What Does a Scrum Master Do?
Scrum masters facilitate software and product development projects while adhering to Agile best practices and Scrum framework values. They help software development teams adopt the practices and principles and practices of the Agile methodology, which includes creating user stories, breaking down tasks into smaller chunks, and continuously delivering value. They also lead sprints, which create a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement among the development team.
While a degree isn’t a strict requirement, a Scrum certification is vital for the role, as is a deep understanding of Agile methodology. Success in the role requires excellent communication and leadership skills, as they will be required to inspire collaboration, facilitate team meetings, and effectively resolve conflicts.
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National Average Salary
Scrum master salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for a Scrum Master is:
Scrum Master Job Descriptions
The first step when hiring a great scrum master is a well-crafted job description. Below are real-world examples to help give you the best chance of success on your recruiting journey.
In this role, team members are responsible for facilitating the scrum process on self-contained scrum teams. You will be responsible to guide the scrum team(s) and the organization to follow generally accepted Agile/Scrum practices and daily activities to actively promote prioritization practices, team readiness, and commitments for each Sprint. This will be executed using empirical data to help the team(s) assess their scrum maturity and optimize scrum team velocity. The scrum master will manage organizational KPIs, and identify improvement opportunities to achieve higher levels of team performance.
Typical duties and responsibilities
- Lead the scrum team by applying Agile methodology and scrum practices
- Help the product owner and development team to achieve customer satisfaction
- Lead the scrum and development teams in self-organization
- Coach the scrum team to reach a consensus
- Help the scrum and development teams to identify and enhance the Agile framework
- Resolve conflicts and issues
- Plan deliverables and monitor performance
Education and experience
- Degree in computer science, business or related field
- Scrum Master certification is a plus
- 3+ years of product development experience on an Agile team or equivalent experience
Required skills and qualifications
- Excellent problem solving and conflict resolution skills
- Good working knowledge of scrum techniques
- Leadership skills
- Exceptional communication, interpersonal and mentoring skills
- Ability to adapt to a changing environment
- Familiar with software development
- Outstanding organizational skills
- Experience with successful Agile techniques
- 2+ years experience in a scrum master role
- Experience facilitating meetings and understanding facilitation techniques
- Intermediate working knowledge of Microsoft Office applications
- Knowledge of other Agile approaches: XP, Kanban, Crystal, FDD, etc.
We support teamwork, thinking big, and taking risks in a blame-free environment. We promote self-direction to work on relevant projects while building an environment that provides the support and mentorship needed to learn and grow. We’re excited to see what you’ll bring to our team.
- Works with the Product owner to align team with the product vision, sprint goals, and other necessary information
- Creates an environment of collaboration within the teams that allows for open dialogue and productive solutions for resolving conflicts
- Champions continuous improvement activities to reduce waste and increase productivity
- Coaches teams to conduct continuous improvement events
- Seeks opportunities for improvement to the overall effectiveness of teams and the organization
- Communicates organizational impediments to leadership and clears impediments for the team
- Embraces the concept of continuous learning in your own journey and instills the same in the team(s) you coach
Strengths and capabilities
- BS/BA degree or equivalent experience
- Strong familiarity and adherence to core Agile values and principles
- Experience as a practicing Scrum Master on a team
- Exposure to modern engineering practices like Unit Test-Driven Development, Acceptance Test-Driven Development, and Continuous Integration
- A mindset of servant leadership
- An Agile mindset
- Expert with Agile and Scrum framework and its application in Product Development and delivery organization
- Ability to coach and mentor
- Ability to collaborate with and influence people at various levels
- Sound understanding of Scaling framework such as LeSS
- Leverage skills from coaching, facilitation, conflict resolution, and more to serve the team(s)
The Scrum Master must have strong knowledge in Agile methodology and has the ability to educate others. They provide a path for resolving impediments and help keep the team focused and achieve the goals. They also coordinate all aspects of releases from versioning to production deployment
- Coordinating and managing scrum ceremonies including Sprint Planning, Stand Ups, Refinement, Sprint Review, and Retrospective
- Removing impediments or guiding the team to remove impediments through coordination and creative thinking
- Analyzing sprint data to determine potential risks of meeting sprint goals
- Assisting with internal communication, improving transparency, and radiating information
- Facilitating discussion, decision making, and conflict resolution
- Contributing to the advancement and improvement of Agile practices within the organization
- Coordinating and managing application releases/versioning processes
- 4 years minimum of relevant work experience
- Bachelor Degree
- Experience in playing the Scrum Master role for at least two years for a software development team
- Excellent communication, facilitation, and coaching skills
- Good data analytical skills
- Scrum Master Certification
- Experience working during an organization Agile transformation
- Knowledge of other Agile approaches: XP, Kanban, etc.
- Awareness and experience with widely successful Agile techniques including User Stories, Continuous Integration, Pairing, Automated Testing, Agile Games
The Scrum Master is responsible for empowering delivery teams to effectively deliver business results. A scrum expert, the scrum master leads the team to understand and apply the scrum framework to the work that they do and aids the team in eliminating, reducing or avoiding challenges that may prevent effectiveness. Scrum masters work closely with the Product Owner, Delivery teams, Program Manager, and other Scrum masters and Support teams.
- Champion and drive the Lean Agile mindset, helping the team embrace core values, principles, and agile processes/practices
- Remove and manage team impediments to enable the team to deliver value
- Be a voice and advocate for the team so the team can focus on delivering value
- Bring visibility to the work, impediments, risks, and other areas of importance
- Foster a healthy flow of work that eliminates waste as the team moves through the delivery cycle
- Responsible for ensuring that the Scrum Team adheres to Scrum values, practices, tools and rules
- Assists Product Owner with planning, change management, risk management, and product backlog maintenance
- Monitors Scrum Team execution against iteration plan
- Work with teams to coordinate cross team dependencies and risks
- Enables the team to execute iteration planning, iteration demonstrations and retrospectives, and making certain each results in productive output for the team and project
- Ensures Scrum Team is leveraging standard tools
- Actively participates in product planning sessions, risk management processes and change management/communication
- Tracks team burn-down throughout Sprint execution and works with team to maximize efficiency
- Partners with shared service Scrum Masters, Delivery Managers, and other like roles
- Ensure dependent teams are delivering end to end solutions
- Ensure Transparency to Teams via Jira and executive status reporting
- Ensure that all representatives have an environment conducive to openly and honestly sharing information
- Be a trusted advisor to New York Life Direct clients for project delivery
- Facilitate project activities; be a voice of reason and authority, while enabling the delivery team to self-organize and innovate
- Highly collaborative with good conflict resolution skills
- Excellent team player
- Strong leadership skill
- Ability to work directly with technical and product teams
- Strong command of Scrum framework, Kanban framework, and Agile values and principles
- Experience with end to end software development and delivery process
- Knowledge of modern Agile development techniques such as Dev Ops, test driven development, and test automation
- Sound problem solving skills
- Understanding of SDLC/TDLC type practices
- Strong work ethic to help team meet commitments
- Demonstrated willingness to be flexible and adaptable to changing priorities
- Effective communication skills, with ability to flex style and interaction across diverse stakeholder groups
- Energetic, enthusiastic and a proven ability to work and lead in a team-based environment
- Experience with agile methodologies (Scrum, Kanban, etc.)
- CSM, SSM or PSM certification required
- SPC or other advanced certification preferred
- Bachelor’s degree in a technical field or equivalent professional experience but not required
- Prior experience in software development as an analyst, tester, developer, or project manager
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- Certified Professional Secretary (CPS). A certified professional secretary is a professional secretary who has met certain educational, training, and examination requirements set by the International Administration for Administrative Professionals (IAAP). This certification was designed to recognize secretaries that have taken the extra steps to increase their knowledge and skills to better perform at their jobs.
- Microsoft Office Specialist: Expert (Office 365). Many employers find it beneficial for their employees to understand the basics of Microsoft programs. The Microsoft Office Specialist certification allows candidates to get the most out of Office 365 by learning to easily navigate through programs and use the special features. Earning this certificate will demonstrate to employers that candidates possess advanced skills in these key office programs.
- Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence (PACE). This certificate is great to earn for candidates looking for a job that requires administrative duties. The PACE certification will help them strengthen their management, computer and technology, and interpersonal communication skills. Earning this certification won’t only make someone a better secretary, it will provide credibility and confidence to their future employers that they know how to complete various tasks while dealing with customers in a professional manner.
Sample Interview Questions
- What is the difference between Agile and Scrum?
- What makes a good team?
- What would you do if your team didn’t like your idea and suggested a new one?
- What is the best way to communicate with a product owner?
- Should the development team be involved in the early phases of planning?
- What’s the structure of a user story?
- How do you prioritize your team’s efforts?
- How do you assess the value of a story?
- Which Agile frameworks are you familiar with?
- What metrics do you employ when measuring a project’s success?
- Have you written reports for your Scrum projects?
- How do you give feedback to your team?
- How would you ensure that the Scrum process is being applied?
- How does automation fit into Scrum?
- How would you run a daily Scrum?
- How would you coordinate multiple teams?
- What are the five phases of risk management?
- What is the biggest advantage of using scrum?
- Who should take part in a sprint retrospective?