What Does It Take to Become a Scrum Master

Oct 11, 2019 | Project Management

For most people, scrum master might seem like a peculiar title for a job position. However, it is a serious role in an agile methodology that requires exceptional leadership and strategic planning.

The scrum master is responsible for making sure that the team follows the scrum over the entire course of the project. S/he is the medium between the scrum team and the product owner. Therefore, no agile-derived project can be completed without the intervention of the scrum master.

This is why LinkedIn’s survey of the Most Promising Jobs for 2019 has pitched the scrum master in the middle of their top 20 rankings. The position has a median base salary of $103,000 a year, which is a promising opportunity for any professional to aim for. For this reason, we discuss what it takes to become a scrum master in 2019.

Agile Methodologies

To understand what it takes to be a scrum master, you need to have an idea of what the term means. The term ‘scrum’ stems from agile development, a technique used in project management.

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Agile development teaches teams to deal with uncertain and turbulent environments during projects. It enables them to respond to, take control of changing situations, and learn how to deal with them effectively.

Scrum is a framework that implements the principles of agile development. On the other hand, scrum master is the person, who ensures that, the team adheres to the scrum framework.

Therefore, to become a scrum master, you must understand all the fine details regarding the agile methodology and scrum. You must be able to tell your team why traditional SDLCs (such as Waterfall) are not compatible with modern product delivery. Furthermore, you must explain which roles, documents, and events are necessary for Scrum.

People are unsure about how they can master the concepts of scrum. Like anything else, you first must learn the principles of scrum, by heart and implement, practice, and experiment with them in varying situations. The path to scrum mastery is a circle of steadfast effort and continuous improvement.

If you are interested in excelling in the concepts of scrum, starting with a certification is a good idea. Certifications such as the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) or the Professional Scrum Master (PSM-1) can provide you with a firm foundation.

Software Project Management

Another key thing about scrum and the agile methodology, in general, is that it’s suitable for the domain of software development. Since experience in software development trains project managers to handle changing requirements regularly, it is a great platform to implement the tenets of Scrum.

You get to know traditional ways of managing software projects, and know the differences between “Projects” and “Products”.  Therefore, having experience in dealing with software project management is essential to understanding scrum. However, if you can’t tell how a software team works or how to manage them, it can be difficult to master scrum.

Business Intelligence and Analysis

Besides understanding scrum, you must also know how to can communicate the requirements of stakeholders to your team and understand what the business needs to grow. Traditionally, all requirements were collected in the beginning.

As a result, any possibility for change in the final product was restricted in the beginning. Scrum changed this attitude and encouraged change as long as it was practically possible. However, managing continuous requirements is an extremely tricky job.

Good scrum masters must be able to help their team in collaborating with the stakeholders of the product more effectively. However, the role of a scrum master is not limited to being a messenger between the product owner and the team.

On the contrary, the scrum master must acquire significant business intelligence. They must analyze the requirements presented by the client and understand which problems are critical to the business’s success. Only after identifying key business requirements and discussing them with the stakeholders, the scrum master conveys them to his team.

Additional Skills
For scrum masters, having the ability to influence people without authority is essential to be successful. A scrum master does not command over the team personally, yet he or she must be able to guide the team to success.

Therefore, the scrum master must possess high emotional intelligence and excellent soft skills to excel at the job. If people are unwilling to work with you, then you will find little success and little to no improvement.

Since you have to deal with changing requirements and constantly push your team for implementing those changes, you also have to build a strong network within your own organization.

Furthermore, you need to have sufficient technical knowledge of the product development process in order to understand the hurdles of your own team. Unless you don’t have the knowledge of what problems your team faces, you might overburden your team and ultimately fail in delivering what the customer wants.

How to Find a Job as a Scrum Master

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Photographer: Amy Hirschi | Source: Unsplash

Firstly, to find a job as a scrum master, you must have sufficient experience in project management. Secondly, you must find an organization that implements the tenets of the agile methodology, so you can experiment with principles of Scrum you have learned.

Remember that a scrum master is a role rather than a mere job title. Therefore, you can seek for any opportunity where you can apply the skills mentioned above. Even if your job is developing a product, testing it, or managing a project, you can act as a scrum master for your team.


Needless to say; the role of a scrum master is extremely challenging. However, it can also be rewarding at the same time if you do it in a proper way. To succeed as a scrum master, you need to invest significant time in learning the principles of agile development and gain experience in implementing them.

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