Career Development

Scrum Master Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More

Scrum is a framework for developing and sustaining complex products. A scrum team typically consists of cross-functional specialists who work in short bursts of time called 'sprints'. The team self-organizes to decide how best to accomplish the sprint's goal.

Scrum is a framework for developing and sustaining complex products. A scrum team typically consists of cross-functional specialists who work in short bursts of time called ‘sprints’. The team self-organizes to decide how best to accomplish the sprint’s goal.

A scrum master (SM) is a person with a background in software development who is responsible for the overall integrity of the development process. The SM ensures that the team is working effectively and efficiently, and that the team is following the rules of the framework.

A scrum master is responsible for removing impediments to the team’s progress, for ensuring that the team is ready to start each sprint with a clear definition of the goal, and for ensuring that the team meets the goal of the sprint.

Scrum Master Job Duties

Scrum masters are responsible for the following:

  • Maintaining the Scrum process and making sure it is followed.
  • Working with the development team to provide clear and concise requirements for them to complete tasks.
  • Ensuring that the team adheres to timeframes and delivers what was promised.
  • Monitoring progress towards goals and ensuring that impediments are dealt with quickly.
  • Collaborating with other teams, managers, and stakeholders to identify potential problems before they arise.
  • Working with management to create a roadmap for long-term goals.
  • Coaching members of the team in specific agile practices.
  • Working with technical experts to ensure that the team has adequate resources for their projects.

Scrum Master Salary & Outlook

As of May 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for scrum masters is $92,870. The highest-earning 10% make more than $150,000.

Job opportunities in the field are expected to grow by 25% from 2019-2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. This rapid job growth is due to the increasing demand for efficiency and cost savings across all sectors of the economy.

Scrum Master Job Requirements

Scrum Master is a certification-based role, and there are many certifications available.

Certification: Scrum Master certification is offered by several organizations, including the Scrum Alliance, Project Management Institute, and Scrum.org. Typically, certification is available at two levels: Professional Scrum Master and Certified Scrum Master.

Education: Scrum Masters usually possess a bachelor’s degree in business administration, computer science or a related field. Some employers prefer Scrum Masters who have a master’s degree.

Experience: Employers tend to seek candidates with at least four years of experience in a project management role. They often come from the project team, but sometimes they are promoted from within the organization.

Scrum Master Skills

In addition to education and experience, Scrum Masters need the following skills:

Problem-solving skills: The ability to resolve problems quickly and efficiently is crucial in this role.

Ability to handle pressure: The role requires individuals to handle pressure well. They must be able to deal with deadlines and tight schedules while keeping morale high among the team members.

Leadership skills: A Scrum Master must have strong leadership skills in order to coordinate all the various elements of a project team’s work.

Empathy: A Scrum Master must be able to put himself or herself in other people’s shoes and understand their perspective.

Conflict resolution skills: This skill is necessary for a Scrum Master to resolve conflicts between team members or other stakeholders of the project.

Technical knowledge: A Scrum Master should have some understanding of the project being managed, including technical aspects such as how the software works and what can go wrong during development.

Scrum Master Work Environment

Scrum masters must work with a variety of people, including the product owner, the development team, the product manager, and business analysts. They may work in an office, but must spend time at the client site meeting with the team and other project stakeholders.

Scrum Masters spend much of their time using computers, and therefore are vulnerable to eyestrain and carpal tunnel syndrome. They also spend much of their time working with people, and therefore are vulnerable to issues such as bullying, abuse, emotional harm, and sexual harassment.

Scrum Master Career Advancement

Scrum masters are often promoted to become Agile Coaches, which is a more senior role in the organization. They serve as an advisor for the development team and help the team reach its goals in a more effective way. Agile coaches are often called upon to help with the development of new projects within the company. They act as liaisons between the development team and the rest of the company. Agile coaches are also in charge of helping the team problem-solve and organize meetings.

Scrum Master Trends

Here are three trends influencing how Scrum Masters work. Scrum Masters will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Communication Skills

Scrum Masters are increasingly becoming the bridge between product management and software development, meaning that they must be able to communicate effectively with both teams.

Scrum Masters should be experts in their field of work but they also need to understand how different roles interact with each other in order to build strong relationships across all departments within an organization. This skill will become more important as companies look for Scrum Masters who can manage both cross-functional teams and technical experts effectively.

The Rise of Virtual Work

The virtual workplace is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., with about 20% of employees working remotely full-time and nearly 50% reporting that they regularly work from home. This trend will likely continue to grow in coming years as employees seek out ways to make their personal lives more flexible and as businesses look for ways to cut costs on overhead by reducing the need for physical office space.

Collaborative Decision Making

The Agile development methodology requires close collaboration between product owners, team members, and other stakeholders in order to make sure that the product is meeting customer needs.

The value of collaborative decision making can be seen in some of the most successful companies today. For example, Google’s famously unconventional approach to management relies on open discussions between employees at all levels of the company.

This style is particularly effective because it gives every member of the team a voice in their own work, which allows for better decision making throughout each stage of the process.

How to Become a Scrum Master

1. Planning Your Career Path

Being a Scrum Master is not for everyone, but it is a very satisfying career. If you are considering this position, you should first understand what the Scrum Master does and why it is important to an organization. It is helpful to know the general responsibilities of a Scrum Master, but remember that these tasks can vary from one organization to another.

After reviewing the common responsibilities of a Scrum Master, it is important to look at your skills and interests to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If you enjoy leading people, communicating with others, and creating structure and order, then this job may be a good fit for you.

2. Writing a Resume

A good resume for a scrum master will highlight your experience with both technology and management. This includes the ability to lead, motivate and inspire teams, as well as an understanding of technical concepts.

Your resume should also show that you have a strong work ethic and are capable of managing projects on your own. It’s important that you can explain your job in terms of how it helps the company.

3. Applying for Jobs

The best way to find a job as a Scrum Master is to be an active participant in the Agile community. Search for jobs at conferences and meetups, ask other people who are working as Scrum Masters how they found their jobs, and share your experiences with others. Also, keep your eye on the Agile Journal for job listings, and check out Agile.com’s career page for more information on how to find work in the industry.

4. Ace the Interview

In order to interview well as a scrum master candidate, you will want to demonstrate your knowledge of Scrum methodology and how it is used. You should also have an understanding of Agile principles. Be prepared to discuss how you would coach a team that is struggling with using Scrum, or perhaps needs help transitioning from Waterfall to Agile.

Be sure to ask questions about the company culture as well. In addition, know the details of your resume so you can speak knowledgeably about your qualifications for the job during an interview. Try not to be too wordy or long-winded in your responses — after all, Scrum Masters need to be efficient!

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