According to Scrum.org, in March 2022, there were 646,600 professional scrum certifications held globally. This stat highlights the increasing popularity of Scrum training and explains why it’s so widely used across hardware development, marketing, business operations, and even SpaceX.
The most popular role within the Scrum framework is arguably the Scrum Master. They act as a sort of glue between developers and product owners.
A Scrum Master has two main accountabilities:
- Enacting Scrum as per the Scrum Guide
- Ensuring the effectiveness of the team
They also actively work to remove any obstacles and help improve business agility. The good news is: you don’t need to come from a specific background to become a professional Scrum Master.
However, be warned that it takes plenty of hard work and dedication. Read this FDM consultant’s inspiring journey from Royal Navy to Scrum Master.
In this blog, we list 6 top skills that you can learn from Scrum Master training and use to lead successful Agile teams.
But first, a quick definition of Scrum and its scope:
What is Scrum?
According to the official Scrum Guide, Scrum is a simple framework for effective team collaboration on complex projects. Scrum gets its name from rugby terminology and just like a rugby team, encourages members to learn from experience and continuously improve. It involves specific values, commitments, events and artifacts, which all ensure the seamless running of a project.
The Scrum team is made up of a Scrum Master, a Product Owner and Developers who all focus on achieving one objective at a time.
What does a Scrum Master Do?
A Scrum Master helps teams organise, collaborate and perform better. The Scrum framework has regular meetings that take place throughout a Sprint. These include:
- Sprint Planning
- Daily Scrum
- Sprint Review
- Sprint Retrospective
The Scrum Master enables teams to self-organise through training, mentoring and coaching approaches.
Roadblocks can come up at any point during a Sprint, slowing or pausing progress for the project. These usually surface at Daily Scrums and can be resolved by Developers. However, in case the issue is beyond the scope of a developer, the Scrum Master steps in. They provide transparency and take a proactive stance to problem-solving – including talking to other team members and escalating the issue.
Skills You Can Learn from Scrum Master Training
Scrum Master Training combines a blend of hard and soft skills:
1. Strong Scrum and Agile Training skills
A Scrum Master helps teams follow the guidelines of the Scrum framework. This requires a robust knowledge of scrum terminology and artifacts. A professional Scrum Master training syllabus introduces the five Scrum events that aim to minimise the need for meetings and improve efficiency.
The syllabus also includes concepts like Product Backlog, Done and Acceptance Criteria.
A Scrum Master certification is essentially what sets you apart from a regular project manager or team leader. It helps you develop an Agile mindset and approach to problem solving which has an impact on the success of the team as a whole. According to a State of Scrum report, 81% of Scrum Masters believe that Scrum Master certification improved their practice.
2. Organisational Skills
The success of a Scrum team depends on proper planning and structure. This calls for strong organisational skills to ensure team members and tasks are on track. Team management is a key skill that you can learn from Scrum Master training. Good Scrum Masters use a ‘team charter’ - a working agreement among the team that is closely linked with organisational values. The team charter is a living document that is updated with the changing needs of the team. It defines agreed behaviours and a team’s availability for each other.
Many scrum teams use online project management tools for organisation and to maintain overall visibility across workflows.
3. Tech Knowhow
One of the main roles of a Scrum Master is to help the software development team to build programmes while mitigating obstacles. This calls for some level of technical knowledge. While Scrum Masters are not expected to write codes for software development, they need a thorough understanding of a product’s technical features and its scope to successfully steer the product. Scrum Masters can undertake a Certified Scrum Developer training in addition to the Scrum Master certification to consolidate their software development skills in an Agile environment. This technical training is by no means mandatory. However, it provides a more holistic view of the product and Scrum Masters can use this learning to guide their teams to build better programmes.
4. Interpersonal Skills for effective communication
As a facilitator of team collaboration, Scrum Masters need to have strong interpersonal skills to effectively communicate with their teams. They need to ask the right questions to spot any pain points and guide their teams to overcome these issues.
Although interpersonal skills are largely an individual talent, professional Scrum Master training helps hone them.
A Scrum Master certification provides an in-depth understanding of Scrum values that promote collaboration within teams. The Scrum Guide includes five core Scrum Values:
Scrum Masters use their deep understanding of Scrum values to enable optimum collaboration within teams. They do this by actively collaborating with stakeholders outside their own development teams – including other Scrum Masters and Product Owners.
A Scrum Master’s interpersonal skills are particularly tested during a conflict. High performing teams will occasionally have conflicts. It’s the Scrum Master’s job to use a facts-based approach to facilitate a resolution.
Agile development is based on the concept of change and adaptability to meet customer needs. Scrum Masters follow the framework meticulously while practically applying the Scrum framework. However, they do need to be adaptable to manage the changing needs of the team and the organisational system. Scrum training helps develop an Agile mindset that can handle change.
6. True Leadership
This is arguably one of the most important soft skills to learn from Scrum Master training. True leadership advocates an approach of leading by example. The Scrum Master is tasked with leading the team through the entire development process whilst following Scrum guidelines. A true leader leads the team from the front, side and behind. Leading from the front involves empirical product planning and visualising how the rest of the team view agility. Scrum Masters do this by mirroring agility themselves.
Leading from the side, a Scrum Master works alongside a team to practically demonstrate how certain methods and techniques can improve agility. So, in stead of telling the team how to do something, the Scrum Master shows them how to do it.
Leading from behind, the Scrum Master helps remove impediments. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they tackle these barriers themselves. Scrum Masters could also use a mix of coaching and other facilitation techniques to help remove obstacles as prescribed in the Scrum Guide.
What can a Scrum Master Certification do for you?
A Scrum Master Certification is an official confirmation of a candidate’s eligibility to work in a team delivering diverse products. It endorses their expertise in Scrum practices and enhances their employability in the industry. You can be a manager or a team leader and a Certified Scrum Master training can help you improve your team management and leadership skills.
FDM’s Scrum Training
FDM is leading the way in Agile working, particularly with Scrum. We provide expert training in Agile Scrum Framework to all our team members and trainees. Product Owners across FDM have introduced Scrum through multiple Agile Pods this past year. As a result, both FDM consultants and our clients have seen first-hand how effective Scrum is in a business working environment, where flexibility and collaboration are key to achieving tangible business products and results.
If you’re looking to kickstart your career in technology, apply to FDM’s Ex-Forces Programme.