Tips for Selecting a Scrum Master

I. Hints for Management in selecting individuals for Scrum Master Role

Scrum Master is a very challenging job, the job profile is strongly oriented towards leadership and soft skills including moderation, facilitation, presentation, communication and conflict management, and less technically-oriented.

“A Scrum Master removes impediments for the team”

“A Scrum Master is a servant leader helping the team be accountable to themselves for the commitments they make”

  1. Is a servant leader - you need to have to following qualities: listening, commitment to growth, foresight, and the ability to build community.  In addition there are several common characteristics of servant leaders including collaboration, trust, empathy, and the ethical use of power.  The beauties and difficulties of Scrum – the team is self-managing.
  2. Helping the team to be accountable to themselves –Accountability is not micro-management.  It is the opposite.  It is the ability to EXPECT someone to do their work and if they don’t deliver, to hold them accountable and work together if necessary to improve the situation.  In most situations someone is given a task and then a taskmaster of some sort continues to check progress.  Accountability means giving someone a task and expecting it to be completed unless an issue is raised.  Not doing this implies a person is not a team player which leads to lots of other problems.
  3. For the commitments they make -  They are responsible for helping the team meet the commitments the team themselves made.  This may involve the team working as a cross-functional unit (breaking down silos).  It may involve significant collaboration among groups.  It may (and likely does) involve removing impediments (so this is where that came from!).  It may involve holding the team accountable to their commitment to the Scrum framework!  In the latter case this can often involve coaching the team in how Scrum works.  Finally, this may involve holding the team accountable to creating the highest value product possible (high value combined with high quality combined with high productivity).

“The ScrumMaster is responsible for ensuring that the Team adheres to Scrum values, practices, and rules. The ScrumMaster helps the Scrum Team and the organization adopt Scrum. The ScrumMaster teaches the Team by coaching and by leading it to be more productive and produce higher quality products. The ScrumMaster helps the Team understand and use self-management and cross-functionality. However, the ScrumMaster does not manage the team; the team is self-managing.”

II. Scrum Master Characteristics

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