What is a Scrum Master, a Leaders Brief (2023)

In this blog post, I present a long article summarizing what a Scrum Master is. Here you will find everything you need to know about the Scrum Master.

The What is a ScrumMaster article provides an overview of the Scrum Master role.I wrote a long piecein the Scrum Methodology, and I suggest you visit it before continuing to read this page. It is a concise but long introduction,scrum framework. Understanding this methodology will help you understand what a scrum master is.

If you have some basics about Scrum and would like to know more beyond the roles, roles and responsibilities of a scrum master, feel free to continue reading below.


A scrum master is like a beacon in a scrum team made up of a product owner, a development team, and the scrum master himself. He makes a point of guiding his teammates based on the principles of the Scrum Framework.

Like a lighthouse, before his team falls into port during a storm, he makes a point of explaining to everyone how they can properly "dock" their ship using Scrum. While a scrum master is part of a scrum team, you should know that he also ensures that as a company's "scrum beacon" he also enlightens other employees/teams on what can be a beneficial interaction with the team. . and what can be disadvantageous.

Basically, scrum masters are responsible for three groups; Product Owner, Development Team and Organization. These are mere similes and generalizations, but if you want to have the exact roles, functions and responsibilities of a scrum master at face value, the answer can be found inScrum Guideyourself.

Before we dive into the details, let's dive into three high-level concepts for being a scrum master.

(Video) Scrum Master as a Servant Leader (SIMPLE Step by Step Guide...)

So what is a Scrum Master?

Scrum Master as Exchange Agent

Scrum Masters are in a very important position in a company. Both have "battlefield" knowledge and a 30,000-foot view of how different teams progress in a day-to-day operation.How?

A way of ways is throughagile retrospective. Facilitating the agile retrospective gives scrum masters the opportunity to spot trends and recurring issues in a team. While knowing the problem is only one step towards catalyzing change, scrum masters at least know what needs to change in an organization.

And that's where all change begins. I even wrote a longguide on converting Agile Retrospectiveinto an actionable troubleshooting tool for executives using theoffside board. With this initiative, scrum masters are in a position to suggest essential changes for an organization.

Scrum Master as Service Leader

SinceScrum Guidethemselves, scrum masters are identified asservant leaders. This is an essential characterization of a Scrum Master because, without the concept of servant leadership, a Scrum Master will not be able to fully function in implementing the Scrum Framework. It also goes back to the idea of ​​being a lighthouse.

A lighthouse is made to serve sailors and bring people to safe harbor. I wrote a blog post aboutten traits of a servant leader here. Check it out if you're not sure how scrum masters can be a servant leader in an organization.

Scrum Master as a Mirror

It is imperative that a scrum master becomes the “mirror” of the team. Through a scrum master, the team easily verifies that what they are doing does not reflect Agile and Scrum values. By standing in front of a mirror, a team can easily identify and remember flaws that are contrary to the Scrum Methodology.

The scrum master reminds the team to improve on these flaws by becoming the observer and the extra eye that sees without preconceptions, but only in relation to Scrum principles and agile values. With the team's reflection in the mirror, members can receive open-ended questions from the scrum master that will lead to overall team improvement.

This can be done through the use of modules such as Sprint backlogs, metrics and other tools.Now that we've broken down three high-level roles of a scrum master, let's go back to the basics and fundamentals and figure out the key responsibilities of a scrum master when it comes to working with product owners, the development team, and across the board. to organization. , He works for.

(Video) Intro Scrum Master as Servant Leader

Responsibilities of the Scrum Master to the Product Owner

  • It is essential that a scrum specialist is adept at finding techniques that are effective and efficient in managing Product Backlogs.
  • The Scrum Master must be able to articulate the Product Backlog items.
  • The Scrum Master must demonstrate an understanding of product planning in an empirical setting.
  • Help organize the product portfolio items that will maximize value
  • Demonstrate mastery of agility.
  • Facilitate scrum events as needed.

Scrum Master Responsibilities for the Development Team

  • Train the development team to organize themselves and how to be cross-functional
  • Assist the development team in creating high value products
  • Remove Impediments to Team Progress
  • Facilitate scrum events as needed.
  • Help the development team adapt in an organization that has just adopted Scrum

Scrum Master Responsibilities in an Organization

  • Lead and train the company/organization to adopt Scrum
  • Plan the implementation and adoption of Scrum in the company/organization
  • Help employees and other stakeholders fully understand Scrum and empirical product development.
  • Initiate changes that lead to increased Scrum Team productivity
  • Collaborate with other scrum masters to fully enable scrum within an organization

All of these roles and responsibilities have already been discussed in thisprimerand also in the officialScrum Guide.

In addition to these roles and responsibilities for a Scrum Team, in this article I've written a definitive list of the specific roles a Scrum Master should play.Role of the Scrum Master Everything every Scrum Master needs to know”.

Remember that the main objective of a scrum master in a company is to help stakeholders adapt to the Scrum framework and Agile Methodologies. Furthermore, the scrum master should help the company to have a stable and self-organizing team with a clear roadmap and help the company to identify organizational impediments.

To recap, here are other Scrum Master roles and responsibilities that embody this goal:

Responsible for Scrum Artifacts

  • Facilitate planning
  • make it easy in the bathroom
  • Facilitate assessments
  • Facilitate retrospectives
  • Helps the team stay laser-focused (e.g., becoming the outer barrier to distractions)
  • Helps keep the team's scrum tools (i.e. action board, storyboard, charts, backlog, etc.)
  • Helps team and product owner determine Definition of Done and Definition of Done

Head of Development and Nurturing at Team Dynamics

  • system training
  • conflict mediation
  • Advisor for team decisions
  • Encourage self-organization initiatives from the developer team
  • Mediation and reconciliation of goal conflicts between the product owner and the development team

Continuous learning and knowledge sharing with the team and the organization.

  • A Scrum Master must have a constant learning attitude when it comes to anything Agile related. You should feel comfortable visiting user groups regularly, attending conferences, reading books, writing blogs, and other activities that enhance your knowledge of Agile and Scrum.
  • Consult teams and strengthen the foundations of organizations in Agile
  • Help teams create information radiators.
  • Provide feedback to the team.
  • Encourage the use of agile engineering practices, especially within the development team.
  • Drive challenging agile management innovations to teams (e.g. FedEx-Days)
  • Facilitate and encourage knowledge sharing with other Scrum Masters (e.g. through communities of practice)

Helps maintain the "big picture" of the team

  • Facilitate, encourage and initiate conversations between team members.
  • Regularly update stakeholders
  • Helps the team report to management.
  • Champion the Agile and Scrum framework within the organization through blogs and other related internal conferences.
  • Become the contact person in the company when there is a question about Agile and Scrum

Bernd Schifferwrote an entire blog post about these scrum master responsibilities which you can check out via thisConnection. Feel free to check it out. Most of the ideas above were adopted from his blog post.

How to be a good Scrum Master

Now that you have some ideas about the roles and responsibilities of a scrum master, the next logical question would be "how to be really good at being a scrum master?"

For those who are starting their career as a scrum master, I suggest reading this article I wrote “How to Be a Good Scrum Master – Starting Your Scrum Master Journey.” I've described here how you can systematize your first action items in your first 20 weeks at your company. By doing this within the first 20 weeks of your new job, I can guarantee you'll be off to a good start.

  • Start scheduling a one-on-one meeting with team members. In these meetings you have to know your biggest concerns in the team and in the company as a whole. It is imperative that you take notes. With these team insights, you can easily flag issues where you can easily implement the agile framework.
  • Organize a workshop that clarifies the roles, obligations, and expectations of each team member.
  • Coaching Alliance - Set this up from the start. Professional trainers establish this with their clients; you are not an exemption.
  • Stakeholder Mapping: This is an effective method of getting to know the people who work in the organization.
  • Post team policies in a visible part of the office/room. This serves as a visual cue for the team to maintain the basic work etiquette expected of them.
  • Organize a one-date team-building workshop to establish teamwork, principles, values, and product vision in the team.
  • Start a Kaizen board in the team room. This is a great tool for people who are serious about learning and experimenting.
  • Create an agile retrospective inbox. This will make your job a little easier. Thinking of themes in retrospectives can be tedious, so getting some themes would be a great way to generate new ideas.
  • achievement wall Many people forget to celebrate victories, especially in a corporate environment. An achievement wall is a great reminder to celebrate achievements and motivate the team to do more.
  • Congratulations Wall It's a seemingly simple but effective tool to show how people care, respect and appreciate each other.
  • Create the Organizational Impediment Council. View all of the company's organizational impediments. This will help prepare everyone's minds to deal with these impediments.
  • Start a learning wall. Any organization must be learning-oriented. A learning wall is an effective tool to promote a learning mindset in the company.
  • Communities of Practice. Speaking of learning, communities of practice are an essential framework for reinforcing the learning atmosphere in your company.
  • Schedule workshops for product development flow and principles.
  • Start a release plan to help the team look beyond sprints and see the long-term vision for the company.
  • Educate and train Product Owners to do a release forecast to help them communicate expectations to other stakeholders.
  • Book workshops on story mapping, impact mapping, systems thinking and causal loop diagramming.
  • Start pair programming practice and create a pair programming matrix board

Now, this can be a lot of work, but it's the best way for a scrum master to start their work on the right track.

(Video) What is a Scrum Master and What Do They Do?

Scrum Master skills and experience required

ONEqualified scrum masterIn my opinion it has the following:

  • At least 1 year. Experience as Scrum Master in a software development team with strong implementation of Scrum principles, frameworks, theory and practices.
  • Interpersonal skills such as situational awareness, servant leadership, empowerment, facilitation, conflict resolution, continuous improvement and greater transparency.
  • Knowledge of well-documented patterns and techniques to fill the gaps left in the Scrum approach, such as Burndown technologies, error handling and various retrospective formats, etc.

Preferred Skills and Experiences (any of these are a plus)

  • Two years of experience as a Scrum Master for a software development team that intentionally implemented Scrum principles, practices and theory.
  • Established knowledge in other agile approaches like XP, Crystal, Kanban, FDD, etc.
  • Some awareness and experience of widely successful agile techniques such as user stories, TDD, continuous integration, ATDD, continuous testing, automated testing, pairing, and agile games.
  • Knowledge and experience in the technologies used by the team.
  • Experience using well-documented patterns and techniques to address gaps in the Scrum approach (example: various retrospective formats, Burndown technologies, error handling, etc.).
  • Communication skills and mentoring skills.

Other requirements of some companies are as follows:

  • General experience in software product development. (It is not recommended to choose a specific role.)
  • Other things a scrum master might find useful and relevant to the project, team, company, and team culture.

How to Interview a Scrum Master

In a blog post titledInterview questions for the Scrum Master, I shared my personal experience in an interview for a scrum master position. It was a fantastic 2 hour experience for me as I was able to learn a lot not only in terms of general Scrum practice but also the type of people I would be working with.

They took the time to review my blog and books, which is rare for many companies. It was a good surprise. Another thing I really liked during the interview was the role play they started.

I have to say, it was a great way to gauge a candidate's perspective and how they will potentially react to certain scenarios.

If you're hiring a Scrum expert, I strongly suggest you also use a mock interview to assess experience, soft skills, and other requirements you need in a candidate. Don't forget to read theblog post to read some questionsthat you can use to interview candidates.

How and where to find an amazing Scrum Master

The short and simple answer to this is that it's like looking for a needle in a haystack. The truth is, in the Agile community, most people scoff at the idea of ​​having a scrum master. They think it's redundancy in an organization. They oversimplify the role in a way that betrays all the principles behind the Scrum framework.

One of the reasons I see it is the fact that there are only a few scrum masters who can reach the full potential of the Scrum Framework. Another reason is the lack of role models in the industry that truly demonstrate the strength and value of having a scrum master.

(Video) The scrum master role explained

Finally, an organization often does not attribute the success it achieves to the effort of the scrum master. I presented a carefully written case for these feelings inThis article.

I strongly suggest you take a look to fully understand how difficult it would be to find a credible scrum master in a world where only a few have seen and fully understood their contribution to an organization.

Did you like this article?

We enable highly valued and recognized leaders to make an impact in the world by helping them to design digital product companies that will thrive and thrive in the digital age.ADAPT® Methodology.

If you want to know how we can help you, check the page:work with us.

If you are interested in finding out if you have what it takes to set up a digital products company, visitHighlighter.

If you want to learn how to build a digital products company, check out ourDigital Leadership Accelerator.

What is a Scrum Master, a Leaders Brief (1)

(Video) Servant Leadership in Scrum

Will you succeed or fail as the design lead for your digital products company?

If you want to know more about your company's digital product development maturity, just grab this scorecard. This will help you identify all the different areas you can improve in and build a true digital product company.



1. Leadership Styles you need to succeed as a great leader | Scrum Master
(Vibhor Chandel)
2. A Brief Description of the Scrum Master Role
3. Scrum - The Leader's Perspective
4. What do Scrum Masters do all day? | ScrumMastered
5. Scrum Master - Servant Leader to True Leader ? Scrum Guide 2020 - A Leader who Serves
6. Scrum Master Roles and Responsibilities | Scrum Master Tutorial | Simplilearn
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Amb. Frankie Simonis

Last Updated: 03/28/2023

Views: 5911

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Amb. Frankie Simonis

Birthday: 1998-02-19

Address: 64841 Delmar Isle, North Wiley, OR 74073

Phone: +17844167847676

Job: Forward IT Agent

Hobby: LARPing, Kitesurfing, Sewing, Digital arts, Sand art, Gardening, Dance

Introduction: My name is Amb. Frankie Simonis, I am a hilarious, enchanting, energetic, cooperative, innocent, cute, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.