Apr 07, 2011

What is a scrum master?

What are the top most important qualities that a scrum master should have?


The qualities of a scrum master can be summarized into four, these are:

1. he must be a servant leader and a good facilitator. He must be able to support the team members in what they do best, and must be able to identify and remove impediments that hinder the team to achieve it's full potential. 

2. He must be have a relentless approach to continous improvement with the goal of  always improving the way a team works. 

3. He must possess be a good influencer and must have good relationship with the team members. He must earn the respect of the team, so that he can effectively influence specific actions.

4. He must be knowledgable about their products, markets, and processes. He must be able to diagnose technical issues and create resolutions to the team. 

Hi kburns,

Here's a definition from Wikipedia's article about Scrum:


Scrum is facilitated by a ScrumMaster, also written as Scrum Master, who is accountable for removing impediments to the ability of the team to deliver the sprint goal/deliverables. The ScrumMaster is not the team leader but acts as a buffer between the team and any distracting influences. The ScrumMaster ensures that the Scrum process is used as intended. The ScrumMaster is the enforcer of rules. A key part of the ScrumMaster’s role is to protect the team and keep them focused on the tasks at hand. The role has also been referred to as servant-leader to reinforce these dual perspectives."

For project teams working within an Agile environment, the Scrum Master role is equivalent to a more traditional project manager. However, because Scrum teams are more self-managing than traditional project teams, the Scrum Master's is more facilitator than traditional project manager. The three most important qualities a capable Scrum Master should possess are:

1. An effective Scrum Master needs to be a skilled communicator. Facilitating a successful project is his or her primary responsibility.


2. An effective Scrum Master needs the experience and political capital within the organization to remove impediments and eliminate roadblocks quickly, to ensure that projects finish on time. Most Agile projects work with a truncated timetable when compared to traditional projects, which requires quick action on the part of the Scrum Master when needed to help overcome a debilitating obstacle.


3. A skilled Scrum Master does not need to be a subject management expert. For example, I know several very capable Scrum Masters working with software development teams who are not developers themselves.

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