The Great Scrum Master is a very practical book by Zuzana Sochova who is an expert in Agile and Certified Scrum Trainer with more than fifteen years of experience in the IT industry. We decided to share with you key points from this book. Who is a scrum master? How to become a scrum master? How to do the best as a scrum master? In this article, you’ll find the answers to all of these questions.
Who is a scrum master?
Scrum master is one of the underestimated roles in Scrum and Agile. A lot of teams combine a scrum master role with other roles like a developer or a Q&A engineer because they don’t know how to give to a scrum master a full-time job.
It’s the most popular mistake in the scrum master role. Companies generally say, “We know that team members should create the product and work hard. We should help each other and be flexible. We also think that a product owner is a crucial member of the team because he defines the product vision and communicates with clients. What’s about a scrum master? What does he or she do?”
In this scenario, a scrum master usually becomes a secretary, which is a very boring position, isn’t it? A scrum master moves cards on the scrum board and thinking about making coffee to the team while they create the product. Familiar situation? 😏
Another popular mistake usually happens in enterprise companies when someone brings a scrum master role in the team and starts to combine his or her main job with scrum master activities. Companies, which decided to go to scrum, say, “We need to have a scrum master to implement scrum, right? But we can’t use a developer or Q&A engineer for that, because they should create the product.” In this case, a company chose a shy person who combines his main job with a scrum master role because he doesn’t have great skills in development.
Talking about it, Zuzana says that the strong scrum master is not considered as an optional role, who can’t add solid value to the project. The scrum master must be considered as a person who produces efficiency team growth. The goal of scrum master role is building not a good team, but building the high-performing team. In this case, the scrum master is the guy who has a very fast return on investments.
Scrum master responsibilities
Let’s talk about scrum master responsibilities. There are many things that scrum master should do and all of them participate a lot in teamwork. If a scrum master combines several roles in the team, then each role should be separated from the main. A scrum master should choose only one role at a particular time. A scrum master, in contrast, who doesn’t separate his roles, can’t be good in all of his or her roles.
Scrum master responsibilities include things such as:
- Motivate the team to take responsibility and align each member across personal and team goals
- Provide transparency and partnerships
- Remove obstacles by encouraging the team to be proactive
- Understand agile and scrum mindset and be always learning
- Keep agile values and help other people to understand scrum values
- If it is necessary, protect the development team
- Help the team to be more effective
- Facilitate scrum meetings and standups
As you can see, a scrum master has a lot of responsibilities. However, it’s hard to compare with any traditional role and many people can’t understand what’s scrum master doing the whole day.
Outstanding scrum masters should always improve their soft skills and be great listeners. Also, they should be experts in Agile and Scrum. The perfect scrum master has work experience in a scrum team. On the other hand, a scrum master will struggle with agile implementation in the company without this experience.
Scrum master goals
What’s the main scrum master goal? It’s building a self-organizing team and produce self-organization as a key value of the company in all areas. Self-organization creates engagement, responsibilities, and make people more engaged. It helps the team to find its solutions and make the team more effective. Self-organization is a key indicator of a high-performing team in a long-term period, not in the short-term. It allows improving processes, communication, and partnership. Self-organization creates high-engaged employees and helps people to build a solid team with aligned goals and identity.
If a scrum master focuses on other goals instead of building a self-organizing team, then he or she turns out to be secretaries, consultants, managers, or just not valuable team members who “doesn’t know what to do”.
- Scrum master is not a secretary;
- Scrum master is not a ‘not necessary role’, but a person who creates a high-performing team;
- Scrum master is an agile and scrum expert who truly believe that agile and Scrum are ways to success.
Focus is a teamwork software for scrum teams. Focus helps your company to run scrum meetings and stay in sync.