What’s the first thing that comes to your mind as soon as you hear about ‘scrum master’? To some, it might sound like an anime character or a character from a role-playing game. It may sound like a joke but seriously speaking, this job plays a vital role rooted in leadership.
Scrum is a framework that allows teams to work on complex tasks and deliver high-value products using an adaptive approach. It is simple, straightforward, and easy to implement the methodology of handling projects. Encouraging continuous feedback allows a project to be more accurate and precisely meet customers’ needs.
What Is A Scrum Master?
A Scrum Master is responsible for promoting and supporting scrum. They do this by helping others understand scrum theory, practices, rules, and values. They are not involved in the decision-making but act as a lodestar to guide the team through the scrum process with their experience and expertise.
Not everyone on the team will have the same understanding and knowledge about Scrum. Thus, it is essential to have a scrum master to promote it and educate the framework to the rest of the team. Without a scrum master who can support the process and help team players understand it, a project may flounder and fail.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Scrum Master
This role is generally created as a part of the Scrum framework. It does not have any actual authority. It is mainly intended to address someone who is an expert at Scrum and an expert who can impart the knowledge to others.
Responsibilities of a Scrum Master
Implement Project Management – Scrum master is mainly responsible for creating project teams, integrating them into the organization, and providing a clear vision of the product. They are the ones who manage the exchange of information between external groups and project teams. They are also responsible for monitoring project progress and provide timely feedback to boost agility and performance.
Keeping Everyone Well Informed – Another essential responsibility of a scrum master is to keep everyone on track and ensure everyone is informed. To do this, they may host a regular session to update stakeholders about the progress of the project whether positively or negatively. Ultimately, it is also the scrum master’s responsibility to ensure that the team meets the deadlines with the desired output.
Promote Agile Engineering Practices – Scrum masters encourage the use of continuous integration and automation to boost team performance and work efficiency. Thus, introducing and promoting agile engineering practices help reduce time development and improve the architecture and quality of the product.
Roles of a Scrum Master
To The Product Owner
Scrum Master serves product owners in several ways including:
- Finding methods to effectively manage the product backlog.
- Helps achieve the owner’s goals by relaying important information to the project team.
- Arrange and optimize product backlog.
- Organize Scrum events as requested or necessary.
To The Development Team
Scrum Masters need not only serve the product owner but also the development team.
- Help the development team to create high-value products.
- Coach them about self-organization and cross-functionality.
- Provide clear instructions to the development team in an organization in which Scrum is not fully practiced and understood.
To The Organization
Scrum Masters also play an essential role in every organization. These roles include:
- Leading and coaching the team to scrum practices, theory, rules, and values.
- Helping employees and stakeholders fully understand the enactment of Scrum methodologies and empirical product development.
- Perform necessary changes to increase the productivity of the Scrum team.
- Collaborate with other Scrum Masters to boost the effectiveness of the application of Scrum in the organization.
Challenges of a Scrum Master
With the list of roles and responsibilities of a Scrum Master listed above, one may think that their job is easy. All they need to do is to ensure that the Scrum process is being religiously practiced by the whole team. However, it does not appear as easy as that. There is a long list of challenges which every Scrum Master can relate and here are some of it:
The most frustrating constraint which a Scrum Master may face is resistance. Resistance may come in various forms. It can be active, passive, overt, or covert.
- Active Resistance – This is the most common form of resistance. Individuals tend to speak and act against change. Most of them particularly focus on the negative effects of the change that is why they resist it.
- Passive Resistance – Individuals tend to remain silent about their views and opinions toward the proposed changes. However, when the implementation comes, they also tend not to act on it.
- Overt Resistance – It does not make an effort to try it. This is often a form of resistance from someone in power or someone who holds a high authority in an organization. This may take forms such as an open argument, a refusal for change, or a direct attack.
- Covert Resistance – This is a deliberate resistance done in a manner that allows penetrators to appear as if they are not resisting. This may occur through sabotaging various forms relating to change.
Another common challenge most Scrum Masters face is misunderstanding or confusion in the introduction or implementation of Scrum methods. As this is a fundamental change in the process or the way people usually work, this may also entail great confusion. While there are some who might easily understand the process, it is still not a great guarantee. At the beginning of the phase, there will always be a possibility of confusion with the older terminologies and methods used.
Failure To Adapt
Transitioning from traditional methodologies to Scrum is not easy. It may shake up roles throughout teams, departments, and even the organization in its entirety. Managers may fear the loss of authority and control, and team players may have trouble stepping up to a group-driven process. Failure to adapt to the changing roles is one of the common challenges most Scrum Masters usually face.
Playing a role as a Scrum Master is never an easy task. Above all this, they are responsible for adapting and implementing agile methods to boost productivity and work efficiency. If you are interested in building your career in this field, you should consider earning an Agile Scrum Master certification. This will help you fully understand the concept and gain the required expertise.
Aileen Artiaga is a part-time writer, SMO specialist, and travel enthusiast. She is a curating content, analyzing posts performance, and delivering information to content marketing portals. She also manages her own YouTube channel.