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How To Be A Successful SCRUM MASTER

The Scrum Guide™ defines Scrum as a framework for developing and sustaining complex products. This framework enables teams to address complex adaptive problems, while they productively and creatively deliver products of the highest possible value.

The framework is regarded as lightweight and simple; yet incredibly difficult to master. The framework is made up of essential components such as the Scrum Teams, Events, Artifacts and Rules – this articles focus is on Scrum Teams.

Scrum Teams deliver products iteratively and incrementally, leading to a useful version of a working product.

Only three roles are formally recognized – the Product Owner, the Development Team, and the Scrum Master.

They must be self-organizing with all the required competencies and emotional intelligence, to master their work without reliance on direction from above, able to optimize their own flexibility, creativity and productivity, all of which personifies high performing agile teams.

As with any significant change in any organization, embracing Scrum as a framework should be a well thought through strategy, and understanding how Scrum roles differentiate themselves from more traditional project execution roles is a good start. An initial, brief understanding of these three roles will help you:

Scrum teams must be self-organizing with all the competencies and emotional intelligence required to master their work without reliance on direction from above. In my previous article I briefly introduced the three key Scrum roles, that of, Product Owner, Development Team, and Scrum Master.This article focusses on seven core competencies you will need to be the best Product Owner (PO) you can be.

  1. You must represent the customer, become the Voice of the Customer (VOC) and maximize business value, as well as ensuring that the team appreciate how their deliverables impact the business.
  2. As PO, you must make key decisions and optimize product value and the teams’ work by setting the priorities for the items in the Prioritized Product Backlog. For this you require immense functional knowledge of your business and know what your business needs, as the development team will look upon you to get answers related to requirements.
  3. As the business subject matter expert, you define the Project Vision Statement that serves as the inspiration and focus for the entire project.
  4. You must ensure that the Development Team understands items in the Product Backlog by making it visible, transparent, and clear to all, showing what the team will work on next.
  5. You must play a key role in charting the release calendar. Based on your thorough understanding of the business strategies, market trends, and end-user needs, you need to predict with reasonable accuracy when a set of functionalities will be relevant to the customers.
  6. You must provide visibility to business leadership through close engagement with the team and working with them throughout the development cycle, helping in prioritization, understanding constraints, mitigating risks, and providing requirement clarifications.
  7. You must ensure that the identified benefits are achieved through excellent change management, during the iterations and on project completion.

Scrum teams must be self-organizing with all the competencies and emotional intelligence required to master their work without reliance on direction from above. In my previous two articles, I briefly introduced the three key Scrum roles, that of, Product Owner, Development Team, and Scrum Master, with a more in-depth look at the Product Owner.


The seven core competencies you need to be the very best Scrum Master (SM) you can be.

  1. You must be a master of the Scrum Framework as you are responsible for ensuring that Scrum is understood and enacted by the Scrum Team with great productive adherence to Scrum theory, practices and rules.
  2. You must understand and ascribe to being the servant-leader for the Scrum Team. No longer the ‘manager’ but rather someone who moderates and facilitates team interactions as the team coach and key motivator, removing obstacles and guarding the team against negative external influences.
  3. You must serve the Product Owner by being the master of Product Backlog management techniques.
  4. As Scrum Master, you must serve the Development Team by coaching them to get the best out of being self-organized and cross-functional.
  5. You must serve the organization in its endeavor to adopt Scrum.
  6. You must serve as the agile change agent, leading to increased productivity and effectiveness of Scrum throughout the business and across other Scrum Teams.
  7. As Scrum Master, you must be a skilled facilitator, able to facilitate Scrum Events successfully.

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