Traits of a Good Scrum Master

December 19, 2013
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A Scrum Master is an organizer for the Scrum team who ensures that Scrum team follows the practices of Scrum. A good Scrum Master also coaches and guides the team to work in the best possible way. The Scrum Master’s role is more difficult than that of a typical project manager. A formal Scrum master training is only the first step condition to be good at executing this responsibility. There are some traits that a formal Scrum Master Certification does not guarantee and will have to be developed. The trait; how the Scrum Master executes the responsibility, listed below help identify a worthy Scrum master.

Cooperative

A worthy Scrum Master will toil to make certain a Cooperative culture thrives within the Scrum team. A Scrum Master needs to ensure that the team members perceive both capability and support in raising disputes for free dialogue. A Scrum Master should promote a Cooperative atmosphere for the Scrum team through both her words and actions. In addition, a good Scrum Master should call out inappropriate behavior and promote appropriate behavior in other team members. Many people have compared a Scrum Master to an Orchestra conductor. A Scrum Master or Product Owner should assess whether an issue raised is an actual emergency.

Persuasion

A well trained Scrum Master needs to persuade both internal and external Stakeholders. At the outset, team members may need persuasion to give Scrum a fair trial or to try new practices. A Scrum Master should persuade without resorting to a command-and-control style. Often, neither the Product Owner, nor the external Stakeholders have received the same Scrum training as the Scrum Master or the team.

While all Scrum Masters should know how to use their soft skills, good Scrum Masters have some corporate political skills. The Scrum Master should know the decision making practices in the organization as well as interpersonal/inter-alliance relationships.

Devotion

While the Scrum Master’s role may not be an eight-hour-a-day job, it requires full devotion. A Scrum Master must possess zeal to the project and the current sprint similar to the team members. They should also not plan to jump ship in the middle and intend to be the Scrum Master for the complete tenure of the project.

Modesty

Although the Scrum Master seems to be a very powerful title, the Scrum Master is not the project leader and is never accountable for the success or failure of the project. A good Scrum Master, like any good leader, is not looking to feed the ego. A Scrum Master can take pride in achievements, but should ensure that the Scrum Team is provided with an environment favorable to completing the project successfully before catering to own needs. Good Scrum Masters should encourage and motivate each member of the Scrum team and lead others to the same attitude.

Anyone who has passed a Scrum master certification knows that in Scrum, accountability for the project resides with the Scrum team. The way a Scrum Master works in this environment differentiates an adequate Scrum Master from a Great Scrum Master.

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