Who is a Scrum master?
A scrum master is the leader of the scrum team. He is directly responsible for the overall management and direction of the project and guides the team as well as the product owner. He ensures that his team sticks to agile values, agile practices, and agile principles tightly. He is the captain of the ship of the Scrum team and has the most major responsibilities out of all the members of the team. A scrum master facilitates communication and collaboration between the individuals involved, the team, the product owner, and the businesses. The most common way of becoming a scrum master is by taking CSM certification training. He usually doesn’t work in the spotlight and is hence not included in product strategy or product ideation.
Responsibilities of a Scrum master
- To ensure that the team follows Scrum practices and imbibe agile patterns into their workflows.
- To hold daily Scrum meetings to review what the Scrum team did yesterday, what obstacles did they faced, and what work should be kept on the schedule today.
- Making sure that there is a cordial relationship between the team and the product owner, and between other elements from outside the team too.
- To make sure that the team is protected from any distractions, that there are no obstacles in their way, and that they are working on the appropriate tasks in a targeted manner.
Skills and qualifications required to become a Certified Scrum Master
- Scrum and Agile training – You should get certified by opting for a certification course in Scrum and Agile principles. This CSM certification training will help you build a clear understanding of the terms, phrases, topics, and concepts of Scrum and Agile practices. This way you will become qualified to safely incorporate all the Scrum and Agile methodologies into your organization’s business practices. You will be able to raise the chances of the team’s victory and the project’s successful completion at the cost of a single CSM certification training.
- Technical familiarity – A scrum master’s job responsibilities usually involve helping software development teams write large programs at scale. He should be familiar with the technical terms, jargon, and processes involved in writing large programs or working on large application projects. He should have the ability to reduce or remove roadblocks from the software development team’s way and help them progress in work. He should have a basic competency with scrum tools like Jira and Asana because they are extremely helpful for a scrum master.
- Coaching abilities – A scrum master should have strong coaching abilities. On many occasions, he is required to teach teams about Scrum and Agile principles, especially if they are new or inexperienced teams. He should be able to explain the how’s and why’s of Scrum and Agile principles to everyone. He should be able to impart knowledge of Scrum and Agile principles to them and be able to guide them through the adoption phase. As a coach of the entire team, his role doesn’t just end at teaching. He should also be able to assess each team member’s strengths and weaknesses and help them to play on their strengths and address their weaknesses. This way he should serve as a catalyst to enhance the entire team.
- Handling conflicts – Software development is not always a smooth process. It is full of the constantly present pressure of ominous and looming deadlines. Sometimes team members fall sick, take leaves, or simply cannot function at a fast enough speed. In the midst of all this stress conflicts between team members or team members and the stakeholders can arise. A scrum master should know how to manage the team and how to resolve any conflicts that may arise. A scrum master should be able to play the role of a negotiator and a facilitator. He should be able to facilitate effective communication between team members among whom a conflict exists. He should have the interpersonal skills required to arrive at solutions which are satisfactory to everyone involved. Conflicts can hamper the advancement and progress of a team and should be eliminated as soon as possible.
- Leadership – A scrum master should possess the leadership skills necessary to keep a team on track with a project and to keep the product vision crystal clear in front of the team. He should be able to help the team focus on their goals and keep pace with the schedule that he sets for them in the daily scrum meetings. He should act as a “servant leader” for the team and serve their needs and lead them in the right direction.
Details of the CSM test
To become a certified scrum master, one needs to clear a Certified Scrum Master test. Before doing that one has to get a CSM certification training. It is a test which thoroughly tests a candidate’s understanding of the Scrum and Agile principles. The exam has a failure rate of 72% which shows how difficult it is. The difficulty level of the exam is very high but it is balanced by the rewards that a successful candidate gains in the corporate world. The exam duration is of 1 hour. The fees for the exam is 29 USD. It contains 50 multiple choice questions. The score which one needs to get to clear the exam is 74%. Any candidate gets 2 attempts to pass the exam. If an individual fails the exam twice he needs to pay 29 USD to attempt the exam again. The CSM test is available in many languages such as Spanish, Russian, Danish, Italian, French, English etc. A successful candidate should get recertified every two years.