Scrum Master Qualities

Agile – An Umbrella view
May 30, 2018
Keeping – Software testing lean
June 4, 2018

Scrum Master Qualities

Although there are some learnable aspects of leadership, leadership is often identified as something that comes naturally to certain personalities. Therefore, it is no surprise that certain people can act as better servant leaders and better Scrum Masters. The role of a Scrum Master is one of many stances and diversity. Keeping the team together, maintaining a tight focus on the team’s sprint goal, effectively communicating with the Product Owner, delivering status to the organization, coaching different personalities, and bringing out the best  erformance in the team… Doing all that is not a job for an ordinary manager. This is what it takes for a ScrumMaster to be great.

Let’s look at some characteristics that will help you master with your Scrum Master Role.
Prevent impediments:  A great Scrum Master not only resolves impediments, he prevents them. Due his experiences he is able to ‘read’ situations and hereby act on them proactively.

Understands principles are more important than practices: Without a solid, supported understanding of the agile principles, every implemented practice is basically useless. It’s an empty shell. An in-depth understanding of the agile principles by everyone involved will increase the chances of successful usage of practices drastically.

Coach: Coaching the individual with a focus on mindset and behaviour, the team in continuous improvement and the organization in truly collaborating with the Scrum team.

Aside the above there are few underlying qualities a scrum master must pose as below:

  • Good Communication – This is a given, in any role. However, as a scrum master you are listening, comprehending, repeating, summarizing, energizing, observing, writing, simplifying, critiquing, suggesting, asserting, chatting, presenting – all in one. Each conversation merits its own synergy and skill.
  • Taking responsibility – He/she is a representative of your team. If he/she is able to build and gain their trust, then you should be able to stand up for them and be proud to represent them whether they have achieved success / lesser success.
  • Neutrality – Being neutral is not the same as being diplomatic. For any challenge, decisions should be taken on the basis of validation and merit, instead of who you are friends with. This can lead to very tough decisions.
  • Leadership without powers – Generally the term master assumes some level of control in a team, however, in this case it is a directional leader who cannot punish when team members go astray. Hence, it is key to build trust and show the importance of following a decision, which can be quite demanding compared to a leader who can force decisions.
  • Light hearted – All work and no fun makes a scrum master very dull indeed. Having fun is not just for you but also for your team. Just having some time in the sprint when your team is not thinking about work can be energizing and rewarding. At the same time, no problem is a big problem. A cool mind leads to better focus and better problem solving experience.
  • Problem solver – If you like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel – being scrum master will be super fun.

A Scrum Master has many hats to wear, some in addition to those usually associated with project management. Agile emphasizes people over process, and that is certainly evident in the team-directed focus of a Scrum Master. Agile emphasizes delivering customer value over extensive documentation and other non-value added artifacts and processes, and that is reflected in the Scrum Master’s emphasis on engineering practices and focus on delivering working value-driven software.


1 Comment

  1. Jietan says:

    I cannot agree more!

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