What is a Scrum Master? Understand the Role & Responsibilities
If you’re interested in learning more about Scrum project management, you’re probably wondering “What is a Scrum Master?”.
As you read more about this project management methodology, the term “Scrum Master” comes up a lot! The Scrum Master is one of the most important roles within a Scrum project management team.
Effective Scrum revolves around 4 core elements, 1 of which is the Scrum Team. In this article, we’ll take a look at the Scrum Team, and the role and responsibilities of a Scrum Master within the team. We’ll also tell you how you can become a Scrum Master.
Brand new to Scrum?
Why not take a quick read of our “What is Scrum?” article first? It takes just 3 minutes to read, and will give you a great overview of Scrum project management.
The Scrum Team
Scrum is a team-centric project management methodology. It focuses strongly on the importance of self-organised teams, drawing inspiration from how teams operate in the game of rugby (hence the name, Scrum!).
Here are the roles within a Scrum Team:
Scrum Product Owner
The Product Owner is often called the “key stakeholder” in a Scrum project. They are in regular communication with both the customer and the Scrum Master, and they define and prioritise project requirements.
The Scrum Master is the primary facilitator for Scrum within the team. They create a productive working environment for the Scrum Team, and ensure the correct application of Scrum processes. We’ll look into this more in a moment.
This name applies to other members of the Scrum Team – anyone who creates the project deliverables. The Scrum Developers work on the project and present their progress to the Scrum Product Owner at Sprint Reviews.
What Does a Scrum Master Do?
You can’t answer the question “What is a Scrum Master?” without looking at the responsibilities of this role.
Scrum Masters maintain the interesting balance of being “servant-leaders”. This means that they are not in charge of the Scrum Team, but rather are in charge of the Scrum Process. Here’s how they do this:
1. Creating the Scrum Team Environment
The Scrum Master creates an ideal working environment for the Scrum Team to carry out the project work.
2. Removing Obstacles
Part of creating the right kind of environment is removing any barriers to productivity that crop up, such as distractions or lack of resources.
3. Expert Scrum Knowledge
All Scrum Masters must possess a thorough knowledge of the Scrum Framework, Scrum Values and Scrum Processes.
They must understand fully how Scrum should be implemented, and be able to act as a knowledge point for the team. Training is an important factor in obtaining that knowledge.
4. Coaching the Scrum Team
The Scrum Master keeps a steady balance of focus and motivation running throughout the Sprint.
With their thorough understanding of Scrum principles, they can advise the team members on what’s achievable and how to stay on-track with their tasks.
5. Working with the Scrum Product Owner
The Scrum Master will meet regularly with the Scrum Product Owner to check on status of tasks in progress, and the overall health of the project.
6. Upholding the Values of Scrum
At all times, and in all circumstances, it is the responsibility of the Scrum Master to ensure that Scrum Values are being upheld and that Scrum Processes are applied correctly.
Any Other Questions?
We hope we’ve answered the important question, “What is a Scrum Master?” above. If there’s anything else you would like to know about this role, we will be happy to help! You can ask us a quick question online, and we’ll get back to you with the answer.
Need more inspiration? Check out these 7 Reasons to become a Scrum Master
Want to Become a Scrum Master?
Getting skilled and certified as a Scrum Master takes less time than you might think.
Our Scrum Master Certified (SMCTM) Course covers an overview of Agile and Scrum, the scrum roles within an organisation, and Scrum processes.
It also includes access to an online learning portal and your exam and certification costs.