What comes first to mind when you hear the term, scrum master? It may sound like something related to gaming but trust us; it’s nothing like that. It’s actually a term which is relevant to leadership. The scrum master will ensure that the organization, scrum team, and product owner hold on to the scrum framework. So what is Scrum?
In very simple and straightforward words, according to Scrum.org, it’s a framework that allows teams to work on complex projects and deliver high-value products by approaching problems adaptively. To handle projects in the most effective manner, organizations can adopt Scrum. In the past few years, Scrum has doubled in popularity, and with each passing day, the demand only seems to be increasing more and more.
Qualities of a Successful Scrum Master
If there’s one person who can build a healthy and cooperative relationship between the project teams and project owner, then it’s most probably the scrum master. A good and successful scrum master knows the importance of nurturing the team. But, remember that the scrum master still remains under the guidance of the product owner only. The product or service requested by the business owner should be delivered in active collaboration with the scrum master, as he/she will be able to increase the productivity of the organization.
The scrum master should have the required knowledge of agile methodologies, formats, etc. so that the project doesn’t face a lot of unnecessary roadblocks. A good and responsible scrum master knows that problem-solving is essential but takes precaution so that the problem doesn’t even arise.
It’s never easy to influence people, but when it comes to a successful scrum master, he/she knows the right way to motivate or lead a team so that the objectives can be attained. The scrum master should also be able to drive the stakeholders and directors to take the right actions so that the organization can benefit as a whole. Organizational skills, leadership, influencing, etc. are the type of skills that turns a normal scrum master into a successful one.
Challenges of a Scrum Master
Scrum directly replaces the fundamental terminologies and methods, which actually confuses people in the daily implementation of the new techniques. People may think that they know everything about Scrum, but that’s not the case with every individual.
The organizational roles and responsibilities tend to get a bit shook-up after the application of Certified Scrum Master Training. In the long run, this may actually scare the managers and team members. Transition is a crucial phase, and if everyone at the organizational level can understand and implement it correctly, then nothing can stop the business from accomplishing the goals and objectives.
The most problematic roadblock within an organization is resistance. It can come in almost any form, even in ways you might not have imagined.
Scrum Master Roles
- To coach and lead the different development teams through the agile ceremonies, right from road maps to sprint planning.
- To maintain the reporting and measuring related to the assigned project.
- To facilitate collaboration
- To get rid of blockers that act as a barrier in the performance.
- To complete each sprint on time
- To chase down dependencies
- To help the teams in the best manner by being an ethical and responsible servant leader.
Scrum Master Responsibilities
The scrum master acts as a coach not only for the development team but also for the product owner. A Scrum Master can easily overcome the restrictions that get imposed on different level roles. A useful characteristic of a coach is that he/she doesn’t solve any problem on his/her own; instead the coach helps the team to solve the problem on their own. In some exceptional circumstances, when the unit is unable to cope up with the problem even after multiple tries, the Scrum Master steps in and takes full responsibility to solve the problem.
2) Hindrance Eradicator
The scrum master is responsible for eradicating the different hindrances that occur in the progress of the project. When does this prove to be helpful? It turns out to be very useful when the teams itself can not get rid of the hindrances or obstacles. Once the barriers are no more, productivity is bound to increase.
3) Servant Leader
The scrum master, no matter how big his personality, is still going to be known as a servant leader as he works under the scrum team. The scrum master ascertains that teamwork is enhanced and personal cooperation is maintained at the fullest. He doesn’t order; instead, he motivates and influences the teams. He makes people realize their full potential. Qualities like empathy, listening skills, trust culture, humility, should be present in a scum master.
4) Process Authority
The scrum master is not the boss but more like a friend, who can guide the team to perform at its best so that the goals and objectives of the project can be met. The scrum master makes sure that the teams stick to the scrum principles and practices. The scrum master definitely doesn’t have the right to recruit, fire, or ensure that the work is done. The position just allows the scrum master to create the best and most productive process so that the team can accomplish the task.
A successful scrum master knows the right approach to extract the best out of the team. The scrum master acts as the oil for the whole machine. It’s not as if the scrum master is absent, then a company won’t be able to get the work done or survive in the market. It’s just that the quality of the outcome may not be as great as it would have been. You don’t want a project performed by unhappy and stressed team members, who would be ready to jump to a new job the next moment they land a chance.
Scrum Master is a job that very few can undertake properly. It’s very demanding in nature, and requires excellent social skills and a positive attitude. The inception of a scrum master in an organization may bring fear among managers as they may think that they will lose their authority or delegation power. But that’s not the case since the scrum master is not the boss, as already stated above.
In fact, the working teams don’t even report directly to the scrum master. The scrum master just has the power and freedom to build respect, trust and relationships on an organizational level so that the outcome is of higher quality, with happy and satisfied team members behind it.