When you’re working on product development or handling other projects that require teamwork, Scrum can be a highly effective practice to use. This approach to collaboration can help motivate teams to do their best and improve as needed to achieve goals through a series of smaller steps or sprints. When you have leadership skills and a desire to help teams effectively work toward accomplishing their goals, you might consider becoming a Scrum Master. Knowing more about this role and how to achieve it can help you decide if it’s a good path for you to take.
What Is a Scrum Master?
A Scrum Master is responsible for leading a Scrum team through several sprints or short bursts of work to develop products and achieve goals. This framework is based on Agile training, which involves evaluating performances, identifying weaknesses, and adapting to keep improving. Scrum Masters guide their team through Scrum events during each sprint, including the planning process, ceremonies, and retrospectives.
Tips to Become an Effective Scrum Master
Being a Scrum Master can be a satisfying leadership role, but it comes with distinct challenges. Scrum Masters are responsible for ensuring each team member does their part and works on improving throughout the Scrum process. What qualities should a good Scrum Master have? The following tips can help you understand how to develop the behaviors of effective Scrum Masters.
1. Be a Good Coach
An effective coach can motivate their team to strive toward reaching goals while working on improving in certain areas. Coaches can identify every team member’s strength and weakness and develop ways to use these to enhance team performance. Being a good coach also involves encouraging cooperation among team members.
2. Ensure Scrum Ceremonies Are in Place
Scrum ceremonies are an essential part of the Scrum process. These ceremonies include daily meetings to keep track of your team’s progress, as well as sprint planning meetings, review meetings, and retrospective meetings. Having these Scrum ceremonies in place helps ensure your team stays on track throughout the process.
3. Be Open to Feedback
Although a Scrum Master leads the team, this doesn’t mean they’re the one making all the decisions on their own. A good leader is open to feedback from team members. Make a habit of asking for input from each team member during the Scrum process. You can then consider this feedback during Scrum ceremonies to make better-informed decisions.
4. Develop Strong Relationships with Product Owners
Scrum Product Owners are responsible for determining which product backlog items or goals the Scrum team should work on. They also communicate with stakeholders regularly. Once they decide what should be worked on, your job as Scrum Master is to take on a leadership role and ensure your team focuses on the chosen items or tasks. A solid relationship with Product Owners helps ensure a smooth transition from deciding which products to work on to carrying out Scrum sprints.
5. Engage with Your Team
Being an effective leader means getting to know your team and interacting with each team member on a regular basis. This helps you establish a rapport and learn more about their strengths and weaknesses. Engaging with your team also enables you to understand the dynamics between team members so that you can consider them when making decisions or doing retrospectives.
6. Be Agile
As a Scrum Master, you need to have an agile mindset while also encouraging the same in your team members. This means being willing to assess your successes and failures regularly to learn from them. Evaluating your process can help you identify what works and what areas you should be improving. This helps you become an effective leader.
7. Don’t Lose Your Drive to Continue to Learn
Having an ongoing motivation to learn is needed as a Scrum Master. The whole Scrum process strongly emphasizes growing and learning or being agile. A willingness to keep learning can help you stay focused on each sprint and dedicated to becoming a better Scrum Master overall. A willingness to learn can also inspire your team members to do the same, which can benefit the team as a whole.
8. Be a Strong Communicator
Being a good communicator is an essential skill of an effective Scrum Master. During each sprint, you’ll need to communicate with your team on a regular basis, whether you’re having a daily meeting or going through a retrospective before moving on to the next sprint. Communicating with team members involves active listening and encouraging them to speak up about any issues or concerns they have.
9. Make the Most of Every Retrospective
Each sprint should have a retrospective that allows the team to discuss what did and didn’t work. This helps you identify areas of strength and areas for improvement before you begin the next sprint. Making the most of every retrospective helps ensure your Scrum team learns and improves as you move through the Scrum process.
10. Be Confident in Yourself
An effective Scrum Master needs to have confidence to be a good leader and guide team members through the process. This means having self-confidence as you go through each sprint to determine what changes need to be made for improvement. Confidence can help you succeed as a leader and motivate your team members to do their best.
Scrum Master Certificate
For many, the first step in becoming a Scrum Master is earning a certificate. This involves completing coursework that provides you with Agile training and opportunities to develop the skills needed for effective Scrum leadership. The University of Minnesota College of Continuing and Professional Studies (UMN CCAPS) offers an Agile Scrum Certificate program that allows you to become a Certified ScrumMaster®. During this program, you’ll learn more about Scrum and the Agile process, as well as the Scrum Master role and strategies for using the Scrum framework. The program includes five required courses and provides 3.8 CEUs, which takes most students three or four months to complete. The program’s first course, a two-day Certified ScrumMaster® course, makes you eligible to take the Certified ScrumMaster® test.
Learn More Today
With an Agile Scrum Certificate, you’ll have the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective Scrum Master. After becoming a Certified ScrumMaster®, you’ll be able to apply what you’ve learned to your job to lead your Scrum team successfully. To learn more about the Agile Scrum Certificate, contact UMN CCAPS today.
U of M Agile Scum Master Certificate
Become a Successful Scrum Master with These 6 Tips (Easy Agile)
What Is Scrum? (Scrum.org)
What Is a Spring Retrospective? (Scrum.org)
A Complete Guide Into the Scrum Process (Actitime)