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Learn all about the role and responsibilities of a Scrum Master.

A Scrum Master ensures that Scrum frameworks are properly applied. Discover everything you need to know about the role of a Scrum Master.

Table of contents

Reminder of what the Scrum method is

The Scrum method is an agile method adapted to the management of IT projects. It makes it possible to stay as close as possible to the needs of end-users. It also offers time and energy savings: it avoids developing features that will not be used.

The ultimate goal? Focus on delivering products with high added value while working in the most creative and productive way possible.

Scrum Master: what is it?

The role of the Scrum Master is essential in agile project management. It is at the heart of the transformation dynamics of organizations towards more reactivity and productivity. The Scrum Master coordinates the teams and ensures that communication is optimal. Their mission is essential to navigate with agility in the complex world of IT, whether it concerns data management, innovation, cloud solutions, DevOps, IT operations management, support services, or the development of custom software.

The versatility of the Scrum Master is revealed in their ability to adapt these agile principles to various sectoral contexts, from health to luxury, including watchmaking and non-governmental organizations. This adaptability meets the specific challenges of each area, promoting a collaborative, incremental, and iterative approach to project development.

The missions of the Scrum Master include facilitating Scrum events (Daily Stand-up, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective), supporting the Scrum team towards self-management and continuous improvement, as well as lifting obstacles and interferences that could hinder the progress of sprints.

Finally, the Scrum Master works to establish an environment conducive to transparent and effective communication. They contribute to establishing a culture of collective responsibility, where each team member is involved in the success of the project.

The responsibilities of the Scrum Master

The role of the Scrum Master is characterized by a series of responsibilities and a specific scope of action, which varies slightly in a classic Scrum framework or in a SAFe environment (Scaled Agile Framework) adapted to large organizations and the management of several agile teams.

Scope of action

Various events, such as the Daily Stand-up, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective are part of the daily routine of the Scrum Master. By orchestrating them, they help the team stay aligned with the objectives, to quickly identify and solve problems, and to continuously improve. Moreover, the Scrum Master works closely with the Product Owner to ensure that the backlog (a priority list of features that a product must contain) is well prioritized and understood.

SAFe framework

In the SAFe framework, the role of the Scrum Master expands and integrates into a larger structure. They coordinate several Scrum teams working on the same product or project. In this context, they assume their traditional responsibilities, but must also navigate the coordination and planning mechanisms specific to SAFe, such as PI (Program Increments) Planning and the Scrum of Scrums.

At the level of an ART (Agile Release Train), which is the basic unit of delivery in SAFe, the Scrum Master must ensure that dependencies between teams are managed efficiently. In SAFe, they also have the role of liaison between their team and other SAFe structures, such as the RTEs (Release Train Engineers) and the Solution Trains. This is how the objectives are taken into account and supported by the team’s efforts.

What are their skills?

A Scrum Master must possess a diverse set of skills. They master Agile and Scrum principles, have solid experience in project management, and a proven ability to facilitate, negotiate, and resolve conflicts.

Their communication skills are crucial, as well as a solid understanding of software development processes. An orientation for service, the ability to motivate teams, and a penchant for continuous improvement are also important.

Finally, familiarity with Agile project tracking tools such as Azure DevOps, Jira, Trello, Asana, Scrumwise, Rally, VersionOne, Pivotal Tracker, ClickUp, Kanbanize, Monday, and Lean methodologies reinforce the profile of a Scrum Master.

What is the added value of a Scrum Master in an organization?

The added value of the Scrum Master lies partly in their human qualities: those that allow them to guide and support a team throughout the process. Their approach promotes collaboration, continuous learning, and transparency.

They also bring maximum quality to the product, ensuring rapid adaptation to project evolutions. Their added value is to bring ever more relevance to the final result.

How much does a Scrum Master earn?

The salary of a Scrum Master depends on many factors such as: their experience, training, seniority, geographical location, the complexity of the projects, and the company in which they work. Each Scrum Master position has its specifics, and this is paired with their salary.

How to become a Scrum Master?

Becoming a Scrum Master requires having and cultivating a mindset adapted to agile principles. Career development perspectives are varied and promising: opportunities for significant impact within organizations and professional fulfillment in the field of agile project management.

What training to become a Scrum Master?

The first step towards the role of Scrum Master is often academic training in project management, computer science, or a related disciplinary field. However, the heart of the Scrum Master’s profession lies in understanding agile methodologies and the specific structure of Scrum.

In Switzerland, renowned institutions and certification bodies offer various programs and certifications to acquire these essential skills:

  • Scrum Master Certifications: Certifications such as Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) from Scrum Alliance and Professional Scrum Master (PSM) from Scrum.org are widely recognized and constitute an excellent starting point. They cover the fundamentals of Scrum, the roles within the team, Scrum events, and Artifact management.
  • Continuing Education Programs: Prestigious institutions such as EPFL and ETH Zurich offer specialized courses in agile management, perfect for those looking to deepen their understanding and practical application of agile principles.

What career progression for a Scrum Master?

The career of a Scrum Master does not stop at the role of facilitator. With experience and continuous training, several career paths are available to them:

  • Agile Coach: With solid experience, a Scrum Master can evolve into an Agile Coach role, helping organizations adopt agile methodologies on a larger scale and maximizing their benefits.
  • Agile Project or Program Manager: With recognized expertise, a Scrum Master can be entrusted with managing larger projects or programs involving the coordination of multiple Scrum teams and alignment with the strategic objectives of the organization.

The Scrum Master leads to more qualitative deliveries and increased adaptability to customer demands. The technical expertise of the Scrum Master, combined with their understanding of group dynamics and strategic issues, makes them an essential player in the success of agile projects.

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