The Scrum Master guides and coaches the organization and team in the use of scrum / agile practices. They boost the effectiveness of teams by managing key technical programs, championing delivery success and operationalizing underlying processes to make development teams hum effectively.
They resolve impediment, monitor and have control over the scrum processes and meetings.
Key Roles and Responsibilities
- Strongly serving and supporting the Product Owner and Development Team in their quest to do everything possible to delight clients.
- Providing all support to the team using a servant leadership style and leading by example. This person should evangelize Scrum, Agile and lean-agile values.
- Guiding and Coaching the Scrum Team and organization on how to use Agile/Scrum practices and values to delight clients.
- Guiding and Coaching both the Scrum Team and the Development team on self-organizing to fill in the intentional gaps left in the Agile/Scrum frameworks
- Assessing the Scrum Maturity of the team and organization and coaching the team to higher levels of maturity, at a pace that is sustainable and comfortable for the team and organization
- Removing impediments or guiding the team to remove impediments by finding the right personnel to remove the impediment.
- Building a trusting and safe environment where problems can be raised without fear of blame, retribution, or being judged, with an emphasis on healing and problem-solving.
- Facilitating getting the work done without coercion, assigning, or dictating the work.
- Facilitating discussion, decision making, and conflict resolution
- Assisting with internal and external communication, improving transparency, and radiating information. This would include reporting on team, feature and story level to all stakeholders.
- Collaboratively identify and synchronize dependencies across multiple teams and Agile Release Trains
- Promote, define, refine and enforce lightweight processes that fit our Agile software development culture and values.
- Serve as a point of contact for geographically distributed teams.
- Supporting and educating the Product Owner, especially with respect to refining (aka grooming) and managing the product backlog.
- Ensure that daily, weekly and monthly agile rituals are running effectively and strictly. They are responsible for facilitating daily scrum, sprint planning, sprint demo, and retrospective meetings.
- Assist with planning of Program Increments that span multiple sprints and teams, to assist the organization to deliver end-to-end value. This would require traveling with teams.
Requirements: Education, Training and Experience:
- First level Scrum Master certification (PSM I, CSM I or SAFe SM)
- BCom or equivalent qualification.
- Experience playing the Scrum Master role for at least two years for a Scrum team.
- Good skills and knowledge of servant leadership, facilitation, situational awareness, conflict resolution, continual improvement, empowerment, and increasing transparency
- The ability to distinguish between what “is Scrum” what is “not Scrum”
- Experience being on multiple Scrum teams in a variety of different contexts (different team sizes, different organizations, different cultures, co-located vs. distributed, etc)
- Track record of continued and recent education in Scrum, including training, conferences, user groups, self-study, etc.
- Knowledge of other approaches discussed in the Agile space: XP, Kanban, Nexus, LeSS, SAFe, Crystal, FDD, etc
- Knowledge and/or experience with widely successful Agile techniques: User Stories, ATDD, TDD, Continuous Integration, Continuous Testing, Pairing, Automated Testing, Agile Games
- Applicable knowledge of the technologies used by the team
- Experience applying a wide variety of well-documented patterns and techniques for filling in the intentional gaps left in the Scrum approach(example: numerous Burndown techniques, numerous Retrospective formats, handling bugs,etc)
- Previous experience as a collaborative leader
- Excellent communication and mentoring skills
- Experience and/or knowledge of implementing agile at scale (Examples: SAFe, DAD)
Personal Attributes and Skills Required
- Servant Leader: Recognises the importance of working through others within the team and engaging and empowering others to use as much of their own capabilities as possible, thereby fostering trust and high energy to succeed. Serves team members before considering self. Garners respect from the team and is willing to get hands dirty to get the job done
- Facilitator: Removes obstacles that are impeding the team’s progress and shields the team from diversions and distractions thereby keeping the team focused. Acts as safeguard for the team. Shields team from outside distractions and interferences. Able to lead and demonstrate value-add principles to a team. Facilitating getting the work done without coercion, assigning, or dictating the work.
- Coach and Mentor : As a proven coach and mentor in agile practices (Scrum, Kanban etc.) encourages self-organised and motivated teams thereby allowing them to develop the habits they need to be more successful and empowered to make decisions. Demonstrates strong knowledge of scrum theory, rules and practices. Helps team or individuals to clarify goals and actions to achieve them. Assessing the Scrum Maturity of the team and organisation and coaching the team to higher levels of maturity, at a pace that is sustainable and comfortable for the team and organisation.
- Communicative and social: Must have written, verbal and listening communication skills that are second to none. Uses communication skills to hold the team together when they are moving fast in Agile. Communicates well with teams. Assisting with internal and external communication, improving transparency, and radiating information.
- Assertive: Thinks fast on his/her feet, come up with solutions to critical situations, make timely decisions and take calculated risks. Stands up for own or team’s rights in a calm and positive way, without being aggressive or passively accepting wrong. Ensure Agile/Scrum concepts and principles are adhered to. Able to be a voice of reason and authority and make tough calls.
- Proactive: Proactive and organised with the ability to work in a fast-paced, team environment providing consistent, high-quality output. First to notice differences and issues as they arise and elevate them as required.
- Enthusiastic: Demonstrates positive and high energy that inspires others to constancy achieve their goals. Leads team to self-organisation.
- Continual improvement: Able to embrace diversity and highly receptive to new ideas and people who are different, and constantly searching for new knowledge and new ideas and willing to learn better ways of doing things. Continually grows his/her craft learning new tools and techniques to manage oneself and a team.
- Conflict resolution: Able to facilitate discussions to allow the team to consider alternative solutions or approaches and bring disagreements out into the open to help to manage them collaboratively. Raises issues early and often and able to identify and elevate performance issues through the appropriate channels. Uses scrum values of openness, honesty and respect to facilitate conflict resolution.
- Advocate of Change: Able to stimulate and relish change, adapt quickly and see change as an opportunity. Able to think strategically and recognise the importance of long-term goals, as well as be committed to success.
- Credible: Able to quickly develop credibility at all levels of the organization. Desires to bring disclosure and transparency to the business about development and grow business trust.
- Project team leadership: Takes full responsibility for the definition, approach, facilitation and satisfactory completion of medium-scale projects (typically with direct business impact and firm deadlines).
- Relationship management: Implements stakeholder engagement/ communications plans, including, for example; handling of complaints; problems and issues; managing resolutions; corrective actions and lessons learned; collection and dissemination of relevant information. Uses feedback from clients and stakeholders to help measure effectiveness of stakeholder management. Helps develop and enhance customer and stakeholder relationships.
- Technical specialism: Maintains an in-depth knowledge of specific specialisms, and provides expert advice regarding their application. Can supervise specialist consultancy. The specialism can be any aspect of information or communication technology, technique, method, and product or application area
Next career steps
- Release Train Engineer
- Solution Train Engineer