Scrum Master Job Description
A Scrum Master coaches, guides, and mentors a team, ensuring the workflow aligns with the Scrum project management methodology, supports the team in achieving optimal performance, and ensures projects are completed on time.
The primary role of a Scrum Master is to ensure that the Scrum team follows the Scrum framework by working with each team member and the collective to optimize performance, resolve any issues that are blocking their progress, and fine-tune work processes to deliver better results.
The role of a Scrum Master differs from that of a traditional Project Leader or Project Manager in that it is much more collaborative and less reliant on discipline and authority. The Scrum Master is more a servant-leader than a team head and is more likely to be designated from within a team than be a superior parachuted in.
To be successful in their role, a Scrum Master must possess empathy and altruism, and be dedicated to the team. A good Scrum Master will help the team become self-organizing while protecting them from outside distractions and disruptions and unblocking them whenever necessary.
A Scrum Master makes sure the team follows the agile principles it has agreed on, verifies that the team is adhering to agile values, and safeguards the team from outside distractions.
The tasks a Scrum Master performs typically include:
- Facilitating daily Scrums
- Running Sprint planning meetings
- Minuting feedback meetings or Sprint reviews
- Running retrospectives
- Administering the Scrum Board
- Consulting internally
- Holding 1-on-1’s
- Analyzing burndown charts
- Managing and eliminating roadblocks
A Scrum Master moderates the daily team meetings to ensure the team remains focused and agile. It’s important to understand that daily standups mustn’t turn into mere progress reports, and it’s the Scrum Master’s job to set and make sure everyone follows the meeting agenda.
Daily Scrums should have a clear structure to prevent them from deteriorating to drawn-out monologues from the loudest voices in the meeting. A Scrum Master should give everyone sufficient time to ask questions and discuss roadblocks, if there are any while making sure the meeting doesn’t run over.
During sprint planning meetings, the Scrum Master helps the team plan out short-term drives towards specific milestones, down to the sub-task level. Their job is to facilitate these meetings and set a clear path for the team that would enable them to stay focused and reach their objectives in the time allocated for the sprint.
All feedback from the Sprint Review process needs to be noted and made available to all stakeholders. A Scrum Master that ensures everything is captured, that every action item is assigned to its owner, and that all the points made are given the correct weighting in the meeting notes.
Retrospectives entail analyzing every Sprint, going over the lessons learned, fine-tuning work processes, and implementing what you’ve learned into future Sprint planning. This is a crucial task to ensure mistakes are not repeated and that processes are constantly optimized to improve performance.
A Scrum Master collates the data from the previous Sprint, presents the lessons learned in a comprehensive and easy-to-understand manner, and runs the meeting. They must also ensure that the processes are optimized based on past mistakes and lessons learned while avoiding finger-pointing or blame for hiccups in the last Sprint.
The Scrum Board is the central point of information for all the team members to track progress and critical paths, as well as spot potential blockages. A Scrum Master is the only person allowed to alter the Scrum Board and ensures it is updated daily.
This ensures total visibility and allows the CEO, executives, and other stakeholders to keep track of the project without having to constantly disrupt the work of the Scrum team.
As the team’s representative towards the rest of the organization, a Scrum Master is responsible for securing buy-in from the rest of the organization.
Scrum and other agile techniques are often misunderstood by employees outside the process and a Scrum Master helps the rest of the organization understand the purpose of the Scrum team, what it can achieve, and how the organization can best use it as a positive resource.
A Scrum Master may have to sell the concept internally and should be able to articulate the Scrum’s purpose, vision, and methods clearly and understandably.
A Scrum Master coaches, mentors and guides individual team members and works with external stakeholders as required. This is designed to help the team understand individual work preferences, iron out disagreements, and ensure productivity.
To be successful in their role, a Scrum Master must be adept at helping team members fulfil their potential but also able to maintain distance from each team member’s tasks.
Each Scrum team member is responsible for the completion of their tasks, so while a Scrum Master should be supportive in terms of resources and helping with overcoming roadblocks, without taking over from a team member.
To do so, a Scrum Master holds regular 1-on-1 meetings with their team members to follow up on their progress, resolve any issues, remove roadblocks, and share knowledge.
Burndown charts monitor and track current progress versus target and provide a prognosis of whether timeframes can be met. A Scrum Master feeds the results back to the team for them to respond as required.
A Scrum Master works with stakeholders outside the team to ensure the team is not distracted or hampered in its performance.
Scrum team members are often still active in their original roles so a Scrum Master negotiates their workload and commitments with their supervisors. Resistance is common, so a Scrum Master should be able to assert the importance of the Scrum and secure each team member’s availability
The national average salary for a Scrum Master will typically be between $61,000 and $103,000 per annum in the U.S. The median is around $78,513.
Average salaries for a Scrum Master differ by location as follows:
|San Francisco, CA||$98,142|
|New York, NY||$94,451|
The average salary of a Scrum Master varies based on experience as follows:
|Experience Level||Average Salary|
|< 1 year||$68,000|
[Company Name] is looking to hire a dynamic, success-driven Scrum Master to drive and support Scrum within our organization.
As a Scrum Master at [Company Name], you will coach, mentor and lead a team to deliver optimum results and will own the process of delivery.
You will be working with your team to ensure it remains focused, adheres to agile principles, and reliably delivers against targets. At the same time, you will be responsible for ensuring that individual team members grow, become more agile, and improve performance.
This is a servant-leadership role which demands empathy, focus, and dedication to the success of the team.
The Scrum Master’s tasks will include, but are not limited to:
- Ensuring the team reaches Sprint targets reliably
- Representing the team in communication with internal stakeholders
- Solving problems and removing obstacles for your team
- Running daily meetings
- Sprint planning in collaboration with your team
- Reviewing and collating Sprint feedback
- Running retrospectives
- Administering the Scrum Board
- Coaching and mentoring the team
- Holding 1-on-1 meetings with each team member
- Analyzing Burndown Charts and facilitating corrective team action
The Scrum Master should possess the following qualifications, skills and attributes:
- Recognized Scrum Master certification
- At least two years’ Scrum experience
- At least five years’ Project Management experience
- Coaching and mentoring skills
- Strong analytical skills
- Empathy and proven ability to generate homogeneity in a diverse team
- Strong, proven problem-solving skills
- Conflict-resolution skills and experience
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