What does a Scrum Master do all day?

While many job seekers who are new to the industry are likely to believe that the profile of a scrum master is a managerial one, that is not the case.

Their everyday duties don’t include making executive decisions for business projects or solving project problems.

Instead, these professionals have different responsibilities like ensuring the optimum productivity of the team and coaching team members to solve problems on their own.

And even though the role of a scrum master is not an executive one, it is one of the most promising jobs with projected employment growth of 24% each year through 2026.

Read on to learn more about scrum master responsibilities and other related FAQs like the following:

Understanding the Scrum Framework

To fully comprehend the role of a Scrum Master, it's essential to have a solid understanding of the Scrum framework. Simply put, Scrum is a methodology that enables teams to work together efficiently and effectively.

At its core, Scrum breaks down the development process into short time-boxed periods called sprints, each with a set amount of work and a common goal. This approach allows teams to learn from their mistakes and self-experiences, leading to increased productivity and the delivery of high-quality products.

While Scrum is most commonly used by software development teams, its principles and practices can be applied to any industry or teamwork.

As the facilitator of the Scrum framework, the Scrum Master ensures that the team adheres to the principles of Scrum and helps team members follow Scrum practices. They also work to foster communication, remove obstacles, and keep the team focused on the common goal.

By understanding the Scrum framework and the role of the Scrum Master, teams can improve their productivity and deliver high-quality results.

Also read: What is the job description of a scrum master?

Scrum Master Roles and Responsibilities

Often known as “servant leaders” scrum masters have different responsibilities in terms of their services to the development team, product owners, and the organization as a whole.

Given below are some of the common scrum master duties that may vary depending on the organization:

Coaching Team Members on Scrum Principles

As most team members may not be familiar with Scrum principles and practices, Scrum Masters must coach them on the framework.

They ensure that all team members understand the framework and can implement Scrum principles in their work.

This responsibility may require advanced communication skills to express the technicalities of the framework and resolve any arising queries.

Conducting Regular Stand-up Meetings

To ensure that the team members are on the same page, scrum masters are responsible for hosting regular stand-up meetings.

The purpose of these stand-up meetings is to:

  • Create transparency in processes
  • Track team progress
  • Identify and remove project impediments that hinder team performance & productivity
  • Facilitate open communication and resolve conflicts

Assisting the Product Owner with Product Backlog

While Product Owners are in charge of creating and maintaining the product backlog, Scrum Masters must help them efficiently do so.

They ensure that Product Owners have clarity on arranging the product backlog with respect to Scrum principles for maximum value and streamlined processes.

Implementing Scrum Practices

The role of a scrum master also entails coordinating with other scrum masters in the organization to ensure the implementation of scrum principles throughout the workforce.

For instance, they consult with internal stakeholders to advise them on how they can work with scrum teams in the best way possible.

They are accountable for ensuring that the scrum practices are benefiting the company at large by increasing employee productivity.

Also read: What are the top interview questions for scrum masters?

scrum master roles

Scrum Master Requirements

Although not mandatory, many employers prefer candidates who have a Bachelor's degree in IT or a related field for the role of a scrum master.

In addition, possessing at least 3 years of experience in a similar role is required.

Given below are some of the other must-have requirements of a scrum master:

Scrum Master Certification

Aspiring scrum masters need to have a scrum master certification.

A CSM (Certified Scrum Master) certification is a globally recognized certificate course offered by Scrum Alliance. Candidates can pass the CSM exam by proving their prowess in Scrum practices, principles, and terminology.

To help prepare for the exam, applicants can take up the Customer Scrum Master course from a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST).

Listed below are other scrum master certification courses that are in demand:

  • (Professional Scrum Master) PSM I, PSM II, and PSM III by Scrum.org
  • Licensed Scrum Master training by Scrum Inc.
  • PMI-ACP certification by Project Management Institute
  • Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) certification by Scaled Agile

Scrum Master Skills

An ideal scrum master is equipped with great communication and analytical skills coupled with an observant and flexible nature.

To ensure optimum performance of the team members, a scrum master needs to be a good listener and a problem solver.

Apart from these soft skills, here are some of the key skills that scrum masters need:

Business Analysis Agile Methodology
Conflict Resolution Agile Planning
Forecasting Product Development
Team Management Team Metric Analysis
Sprint Planning Web Frameworks
Servant Leadership Agile Coaching

Also read: How to write a brilliant scrum master resume?

Scrum master skills

What is a Scrum Master Salary?

Scrum masters are among one of the highest-paid professionals in the United States.

And rightly so!

Given their nature of work, it is often difficult to find ideal candidates who possess a good balance of technical and soft skills along with rich experience in the industry.

Although the average salary of a scrum master in the US is $99,492 per annum, this figure can change based on location, experience level, and the employer.

Some of the highest-paying US companies for scrum masters are:

Capital One $105,083
Fidelity Investments $102,208
IBM $104,609
Wells Fargo $116,584
Kitestring Technical Services $102,683
J.P. Morgan $103,038
U.S. Bank $114,277

Meanwhile, the following are the highest-paying US cities for scrum master jobs:

Atlanta, GA $138,449
Boston, MA $163,697
Charlotte, NC $137,339
Chicago, IL $112,773
Dallas, TX $143,582
Los Angeles, CA $157,731
Tampa, FL $130,958

Also read: How much do scrum masters make?

Scrum Master vs Project Manager

While scrum masters can at times take on the role of a project manager, and vice versa, these two roles are different.

The difference lies in their responsibilities, qualifications, and salary.

As stated earlier, a scrum master is tasked with coaching the team members on scrum principles and ensuring the proper execution of the same.

Whereas, a project manager is responsible for overseeing the project's life cycle including budgeting, delegating tasks, scheduling, etc.

Scrum masters in fact assist the project managers to create product backlogs for projects with respect to scrum agile scrum methodology.

Also, They are exclusive to scrum projects & teams. Meanwhile, project managers can work with both agile & waterfall projects/teams.

As for the qualification requirements, project managers need to be certified in different courses like Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) while scrum masters are trained in scrum methodologies.

And lastly, the average salary of a project manager in the US is $87,472, which is slightly lower than the median salary of scrum masters.

Also read: What is the job description of a project manager?

FAQs About What Does a Scrum Master Do?

What are the three roles of Scrum Master?

A scrum master has three roles - product owner, scrum master, and development team members.

What is scrum methodology?

Scrum methodology is a framework that facilitates team work and encourages teams to learn through experiences, and self-organization while working on projects.

What does a scrum master do in release planning?

During release planning, scrum masters assist product owners and stakeholders to collaborate on a plan for delivering a product increment.

What does a scrum master do in sprint planning?

A scrum master assists in sprint planning to ensure the effectiveness of work discussions and sprint goals for facilitating product backlogs.

Also read: What are some of the top scum master interview questions?

Key Takeaways

  • Scrum master ensures optimum productivity of the team and coaches team members to solve problems on their own.
  • Scrum masters are one of the most promising jobs with projected employment growth of 24% each year through 2026.
  • Scrum is a framework that allows teams to work together and increase efficiency by learning from their mistakes and self-experiences.
  • Scrum masters facilitate scrum framework and help team members follow scrum practices and foster communication.
  • They coach team members, host stand-up meetings, assist product owners, and remove project impediments that hinder team performance & productivity.
  • Aspiring scrum masters possess a scrum master certification that can be obtained by passing a written exam.
  • To ensure optimum performance of the team members, a scrum master needs to be a good listener and a problem solver.
  • The average salary of a scrum master in the US is $99,492 per annum.

Should you need professional help with your career, head on over to Hiration’s Career Activator Platform with 24x7 chat support. You can also reach us at support@hiration.com.

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