Are you looking for ways to improve your team’s productivity? While you may already be using project management software or task tracking applications to help you develop your team’s productivity, another way to become a project managing guru is to become a “Scrum Master.”
Below, we’ll dive into the role of a Scrum Master and how you can work towards Scrum Mastery.
What Is Scrum in Business?
“Scrum” is a term used in business to refer to an incremental, iterative method for developing products that focus on teamwork, collaboration and speed. Today, several industries have adopted the Scrum method, such as manufacturers for printers, copiers and automobiles.
In the Scrum management system, employees divide into teams and they receive a structure for rules, meetings and roles. Teams must adapt their process to this framework and use sprints to complete projects. These sprints are iterations of a fixed length, such as one or two weeks.
Scrum isn’t a linear process of development. This means smaller pieces of a product can be developed faster because team members don’t have to wait for prior steps to be completed before developing their piece of the project.
Scrum is used for several reasons, including achieving more immediate results, increasing responsiveness to the customer, lowering the cost of development and improving job satisfaction among team members.
What Is a Scrum Master?
While you might be unsure how rugby and project management could be related, the term “Scrum Master” originated from rugby.
In rugby, there’s a play known as a Scrummage. This play inspired a management framework referred to as Scrum. During a Scrummage, players gather in a tight formation and work as a group to gain possession of the rugby ball. The person who is facilitating this team is known as the Scrum Master.
The Scrum Master is the servant-leader of the team. While some skills overlap between a project manager and a Scrum Master, every project manager — no matter how well-trained and successful — will need to receive training to become a Scrum Master. Though a project manager can apply many of their skills to the role of a Scrum Master, they don’t necessarily share the same tools, objectives and approaches to deadlines and time.
The Scrum Master can be thought of as the coach and facilitator of the team, providing assistance and guidance to the team and the product owner. The Scrum Master’s goal is to create an environment that promotes self-organizing behavior and flow.
Unlike a project manager, a Scrum Master doesn’t plan or manage the process of development. Instead, a Scrum Master encourages the activities that lead to incremental success in project development.
How Do You Become a Scrum Master?
To become a Scrum Master, you will need to be able to demonstrate important interpersonal skills. First, consider the characteristics that your best bosses had. You should possess the characteristics of a great leader, along with these qualities of a Scrum Master:
- A deep understanding of the Scrum framework
- Ability to foster a self-organized team by promoting communication and eliminating obstacles
- Ability to be a leader who serves rather than assigns and supervises
- Ability to stay organized
- Ability to stick to a schedule
- Situational awareness in order to resolve conflicts, facilitate discussions, develop the team and encourage continuous improvement
If you’re unsure whether you possess these skills or whether your skills are good enough to be a Scrum Master, consider starting with a certification or degree in project management. After, you may want a certification course to become a Scrum Master or find a Scrum Master who can mentor you.
Your role as Scrum Master will include the following responsibilities:
- Communicate the framework, mindset and methods of Scrum to your team
- Ask your team the right questions, such as if they’re dealing with distractions or what they’re currently working on
- Ensure team members adhere to all practices of Scrum
- Decide on the durations for sprints
- Eliminate obstacles that are preventing your team from progressing
- Guide your team to improve efficiency and effectiveness
- Prevent distractions
- Provide tools to maximize team productivity
- Resolve conflicts
- Set up and facilitate meetings
If you have an interest in taking on these responsibilities and believe you can handle them well, you may want to consider becoming a Scrum Master. If you’re already a project manager, becoming a Scrum Master can take your company and team to the next level.
Common Interview Questions for a Scrum Master
If you’re seeking employment for this type of role, the following are some of common interview questions you can anticipate for the role of a Scrum Master:
- How is your role different from that of a traditional project manager?
- What criteria and metrics do you use to measure whether Scrum is effective for your team?
- What would be your role in stand-up meetings?
- How would you work with the product owner?
- Do you have a Scrum certification?
Before interviewing for the role of Scrum Master, ensure you have developed the interpersonal skills the role demands.
Become a Scrum Master to drastically improve team productivity for your organization.