The Scrum Master in Scrum

The Scrum Master is a multifaceted, full-time role. The Scrum Master’s primary job is to coach the team to perform at their highest level. On the surface, this might seem simple: facilitate the daily scrum, coordinate various meetings and tasks, help to track the team’s progress, and remind the team of their commitment to the project and to each other. The truth is, though, that nothing about the Scrum Master job is simple. A good Scrum Master is someone who can:

  • Navigate politics to remove organizational impediments
  • Read non-verbal communication
  • Be comfortable with conflict
  • Communicate effectively
  • Understand team dynamics.
  • Lead without authority

Scrum Master & Product Owner Interaction

Scrum Masters must also work closely with product owners. The Scrum Master coaches the product owner to use Scrum effectively; but perhaps more importantly, the Scrum Master acts as a check and balance against the will of the product owner. Where the product owner’s primary responsibility is to the stakeholders and the product, the Scrum Master is always looking out for the well being and health of the entire Scrum team, which includes the developersas well as the product owner. Keeping this tension in place is essential for optimizing velocity while maintaining quality.

Scrum Master as a Change Agent

The final job of the Scrum Master is to be a change agent in the organization. Good Scrum Masters reach beyond transforming the team to help transform the company as well. Scrum Master’s look for opportunities to create a learning organization, offering lunch-and-learn and other informal training on Scrum, advising new Scrum teams, and generally being a resource and advocate for Scrum throughout the organization. A Scrum Master’s subtle, servant leadership can have a tremendous impact on the rest of the company.

Some key competencies of Scrum Masters, besides those already listed, include:

  • Build Trust and Earn Respect
  • Help Others Find Answers
  • Provide Leadership through Influence
  • Enjoy Working with Other People
  • Stay Calm under Pressure

For a deeper understanding of the Scrum Master role, read “The Job and Daily Life of the ScrumMaster.” Or better yet, come to one of our Live-Online or In-Person Certified Scrum Master Training classes.