The Scrum Master

The role of Scrum Master is perhaps the easiest to explain even though it can be hard to do. A Scrum Master’s responsibility is simply to ensure that the Scrum Process is followed by the team and that the people external to the team give the team the space required for them to follow the process.

The challenges

For the Scrum Master to achieve this, he or she must obviously know and understand the Scrum Process extremely well. (See page on Scrum). They must also have an Agile way of thinking.

Scrum is deliberately simple. This is an enormous strength as it leads to easy understanding, easy adoption and easy buy in from senior management. However, it is also a weakness in that every organisation, team and product is different. The Scrum Master must be able use their deep understanding of the Agile way to successfully navigate through the challenges that are thrown up during the day to day development.

Interaction with the team

In the first instance, the Scrum Master helps to facilitate the meetings, helps the product owner to do their role and protects the teams from unhelpful outside influences. The Scrum Master’s aim should be to remove the need for a Scrum Master. For this reason, the Scrum Master should know when to stand back and let the team self-manage and when to step in to facilitate and mentor to keep the process and speed of the team going.

Part time / Full time

Depending on how well the team know and have implemented their Scrum process, the Scrum Master may find themselves with less to do. For this reason, Scrum masters usually either become Scrum Master’s on more than one team, or they perform some other role on the team such as a manager, developer or architect.

Project Manager

The Scrum Master role is not the Project Manager Role. The Scrum master’s role is not to manage the project like a traditional project manager. The Scrum master may be a PM as well, however, the role of Scrum Master is in addition to that role.

For more details or the role of management in Scrum (and Agile projects in general), I recommend you read the following articles:

How to become a Scrum Master

I would strongly recommend reading books and articles by Tobias Mayer, Mike Cohn and Jeff Sutherland, and then taking the Scrum Master Certification from the Scrum Alliance. We offer a Scrum Master course with Certified Scrum Trainer and expert Tobias Mayer. Tobias is a well known expert in Scrum and a popular speaker and author. We also offer a self-funding option for all courses. See details here.

Why take the course?

There are two reasons that are relevant to gaining an IT Finance job as to why you should take the course and pass the exam. These are:

  • Really understand Scrum. I have been running Agile teams for seven years and I learnt a lot from the course. The exam focused me on learning the details and the two day event allowed me to share and learn by gaining experience from others. It also built a greater understanding of how Scrum fits together into other Agile technologies.
  • Get the certificate. There are many teams currently struggling with their own home grown implementations of Agile. Being qualified and understanding Scrum is becoming more desirable to employers than ever before. The demand for good Agile people is high and the certificate goes along to prove you are serious and know your stuff.

Simon Powers
Simon Powers is an Agile Coach specialising in large scale transformations and agile adoption. He has a background in very large enterprise architecture which has led on to organisational design and agile process refinement. Simon is the founder of Adventures with Agile.