Scrum is an agile framework for efficient project management that helps to develop complex projects. An agile project management methodology uses the sprint method, which sets short targets for project development and ensures continuous project development through efficient workflow guidelines and planning. There are so many agile frameworks in industries nowadays, but scrum is one of the best agile frameworks for fast and efficient project management.
Here, the scrum master plays a significant role in the entire work process. The scrum methodology includes many efficient working processes, whereas scrum masters play an important role in working with these processes for a project. A scrum master takes care of a project by providing the necessary project plans of the development structure and ensuring team success through proper guidelines.
What Does a Scrum Master Do?
The scrum master is a crucial part of scrum who helps to promote and support product processing and gives clarity to the product owners and team members about the scrum's theory, value, and process.
As a scrum master, one’s first duty is to properly organize a project with adequate planning, guidelines, and an efficient workflow to develop the project. The primary responsibility of a scrum master is to ensure that the scrum is successfully implemented in a project. The first thing a scrum master needs to do is build an agile framework for the development of the project. The development process structure includes necessary meetings, planning, team leading, motivation, critical thinking, monitoring, responsibilities, tools, and techniques. .
A scrum master's main job is to show a team the right way to complete a project successfully and motivate them all the way to reach a milestone for the project. Scrum masters keep an eye on a team from start to finish while a project is being worked on. The scrum master explains the concept of the scrum framework to all the team members and shows them the guidelines of the working procedure.
So, if anyone in a team doesn’t have the idea of a scrum framework, the scrum master helps them understand the process and supports them throughout the whole project.
Scrum masters direct a pathway to reach a project goal, but the project's success depends on the project manager. So scrum masters, by far, are what we might call servant leaders who take practical approaches to product development.
Responsibilities and Duties of a Scrum Master
A scrum master has to play a different kind of role in the industry for product development. Scrum masters collaborate with the product owners by providing necessary information about the team's goals, targets, and process structure.
A scrum master plays the role of agile project management coach to assure product owners about product development by giving the working team a clear concept of scrum guidelines. That’s why they need to create an agile project management structure and inform stakeholders of the progress of a project from time to time.
However, a scrum master’s first and foremost duty is to create a continuous communication network with the stakeholders to update them on where the current agile sprint stands and discuss every step of the project planning with them so that the project can run unhindered.
Besides these duties, there are a few other responsibilities that a scrum master needs to show in a scrum project. These responsibilities are:
- Leading daily project activities like stand-up meetings, review reports, demos, and other project-related meetings.
- Supporting team tasks.
- Guiding team with scrum principles and practices.
- Preparing open discussion sessions.
- Identifying project issues and resolving them proactively.
- Updating project activities in scrum project management tools.
- Assisting team to increase productivity and achieve high-value products.
Basic Skills Needed for the Scrum Master Job
An influential scrum master must have some basic workplace skills to properly guide a team to success and create an effective scrum project management plan for product development. Whether you want to be a scrum master or are already one, you must have the following skills to be an effective scrum master in your industry.
1. Scrum Master Skills (Must-Haves)
- Problem-solving skills
- Adaptability skills
- Ability to motivate team members
- Strong communication skills
- Multiple tasking skills
- Organization management skills
- Team player skills
2. Educational Qualification
To become a scrum master, you must have educational qualifications and training experience in the related field. Therefore, to become a scrum master, you must undergo some scrum master training and certifications.
A bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in IT or business administration are generally required as educational requirements for a scrum master's job. Still, several organizations offer training programs on scrum and provide scrum master certification after completing the training. For example, PMI (Project Management Institute) and CSM (Certified ScrumMaster) are similar organizations that offer professional scrum master training and also show the guidelines of how scrum works in a project.
There are a few training programs in the scrum master field that help teach the basic principles of scrum project management. In addition, this training provides the practical knowledge of working on a scrum project, like the scrum master's role, events, and artifacts.
(a) Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM) by PMI
This course offers professional scrum master training and certification. In this course, you can learn how to lead an agile team and implement agile project management methodologies like agile scrum, kanban, and lean.
Moreover, this course does not have any pre-requisite requirements. This course is created by PMI for those who want to build up a career in scrum.
(b) Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) by Scrum Alliance
A CSM authorised scrum master training provides the basic training on scrum methodologies and their implementations. This training requires a minimum familiarity with the scrum framework.
Also, this course includes an outline of a 16-hour training session on scrum project management. By doing this course, you will be capable of handling agile scrum projects and leading any agile project team for any industry.
(c) Professional Scrum Master (PSM)
The professional scrum master certification is a two-day course that will help you to learn the fundamental principles of agile and scrum and their methodologies. In addition, this course teaches how to apply scrum methodologies to a project and create a basic scrum framework for a project.
Also, there are two more courses offered by PMI that help you increase your ability as a scrum master. These courses are PSM I and PSM II. These two courses will help you expand your skills as a professional scrum master in the relevant field.
- Public speaking
- Time management skills
- Quick thinking ability
- Ability to find loopholes and resolve them
- Leadership skill
Common Questions Asked in the Interview for a Scrum Master Job
Scrum is the most popular agile framework that includes the best methodologies for an agile project. It’s a great thing that scrum is now widely accepted in many organizations worldwide. In this article on scrum master interview questions, you will find some instructions and guidelines for your next scrum master interview.
In terms of potentiality, you must face the interview board, where employers will check your potentiality to work in their company. Most of the interview questions are about whether you are fit for the job or not.
So, sometimes you can face difficulties in answering those questions if you don’t prepare for an interview. Here are some sample interview questions for the scrum master position you may face on an interview board. With these questions, employers mainly check your strategic, primary, and systematic knowledge as a scrum master.
Question#1: Can you explain what scrum is?
(An interviewer may ask this question to begin your interview session. To give a proper answer to this question, first, you will provide a short description of what scrum is. Then you'll explain why scrum is important. You will also explain the value and benefits of implementing scrum on an agile project.)
Sample Answer: Scrum is one of the best agile frameworks that help a team learn to collaborate on a project through self-organizing and experience. The Scrum framework can pave the way for a team to successfully complete a project by allowing them to reflect on their work and make improvements.
The Scrum framework helps to create an effective product development plan by engaging the team working on the project and the product stakeholders by holding meetings and discussions. In any other project management system, there is no option for this deep interaction between the working team and stakeholders other than scrum.
Question#2: What are the three roles of a scrum?
(You will be expected to know the roles of a scrum team as a scrum master. By asking this question, the interviewer will try to find out your conception of the roles of a scrum team. So your answer should have clarity in explaining these roles.)
Sample Answer: There are three roles in a scrum team. The first role is that of the product owner, who ensures the team is aligned for product development. A product owner is responsible for increasing ROI. He has to determine product values, set goals for the sprint, and reprioritize and refine these goals anytime while working on a project.
The second role is that of the scrum master, who creates the project's agile scrum framework and ensures the team follows the framework. This job includes providing proper training and giving instructions to the team for product development.
The third role is that of the scrum team. A scrum team is a group of members working on a scrum project following the instructions of the scrum master. Their main job is to complete the work they have been given in a motivating way.
Question#3: Can you explain if scrum has any limitations or not?
(The benefit of scrum is visible, but there are also some limitations. The interviewer will look for the answer from you that can ensure you will successfully be able to apply scrum in a project. Not every company and project requires scrum to use. So you have to be specific when a company should use scrum in their project and where scrum is not applicable.)
Sample Answer: Scrum is usually used for those projects that face challenges frequently, most often in the software industries. Scrum is used on those projects that need to be completed by fulfilling small targets and a team. So if any project requires a large team, it won't be easy to apply scrum management to that project.
Moreover, scrum is the best choice for only working with strict constraints. So these are the primary drawbacks of using scrum in a project.
Question#4: As a scrum master, you must attend scrum meetings frequently. Can you explain the scrum meeting activities?
(One of the primary responsibilities of a scrum master is to call for a scrum meeting while working on a project. You must know the rules and techniques of calling for any stand-up scrum meeting. So with this question, the interviewer will check for your capability to become a scrum master. So it would be best if you briefly described how scrum management works and your role as a scrum master.)
Sample Answer: Scrum meetings have some directions to follow, which can help work effectively throughout the whole product development process. A team can analyze how much time they have to complete the project during the sprint.
Scrum meetings help to identify a product backlog from where they can take the first item and break it into tasks. A scrum meeting can also help a team estimate how long it will take to complete a mission. Furthermore, scrum meetings can assist in determining the clarity features and estimations to be scoped for the sprint.
Question#5: Can you differentiate the relationship between agile and scrum?
(This basic question is generally asked in any interview for a scrum master job. So your answer should be clear and bold about your understanding of agile and scrum.)
Sample answer: Agile and scrum are two fundamental theories of project development management. Agile is an iterative and incremental set of principles, whereas scrum is an implementation method of agile methodology.
Agile project management works efficiently for small teams, but scrum can be used in teams with constantly changing requirements.
In agile project management, the project leader takes care of all the project tasks personally, but in the scrum project management system, the scrum master and team take care of all the project tasks.
Here are some additional questions you may encounter:
Question#6: What do you understand by the term "increment"?
Sample answer: "Increment" refers to the sum of all product backlog items that have been completed throughout a sprint and all preceding sprints. Whether or not the product manager is ready to deliver a product, by sprint's end, the increment needs to be in a state of doneness and in a state of readiness for reuse.
Question#7: Please explain, in your own words, what you understand by “product backlog.”
Sample answer: Before the start of the scrum sprint, the product owner will go over the list of all of the additional features, modify requests, improvements, and reports and decide which ones have the highest priority.
If somehow the project is brand new, there will be a set of brand-new functions that the new system is required to supply. This list of items is known as the "product backlog." The items that are prioritized for completion during the current sprint are known as the "sprint backlog."
Question#8: What do you mean by story point?
Sample answer: Every element in the scrum has a story. Scrum teams utilize an arbitrary measurement called a "story point," and agile teams use this measurement as a metric to gauge the level of complexity associated with implementing a particular story.
Career Path of a Scrum Master
There are large-scale career paths open for a scrum master. However, to build a career as a scrum master, one must complete the necessary professional development, train for the relevant certifications, and complete a master’s degree.
Starting from the point of working as a scrum master, you can follow the career path of being a scrum coach, product owner, and project manager step by step developing your skills and experience.
1. Scrum Coach
A scrum coach is an individual who focuses on a specific portion of an organization. They lead multiple agile project management teams and show guidelines for effective changes and implementations during a running project.
2. Product Owner
A product owner is a role where a person is responsible for setting up the product’s features and value and also determines the sprint of a project. His job is to ensure that the agile project team is following the agile project methodology and progressing toward the goal.
3. Project Manager
The project manager of a project is the ultimate leader of an organization. His responsibilities include working within restraints like budget and schedule, plans for the project, and supervising the whole project.
Future Market Demand for Scrum Masters
As a scrum master, you can play a vital role in the company’s progress. For example, you may get the chance to develop a product that can positively impact the whole world. Nowadays, in most large companies and organizations, there must be one or more than one scrum master appointed to look after all the project management works.
So the demand for scrum masters is rising day by day. Also, choosing scrum master as a career can help you lead a company in the future by upgrading your skills and experience.
Salary Range of a Scrum Master
Organizations offer attractive salaries for a scrum master position as it is a vital role for a company. In most cases, your salary will increase with your skill development and experience.
At the primary level, you can earn up to $80,000 to $85,000 per year after joining as a scrum master. Then, with developing skills and experience, it will stand at $120,000 per year within one or two years.