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What is Certified Scrum Master and Its Important

by Gayathri Vishwanathan

April 16, 2018
Category Agile and Scrum


Before we understand what Scrum Master is, Let us understand what exactly Scrum is. Scrum is nothing but a methodology or a framework on which Agile manifests. Basically, it is a watertight yet lightweight process to manage and control the software development of product in today’s fast changing environment and world.

Who is Scrum Master?

Now that we know what Scrum is, let us understand what or who Scrum Master is? As the name suggests, Scrum Master is a Master who runs the Scrum Show in Agile just like a Ring Master who runs the show in the Circus. Without Scrum Master, the Scrum Show is incomplete. He is a coordinator between the Scrum Team and the Product Owner.

Scrum Master is called as a Servant Leader of the Scrum Team. Yes, you read it right- Servant Leader. Both the words “Servant” and “Leader” may sound contradictory. But Scrum Master works as a servant and directs or Leads the Scrum Team as a Leader. Typically, a certified Scrum Master: –

  • Is a facilitator for the team
  • Represents management to the project
  • Has a specific role with well-articulated responsibilities
  • Is responsible for enacting scrum values and practices
  • Removes impediments
  • Shields the team from external distractions

What does a Certified Scrum Master do?

Behind the name is a role, and a pattern of duties and responsibilities. The name “Scrum Master” represents a pattern known as Servant Leadership.

  • A certified Scrum Master facilitates a team not by telling them what to do, but by removing impediments that get in their way and coaching them in agile best practices.
  • Shields the team from diversions and distractions
  • Facilitates planning sessions
  • Facilitates reviews and retrospectives
  • Coaches the team in agile best practices
  • Helps the team to collaborate better
  • Helps the team to reach consensus during the daily scrum.
  • Advocates the team’s position
  • Anticipates
  • Finds ways to remove team impediments
  • Makes sure daily standups happen, and are conducted properly
  • Encourages transparency and associated metrics
  • Understands and explains the team’s progress to interested stakeholders
  • Arbitrates between team members when necessary

A CSM Certification training is not only facilitates the Scrum team but also ensures that the Product- Owner knows how to arrange the Product Backlog to maximize value. He continuously strives hard so that the Scrum Team is focused and not deviates from the Goal. He also contributes at Organizational level by working with other Scrum Masters to increase the effectiveness of the application of Scrum in the organization.

What does a Certified Scrum Master doesn’t do?

  • Direct the team by telling them what to do. Instead, he or she should assist the team to self-organize and do what it takes to expedite their progress
  • A Scrum Master should simply ensure that the standup happens and is conducted properly.
  • Estimate the team’s work. If an agile team are using estimates in their planning, they must be responsible for them. The Scrum Master will judge if needed.
  • Go off his or her own sweet way. A good Scrum Master will always maintain an awareness of where the team is in relation to its goals
  • Persuade a team in doing a task in a particular way.

A Scrum Master’s Routine:

A Certified Scrum Master’s routine looks somewhat like below:

Start of the day-

  • Update and review the current Burndown chart for the current Sprint, for each Team of interest
  • If a Team is running behind schedule, investigate, and try to help bring it back on track.
  • Review the Sprint Backlog Items and their associated tasks
  • Check to see if any tasks have missing information
  • Look for inconsistencies
  • Follow up with appropriate Team members, to ensure they supply missing information, and correct inconsistencies

During the Day-

  • Identify any issues that are impeding progress
  • Assist Team members to resolve issues
  • Facilitate the Daily Scrum meeting
  • Review new User Stories, Technical Stories, and Defects added to the Product Backlog

End of Day –

  • Same as Start of Day: Review status, look for missing or inconsistent information

Scrum Master Certification and Training:

Scrum Master Certification and Training is 2 -day program where one is trained on Optimal utilization of Scrum, its implementation and of course on a Scrum Master- his roles and responsibilities. Tools/ Activities are conducted to help student understand the Scrum and Scrum Master so that they can relate to their day to day work, coach and facilitates techniques and implement the learning in the Organization.

There is a Certification called as Certified Scrum Master (CSM) Certification Training which helps you learn Scrum Master. Scrum Alliance provides CSM certification- a renowned body for all Scrum related certifications. And on behalf of Scrum Alliance, StarAgile is an institute which conducts 2-day training program followed by certification exam for Scrum Master. StarAgile is one of the best institutes I have ever come across. Their 2-day training program is interactive session and trained without using Powerpoint Presentation. Lot of activities assigned to students so that they can really relate to their work. In a nutshell, Professionals who are interested in Agile, Scrum, Processes must get them certified in Scrum Master.

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