Scrum Master Roles and Responsibilities - Invensis Learning

A Scrum Master is considered to be one of the most sought after job roles today. It has been listed as one of the most promising jobs of 2019 and beyond, and the importance of the role continues to grow. Since more and more companies are becoming Agile in their operations and project management, they need Scrum Masters to manage all processes and make sure they run smoothly. So, the question is what are the responsibilities of a Scrum Master?

Scrum Masters are also trained efficiently in building and maintaining engagement within their teams, which is important in ensuring that the team stays motivated and works in a productive manner. Scrum Masters have the knowledge and expertise to help their teams improve their performance individually and together. They are advocates for their team. A Scrum Master knows the importance of working as a team as a whole, so they are trained to make sure that any disruptions and impediments in the team or the project are effectively removed. In this article, let’s look at the Scrum Master roles and responsibilities.

Who is a Scrum Master?

A Scrum Master is considered to be the leader of a Scrum Team. They are responsible for the members of the team and making sure that the project runs in a smooth and timely manner. They are certified professionals who provide guidance to their team members, address all the aspects of the project as it develops, and they play a key role in ensuring that the entire team is working in an Agile manner at all times. 

They work with the Product Owner and the team to create a collaborative environment where all aspects of the project are effectively communicated. Depending on the project and the team, the roles and responsibilities of a Scrum Master may vary. Some Scrum Masters also work as project managers for their team, and some even work as Agile coaches. Nearly 40% of Scrum Masters come with a background in project management and they get a significant pay raise than their non-certified counterparts because their roles and responsibilities vary and grow over time.

The Role of a Scrum Master

The success of an Agile team depends greatly on the success rate of the implementation of the Scrum methods, and because the Scrum Master is responsible for the operations and workflow of the Scrum Team, they are directly responsible for the implementation. This means that the Scrum Master needs to be trained and be an expert in Scrum processes. The more certifications the Scrum Master has, the more qualified and experienced he/she will be at running their team.

The Scrum Master can play many roles based on their expertise and certifications. As mentioned before, the role varies based on their qualifications as well as requirements of the project. So what are the different roles a Scrum Master can play for his team? A Scrum Master’s role evolves based on how certified he is.

The Scrum Master as The Clerk

This is the basic role of a Scrum Master. Once they are certified, the Scrum Master becomes capable to manage all operational work when it comes to creating and maintaining the Sprint Backlog, managing various administrative tasks for the team such as preparing the Sprint Plan, creating Burndown Graphs, and more. They are trained in the most fundamental values of Agile processes, which are tools, processes, and documentation.

The Scrum Master as The Puppet Master

Once the Scrum Master gets certified, they know the core values of the Agile manifesto. He/she is ready to embrace and implement the required changes in the team to make them more Agile, and they know how to handle working software and manage collaboration and interaction within the team.

They puppeteer the team members in a way that they move in a more Agile manner and follow all the Scrum rules. This is important in implementing Scrum methods efficiently. This is on an operational level where all the processes are only working in an Agile manner but not implementing the Agile mindset completely. The Scrum Master as a puppet master also helps the team with technical work, which is why they cannot focus on anything more than the team of developers.

The Scrum Master as The Organizer

As an Organizer, a certified Scrum Master makes sure that the team knows of all the Scrum Values they need to abide by, on more than just an operational basis. These values include:

  • Commitment to the project 
  • Focus on their tasks 
  • Openness and transparency with their communication
  • Respect towards the project and other team members
  • Courage to implement all necessary changes

The Scrum Master makes a priority to facilitate all communication and work within the team and does not help them with their technical duties. This way they can act as a resource to the team to help them learn more about Scrum Methods and implement them successfully. Since the main focus is facilitation, a Scrum Master can easily tailor his/her efforts into generating optimal results from the team by giving them useful data and values.

The Scrum Master as The Coach

As a coach, a Scrum Master trains the teams in such a way that they can practice Scrum ways on their own. This way, the Scrum Master can work with the Product Owner and other stakeholders in the project to share their expertise and help others with finding different and creative viewpoints and evolve. They work with more than just with the team and facilitates collaboration with other departments in an organization such as marketing, sales, and so on.

The Scrum Master as The Advisor

This is one step above the role of a Coach. As the Scrum Master gets varied credentials, they can act as a Coach for more Agile teams and create empowered Scrum Teams across the organization. The Scrum Master helps and advises other Scrum Masters at lower levels and works on empowering the organization to become more Agile as a whole.

The Scrum Master as The Expert

The Scrum Master with the highest level of certifications becomes an expert. They work with other Scrum Masters and managers to advise and coach them to improve all Scrum implementation as a whole. The entire organization ends up becoming more Agile, and the expert Scrum Master plays a key role in creating and implementing new rules and standards across the company. They are also known as Agile Coaches.

Responsibilities of a Scrum Master

Once one becomes a Certified Scrum Master, they will have various responsibilities to different members of their team and the organization as a whole.

Scrum Master’s Responsibility to the Product Owner 

A Scrum Master works with the Product Owner to make sure all the goals of the project and its scope is understood by the entire Scrum Team. They find different effective techniques to manage Product Backlogs and helps the Product Owner in arranging them to maximize the value. They also work with other Product Owners to facilitate Scrum Events.

Scrum Master’s Responsibility to the Development Team: 

The Scrum Master is responsible for coaching the development team to practice cross-functionality as well as self-organize best practices so that they can deliver products of the highest value. As a Scrum Master, they remove all disruptions for the team members and also facilitates Scrum events. They train the development team to be more organized and work in an Agile manner.

Scrum Master’s Responsibility to the Organization

A Scrum Master’s responsibility towards the organization is to help with adopting Scrum methods throughout the company, which depends on how highly experienced and certified the individual is. They work with the stakeholders in implementing Scrum and increasing productivity for Scrum Teams. They also work with other Scrum Masters to optimize all processes and implement Scrum in teams.

Final Thoughts

A certified Scrum Master is held in high regard at organizations across many industries. The higher the certifications, the more trained a Scrum Master becomes in handling Scrum Methods. This means he/she will be more in demand because their expertise will be crucial in generating higher revenue and increasing the success rate of projects in the organization. There are many popular Agile Certification Training Programs available for individuals who are looking to become a Scrum Master and implement Agile principles across an organization.

Some of the popular Agile Certification Courses that individuals and enterprise team can take up are:

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Billie Keita is known for her exemplary skills in implementing project management methodologies and best practices for business critical projects. She possesses 10+ years of experience in handling complex software development projects across Europe and African region. She also conducts many webinars and podcasts where she talks about her own experiences in implementing Agile techniques. She is a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) and PMI Project Management Professional (PMP)®, and has published many articles across various websites.


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