What is a Scrum Master?
In this article, we try to answer the question “What is a Scrum Master?” as fully as possible.
We investigate what a Scrum Master does, where they fit within the Scrum Team, and examine why you might want to achieve a Scrum Master Certification.
We also give you our 3-step guide to becoming a certified Scrum Master.
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What is a Scrum Master?
Scrum Master is perhaps the most widely-recognised role within a Scrum Team.
This could be because Scrum Masters play such a key part in implementing Scrum effectively during a project.
The role of Scrum Master aligns closely with the more traditional role of "project manager".
Let’s take a closer look at what a Scrum Master does and where they fit in within the Scrum team.
The Scrum Master & the Scrum Team:
To answer the question “What is a Scrum Master?”, you need to understand a little about their role within the Scrum Team.
The success of a Scrum approach to project management hangs on a motivated, self-organising team.
The Scrum Team has very clearly defined roles. It functions with plenty of communication, excellent visibility of task progression, and the knowledge that each member of the team is capable of handling their responsibilities.
What are the Roles in a Scrum Team?
Scrum Product Owner:
Often called the “key stakeholder”. Defines priorities. Frequent contact with the customer and Scrum Master.
Crucial facilitator. Supports the Scrum Team. Works with the Scrum Product Owner to assess progress and reframe priorities where needed. Oversees the application of Scrum to project work.
Scrum Developer / Scrum Team
Creates the project’s deliverables. Works on the project. Presents progress to Scrum Master and Scrum Product Owner.
You can learn more about the Scrum Team by taking 2 minutes to read our article, “Introducing the Scrum Team”.
What does a Scrum Master do?
We touched briefly on standout qualities of the Scrum Master job description above. Now, let’s take review what a Scrum Master does within a Scrum project.
7 Key Responsibilities of Scrum Masters
1. Leading through Serving
Scrum Master is one of the ultimate “servant leader” roles. Although the Scrum Master mentors the team, they have no authority over the team.
They do, however, have the last say over the Scrum process and how it wil be applied.
2. Building The Right Environment
Scrum is a high productivity project management framework. Shorter cycles and frequent value delivery means that the team must always be able to operate at optimum levels.
It’s the responsibility of a Scrum Master to create the right environment for the team to do this. They will protect the team from distractions, help them to overcome obstacles, and facilitate meetings where required.
3. Troubleshooting to Stay on Track
Scrum Masters are instrumental in solving any problems that occur.
Part of creating the right environment includes spotting and resolving any issues and barriers to productivity that may crop up.
4. A Fountain of Scrum Knowledge
Scrum Masters must have a thorough understanding of the Scrum framework.
They are the go-to person when anyone in the team has a question about the application of Scrum.
5. Upholding Scrum Values Always
It is also the Scrum Master’s responsibility to ensure that Scrum values are upheld throughout the Sprint (project cycle).
They will be attentive to the implementation of Scrum processes so that they are carried out correctly at all times.
6. Mentoring for Productivity without Burnout
Like its parent methodology Agile, Scrum is designed to be sustainable, meaning that the team should be able to keep up a consistent pace indefinitely.
The Scrum Master helps to maintain this sustainability by mentoring other team members on managing their workload and tasks prioritisation.
7. Collaborating and Prioritising
The Scrum Master works with the Scrum Product Owner on an ongoing basis.
Together, they assess the project’s progress, reframing priorities when appropriate.
Why are Scrum Masters Important?
As you can see from the job description above, Scrum Masters keep everything and everyone on track during a Scrum Sprint (project cycle).
Scrum is a highly effective form of project management, but only if it is applied correctly and the team are given support at all times. The Scrum Master is an essential part of that support.
Without the Scrum Master, the team – and project – could veer off track.
"Should I Become a Scrum Master?"
If you would like to get involved with Scrum project management, Scrum master training and certification is a fantastic place to begin.
As Scrum Masters need to have such a thorough understanding of the role, it’s a wonderful starting point for your Scrum Knowledge.
By choosing to train and certify as a Scrum Master, you will always be able to step into this pivotal role, even if you carry out a different role at other times.
Want further inspiration? Take a look at our article, “7 Reasons to Become a Scrum Master”.
How can you become a Scrum Master?
Getting trained and certified as a Scrum Master is very accessible for even the busiest of schedules.
We offer both trainer-led and self-led options for getting certified as a Scrum Master. With both options, you can follow our easy 3-step guide below.
Self-Led or Trainer-Led?
If you’re not sure which training style will suit you best, we can offer guidance. Get in touch with our Scrum Master certified training consultants to learn more about which option is right for you.
You can call us at Freephone 1800 910 810 or ask a question online.
Getting Scrum Master Certified: A 3-Step Guide
Here’s our 3-step approach, which can see you certified as a Scrum Master within 1 month, without disrupting other priorities during this time:
Step 1: Complete Training
Trainer-Led – 2 Days - €545 – Exam & Certification Included
Join one of our publicly available Scrum Master Certified courses to benefit from the advice and insights of our experienced Scrum trainers.
This trainer-led option also includes the 180-day online access you get with the self-led version of the course.
Self-Led - €399 – Exam & Certification Included
Our Scrum Master Certified Course is also available as self-led, online training. Once you purchase the course, you'll have 180 days of access to the online learning platform and course material.
Step 2: Study Period (between 2 and 4 weeks)
Once you complete training, you will need to allow time for study and exam preparation.
The duration of your study period will vary depending on your availability, but the average timeline is between 2 and 4 weeks.
Step 3: Online Exam (2 hours)
When you feel ready, schedule your online exam. The exam takes 120 minutes and has 100 multiple choice questions.
Upon passing your exam, you will be a certified Scrum Master!
Good to Know:
We include 2 free re-sits in case you don’t pass your Scrum Master Certified (SMCTM) exam first time.
Advice & Resources
Get Advice on Your Scrum Master Training
If you have any questions about becoming a Scrum Master, why not talk to our training consultant team on Freephone 1800 910 810? You can also get in touch by clicking below to "Ask A Question".
You can learn more about our Scrum Master Certified (SMCTM) course, by downloading our PDF brochure using the button below.
Extra Scrum Master Resources
Here are some popular articles for further reading on Scrum and Agile:
A high-level introduction to Scrum project management. This article looks at the origins of Scrum, benefits of using a Scrum approach, and how Scrum works.
In this short article, you can learn more about which industries and companies use Scrum.
Following on from our overview in this article, “Introducing the Scrum Team” looks at the roles and dynamics of a Scrum Team in more detail.
If you’re interested in Scrum, it’s helpful to understand the relationship Scrum has to Agile project management.
This is the official Agile Manifesto, the overarching principles that guide all adaptive project management in Agile and Scrum.