Are you thinking of becoming a Scrum Master? If that’s the case, you should probably know what they do.

You’re in the right place for that. In essence, a Scrum Master is someone who oversees development teams and makes sure everything is running smoothly. 

In this article, we will cover this with a bit more depth. So that you can determine if the position of a Scrum master is right for you.

Whenever you’re ready to start learning more about Scrum and the position, keep reading.

What Is A Scrum Master?

Scrum masters are team players that are responsible for the provisioning and upholding of agile principles and values. But they also follow certain practices and processes that the team might have agreed to use.

These responsibilities are, but not limited to:

  1. Removing obstacles
  2. Building relationships between the product owner and team and other entities
  3. Defending the team from distractions
  4. Addressing team mechanics and dynamics
  5. Developing an effective work environment

The position of a Scrum Master has been developed as part of the Scrum framework. Therefore, the name indicates that the person must be an expert at Scrum. The role does not come with any intrinsic authority. People in this position lead from influence, not from dominion. 

Many people consider becoming a Scrum Master, but they have no idea where to start. If you’re self-educated, you can start with Agile online courses, but there are other ways as well.

What Does A Scrum Master Do?

If a product owner is the head of decision, and the Scrum team is the executive body, then the Scrum master is the glue that holds it all together.

In essence, the Scrum master takes on the coaching, administrative, and leadership aspects of Scrum development. This means they will usually:

  1. Facilitate daily standups
  2. Setup sprint reviews, planning, and retrospectives
  3. Help the team resolve the burndown chart
  4. Prevent obstacles
  5. Shield team from interruptions
  6. Encourage collaboration between all parties
  7. Guide the product owner through technical aspects of the work

Almost everything that is part of Scrum will be directly overseen by a Scrum master, or it will create a situation in which the Scrum master can provide their best advice.

Anyhow, the Scrum team is not to concern themselves with Scrum, but more so on the development of software. Similarly, the product owner can proceed with building their business in full confidence of the Scrum Master’s ability to show progress.

The Scrum Master will lead these duties with a passion to ensure the process does not have a deteriorated effect on progress.

Do You Need A Dedicated Scrum Master?

Even though these tasks are more than plenty to keep anybody busy all day, not every Scrum master is the right scrum master. Some teams might choose to label a tester or developer as the Scrum Master because they don’t feel full-time personnel is required.

Based on the duties performed, your team might be able to succeed without a dedicated master if:

  1. Your team operates without distraction and can easily remove obstructions
  2. The artifacts and burndown chart are maintained and don’t create overhead
  3. Your development team has great communication, which makes daily standup useful and would make things worse
  4. Your product owner already knows everything there is to know about the client and is always there for the development team

It’s quite usual for a mature development team to elect a Scrum Master from within, but these incredible levels of communication and cohesion are not likely to occur in organizations that have just started. 

Whether or not your team has impeccable expertise, the Scrum Master position is very critical because it’s the only offer between process overhead and the team which can create the overhead via Scrum.

The Scrum Master Challenge

The responsibility of the Scrum Master is to ensure the process is followed by the development team, and all external parties involved give enough space to the team for them to follow the process.

The role of the Scrum Master is very easy to explain, but it’s not easy to do. So it’s only natural that a Scrum Master will come across challenges, here are some of them:

  1. Process understanding
  2. Change resistance
  3. Role change adaptation

For the first, because Scrum provides a great shift to the work process, there’s lots of room for confusion in daily use. It’s very common for people to believe that they comprehend Scrum, but it’s super easy to confuse old methods and terminologies with the new Scrum terms and processes.

For the second, resistance is probably the most frustrating obstacle in Scrum. It can grow in a variety of forms, passively or actively, covertly or overtly. Scrum masters who forward-thinking will not have this problem.

For the third, shifting to Scrum can shake up the current roles throughout the departments, teams, and pretty much the entire company, whether it’s self-organized or cross-functional. That’s pretty scary.

Managers can fear the loss of control, while team members will have trouble moving up towards group-driven thinking.

Beyond Scrum

Now that you know what a Scrum Master is, and what they do, you are well on your way to determining if you need one or would like to become one. In any case, Scrum is an interesting and very important structure of our digital age. 

If you’re interested in learning more about digital technologies and other technical topics, feel free to read some of our other articles on the sidebar or down below.