Building the skills to become a great Scrum Master is an exciting path. As agile development has evolved and expanded beyond its initial implementation within software development to a widely accepted framework that has been adopted by numerous digital marketing and business development agencies, so requires competent Scrum Masters increased.
You may be a Scrum Master yourself, involved in a team undergoing a shift to agile development, or simply interested in what skills it takes to become an excellent facilitator. This article will look at some of the crucial skills required to be an effective Scrum Master. Some might surprise you, so stick around till the end.
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What is a Scrum Master?
Before jumping into the list, we need to understand what the role of a Scrum Master is. A Scrum Master is a key person within an agile development team who facilitates meetings to enable the Scrum [development] Team to achieve their goals. This is usually done in short 1-4 week sprints, with a review at the end of each week.
A Scrum Master will, amongst other things, query or question the team members daily on the following aspects:
• What was done yesterday?
• What will be done today?
• Are there any obstacles in your way?
The responsibilities might at first appear to be similar to a manager. However the Scrum Masterworks in the background and is not directly involved in creating a product strategy, only in facilitation.
7 Skills to become a great Scrum Master
Now that we have a basic understanding of what a Scrum Master does, let’s look at the key skills.
1. Communication: listening and teaching
Communication is crucial for smooth operations and managing expectations. A Scrum Master communicates between stakeholders and the Scrum Team to ensure that both are on the same page regarding targets and backlog when planning for, during and reviewing sprints.
Besides the ability to listen to stakeholders, the development team and dissect this information, a Scrum Master needs to effectively impart training at all organization levels, including executives.
2. Adaptability: problem-solving
Agile development involves creating a product without all the requirements known at the outset. Adapting to emerging information, such as consumer responses during development, is crucial, especially in marketing. This is one reason why thinking analytically, adapting, and problem-solve on one’s feet is an essential ability for any Scrum Master.
3. Growth Mindset as a Scrum Master
Becoming a great Scrum Master is much like being the gel that makes things come together. This can involve taking on tasks and responsibilities that you are not familiar with or confident at and continuously encountering new challenges. Recognizing the ability to learn and constantly improve oneself is crucial to adapt to constant change.
One key factor in consistently and efficiently reaching team goals on time is making decisions at the right time. Having both a good sense of judgment and a straightforward decision-making process can help save time and ensure that work efficiently reaches Done’s status.
5. Conflict resolution and emotional intelligence
Working within a team involves many, often complex, interpersonal relationships and social dynamics. Reading and navigating this landscape effectively can aid conflict resolution and help foster a more positive, encouraging work environment for the Scrum Team. A cohesive team is an effective team.
As the catalyst to teams reaching their goals, a Scrum Master should be comfortable and effective in both collaborating and creating an environment of collaboration. Beyond the social skills mentioned above, a Scrum Master needs to understand the technology tools used to increase output and quality through collaboration.
It goes without saying that organization is critical to keeping track of multiple tasks, communications, and updates in a team or project with many moving parts. The nature of agile development is one of small, rapid iteration and daily updates. Keeping information organized ensures less stress, higher efficiency, and a more significant opportunity to take advantage of micro-developments within a product’s development.
As we can see, in aiming to master the 7 skills to become a great Scrum Master, we will come across many areas of overlap and areas of divergence. Being a Scrum Master can be a rewarding position that allows you to interact with many people, solve new problems daily and adapt to an ever-changing digital information landscape.
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Simon Magwaza, Digital Marketer
I am a South African social entrepreneur (and chilli lover) with a background in audio.