We love to help! You can reach our team in Dublin at Freephone 1800 910 810 or 01 861 0700 during office hours.
Understanding the Scrum Master Role and Responsibilities

What does a Scrum Master do?

Published, January 26, 2022

What does a scrum master do all day? What does this role and its responsibilities encompass?

By now, many of us are familiar with scrum project management and recognise this is an important role within any scrum project.

In this article, we look at the role and responsibilities of a scrum master in detail.

This is a helpful guide for anyone thinking about becoming a scrum master or about moving into agile / scrum projects in general.

Download our PDF Scrum Master Certified brochure

Download a Scrum Master PDF

Get more detail on the scrum master role instantly by downloading our PDF brochure.

This brochure includes key information from this article, plus guidance on how you can get scrum master certified.

Get PDF Brochure

Covered in this Article

Understanding the Scrum Master Role

Scrum masters are often referred to as “facilitators”, “servant leaders”, and “coaches”.

In very simple terms, they support the scrum team and keep everything in the sprint (scrum project cycle) progressing as it should.

The Scrum Master Role

While others on the team zoom in on specific tasks, scrum masters remain focused on the bigger picture.

They are dedicated to the progress of the sprint and achieving its goals while supporting the wellbeing and sustainability of the team’s productivity.

6 Scrum Master Responsibilities

It’s important to note that the dynamic and requirements of each team will differ. Therefore, scrum master responsibilities vary from team to team.

There are, however, some elements of the role consistent throughout almost every team. Here, we look at 6 responsibilities that almost always rest with the scrum master.

Creating the Right Environment

1. Creating the Right Environment

A good scrum master creates a working environment that supports optimum productivity throughout the cycle of a sprint.

They do this by:

  • shielding the team from unnecessary interruptions

  • removing any obstacles to productivity that crop up

  • ensuring the physical elements of the environment are suitable
Coaching and Mentoring

2. Coaching and Mentoring

As an important part of the “servant leader” element of this role, scrum masters function as mentors to other members of the team.

Their thorough knowledge of best practices and focus on the overall progression of the sprint enables them to support team members in finding solutions and smart approaches to their work.

They will also coach other team members in managing their time and task list most effectively, in order to avoid burnout.

Running Scrum Events

3. Running Scrum Events

Within any scrum project, there are many different events, such as daily stand-up, sprint reviews, and planning meetings.

Usually, the scrum master is responsible for running these meetings. They schedule the events and organise attendance.

Most importantly, they keep the meeting on track and on time, avoiding unneccessary topic tangents.

Communication and Collaboration

4. Communication and Collaboration

Clear and frequent communication is at the heart of any successful scrum initiative.

This refers, not only to communication within the team, but also with external stakeholders such as the customer, other teams, organisational leadership, and suppliers (where relevant).

The scrum master facilitates fluid communication and cross-functional collaboration between the team and all other parties.

They also focus on nurturing an easy, synergetic style of communication within the team.

Scrum Product Backlog

5. Working with the Product Owner

The scrum master works closely with the scrum product owner – another key role within the team.

Together, they maintain the product backlog, an important list of prioritised project requirements.

As the sprint progresses and the deliverables evolve, the scrum master and product owner refine the priorities on a regular basis.

Creating the Right Environment

6. Upholding the Values and Practices of Scrum

Much of this role relies on a commitment to upholding scrum’s values and best-practice application throughout the sprint.

Scrum masters are champions of upholding scrum values at all times.

They advise and teach others within the team on the correct application of scrum values to their work.

You don’t have to be an expert to become a Scrum Master

If you are interested in becoming a scrum master, don’t let the responsibilities deter you.

Through training, you will gain the tools and knowledge you need to understand scrum and execute the tasks above with confidence.

What is not the responsibility of the scrum master?

As you can see, the scrum master role is a busy one! They have many varied responsibilities that touch on almost every aspect of the project.

Don't feel overwhelmed; they are not responsible for everything. Scrum masters are not primarily responsible for:

  • stakeholder management
  • creating the project deliverables

Typically, these tasks fall to the product owner and scrum team respectively. In smaller teams, the scrum master may get involved with both areas.

However, unlike the 6 task areas we listed above, even in small teams the ownership of these tasks does not rest with the scrum master alone.

Scrum master or project manager?

There is often a comparison between scrum masters and the more traditional role of “project manager”.

While there is certainly some overlapping between the two roles, they are not the same thing.

In conventional project management – sometimes referred to as “waterfall” - the project manager will have visibility and input in all aspects of the project’s planning and execution.

As we’ve seen above, in scrum, the scrum master takes a more selective role.

Project manager is typically seen as a leadership role, while scrum master is a servant-leader – a more supportive stance.

If you would like to read more on this topic, Visual Paradigm’s article, “Project Manager vs Scrum Master vs Project Owner” takes a closer look at the differences and overlapping areas.

Choosing What’s Right for You

More and more, we are seeing that project managers are opting to learn both conventional project management approaches and agile / scrum methods.

In recent years, many experienced project managers have branched out to incorporate adaptive methodologies (like agile and scrum) into their repertoire.

Which Role is Right for You?

Get Advice

If you’re unsure about which route is best for your career, we can help.

You can reach our consultants by phone (Freephone 1800 910 810) or use the buttons below to get in touch online.

How to Become a Scrum Master

How Can You Become a Scrum Master?

Happily, the path to becoming a knowledgeable, certified scrum master is a very accessible one.

We offer two flexible options for training and certification:

  1. Live Virtual Training:

    This is real-time online training delivered by Scrum experts.

    A "live virtual" style mirrors an in-person, classroom experience. You can interact with your trainer and fellow trainees, ask questions, and participate in discussions.

  2. Self-Led, E-Learning:

    With this style of online training, you don't need to wait for an upcoming course date. You can begin whenever you’re ready and learn at your own pace.

Both options include:

  • 180-day access to our online learning platform and course materials
  • exam fees
  • international certification
  • Bonus Content & Certification: Scrum Fundamentals Certified (SFCTM) (10+ hours of online content)
Download our PDF Scrum Master Certified brochure

Live Virtual Training: Attend Online Classes with a Scrum Expert

Our trainer-led Scrum Master Certified course is a fantastic option for those who prefer to learn in a focused, classroom-style environment.

Self-Led E-Learning: Training On Your Schedule

We find that our self-led option suits those with busy schedules, or who prefer to complete training through shorter sessions.

With our e-learning Scrum Master Certified course, you can begin any time.

You will have a 180-day access to the learning materials, enabling you to work through the modules as it suits you.

Suitable for All

Our Scrum Master Certified Course is suited to anyone who is interested in becoming a scrum master.

  • No Pre-Requisites:

    No previous experience with scrum or agile is needed. While some familiarity with project management is an advantage, it is certainly not essential.

  • Versatile Scrum Knowledge:

    The skills and knowledge you gain can be applied to scrum projects in any industry.

Further reading and resources

Here are some helpful resources for advice and further study on scrum, agile, and of course, scrum masters.

1. Get Advice

If you would like more guidance on whether this is the right role for your next career move, we would love to hear from you.

Our training consultants are certified scrum masters who can provide insights and advice to support your decision making process.

Call Us Ask a Question Online

2. Read these Supporting Articles

Our agile project management blog is continually updated with new articles and guides.

Some of the most popular articles include:

  • What is Scrum? - A 5-minute, introductory guide to scrum project management.

  • Agile vs Scrum - Learn about agile, scrum, and the differences between each approach.

  • Introducing the Scrum Team - A useful guide to the distinct roles within the scrum team.

  • Who Uses Scrum? - We look at a selection of companies and sectors that adopt a scrum approach to their project work.

Get the Latest

You can keep up to date with our agile resources by signing up for news and updates.

We will send you new articles, information, and special offers related to scrum and agile.

Sign up for news and updates
No Experience Needed for Scrum
A Complete Scrum Master Certification Solution
Online Scrum Master Training

  • Format: Self-led Online
  • Includes: Training + Exam + Certification
  • Price: €399
  • Certification: International SMCTM
  • Location: Connect from Anywhere

Buy Now Learn More