Scrum Master Roles and Responsibilities [Updated] (2023)

Agile methodologies are gaining significant enterprise traction in all industries. More flexible development models—including Scrum—have enabled companies to get products to market faster than ever, which is a must-have in today’s hyper-competitive landscape. In other words, greater flexibility in the process is now required to get quality products to market quickly to stay ahead of increasing pressure from competitors. To truly adopt agile Scrum methodologies and provide the deliverables the business requires, companies need to have a process expert at the helm.

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Scrum Master Roles and Responsibilities [Updated] (1)

Understanding the Basics of scrum

In short, Scrum methodology works like this: the product owner submits a request and the development team (led by a Scrum Master) breaks it down into smaller pieces, also known as “sprints.” Sprints consist of reiterative and collaborative development and testing procedures in a fast-paced environment and, ideally, create a more efficient product lifecycle. By using agile Scrum methodologies effectively, companies can produce a viable deliverable in two to four weeks. The Scrum Master is at the center of it all by coordinating project activities with business objectives.

What is a Scrum Master?

A Scrum master is responsible for ensuring that the Scrum team follows the processes that were agreed upon. Keeping obstacles and distractions out of the team's path is one of the responsibilities of the Scrum master. In this role, the individual acts as the interface between the Scrum team and other people or teams.

A Scrum Master holds a position that’s relatively narrow in scope, yet extremely broad in influence throughout any organization. In practice, however, a Scrum Master is working behind the scenes and is not involved in product ideation or strategy. They work more as a conduit between product/line-of-business owners and development teams as a project manager. Because agile processes are entirely dependent on people and collaboration, Scrum Masters must also marry soft skills with the latest tools and methods. After all, software projects have many moving parts, and individual programmers can quickly lose sight of the broader scope when heads-down in code. A Scrum Master, on the other hand, maintains a high-level view, helping teams to understand both organizational and technical dependencies while avoiding chokepoints. This creates a culture of accountability and enables teams to meet critical deadlines.

So now, as you are well aware of what a scrum master is, it's time for you to understand the roles and responsibilities of a scrum master.

Scrum Master Responsibilities

1. Implement Project Management/Best Practices

The Scrum Master is responsible for creating and onboarding project teams, integrating them into the organization and providing a clear vision of the product. The Scrum Master also facilitates communication and information exchange between external groups and the project team. They also monitor project progress, provide timely feedback, and drive a culture of agility and learning.

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2. Keep all Parties on Track and Informed

The Scrum Master hosts daily team meetings to get updates on the progress of the project, address potential roadblocks, and ensure that the project is on track. They also host regular sessions to share updates with product stakeholders about how the project is progressing (or not). Ultimately, it’s a Scrum Master’s job to ensure that the team is meeting deadlines with the desired outcome.

3. Introduce Agile Engineering Practices

To improve efficiency, Scrum Masters encourage the use of continuous integration (CI) and automation. With CI tools, developers integrate chunks of code into a central repository frequently, from which automated builds and tests run in successive iterations. This repeatable approach reduces the risk, time, and effort associated with traditional development methods. For instance, if a bug appears in one build, it can quickly be fixed in the next. Another agile technique Scrum Masters advocate is “pair programming”, where two developers collaborate in real-time and at the same workstation. Altogether, these practices reduce development time and improve the architecture and quality of the product.

4. Coach Team Members

The Scrum Master serves as the coach for the development team and the product owner. One of their key responsibilities is to ensure that the team is adequately trained to understand Agile processes, the team members know their specific roles and are dedicated to the project. Like a true coach, the Scrum Master makes sure that the teams are self-managed. They constantly look for ways to improve team performance and productivity.

5. Host Daily Stand-up Meetings

The Scrum Master keeps the team organized and on track by hosting daily stand-up meetings, sprint planning meetings, sprint reviews, etc. In these brief meetings, teams discuss their accomplishments, what they’re planning to do on that day, and if they are facing any obstacles while completing the tasks. It’s the Scrum Master’s duty to ensure that all team members, even those working remotely can attend and participate in the meetings.

6. Assist the Product Owner With the Product Backlog

Product backlog refers to the list of tasks that the team needs to do. It is the product owner’s responsibility to create and maintain the product backlog, which keeps changing based on current status of the work and development needs. The Scrum Master helps the product owner refine and maintain the backlog by using information gathered from standup meetings. They schedule review meetings and prioritize work on user stories.

7. Remove Roadblocks

The Scrum Master helps the team stay focused on tasks needed to be done in each iteration. For this, the Master removes any distractions or roadblocks that can hinder the progress of the team. For instance, if team members are forced into attending too many unimportant meetings, that can hamper work. The Scrum Master can coordinate with the meeting organizers to ensure only those members who are absolutely essential are required to attend each meeting. Alternatively, if someone from the team is being asked to work on multiple teams, the Scrum Master can collaborate with product owners and stakeholders to ensure the workload is redistributed.

8. Teach Scrum Practices and Principles

The Scrum Master is well proficient in key Scrum practices and processes. They play the role of a mentor to ensure smooth onboarding of new employees and team members. The Scrum Master helps new members understand the scope and vision of a product and ensures work does not slow down. It is their task to make sure that the team follows Scrum practices and rules while working. They teach the team ways to stay self-organized and focused, which in turn improves productivity.

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Scrum Master Roles

Product Owner

The scrum master's role in supporting product owners in the following aspects:

  • Find methods to effectively manage the product backlog.
  • Help communicate the owner’s wishlist to the project team.
  • Arrange and optimize product backlog.
  • Organize scrum events as necessary.

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Organization

The scrum master's role in the organization in the following aspects:

  • Lead and coach scrum adoption.
  • Plan scrum implementation.
  • Implement changes and steps to increase the team’s productivity.
  • Collaborate with other scrum masters to improve the methodologies’ efficiency.

So, as we have learned the roles and responsibilities of a scrum master, it's also important for you to understand the top qualities to become a successful scrum master.

Scrum Master Job Description Qualifications

To be successful in a career as Scrum Master, you’ll need to fulfill the following prerequisites:

  • Get the Required Experience and Education

A candidate must possess at least a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or related field to be considered for a Scrum Master job role. Working knowledge of Agile methodology and frameworks is also preferred.

  • Develop Excellent Verbal and Written Communication Skills

Excellent communication skills along with people and project management skills are also essential in a scrum master role. The Scrum Master being the main communicator between project owners and stakeholders, it is necessary to possess outstanding written and verbal communication skills to succeed in the job.

  • Consider Agile Scrum Master Certification

Scrum Master Certifications – though not necessary – can give you an edge over competitors when you’re applying for Scrum Master jobs. There are professional Scrum Master certification courses available that you can consider doing to advance your skills and competence in Scrum project management principles.

What Is a Typical Scrum Master Salary?

According to Glassdoor, a Scrum Master in India earns an average salary of ₹14,00,000 per year. It can go up to ₹22,68,000 per year depending on the experience of the candidate and the company requirements.

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How to Get a Scrum Master Certification?

To become a certified Scrum Master, you’ll need to enroll for a Scrum Certification Course led by a certified Scrum Trainer, and thereafter clear the Certified Scrum Master Exam (CSM).

Earning a Scrum master certification will help you strengthen your fundamental knowledge on Agile Scrum technology. You can also develop a learning mindset by investing yourself productively in such courses. Explore a range of online skill up courses in Agile and Scrum from Simplilearn to master how to lead teams successfully.

Why Do Scrum Teams Need a Scrum Master?

A scrum team must be headed by a Scrum Master. The Scrum Master role is essential to ensure the scrum team follows a true Scrum process over the course of a project.

At the foundation level, it can be a huge help to have a Scrum Master with relevant Scrum working experience to coach, mentor and facilitate the new Scrum team. So, Scrum masters are often hired as consultants instead of full-time workers.

Companies tend to say that Scrum Master is not needed in the long run, but in reality, the role of the Scrum Master stays, while the form changes with time. Every scrum team benefits from having the assistance of a Scrum Master to ensure work happens as well as possible within the Scrum framework.

Differences Between a Scrum Master and Product Manager

Scrum Master

Product Manager

Scrum Master helps the Scrum Team to develop various features of products by following Scrum methodology

Product Manager heads a company in building a product roadmap by formulating product ideas into products that users will love.

Scrum Master manages issues related to product development

Product Manager plans and orders product backlog

Scrum Master assists scrum team to implement requirements

Product Manger conducts customer research

Differences Between a Scrum Master and Project Manager

Scrum Master

Project Manager

Works in a supporting role for team members, ensuring they follow Scrum principles

Works as a leader, decision maker planning the execution of a project

Helps the team in product enhancement and in streamlining the process to achieve goals

Sets and tracks timeframes and milestones for teams to get work done.

Coaches the team as a team member or collaborator, not from a place of control.

Reports on team progress and coordinates team communication from a place of control

Role is embedded particularly on a Scrum Team

Role refers to leading any type of project

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Top Qualities of a Successful Scrum Master

  1. Influential

    A Scrum Master leads various teams that are working on a project to achieve specific milestones and deliverables. They must be able to motivate multiple groups and stakeholders at an organizational level, maximizing the potential of all at stake. As a team leader, the Scrum Master must bridge the gap between the concept of the project and the actions required to complete it. The Scrum Master must have strong leadership and organizational skills.
  2. Collaborative

    The Scrum Master forms an essential link between the product owner and project teams. While the product owner drives the overall initiative, the Scrum Master nurtures the team. Effective collaboration between the Scrum Master and product owner ultimately result in successful products that meet the organization’s requirements. A good Scrum Master should be able to find creative ways to increase organization, collaboration, and productivity to deliver the product the business line owner requested.
  3. Observant

    The Scrum Master is not a manager, but a team member and facilitator. They should be good listeners and pay attention to the challenges the project team is facing at every step of the way. The Scrum Master should also be observant, paying attention to the team’s daily activities to gain a clear view of members’ roles and contributions in sprint sessions.
  4. Knowledgeable

    Besides resolving and issues that arise, the Scrum Master should also proactively prevent potential problems. This requires overarching knowledge about the product and process. The Scrum Master’s experience enables the team to avoid roadblocks. The Scrum Master should possess knowledge of various work formats and agile methodologies such as XP, Lean, and Kanban.

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Conclusion

While Scrum Masters are specialized in many ways, they do have an extensive reach within any modern organization. Above all else, they are responsible for adopting and implementing agile methods to increase team productivity, efficiency, and improve the quality of the deliverables they have been tasked to create. A scrum master possesses a huge role and responsibilities and if you are interested in building your career in this field, you should consider earning an Agile Scrum Master (ASM℗) certification. During your training, you will be introduced to the concepts and best practices and gain the required expertise in Agile and Scrum to pass the official industry exam.

FAQs

What is the role of the scrum master?

The scrum master is committed to scrum values and practices. They must be flexible enough to facilitate scrum to larger teams by ensuring the scrum framework is strictly followed. They also need to open opportunities for the team to improve their workflow.

What are the responsibilities of a scrum master?

Scrum masters should foster team communication, maintain tools, create reports, provide support, remove blockers, act as a buffer for disruptive PMs and management, and settle disagreements between team members.

What is not the responsibility of a Scrum Master?

Though a scrum master solves the majority of the problems, they cannot solve all of them. They must promote, support, and ensure the organization understands and follows the scrum. They can solve the issue by helping their team members in case of a problem.

What do Scrum Masters do all day?

A scrum master is the master of the daily scrum. They need to do sprint planning, review, and retrospectives daily. Their key responsibility is to remove impediments and help the team become more organized and empowered to innovate and make decisions.

What does a Scrum Master do?

A scrum master facilitates collaboration and communication between team players and leadership to ensure a successful outcome. They are professionals who lead a team using Agile project management throughout a project.

What makes a good Scrum Master?

A good scrum master should have a key understanding of Kanban, Lean, and XP. They must know every principle strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks, how to use them, and at what time. They must help their team members become more effective in an agile context and attain their goals.

Who does a Scrum Master work with?

A scrum master works more as a project manager. They perform their tasks as a conduit between product/line of business owners and development teams. Scrum masters should have soft skills with the latest tools and methods because they need to work with people and collaborate with them.

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What are the three roles of a Scrum Master?

The three roles of a scrum master are to facilitate, lead, and communicate. A scrum master must facilitate scrum meetings, also called daily standups. They must lead the meetings and conduct retrospective reviews to see what’s happening. They must communicate well with their team members and manage obstacles effectively.

FAQs

What is one responsibility of the Scrum Master answer? ›

The Scrum Master is responsible for creating and onboarding project teams, integrating them into the organization and providing a clear vision of the product. The Scrum Master also facilitates communication and information exchange between external groups and the project team.

What are the roles and responsibilities of Scrum Master? ›

The scrum master helps the team enhance and streamline the processes by which they achieve their goals. They do so as a team member, or collaborator, ideally not as someone in control. The best scrum teams are self-organizing, and therefore don't react well to top-down management.

How do I give feedback to Scrum Master? ›

Ask the individual providing feedback to speak directly to the Scrum Master. This is especially true when good things are happening. Developing this habit of openly sharing with each other is a powerful sign of the strength of the culture. The encouragement could be just what your Scrum Master needs as well.

What is the most important responsibility for a Scrum Master? ›

A Scrum master is a facilitator who ensures that the Scrum team follows the processes that they agreed to follow. The Scrum master skillfully removes obstacles and distractions that may impede the team from meeting goals. This individual is the liaison between the Scrum team and people or teams outside the Scrum team.

Which three things are Scrum Master responsibilities during the sprint? ›

Broadly, however, a Scrum Master might have the following responsibilities: Facilitate daily Scrum meetings (also called “daily standups”) Lead sprint planning meetings. Conduct “retrospective” reviews to see what went well and what can be improved for the following sprint.

What are the 3 roles in scrum? ›

What are the three scrum roles? Scrum has three roles: product owner, scrum master and the development team members. While this is pretty clear, what to do with existing job titles can get confusing.

What is Scrum Master in simple terms? ›

A Scrum Master is a facilitator for an Agile development team. They are responsible for managing the exchange of information between team members. Scrum is a project management framework that enables a team to communicate and self-organize to make changes quickly, in accordance with Agile principles.

What does Scrum Master do all day? ›

Split the work between developers. Take notes in meetings and sending the meeting minutes to everyone. Connect with management and stakeholders on the status of the projects. Organize everything around the team, such as meetings, work schedules, and more.

What is a good Scrum Master? ›

A great Scrum Master is also competent with XP, Kanban and Lean. He knows the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks of every method/framework/principle and how & when to use them. He tries to understand what a team wants to achieve and helps them become more effective in an agile context.

What are the 2 Behaviours of an effective Scrum Master? ›

SAFe Scrum Masters are responsible for supporting and fostering the following team attributes: Self-management and taking ownership and accountability. Aligned and collaborative. Success focused on clear goals and purpose.

How do you evaluate a Scrum Master performance? ›

Here are KPI's to evaluate the Scrum Master's performance:
  1. Happiness metric. How happy is the Team and what is the trend? ...
  2. Definition of Done and conformance to it. How strict is the “Definition of Done” of the team? ...
  3. Stability and trend of delivering working software.
15 Apr 2015

How do you know if you are doing well as Scrum Master? ›

The signs of such behavior might be: The team is able to conduct Sprint Retrospectives on their own and produce improvement action points. The improvements are followed up and completed without the ScrumMaster's supervision. The team keeps their agreements and practices, performance doesn't deteriorate over time.

What is one responsibility of the Scrum Master quizlet? ›

The Scrum Master is responsible to train and coach team members in a proactive way, and convince them to do the right thing. All other options are either reactive or not self-organized. The Product Owner and Scrum Master should not be part of the Development Team.

Which of the following are main responsibilities of Scrum Master Mcq? ›

Q #10) What are the main responsibilities of a Scrum Master? Scrum Master is the person who is responsible for facilitating/coaching the Development Team and the Product Owner to work on the day to day development activities.

What is not a responsibility of the Scrum Master Mcq? ›

The Scrum Master is not responsible for solving all teams' problems. He or she needs to promote, support, and ensure the Scrum is understood and lived in the organization.

What is one accountability of a Scrum Master? ›

The primary accountability of the scrum master is to provide delivery leadership, experience and expertise by managing the scrum process, improving their organisation's ability to deliver a valuable, relevant product.

What are two good options for the Scrum Master? ›

What are two good options for the Scrum Master? A) Wait to bring this up until the Sprint Retrospective. B) Encourage the Product Owner to put performance on the Product Backlog and express the stakeholder's concern to the Development Team.

What are two behaviors of an effective Scrum Master? ›

The two leading roles or behaviors that a scrum master should always practice are : To assemble an atmosphere of security so that everyone discerns comfortable donating to the conversation. To assure, one essential requirement is that all spokespeople have listened.

Which of the following are true about Scrum Master role? ›

The Scrum Master is responsible for updating the Sprint Burndown. The Scrum Master helps those outside the team interact with the Scrum Team. At the Sprint Review, the Scrum Master identifies what has been "done" and what has not been "done".

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