There are two main roles every Scrum Master should follow to become a real star. Find it out here and discover more about their tasks and responsibilities.
The Scrum Master is a strategic element needed for a Scrum team to function well. However, becoming a high-level Scrum Master can take years and a lot of work. Although a certification can provide the necessary knowledge to perform his/her duties properly, experience will be the key to go from just being a good Scrum Master to become that Scrum Master star everyone aspires to have on the team.
How do you get to the top in Scrum then? In this article, we will go deeper into the two main characteristics a Scrum Master star must-have. But before we start, let’s quickly understand what main tasks, functions, and skills they should have.
To begin with, a Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring compliance with the good practices, values, and methods described in the Scrum model. In other words, it is a coach responsible for guiding the team in order to ensure the Scrum philosophy is followed throughout the whole development process. It is also important to highlight that the person who has this role must seek to develop or enhance certain soft skills (communication skills, team management, motivation, and negotiation) that will help them to carry out their tasks.
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Leaving aside the theoretical definitions mentioned before and focusing more on what experience has told me after having different roles in Scrum projects, I am going to get to the point. What are the two souls — the two well-distinguished roles — that a Scrum Master star should have?
- The facilitator: This role provides the necessary resources to accomplish the goals and removes impediments, distractions, or interruptions while establishing a fluid and effective communication among members of the team.
- The methodology guardian: This role makes sure that the entire team understands and uses the methodology properly.
Based on this description, these are the two main conditions that have to be met to become a Scrum Master star.
As part of their facilitator role:
- The Scrum Master is responsible for the team clearly understanding what the project’s objectives are.
- They also help team members meet the objectives of their role in the project. They should seek to balance individual and group objectives.
- Throughout the process, he/she should remain neutral to the interests of each person. His/Her role is to be impartial in discussions and debates and to serve as a moderator during meetings.
- He/She encourages each member to be better at their jobs — continuously seeking out and proposing challenges.
- The facilitator promotes collaboration and group spirit. In this sense, it is key to make the impact that the team’s work has within the organization visible.
- They are not just an event organizer. It is necessary to give a form and sense to them. For instance, the best thing to do is to explain the reason for each event to the team.
- He/She must facilitate communication so that everyone, regardless of hierarchy, establishes direct and efficient links without the participation of third parties. A Scrum Master star must work on being empathetic and using active listening.
- They need to know how to lead and supervise, while always promoting independence. It is all about teaching the team to do things but not doing things for them.
- On some occasions, the Product Owner may wish to have more completed tasks. However, the Scrum Master must ensure that the quality of the product, as well as the equipment, is not compromised.
- The facilitator detects which impediments or distractions are present and makes a follow-up of the established solutions.
- They recognize and attack complex procedures and propose simplifications.
In keeping good Scrum practices in their role:
- The Scrum Master is the one who makes sure the team and the organization understand, adopt, and respect Scrum’s theory, practices, and rules, always driving continuous improvement.
- He/She guides members towards self-organization, flexibility, and multifunctionality.
- They detect which practices are beneficial or not to the project, maintaining simple and easygoing rules.
- The Scrum Master introduces practices and tools to improve the effectiveness of the team and keeps up with new practices (Continuous Integration, Refactoring, Unit Testing, Pair Programming, Clean Code, Pair Reviews, etc.).
- They create a team, project, and product vision to guide and share with the entire team.
- He/She recognizes the different interests of all the stakeholders and uses the methodology to achieve effective results. Always keep in mind that the methodology is the instrument, not the end.
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These two roles are fundamental for becoming a high-level Scrum Master. And although they seem to be ambitious, they are roles and skills that can be acquired and improved over time. The methodology itself favors that in the different iterations or projects, we can improve to help us get closer to the Scrum Master star we aspire to be.
Often, Retrospective Meetings can be used to check if we are fulfilling our Scrum Master role and identify aspects for improvement. Hope I have helped you to recognize the key aspects of this important role within the Scrum world. Stay Agile!
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