How to Become a Scrum Master: Guide + Tips

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Managing a team is no easy feat. It takes a lot of trial and error to perfect a system that works for everyone in the team. On top of that, your team needs to understand how to reflect on failed successes to produce the best results. Thus, becoming a scrum master enables the entire team to learn from past experiences, including failures, to solve any problem.

Scrum masters influence people to make a change in the company. Their presence can create an exciting work environment for people to explore their skills. So, if you’re a passionate change-maker, here’s what you need to know about becoming a scrum master.

scrum master working with team member

What is a scrum master?

A scrum master is a person who is responsible for managing a team using Agile project management to keep their teams on track from start to finish. They make sure all team members communicate for the success of their project.

For those who are new to project management, let’s define a couple of key words in this article so you have a better grip on the topic:

  • Scrum. Scrum is a framework that offers a way for multiple teams to work together towards a well-defined goal. It allows teams to prioritize specific requirements to deliver complete portions of a project in short cycles called “sprints.” These teams usually have brief daily meetings to discuss the project’s progress and issues. The person who leads this meeting is the scrum master.
  • Agile project management. Agile project management is an approach that focuses on the repetition and continuous improvement of a project. It typically involves a lot of planning to break down a large goal into manageable tasks so different teams can work on it simultaneously.

Going back to what a scrum master is, they are the leader who takes charge of a scrum team to ensure that they follow the agile methodology. Thus, they’re in charge of training team members to be accountable for their tasks and removing any unimportant processes that slow down project development.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a scrum master?

If you think that scrum masters are similar to project managers, they’re not. While project managers focus more on the project outcome, scrum masters are responsible for each team member.

A scrum master wears more than one hat in an organization. They take on the role of a trainer, facilitator, project manager, and representative.

Since scrum masters work in many environments, so your responsibilities will vary depending on the situation. But your core day-to-day duties may include:

  • Supporting team members
  • Delegating tasks to team members
  • Training the team about scrum framework techniques
  • Heading scrum meetings, demos, and other project-related discussions
  • Removing ineffective procedures that delay teams’ productivity
  • Finding new ways to define product goals and backlog management effectively

What is the salary of a scrum master?

Because of the direction of technology, scrum masters are becoming more in demand than project managers. The average salary of a certified scrum master is about $125,131 annually. To put this into perspective, you could earn more or less $60.16 an hour. However, your salary may differ depending on where you reside. 

Places like Green River, WY, Santa Clara, CA, and Mountain View, CA are the cities where certified scrum masters receive the above national average salary.

You can still become a scrum master without certification but don’t expect to earn the same amount as professional scrum masters. However, you can take online courses to secure a certificate.

Some online courses on how to become a scrum master range from 1-20 hours, depending on the depth of the topic. Be sure to find the right educational platform to ensure you’re gaining the proper knowledge. Think of your education as a personal investment that will pay itself back.

scrum project management team documentation

How to become a scrum master

A scrum master dedicates their time to fostering an effective workspace. While becoming a scrum master is straightforward, understanding its project methodologies can be difficult.

If you enjoy helping teams grow, here is the step-by-step process of how to become a certified scrum master:

1. Learn scrum basics

Learning the scrum framework and agile values and principles is crucial since these are the foundations for productively leading a scrum team. You can study the basics of scrum through online courses where you’ll gain the skills needed for your scrum exam.

2. Choose a scrum certification

The ideal way to become a scrum master is by gaining credibility. Therefore, choose a recognized certification program that can offer you a valid scrum certificate.

Having a scrum certificate shows that you’re staying up-to-date with the industry. So below are a few of the scrum master certifications to choose from:

3. Register and study for the exam

Once you’ve accomplished your training program, you need to register for your exam to prove that you have what it takes to be a scrum master. Some programs will give you two weeks to take exam after finishing the course.

Scrum exams focus on scrum principles and practices, including:

  • scalability
  • project management
  • release planning
  • team building
  • progress reporting

However, it’s important to remember scrum history and framework evolution as some programs may include these on the test.

Some programs require a passing score of 74%, while others 85%. Thus reading additional scrum resources can help you ace the test. Or you can learn from webinars and other online courses.

4. Pass the exam

The only way to be a certified scrum master is to pass your exam. It will vary depending on the certification you’re taking. But generally, the test will be multiple-choice and you can finish it in about an hour. They will email you a PDF copy of your scrum master certification if you pass the exam.

5. Renew scrum certifications

Your scrum master certificate expires every two years. If you want to continue your project management career, you have to renew your certificate. This process will require you to pay a renewal fee of around $100 – $295. Plus, an exam retake price that costs about $50. All of this will depend on the organization you earned your certification from.

6. Earn educational requirements

Even though some companies don’t require you to have traditional education, others do. So earning a degree in IT, business administration, or any related field gives you an edge over other candidates. And you can potentially earn more salary if you have a college degree.

Skills needed to become a scrum master

A certified scrum master must have a set of interpersonal and technical skills to keep members on track. Whether you’re just starting or advancing in your career, developing these skills can make your team self-organizing.

Communication

A scrum master must have good communication skills because their role involves planning and idea sharing. You can boost teamwork and effective project collaboration when you relay messages clearly. However, effective communication is nothing without being a good listener. Hearing out your team’s input can also improve the direction of your project, especially when problems arise.

Adaptability

Adaptability is useful when scrum masters encounter sudden changes, so they must rely on their skills to achieve the best outcome. This skill doesn’t only benefit them but the entire team as a whole. When a group member encounters a situation they can’t handle, your clever thinking can make the most out of it. After all, you follow agile development that centers on the concept of change.

Coaching

Since scrum masters are responsible for every team member, they must show their team how to be self-organizing. A team who knows how to complete their tasks with minimal supervision can boost productivity and product quality. So you need to explain to everyone how your organizational processes work while valuing their role in your project.

Software development

Scrum masters constantly collaborate with the software development teams to build a program that minimizes roadblocks. For that reason, they need to understand the technical processes involved in the project development. Thus, having background knowledge on tools like Jira, and Asana secures project success. These tools will help you view, track, and report tasks so you can provide transparency to your team and stakeholders.

Agile project methodology

The agile methodology ensures scrum masters won’t experience delays and sudden changes in their project’s scope. Since it’s helpful for continuous product improvement, it’s something that you should pay close attention to during your scrum training. This skill doesn’t only benefit your team but also your customer that buys your products.

What is the demand for scrum masters?

Understanding the need for scrum masters is important, so you don’t sell yourself out in a shrinking market. The demand for certified scrum masters is gaining popularity as technology continues to evolve. But in today’s job market, scrum master jobs don’t revolve around the world of software anymore because industries like finance, marketing, and consulting also need scrum masters.

Companies with small to complex projects need someone to apply the agile methodology since it’s easy to use when designing products. However, scrum masters don’t only use the agile methods because they also see the benefit of incorporating DevOps, Kanban, and XP into their project development.

The roles of scrum and the scrum team include scrum master, product owner, and developers, which are necessary for the success of an organization. They are the backbone of the framework that builds the project from the ground up. Thus any business can benefit from the agile scrum team.

Recommended courses for you

Scrum Certification Prep Training + Agile Scrum Training

Agile scrum is a straightforward method for managing simple to complex projects. As a result of its simplicity, scrum teams can deliver projects on time.

Sink your teeth into this course to prepare for your scrum certification exam. This training video will answer frequently misunderstood points within scrum so you can confidently implement them in future projects.

Here you’ll gain a complete understanding of different scrum team roles to leverage their skills for better project execution. In addition, this course will give you a bird’s eye view of scrum events like daily scrum meetings, sprint planning, and review.

Scrum Master Training: Case Studies And Confessions

Avoid compromising product quality just to submit it to your client on time. This course will give you top case studies to provide an overview of how to fix problems you may encounter during daily standup, sprint planning, and project releasing. Improve kick-off meetings and bug backlog by learning from other real-world scrum masters’ mistakes.

By the end of this course, you can enhance your performance as a scrum master who knows how to deal with delicate and challenging situations.

Scrum Advanced: Software Development And Program Management

Use advanced scrum methods to run multiple projects simultaneously. Become a scrum master today by taking this course, so you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars for training. Here you’ll discover why and how scrum can impact your project delivery using the scrum of scrums technique.

Provide your clients value by learning the popular framework within the agile project management system. This course will give you essential information on coaching and influencing your scrum in seven simple steps. So whatever role you have in your organization, this course will provide you with the proper knowledge to advance in your career.

Become a certified scrum master

Scrum is part of agile project management that is useful to deliver quality products on time while constantly evaluating the process involved for continuous product development. And for that reason, becoming a scrum master can be helpful to any organization.

A scrum master is a leader equipped with all the knacks needed to support the team. They work in various environments and take charge of day-to-day project execution. So, if you’re interested in this lucrative role, you must have the proper certifications.

Online educational platforms can provide you with the knowledge and process to become a certified scrum master.

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