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17 Scrum Master Skills And Responsibilities Which Every Team Member Must Know

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Razaq Kazeem @K.razaq / 7:00 PM EDT. October 12, 2022.


Scrum Master is the role that keeps the team focused and working on a constant schedule. The whole purpose of the Scrum Master is to make sure that every single person involved in the project can work optimally. There are many different skills required to do this critical role in a software development team. Here, we have collected 17 Scrum Master skills which every member of your team needs to know.

The Scrum Master is the glue that holds a Scrum team together. They are responsible for making sure that everyone on the team has the tools they need to be successful and for creating conditions where the team is able to self-organize. While there are many different roles within Scrum, this article will focus on some of the skills needed as a Scrum Master: communicating well; experience and knowledge; being a great servant leader; being a facilitator; having a sense of humour; being decisive when necessary; creating an emotionally safe environment; actively listening to others while also encouraging teamwork through balance between conflicting priorities (e.g., delivering features vs testing quality); influencing without authority by protecting teams from external interruptions/distractions while helping guide them towards consensus as needed); spotting impediments/blocking factors quickly whenever possible so they can be removed effectively before they create problems downstream in other areas such as product quality etcetera). Let's dive in!

Scrum Master Skills And Responsibilities

The Scrum Master is an essential role in a Scrum team. They are responsible for ensuring that the Scrum process is adhered to, and that the product backlog is managed effectively. They also act as the lead for the project and its progress. The Scrum Master’s responsibilities include managing a team of developers, testers, product owners, business analysts and other stakeholders who work together on a product development project.

The Scrum Master is a cross between Product Owner, Tester and Business Analyst. They are responsible for ensuring that the team adheres to the scrum methodology and ensures that the product is developed in an efficient manner.

The following are 17 specific tasks that every Scrum master must be able to perform:


1. Communicate Well

A Scrum Master must be able to communicate effectively with each member of the team. Communication is key, and it's not just about talking; listening is equally important. As a Scrum Master, you need to make sure that everyone knows what they're doing and why it's important—but not necessarily in the same way you see it or think about it. You may have a different perspective on things than others do!

The best way for me to accomplish this goal was by using my body language and tone of voice when communicating with others: I would ask questions like: "How can I help?" or "Tell me more." This helped me understand where they were coming from before jumping into an explanation myself (which could take up precious time).

2. Experience and Knowledge

You must have experience in Agile software development. You must know the Scrum framework, and you must be able to explain it to your team members in a way they can understand.

You should also have knowledge of your team's domain, process, and expectations for delivering value to customers or clients over time.

3. Be a Great Servant Leader

A servant leader is a person who focuses on the needs of others. They are selfless, humble and kind. Servant leaders have a strong desire to help their team succeed in every way possible.

Servant leaders also understand that they can't do it alone; they need all hands on deck if they want to win! That's why it's important for them to train their Scrum Masters on how best to serve others so that everyone gets along well together as a team.

4. Be a Facilitator

A facilitator is someone who helps the team to reach consensus. They are not a decision maker, leader or babysitter—they're just there to help you get along and make sure everyone's on the same page.

  • The facilitator doesn't have to be an expert at Scrum (but if you're going to function as one, then it'd be helpful). They don't always have access to all the information that other members do; so they may need some guidance from teammates as well.

  • You should always keep in mind that your role as a facilitator doesn't end when your turn comes up at the table during planning sessions or retrospectives—it continues throughout execution!

5. Have a Sense of Humour

Don't be afraid to laugh at yourself and others. Humour is a great way to break the ice, reduce stress and build a sense of camaraderie within your team. It can help everyone feel more comfortable when they're working together.

6. Be Decisive, as Necessary

Being decisive is one of the most important skills for a Scrum Master. It means you have to be able to make decisions when it’s needed and don't let your team get distracted by making lots of small decisions.

Deciding what to do next is something that shouldn't be delayed, because if you wait too long, then someone else will take charge and take over those responsibilities instead of letting you do them yourself. When this happens, your team might start losing focus on their work and could even get confused about what they need to do next or how they should go about doing it! You don't want that happening - so make sure all your ducks are in order before taking action!

7. Create an Emotionally Safe Environment

While every team member should do their part to be productive, it's important that you create an environment where people are comfortable sharing ideas and working together. This includes creating a safe space for them to voice concerns or frustrations without fear of being judged or criticized. You need to make sure that everyone feels like they can open up about their feelings without feeling embarrassed, anxious, or embarrassed by their coworkers' reactions when they do so. If someone shares something personal with you (such as a problem at home), try not taking it personally and instead listen carefully so that you can help them solve the issue together.

8. Actively Listen to Others

Listening is a skill that can be learned and improved. It's about more than just hearing, it's about understanding the words that are being said. And when listening as a Scrum Master, you're not just listening to what someone says — you're also listening for clues about their feelings or motivations behind the words they use. As a result of this active, empathetic approach to listening (to both your team members' words and non-verbal cues), you'll have an easier time understanding how your team members feel about themselves and each other: whether they think their work is appreciated; if they feel like they have too much responsibility; if there's anything else going on that might make them feel stressed out or anxious.

9. Encourage Teamwork

Teamwork is a key skill that every team member should possess. A Scrum Master can use the Scrum board to keep track of progress, but it's important for everyone to be aware of what everyone else is doing and how much work they're able to accomplish. The daily Scrum meeting provides an opportunity for each team member to discuss progress made (and areas needing improvement), as well as how they can help each other out in their respective roles—whether that means bringing additional information together or going over someone else's latest iteration with them so they can get more comfortable with it before presenting it back at the next all-hands meeting.

In addition, there may be times when your team needs motivation beyond just "do more," which is where sprint goals come into play! Sprint goals are benchmarks toward which you'll push yourself and your teammates; if you reach these targets by a certain date/time frame (or better yet, earlier!), then congratulations! You've done great work throughout this sprint period; now go show off those results.

10. Balance Conflicting Priorities

The Scrum Master is responsible for prioritizing tasks and goals among the team members. They must balance conflicting priorities between teams, projects, stakeholders, departments and individuals.

The best way to do this is by using a prioritization framework that includes all of the above categories in their own section. This will help you keep track of what needs to be done when it comes time to decide which tasks should get done first or second priority.

11. Influence without Authority

The ability to influence without authority is a crucial skill for any Scrum Master. As the leader of your team, you must be able to persuade others and help them understand how they can benefit from their work together. You should also be able to influence people within the organization who may not necessarily be part of your team or working directly with you.

The way this works is by influencing others through influence rather than authority—that is, being persuasive rather than authoritative (i.e., telling people what they should do). This can come naturally if you've been working in similar environments before moving into Scrum Master role or if it's something new for you altogether! For example, if someone needs help with their tasks so badly that he/she wants nothing more than for his/her manager to tell him/her what exactly needs doing; then it would make sense for this person's manager instead just giving him/her some feedback about what went wrong during last week's sprint planning session.

12. Protect the Team from External Interruptions, Distractions and Challenges

The Scrum Master must protect the team from external interruptions, distractions and challenges. The team needs to be protected from external interruptions. The Scrum Master should recognize and deal with any external issues that impact the work of his or her team members. These may include: customers who demand unreasonable changes in design or functionality; new competitors entering a market; or regulatory agencies (e.g., FDA) requiring development of new products or services.

13. Help Guide the Team to Consensus, as Needed

The Scrum Master is a facilitator, not a dictator. The Scrum Master’s job is to help the team reach consensus, as needed. If it’s clear that one person doesn't have all of the information needed to make an informed decision about something—whether it's about time or resources—the Scrum Master should ask for help from other members of the team instead of making decisions on their own.

14. Spot Impediments and Remove Them Quickly and Efficiently for the Team

If a team member is not performing his or her job well, it's your job to spot that and remove him or her from the team. You can do this by talking with the person directly, or if you're feeling particularly bold and assertive, writing down your observations in a note and sending it to them.

Removing an impediment can be as simple as asking someone if they have any questions about their work on the project (or maybe even just "How are things going?"). However, sometimes removing an impediment requires more than just asking questions—it might also require some serious confrontation!

There will be times when removing an impediment feels like a waste of time—but don't worry: successful teams know how important it is for everyone involved to feel comfortable expressing themselves openly so that everyone can benefit from their ideas and contributions at all times during collaboration sessions (and beyond).

15. Protect the Team from Unreasonable Demand

Be wary of unreasonable demands and requests from outside influences.

As the Scrum Master, you must protect your team from unreasonable demand or requests from outside influences (product owner, customers, managers etc.). In this role, you are responsible for ensuring that all stakeholders involved in delivering the product adhere to agreed upon standards and processes. You can do this by:

  • Escalating where necessary – If someone on your team is not performing at their best or making an error that puts everyone else at risk then it's time for them to go! This may include firing someone if there's no alternative but also having conversations with them about what kind of behaviour will result in their dismissal from the team.

  • Making decisions based on facts rather than emotions – Emotions get us into trouble because they blind us from seeing what really happened or being able to make sound judgments based on reality rather than personal biases towards others involved within an organization (e.g., leadership).

16. Ability to Adapt Quickly with Changes in Environment or Requirements

A good Scrum Master is able to adapt quickly and easily, whether it’s a change in the environment or requirements. He or she will be able to work under pressure and make decisions quickly when needed, as well as communicate effectively with the team and stakeholders.

The Scrum Master must have the ability to work with others effectively on projects from start-up through completion. This means understanding how each person contributes towards achieving an effective project outcome (and even before then), which in turn will help them build trust within their team members over time. This also means being able to negotiate terms within agreements made between parties involved in creating value out of all involved in creating something new together for society at large!

17. Scrum Master Skills Can Be Learned

That's right - no one is born knowing how to be Scrum Master! You can absolutely learn the skills you need to be a Scrum Master. If you want to be a Scrum Master, you can learn the skills needed by working with other Scrum Masters. You can also read books or attend workshops that are focused on Scrum Master training.

You will get a better understanding of what it takes to be a good scrum master by watching other people in action, whether they're experts or novices.

Being a Scrum Master can be a rewarding role, but it is also one that requires dedication and commitment. You have to learn how to communicate well, as well as have the experience and knowledge in order to take on this role effectively.

To excel at your job, it's not just important that you understand its responsibilities and duties, but also to know where you fit into its place within the company. A clear idea of the Scrum Master position can mean the difference between a thriving career as a Scrum Master and something less satisfying. Helpful advice here can bolster your success in being the team's Scrum Master, helping both you and the team achieve their goals.

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