs that keep roadblocks at a minimum and needs to understand the technical terms and processes involved in the process—an understanding of tools like Jira and Asana that would be hugely beneficial to the scrum master. 

3. Coaching Abilities

Strong teaching skills can help a scrum master teach teams that are inexperienced with how Scrum works. A scrum master must know what to do and explain to everyone how’s and why’s, and also plays the role of a coach to encourage the members to improve their strengths and weaknesses. They work with each member to enhance the potential of the team. 

4. Handling Conflicts

If the team's conflict cannot be handled among themselves, a scrum master resolves them to ensure they don’t hamper the team’s progress. A scrum master is supposed to be an experienced negotiator and facilitator to help. They must have the appropriate interpersonal skills to handle these disagreements and find a satisfactory solution to everyone involved. 

5. Leadership

A scrum master must be able to act as part of the team and be able to keep the team's needs before that of the individual. They need to be part of the team, as well as part of the team. 

How to Become a Scrum Master With No Experience (Step by Step)

If a Scrum master position interests you but you do not have previous experience, consider the following steps to help get your first Scrum master role:

Step 1: Practice the Scrum Framework in Other Roles

Companies seeking Scrum masters hunt for in-depth Scrum knowledge. When applying for your first Scrum master position, you must practice the Scrum principles in various projects and tasks. While professionals apply the concepts to their careers, you can employ the ideas to approach a hobby, plan an event, home renovation, and so on.

Step 2: Build Your Network

Building a professional network via agile conferences or joining an agile group can help your career. You would meet other professionals in the field, and they might share a potential vacancy or offer you Scrum career advice.  

Step 3: Develop Relevant Skills

Upgrading your skill set via career experience, education, or online programs can help you outshine contenders. Advance your Scrum and Agile principles' knowledge, interpersonal skills, such as teamwork and communication, and some technical skills to create an impact during interview rounds and perform better when hired. Volunteer work or extracurricular activities help you in building relevant skills.

Step 4: Choose Your Scrum Certification

A certification bears testimony to your capabilities and can help you qualify for more roles. Complete training, take an exam and gain your certificate to show your expertise in Scrum principles. You can become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) via live online classes and appear for the CSM exam. 

Step 5: Attend a Scrum Course

Enroll in an officially recognized Scrum Master course. Various certification options have unique specifications. For instance, Scrum.org requires a Professional Scrum Master course to appear for the PSM I exam.

Step 6: Register for Your Exam 

On completing the required hours of study, you can take your exam to prove your eligibility as a Scrum master. Several online CSM courses allow two attempts for their enrolled candidates for the same fee. 

Step 7: Study for Your Exam

Study consistently to attain good scores in your exam. Reading through Scrum resources or attending Scrum training webinars can help you perform better in the exam. 

Focus on main Scrum principles, including project management, release planning, team building, progress reporting, and scalability. Some exams might also pose questions on history and the evolution of the Scrum framework.

Step 8: Take and Pass the Exam

The exact exam pattern will depend on the certification program you enroll in. Usually, you will have to appear for multiple-choice questions, and the passing criteria lie between 60–85%. Once you pass the exam, you will obtain a PDF copy of your Scrum Master certification.  

Step 9: Renew Certifications Every Two Years

Scrum master certifications are usually valid for two years. So, you must renew your certificate. Depending on the course program and organization, you may have to present proof of "continuing education hours." 

Step 10: Highlight Transferable Skills

Once you own the certification, it's time to apply for a Scrum master role. Create a power resume highlighting your transferable skills, i.e., the skills you developed in previous roles, education, or hobbies, that are relevant to the position you are applying for. For instance, communication, teamwork, collaboration, and adaptability are transferable skills.  

Scrum Master vs Project Manager 

The basic difference between a Project Manager and a Scrum Master lies in their focus. Project managers are more inclined towards the project outcome, including a budget, resources, timeline, and team communication. Contrastingly, a Scrum Master focuses on the team. They take several steps to ensure that their team and individual team members work towards success.

Why Pursue a Career as a Scrum Master?

As a Scrum Master, you can reach out to top companies and play an integral role in their success. You will have a chance to develop products that positively impact lives. On a granular level, you will have the opportunity to encourage a positive working environment in the workplace while ensuring the most successful outcomes. 

According to Glassdoor, Scrum Masters in the United States earn up to $99,492 annually. LinkedIn floods with 154,000 US Scrum Master job opportunities. The demand for Scrum masters is rising and is expected to increase by 37.9% over the next decade.

CSM Exam Details

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CSM Exam Logo

The Scrum Master Test demonstrates an individual's understanding of the different principles and processes involved in the overall scrum process. To get certified, a candidate needs to take up a Customer Scrum Master course from a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), after which the online exam needs to be cleared. 

The exam is of one hour, costs 29 USD, and consists of 50 multiple-choice questions. The passing score is 74%. Once set up, an individual has two attempts to do the test. If the individual fails the test again, they need to pay 25 USD to attempt it again. The CSM test is also available in English, French, Italian, Danish, Russian, Spanish, and many other languages. Once certified, recertification has to be performed after two years. 

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Salary of A Scrum Master

A certified scrum master earns approximately 97 thousand US dollars per annum in the United States. (Glassdoor)

A scrum master earns close to 14 lakh rupees per annum in India. (Glassdoor) A clear indication of the enormous potential held by the job role. 

Understand the Scrum methodology and their implementation with the Certified ScrumMaster certification training. Check out the course now.

CSM Course by Simplilearn 

Simplilearn’s Certified ScrumMaster Certification Training course provides an overview of the Scrum framework for Agile Project Management that prepares you to become a Certified ScrumMaster. The course provides 

  • Two days of classroom training
  • Two days of online virtual classes
  • 20 PDUs and SEUs
  • Two-year membership to the Scrum Alliance and more.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

1. Do Scrum Masters need to be technical?‎

Scrum Masters need not have pronounced technical skills, but several positions, such as a product owner position, require expert knowledge of software development. The general role and responsibility of a Scrum Master demands a thorough understanding of Scrum rules, practices, and values. Understanding the technical side can assist in effective communication with engineers and developers.

2. What are the roles in the Scrum framework?‎

Scrum teams have three major roles: 

Product owner: Manages the product backlog and incorporates stakeholder feedback. 

Scrum Master: Helps drive Scrum team performance by mentoring and facilitating effective communication.

Developers: Responsible for finishing the assigned work. The Scrum Master 

3. What's the difference between a Scrum Master and an Agile coach?‎

The Scrum Master ensures that a single or several small teams follow the scrum process while an Agile coach covers a broader role as they work with all teams that participate in a project.

4. What's the typical Scrum Master career path?‎

Your Scrum master journey might differ from other candidates. Usually, Scrum Masters begin their career as developers, business analysts, team leads, or quality assurance testers. Progress in a career presents multiple complex projects that help advance managerial, mentor, or trainer positions.  

5. Is it possible to be a Scrum Master without a degree?‎

Although there aren't any formal education requirements for a Scrum Master position, a bachelor's degree can open several job opportunities your way. The relevant coursework includes management, business, psychology, computer science, or any specific industry that helps build a strong foundation. 

6. What is an effective Scrum Master?‎

A servant leader exhibiting Lean-Agile leadership and supporting the team's progress toward goals and their highest potential is an effective Scrum Master. They are facilitators that ensure members' productivity and project deadline conformity. 

Conclusion

In this tutorial on how to certified become a scrum master, we talked about what is scrum, who is a scrum master, the responsibilities of a scrum master, how someone can become a Certified Scrum Master, the CSM exam details, the salary of a scrum master and the certifications provided by Simplilearn. 

If you have any questions, let us know in the comment section of how to become a scrum master, and our subject experts will get back to you. 

About the Author

Rahul ArunRahul Arun

Rahul is a Senior Research Analyst at Simplilearn. Blockchain, Cloud Computing, and Machine Learning are some of his favorite topics of discussion. Rahul can be found listening to music, doodling, and gaming.

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