Any team of members working towards a specified goal needs a person who has a wider vision and with a skill set beneficial enough to make their team achieve that goal. Scrum framework is set up with multiple small teams engaged with specified requirements which when put together results in the completion of the ultimate goal. These teams need a leader or a coach to assure that the requirements are fulfilled efficiently and the flow of work is uninterrupted.
WHO is a SCRUM master?
A Scrum team has a Scrum Master who is entrusted with responsibilities to ensure the effectiveness of the team and achieve the definition of done as per the Scrum guide. Their responsibilities are vast and extend to the overall organization’s growth as every Scrum team plays a part in the achievement of the final goal of an organization.
Top Skills Required to Become A SCRUM Master
A Scrum Master’s required skills can range from basic to advanced. Certain skills are essential while a few can be practiced and improved progressively. A Scrum Master’s role can be limited depending upon the projects and their duration which is the Sprint period but a Scrum Master’s skills can be varied and are based on a wider perception beyond their day-to-day roles for the team. One can perform their well by getting certified as a Scrum Master by undergoing the Certified Scrum Master training.
Studies also highlight that the implementation of Scrum in school projects and assigning a Scrum Master role help the students develop their mentoring and lecturing skills along with the quality of self-organization. From small school projects to business projects the following are the skills required to ace the Scrum Master role.
KNOWLEDGE AND TEACHING SKILLS
The primary responsibility of a scrum master is to run the process of Sprints effectively. They are required to make the team members perform the said tasks and be accountable for them. For a Scrum Master to be able to guide the team effectively through the Scrum framework, it is an implicit skill to understand the Scrum theory and teach the same to their team. A Scrum Master is expected to have a deep understanding and analytical knowledge of the purpose and procedure of Scrum to build confidence and demonstrate the benefits of this framework.
One of the key skills of a Scrum Master is the skill of applying the acquired knowledge in the real workspace and laying the groundwork for a Scrum. It is an empirical methodology yet in the beginning if the team has any confusion in employing the process the Scrum Master has to help in teaching about the applicability of scrum for their work and clearing their confusion.
COMPLYING THE VALUES AND PRINCIPLES OF SCRUM
One of the required skills of a Scrum Master is to be cognizant of the set values and principles to assure that the Scrum is well established. The Scrum Master also sets himself as an example through his actions of abiding by the values and principles of Scrum. For instance, if the commitment to work is one of the values, then the Scrum Master should practice and show it through his work. This can encourage the team to perform their tasks by respecting the values and principles.
A typical Scrum team includes a Product Owner, a Scrum Master, and Developers. Each of them is entitled to their own responsibilities and is interconnected towards the same goal. The Scrum Master must be able to communicate both the Product Owner’s requirements and Developers’ queries to each other and ensure a sound workflow. Especially during the short Daily meetings he must have a clear tone and be able to convey the subject matter in a succinct and precise manner.
More than a boss or a leader the Scrum team requires a coach who can encourage them to be organized and complete their work. Scrum gives space for the members to practice self-management to organize themselves without too much dependency for effective work results. It is the Scrum Master’s key skill to coach the team members to make them learn, understand and manage their tasks by themselves.
A good leader is someone who is open to suggestions from his team members. Listening skills will also assure the members that their leader is accessible when needed and promotes transparency. A Scrum team is cross-functional where members with multiple abilities work together. This Scrum Master skill is needed to communicate with the team members not only to give guidance or sort out their queries and but also to get to know more about them and their abilities to facilitate the work process.
Teamwork is an essential characteristic of a successful team. It is a responsibility vested on every member to perform teamwork and a Scrum Master must be a driving force to motivate and achieve teamwork even during any uncertain times. Scrum Masters throughout the organization also need this skill to work together for the completion of the final product or goal.
It is common for problems to arise within a Scrum team which can affect the members and the work process. Whether it is a conflict among the members or any impediments from outside the scrum master must be capable of finding quick and rightful solutions. He must be diplomatic and try to remove all the hindrances causing any delays or faults during the process. To achieve these skills easily we recommend you get a Scrum Master certification from a reputed organization.
PLANNING AND PRIORITIZATION
Scrum requires Sprint planning either through daily or any regular meetings to let members discuss the process among themselves. You can plan or make a few changes to any original plans if needed during these short meetings. A scrum master observes the meetings and helps plan the sprints. He needs to overlook the Sprint Backlog and prioritize tasks to fulfill the requirements. Planning is an ongoing process and Scrum Master must be able to keep track of the regular process and main events from time to time. Crafting a board of all status updates to check things out later when it is done is one of many things helpful for planning and prioritization.
Most of the major decisions of the organization are taken by the product owner or stakeholders. Still, scrum master’s skill of decision making is also important to make clear decisions for any unexpected and sudden issues. One must be capable to consider every factor and situation of the team, Product Owner, and the organization thoroughly before making a decision.
Change is inevitable and Scrum is designed in such a manner to give importance to change and promote alterations when it is needed. Whether after a communication with the Product Owner or after the inspection of an increment, suggestions and alterations arise. Adaptive skills are necessary especially during these times to adjust to the sprint retrospective process.
TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Scrum methodology works as a set of events and poor time management can cost in delayed production which in result can affect other scrum teams and might even cause an overall postponement of work. The Scrum Master must be responsible for managing the events by assuring that they are performed as per the planned timeline in an efficient way along with optimizing the productivity of the team.
Scrum Masters play the servant leader role by actively participating in a chain of events. They can also be the functional members of their respective teams to contribute to their field of specialization in the process. Being cooperative with the other team members and helping them on the completion of Sprint speeds up the process and inspires teamwork. Apart from this, the cooperative skills will be helpful for collaborating with stakeholders and other Scrum Masters of the organization.
“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority” – Kenneth Blanchard
It is important to have a positive and influential approach rather than dominance to lead the team. The humble and optimistic approach of the Scrum Master can influence the team members to walk a similar path towards excellence.
PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE
Managing a team of people can be hard at times, particularly in the initial stages hence Scrum Master requires patience. Scrum is an iterative process to provide a valuable output. Patience is also the key to go through all the required events and adjustments. With perseverance, Scrum Master can tackle all challenges and motivate the team in achieving quality results.
Whether you want to choose a career as a Scrum Master or considering adopting Scrum methods outside software development for any other work, it is helpful to discipline yourself with these Scrum Master key skills to make the most out of this framework. By mastering this skill one can also confidently suggest Scrum to their organization. Even if you are a beginner, it is never too late. You can always start with the last mentioned skill, patience, and perseverance, and slowly work out the rest as any skill can be developed through constant dedicated practice.