The traits of a great Scrum Master

Tram Ho

In a Scrum team, the Scrum Master is responsible for the best understanding and functioning of the team. To do that, the Scrum team needs to adhere to Scrum’s theory, practice and rules. The Scrum Master is the Servant Leader of the Scrum team, helping outsiders understand and interact well and limit negative interactions with their Scrum team. In addition, the Scrum Master also helps maximize the value that the Scrum team creates. The roles of the Scrum Master are varied. A good Scrum Master depends on the situation and context knowing what to do to help people understand and apply Scrum better.

Scrum Master works like

  • Servant Leader : The person who always focuses on the needs of the team members and the people they serve (here the meaning of customers) with the goal of achieving results consistent with the the organization’s values, principles, and business path.
  • Facilitator : Establish practices and provides clear boundaries for teams to collaborate best.
  • Coach : Training individuals to practice in thinking and behavior. Train continual improvement groups. Gives the organization confidence in the Scrum team.
  • Conflict navigator : Conflict navigator and resolution reduces team productivity.
  • Mananger : Responsible for obstacle management, waste removal, process management, team health. Manage the boundaries of group self-organization as well as internal culture.
  • Mentor : mentoring, transferring agile knowledge, scrum and experience to the team.
  • Teacher : making sure Scrum is understood and implemented.

A great Scrum Master

  • Join the team in setting up the processes of work : Ensure to support the team in implementing the entire Scrum process. For example, planning a Daily Scrum at a time and place that works for all team members. A common complaint about Scrum is the number and length of meetings. Joining a team in planning these events can alleviate that.
  • Understanding developing a group : perceiving the different stages a group will experience (forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning). A stable team is extremely important
  • Understanding the principles is more important than practicing : Without a firm understanding of the Agile principle all activities that practice it are essentially meaningless. It is actually an empty shell. Everyone on the group’s understanding of Agile principles will greatly increase its application success.
  • Recognize and act on group conflict : Be close to recognizing group conflict as soon as possible so that the right methods can be applied to resolve it. Better yet, the Scrum Master knows how to prevent conflicts from occurring.
  • Dare to “mess up” : Sometimes, some good changes can only happen when there is conflict or confusion. The Scrum Master knows when it is necessary to create a conflicting environment for change to happen without harming the work or the Scrum team.
  • Influential : Have a voice and influence the culture of the organization to enable Scrum teams to develop and collaborate with other Scrum Masters to create workshops for that development.
  • Both roles are “Indispensable” and “Desired” : The Scrum Master supports the development of the team to a degree that the team will no longer need that position every day. But with your input, knowledge and proven experience you will be regularly consulted by the team. The role has been changed from being a coach, a teacher, to a mentor.
  • Let your team make mistakes / failures : as a Scrum Master you have to help your team avoid mistakes or failures. However, you should sometimes know when to let that happen to your team. The lessons learned from those mistakes / failures are more valuable than earlier advice.
  • Encourage Self-Control : Encourage and teach teams to master work processes, team work environments or related tasks.
  • Learning : always actively read, learn new knowledge in their field.
  • RE-TRAINED : realize myself in RE-TRAINED (acronym created by Geoff Watts):
    • Resourceful: Creativity in removing group obstacles
    • Enabling: passionate about helping others
    • Tactful: know how to communicate appropriately for each individual
    • Respected: for integrity
    • Alternative: always promote a culture of criticism
    • Inspiring: transmitting enthusiasm and energy to others
    • Nurturing: loves helping teams as well as individuals grow
    • Empathic: Empathy with those around you
    • Disruptive: know how to break rules to create new ways of working
  • Have faith in self-organizing groups : Understand the power of a self-organizing group. The characteristic of self-organizing teams is that members reduce dependence on the manager and increase their decision-making power and responsibility for the work. Examples: Make your own decisions about your work, self-assessments and estimates, and be willing to cooperate. The members feel they are accomplishing the group’s common goals together. Bringing those thoughts to the team is the Scrum Master’s motto.
  • Understand the power of silence : Know how to truly listen. Be aware of the three levels of listening and know how to use them. Listen carefully to what is said and feel what is not said.
  • Observation : Observe your team in everyday activities. The Scrum Master does not have a role to participate in the Daily Scrum, but only observe, so there is a clearer view of what is being discussed (and what is not) and the role everyone plays in the process.
  • Sharing experiences : Sharing experiences and knowledge with colleagues. This can be done through seminars, workshops, … These occasions are great opportunities to share and gather new knowledge and experiences. In addition, of course, writing down your lessons is also appreciated.
  • There are many different ways to organize retrospective sessions : This ensures that the retrospective session will be a fun, useful event for the group. In addition, you should also know which retrospective is best suited to the team’s situation, and support the organization to improve participation and contribution of members.
  • Professional training : Can bridge the gap between thinking and acting. Help members better understand themselves so they can find ways to maximize their potential.
  • Be Influential at the Organization Level : Know how to motivate and make an impact at the strategic level within the organization. Some of the most difficult obstacles a team encounters sometimes occur at this level. This leads the Scrum Master to know how to act appropriately at different levels of the organization.
  • Preventing the obstacles that can happen to the team : Not only does the Scrum Master need to be able to solve the problem and block it. Thanks to my experience, you can read situations and act proactively first.
  • Don’t be too prominent : The Scrum Master doesn’t always have to be actively present. You do not disturb the group when it is not needed, but only assist the group in getting into desired “flows”. But when the team needs you, always be in person.
  • Form a great duo with the Product Owner : Have a deep partnership with the PO despite the different concerns, PO pushes the team and the Scrum Master defends the team. That relationship is extremely valuable to the development team. Together, they can build the foundation for amazing results.
  • Leadership Development Facilitates : Allows leadership on a team to develop and sees this as a success in your coaching. Believe in the motto “Leadership is not just a title, but an attitude”. It is the attitude that everyone on the team has and applies in practice.
  • Get familiar with gamification (gameization) : Using concepts, thinking, and game mechanics to solve problems while attracting members’ contributions.
  • Understanding is more than just Scrum : Knowing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks of all methods, frameworks, and principles from which to understand how and when to use them. Understand what the group wants to achieve and help them become more effective.
  • Be a role model : The Scrum Master is someone the team members respect and follow. Do this by inspiring them to unleash their inner potency and be an example to show them what is right. In difficult times, please tell them how to act, without panicking, calmly help the team find a solution.
  • Born to play Support : It is your nature to want to support your teammates. Find fun in all the events Scrum participates in. Prepare everything well before you start with a purpose at the same time.


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Source : Viblo