Learn How To Become A Scrum Master (With Tips And Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

In software development, scrum masters are professionals who handle the successful implementation of projects using agile project management. These professionals facilitate communication between the project head and other team members to ensure a successful outcome. Learning about the essential skills required to execute the tasks efficiently as a scrum master and the steps you can take to become one can help you decide if this is the right career for you. In this article, we discuss how to become a scrum master along with valuable skills and tips to help you succeed in this job role.

What is a scrum master?

Scrum masters are professionals who facilitate the development of an agile team to create software according to the Scrum framework. The latter refers to an agile framework in software development that focuses on developing complex projects using short development cycles called sprints to continuously improve a product or service. These professionals, also known as scrum team leaders, handle the overall project implementation and guide the entire team to ensure a smooth development process. They enable communication and collaboration between all relevant project stakeholders, including the product's owner, business and other team members.

Related: 16 Types Of Scrum Master Certifications And Their Benefits

How to become a scrum master

Follow these steps to know how to become a scrum master:

1. Earn a relevant degree

While earning a degree in a relevant field can enhance your prospects of getting a job, it is not a pre-requisite to becoming a scrum master. As an aspiring scrum master, you can enrol in business administration, information technology or a related degree that can equip you with the skills to excel at this job role. Earning a bachelor's degree can also provide you with opportunities to get on-the-job training and gain relevant experience alongside your studies to enhance your resume. Adding practical experience and qualifications can help position yourself as a skilled candidate in job interviews.

2. Familiarise yourself with the scrum framework

Gaining an educational qualification can provide you with a foundational understanding of the scrum framework and the job skills you may require for executing tasks efficiently. To enhance your resume and chances of getting a job, consider familiarising yourself with the scrum framework to understand its complexities and intricacies and develop essential problem-solving skills. You can gain knowledge of this framework by enrolling in various online programs or certificate courses to strengthen your understanding of this project management approach. You can get a comprehensive understanding of the agile values and practices while developing essential skills required for product development.

Related: 9 Project Management Types For A Project Manager

3. Get additional scrum certifications

You can sign up for a scrum course or enrol in one of the popular scrum certifications available online by various certification authorities. Earning an industry credential to display and boost your understanding of the scrum and agile framework are excellent ways of showing your competence to potential employers. One of the most popular certifications is the certified scrum master (CSM) offered by the Scrum Alliance. These credentials can equip you with relevant skills to facilitate the development team and ensure efficacy and collaboration in your work. Certifications can also help you develop practical skills for leading teams successfully.

4. Apply to jobs

Once you gain job-related experience and relevant skills, start applying to scrum master jobs that best fit your overall profile and resume. You can find job listings for scrum master positions on popular job boards or websites such as Indeed, or conduct your independent research in finding suitable job opportunities for you. If you have a prospective employer you want to work with as a scrum master, you can contact them using cold emailing to check if they have any vacant positions that can apply to your specific skill set and qualifications.

Related: 19 Essential Project Management Skills To Master

Tips to become a proficient scrum master

Consider following these tips to become a proficient scrum master:

Think like a product owner

Successful scrum masters are skilled at people management and team development as they guide their teams throughout product development. As a scrum master, thinking like a product owner can be beneficial to the success of your projects' implementation, as it can help you handle conflicts easily and assess people's performance for efficiency. This way of thinking can also enhance your products' outputs and help you manage product backlog effectively to maximise customer value.

Coach the team on technical practices

To ensure success in your project's development, consider coaching your team on the technicalities and technical practices of the agile framework. You can do so even if you do not have coding skills. Focus on familiarising the team with essential and best technical practices to enhance the overall development outcome. It is crucial to the success of your development project that your team knows the advantages and disadvantages of each approach so they can make informed decisions about which practice to use in their projects for maximum efficiency.

Follow an organised strategy

Scrum masters often work with various people, and their job requires close cooperation between them and the project development team. While you may follow a strict self-discipline routine, it is necessary to follow an organised strategy to ensure the timely delivery of projects. This strategy can also enable you to regularly communicate with your team members to decide on the sprint goals and milestones for the project. Following an organised approach also ensures that you are clear on the goals of a project while giving you time and space to use alternate methods if things do not go as planned.

Related: Business Strategy Components And Examples

Stay curious

Curiosity is vital to help scrum masters grow and become proficient in their craft. The ability to learn new elements and concepts about the agile framework and project management can enable you to adapt to unpredictable situations quickly. Scrum masters can benefit from constantly gaining in-depth business techniques that help enhance the overall project management experience and outcome for product owners and customers alike. Staying curious can also allow you to share your learned knowledge with your team members and boost the project's collective output for maximum efficiency.

Take part in team development meetings

Scrum masters can benefit from actively participating in team development and sprint retrospective meetings to discuss ways to increase the quality and effectiveness of projects. Scrum masters are more than just facilitators, and taking part with the team to discuss a project's progress can keep them updated on a project's trajectory. It also allows them to reassign and reschedule tasks when poor management occurs. These meetings provide an understanding of various aspects of project management, such as people collaboration and help scrum masters review the scrum processes, practices and tools for maximum productivity.

Become an excellent manager

Knowing how to be an excellent manager for your team can help you enhance the overall efficiency of your project while helping you overcome your individual and group shortcomings. Having leadership and good managerial qualities can help you ensure that the product development process is smooth and transparent. It can also enable you to address any issues in the product life cycle or its execution process and address them appropriately. It may also allow suggesting workable solutions to improve the overall efficiency of the product and help you in making complex decisions.

Educate your teams

Scrum masters ensure a high-quality development process by educating their teams on the various aspects of project management and their duties in achieving organisational goals. While you can educate your teams on multiple subjects, help them understand the dependencies and impediments of a project, as these are essential product development concepts. When team members have relevant knowledge on these subjects, they can handle technical dependencies from other teams to execute the tasks efficiently. For example, a particular team developing a shopping cart may rely on another team for the technical integration of the payment process.

Enable transparency

Enabling transparency in teams is crucial to ensuring high project quality, as it can motivate the members to perform their tasks efficiently. Honesty and authenticity in the workplace and work process can encourage employee participation in team meetings and help them offer their genuine feedback on improving the work environment. You can always motivate your teams using other methods and techniques, such as rewarding employees for their performance. Appreciating them for their work by providing them with a safe and informed working environment can help promote employee inclusion across teams.

Essential skills for a scrum master

Some essential skills for a scrum master include:

  • sound knowledge of the Scrum framework and agile training

  • excellent organisational skills

  • familiarity with technical aspects

  • coaching skills

  • efficiency in conflict navigation and management

  • excellent leadership skills

  • proficiency in communication and other crucial interpersonal skills

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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