Qualities of a Highly Effective Scrum Master
The scrum methodology assumes only three roles: a scrum master, a product owner, and a team. Amongst them all, a Scrum Master is the coach and main facilitator.
Helping the team stay focused on the project’s goals, the effective servant leader should have a great number of features that balance between leadership and team-work, combine analytical skills with communicational, as well as flexibility with straightforwardness.
Evidently, for effective work, a Scrum Master has to promote open communication and active contributions from all members of the project; support and simplify verbal collaboration between the Product Owner and the team.
A Good Scrum Master – Not a Good Project Manager
The good Scrum Masters possess a truly unique combination of talents. They should be fairly experts at agile methodologies while being the first to solve problems and manage people skills.
Nevertheless, as an effective Scrum Master should not try command and control team members to get things done, the key to success lies in the ability to mentor and motivate. Contrary to the popular belief, the Scrum Master and the Project Manager roles are very different and are not to be confused.
The Project Manager is a leader and the only decision maker. To make the long story short – a person who manages the project and the team. The Scrum Master’s role is more about motivation and facilitation. He or she is a chain between the customer and the project, who supports the product owner and coaches the team.
The servant style of leadership is highly critical to how scrum works. It is all about encouraging and mentoring.
Top Personal Skills
While looking for a highly effective Scrum Master, it is crucial to pay attention to the personal skills of the candidate. For the successful collaboration with a team, look for:
- a servant leader that is able to earn the respect of the team and is willing to keep it on the highest level
- a social and communicative person that leads and demonstrate Agile and Scrum principles to the team
- the assertive team member that ensures Scrum concepts are kept and followed
- a person that features good skills for conflict resolution
- a leader with an attitude of empowerment – to be able to bring the team to self-organization
- a Scrum Master with an attitude of visibility – to grow business trust.
The agile development is very collaborative and iterative in its approach, and the team meets nearly every day to discuss the workflow. Therefore, a highly effective scrum master should be able to focus the team clearly on the aim of the current iteration.
The Scrum Master may keep the goals visible on a score-board, removing distractions that interfere with reaching those goals. As well as underline the importance of iteration goals and motivate the team by highlighting its success on the board.
Top Technical Skills
Although personal skills are very important, there are some technical experiences that are no less essential in performing the high-quality work of a Scrum Master.
While recruiting a person for a Scrum Master position, find out if the candidate understands the following terms:
- incremental delivery and the metrics rate
- task definition, velocity, and backlog tracking
- the actual value of commitments of the development team
- agile and scrum methodologies, processes, and practices
- basic fundamentals of iterative development and software development procedures in general
- service-oriented environments and generally used development practices
The experienced Scrum Master should know how to:
- observe the team and the system
- critically analyze and map out processes
- work at a very quick pace and vibrant environment
- ensure good clear communication is happening during the development life-cycle
- spot when other team members are unhappy
- bring out the best in everyone in the team
- inspire the team to produce the required results
- find good learning resources and push members to develop their own skills every day
- share the knowledge and create an authentic learning culture
- work cooperatively with other scrum masters
- and attract other talented people to join the team
The primary goal of a Scrum Master is to let the agile development team deliver high quality working software. The effective leader should eliminate barriers that are blocking the team, may that be procedural complexity or resource-based delays.