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Top Characteristics of a Successful ScrumMaster

June 21, 2020

By Simpliaxis

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A good ScrumMaster has all of the skills, qualities, and knowledge needed for any project that entails Scrum. With more than 78% of organizations around the world, implementing scrum, many Scrum professionals are finding it difficult to seize the opportunity. The main reason is the lack of knowledge necessary for being a ScrumMaster. Moreover, there are some characteristics that the ScrumMaster can only gain through experience.

The ScrumMaster is responsible for ensuring that the team understands and works by following the Scrum rules and practices. The ScrumMaster is a leader who works to serve the team. The Product Owner is primarily focused on building the right product and the Scrum team is constantly working towards building the product in the right manner. But when we analyze the role as well as the duty of the ScrumMaster, it ultimately comes down to helping everyone understand, appreciate, recognize, and embrace the Scrum practices, principles, and values.

The ScrumMaster advocates for both the client and the team. They also work on developing the Scrum team to work more efficiently and guide them to develop a high-performance specific approach to Scrum. The ScrumMaster serves several roles, these roles range from acting as the impediment remover to the change agent all the way to being an interference shield. A ScrumMaster is also known to be the coach of the team, they can also be seen as a servant leader, as well as the person responsible for the efficient execution and ethical use of the processes that have been pre-designed with a specific purpose in mind.

 

Character Roles Of A Great ScrumMaster
 

1. Serves as a Coach
 

One of the key characteristics of the ScrumMasters is that they analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the Scrum team and find ways to improve their performance. Just like a good coach, the ScrumMaster helps the Scrum team to overcome barriers and work on their weaknesses.
 

2. A Servant-Leader
 

The ScrumMaster is commonly referred to as a servant-leader for the Scrum team. Unlike traditional leadership, servant leadership is a philosophy in which the main goal of the leader is to serve. A Scrum leader should always work with both the client and the Development Team to be more effective.

 

3. Process Authority
 

The ScrumMaster works as a process authority of a Scrum team. They have been given the responsibility to make sure that the Scrum team follows and sticks to the Scrum principles, and practices. It is also essential that the team finds a balance between a team-specific approach while also taking into consideration the values that are inherent to Scrum. The ScrumMaster is also constantly working to find all the possible methods that can be beneficial to the Scrum team. These methods should help improve the process, which will also maximize the overall business value that is being delivered.
 

4. Interference Shield
 

The ScrumMaster ensures that the team is focusing on the work given and are not interfered with by outer circumstances.

The interference can come from many sources, such as the clients, stakeholders, etc. in the middle of a Sprint, which can cause panic among the team. Despite the interfering source, the qualities of a good ScrumMaster enable them to protect the team so they can focus on delivering productive work during every Sprint.
 

5. Impediment Remover
 

It is the responsibility of a ScrumMaster to remove obstacles that can hinder the team’s productivity. Whenever the Scrum team faces an obstacle that they couldn’t reasonably remove themselves, the ScrumMaster should be ready for the same and guide them to overcome the obstacle.
 

6. Change Agent
 

Whenever a change is introduced in an organization, it faces some resistance. The ScrumMaster acts as the change agent for the Scrum. The ScrumMaster helps others understand the need for change, and they are also responsible for describing the benefits that the Scrum approach brings with it. The ScrumMaster facilitates the Scrum team’s success by implementing the change throughout the organization.

 

Characteristics of a Good ScrumMaster
 

Knowing the role is easy, but taking responsibilities as a ScrumMaster could be challenging. Following are the characteristics of a great ScrumMaster
 

1. Excellent Communication Skills
 

Whenever a change is introduced in an organization, it faces some resistance. The ScrumMaster acts as the change agent for the Scrum. The ScrumMaster helps others understand the need for change, and they are also responsible for describing the benefits that the Scrum approach brings with it. The ScrumMaster facilitates the Scrum team’s success by implementing the change throughout the organization.
 

2. Good Knowledge of Scrum
 

A ScrumMaster must have deep knowledge and understanding of the Scrum Framework. The ScrumMaster is aware of the different possible barriers that can occur while working with a Scrum team. Hence, a ScrumMaster must understand the issues the team needs to address, and the possible methods the team should use to come up with a solution.
 

3. Patience
 

Impatient ScrumMasters can never be considered as a good ScrumMaster. They need to be patient and give time to their team to come up with appropriate answers to perplexing problems.

From time to time, the ScrumMaster needs to back off a bit and see if the team can work and deal with problems on their own. Patience is one of the most prized characteristics of a good ScrumMaster.
 

4. Have Faith in the Team
 

One of the qualities of a good ScrumMaster is that they understand the power of teamwork. Instead of taking all the decisions themselves, they work out with the team and come up with a better decision. Moreover, the goal is to make the team self-organizing and reduce their dependency on the management and make them self-reliant.
 

5. Appreciate the Good Work
 

It is human nature to feel important, and want to hear praises from others. Appreciation from the fellow teammates, other seniors as well as the management can lead the team to respect each other and work for a common goal. This not only creates a positive work environment but it also encourages each member to learn from one another.
 

6. Collaborate and Teach
 

Being a good ScrumMaster, one should always be ready to work with people who may not know about Scrum. Be it a client, a Development Team, or a new member, a ScrumMaster must make the concept easier for them. The ScrumMaster should guide them as a coach, and work with them to achieve the goal. Essentially, a ScrumMaster must be able to work well with a wide variety of people.
 

7. Rapport With the Client
 

A ScrumMaster knows how to build a good and lasting relationship with the Product Owner as well as with the client, despite differing interests. The ScrumMaster should protect the team from the client while maintaining the relationship. A good partnership helps both sides and can result in productive work.
 

8. True to the Words
 

The words of a ScrumMaster are always valued and are held in high regard. When the ScrumMaster makes a commitment, the priority should be followed through on the commitment. It builds and maintains trust with the client and the Development Team. So, whenever the ScrumMaster gives a word, the Scrum team is confident that it will be done.
 

9. Transparent
 

Last but not least, the ScrumMaster must promote transparent communication. There must be no hidden agendas between the team and the ScrumMaster. 

Not just the team and the ScrumMaster, but everyone in the organization should be transparent with one other. Without transparency, it can be difficult for the organization to achieve desired goals.
 

Summary
 

In today’s world, becoming a ScrumMaster is a challenge in itself. While there is never a bad ScrumMaster, there are qualities and characteristics that separate a good ScrumMaster from a great or extraordinary ScrumMaster. The qualities of a ScrumMaster are both based on knowledge and their soft skills.
 

Qualities and Characteristics of a Good ScrumMaster
 

  • A good Knowledge of the Industry and Scrum Framework
     

Qualities and Characteristics of A Great ScrumMaster
 

  • An in-depth knowledge of the Industry and the Scrum framework, along with advantages and drawbacks, while executing it into the industry.
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