What is a Scrum Master, How to Become a Certified ScrumMaster?

What is a Scrum Master?

Scrum Master is one of the three roles that make up the Scrum Team as described by the Scrum Framework.

The Scrum Master role is specific to Scrum and is a critical aspect in achieving the ambitious goals of helping the team and the organization be adaptable to rapidly changing customer needs through continuous inspect and adapt.

To be adaptable the organization must develop the capability to continuously seek feedback from the customers about their needs and adapt their approach to meet these needs gracefully.

The Scrum Master acts as a catalyst to this capability development within the team and the organization. Scrum Master achieves this by educating, facilitating and coaching the development team, the Product Owner, and the organization.

While the Product Owner focuses on improving the product ROI by defining what is right to build, the development team focuses on building the product right, the Scrum Master acts as a servant-leader and focuses on building a high performing team to maximize the value created by the Scrum Team.

Scrum Master service to the Product Owner

As per the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master collaborates with the Scrum Product Owner and serves by:

  • Finding techniques for effective Product Backlog management;
  • Helping the Scrum Team understand the need for clear and concise Product Backlog items;
  • Understanding product planning in an empirical environment;
  • Ensuring the Product Owner knows how to arrange the Product Backlog to maximize value;
  • Understanding and practicing agility; and,
  • Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed.
Scrum Master services to the Development Team

The Scrum Master serves the Development Team in several ways, including:

  • Coaching the Development Team in self-organization and cross-functionality;
  • Helping the Development Team to create high-value products;
  • Removing impediments to the Development Team’s progress;
  • Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed; and,
  • Coaching the Development Team in organizational environments in which Scrum is not yet fully adopted and understood.
Scrum Master service to the Organization

The Scrum Master according the Scrum Guide, is also responsible to serve the organization in below ways. However, most Scrum Masters fall short on serving the organization.

  • Leading and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption;
  • Planning Scrum implementations within the organization;
  • Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact Scrum and empirical product development;
  • Causing change that increases the productivity of the Scrum Team; and,
  • Working with other Scrum Masters to increase the effectiveness of the application of Scrum in the organization.

How to Become a Certified ScrumMaster?

The Scrum Alliance is one of the most reputed and popular certification body. The Certified ScrumMaster certification from Scrum Alliance is the most credible certification as Scrum Alliance carefully through a rigorous process wets out the Certified Scrum Trainers. This is how you can get a ScrumMaster certification:

  • Attend the 2-day Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) training facilitated by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST).
  • Read the Scrum Guide and review the CSM participant workbook/reading content provided.
  • After successful two days workshop, the CST recommends your name to Scrum Alliance.
  • Scrum Alliance emails you a link to take the online CSM test. [Take a mock CSM Test online]
  • Take the CSM test and get 24 (out of 34 multiple choice questions) correct answers to pass the test.
  • Upon passing the CSM test, download your Certified ScrumMaster certification from your Scrum Alliance member account dashboard. And here you are a Certified ScrumMaster 🙂

How difficult is it to become a Scrum Master?

Becoming a good Scrum Master is difficult but not impossible.

Start getting good with these Top Scrum Master Skills.

In 2018, getting a job of a Scrum Master is relatively very easy. The reason? high demand for the Scrum Master role and less supply of good Scrum Masters.

Most companies have not educated their hiring and recruitment staff to understand the role of the Scrum Master and hence many recruiters simply compare a candidate's profile against a template given to them.

In such cases, the Scrum Master's selection process would look for:

The candidate has a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) Certification or a Professional Scrum Master (PSM) Certification.

 * Has experience working as a Scrum Master recently.

 * Can facilitate Daily Scrum, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective meetings.

 * Can train our employees on Scrum, XP, Lean, Kanban, BDD, TDD, DevOps, (they may list every new Agile framework that comes to market)

 * Can act as an Agile Team Coach (usually they mean can tell our teams how to do Agile)


You see?

If you know your stuff, you can easily crank the interview and get in as a Scrum Master.

Who can become a Scrum Master?

In this video, I discuss 5 essential elements to becoming an effective Scrum Master.

Here, I list 10 most common Scrum Master backgrounds that I've observed the Scrum Masters I've worked with came from.