What is a ScrumMaster? - Role & Training

Instructor: Sam Torres

Sam has provided agile training and coaching to software development teams for over 15 years and also fills the role as an agile project manager and coach to teams.

We will learn the role the Scrum master plays on a Scrum team and how valuable they are to the success of the team. We'll also discuss some of the training that a Scrum Master might have had to prepare for the role.

Scrum and the Scrum Team

I'll bet, right now, you're wondering what is Scrum and what is a Scrum team. I'm glad you asked!

What is Scrum? Think of Scrum as a style of product development that a bunch of really smart product development guys thought of many years ago. It's a framework of best practices for product development. If you were to use these best practices to build your product. you would realize a great number of benefits, like higher quality products, getting products in the hands of users faster, happier product developers, happier business people, and happier users.

That's just for starters. You have to admit, that's a great list of benefits, right? Now keep in mind, I'm not just talking theory here. I actually build software like this on a daily basis, and you can take it from me that it's awesome!

Now, what is a Scrum team? In order to implement this Scrum style of product development, we need to have a team. Since Scrum is about best practices, there is a best practice as to what roles a team consists of. If you were to build your Scrum team, you would have three roles.

The first would be a product owner, who is in charge of defining and prioritizing all the requirements for the product. Next, you would have your developers, who would take the requirements and do all the work necessary to create the product. Finally you would have the Scrum master, who would guide the team and make sure they are following and getting the most value from implementing the Scrum best practices.

Coaching, That's the Life of a Scrum Master

All right, I'm getting to know you and I feel your next question already bubbling up. You were about to say, 'Interesting, tell me more about what a Scrum master does in his role.'

If I had to sum up the life of a Scrum master into one word it would be coaching. This a Scrum master's responsibility throughout the entire time the product is being conceived, created, tested, delivered to user, fixed, etc. The Scrum master is making sure the developers and the product owner collaborate and are getting all the great benefits of Scrum by following the best practices. He doesn't dictate or tell them how to perform in their roles, he just coaches, guides them and clears their path of any impediments that may be blocking them.

The Training of a Master

You and I are totally in tune now. I can hear your last and most important question right now -- 'How does a Scrum master know what they know?' Probably the best one word answer for that is experience.

Scrum masters usually come from the ranks of developers or former project managers that have had experience working on many Scrum projects. They might come from the classroom setting where they had the opportunity to work on many classroom projects implementing Scrum development. Through this experience they have learned the framework and best practices of Scrum by being guided by an existing Scrum master. They might have taken classes in college or in Scrum master project management.

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