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Scrum Master Career Path - Essential Guide

With agile practices being widely adopted across forward-thinking companies, the demand for Scrum Masters who play a critical role in the implementation of the Scrum framework is at an all-time high.  A Scrum Master is a ‘servant leader’ of the team who addresses all facets of the processes and practices that are at the core of Scrum.  As the champion of the project, the Scrum Master is at the same time a guide, mentor and facilitator who serves the team, product owner and stakeholders, and has the best interests of the business in mind.If you are a Scrum Master or someone who is aspiring to be one, you might have wondered at some point—what’s next?  A Scrum Master’s role is inherently versatile. Scrum Masters are adept at stepping in wherever needed, performing multiple functions and tailoring their approach to meet the changing needs of the team or project.A Scrum Master Has Options!As a Scrum Master, you’ll find that you have plenty of career options. The more experience you have with Scrum, you will find that you could take on the mantle of an Agile coach, a mentor and guide, a Product Manager or Product Owner, or much more.  You can undertake Scaled Agile certifications, collaborate across distributed teams, and work toward scaling agile across the enterprise. You can even undertake Project Management certifications and move to the role of a Project Manager.  As the world of Scrum continues to evolve, you will find that many more opportunities open up for professionals who have proven Scrum expertise.The Typical Career Path of a Scrum Master Quite typically, Scrum Masters start by serving one team on a single product. As they gain experience, they could start working with several teams on the same product, or even across multiple products.  Many professionals continue on the same pathway, serving in leadership positions or more challenging roles as a Senior Scrum Master or Chief Scrum Master.  There are others who choose to side step into the role of a Product Owner, a Developer or a Manager. As they gain more experience in any of these roles, they can leverage their expertise to become an Agile coach or mentor, or work as an Agile Transformation leader who guides large-scale transformations across enterprises.  There is always scope for improvement and for learning something new, and whatever the path chosen, the skills and capabilities learnt as a Scrum Master will prove invaluable in any situation. The Scrum Master Becomes a Product OwnerAs your role evolves, you might just find that you love the product itself, rather than the process of building it. You could explore the role of the Product Owner, and play a part in determining the why, what and how behind the product itself—as against determining the agile processes that go into creating that product.   Product Owners, in tandem with the Scrum Master and team, work the Sprint Backlog and keep the product vision alive. They help to communicate with stakeholders and end users, and collaborate to build products that deliver value.The Scrum Master Becomes a ManagerScrum Masters are not managers in the typical sense, as they do not manage people or teams. They do, however, manage the process followed by the team.   In their role as a facilitator, Scrum Masters are required to manage conflicts and remove impediments, which requires a good deal of collaboration, communication and empathy. These same skills will stand them in good stead if they choose to take on the role of a Manager.The Role of the MentorPart of a Scrum Master’s responsibilities is to inculcate and foster the Agile Mind-set, which is essentially the role of a Mentor. By constantly reminding the team to follow Agile systems properly, the Scrum Master ensures successful implementation of the principles and processes.   He or she must not only be well versed in the ‘What’ of Scrum, but should also know the underlying ‘Why’s and ‘How’s that Scrum embodies.Next Step: Scrum CoachSeeing the positive changes that Scrum brings to a project can be exhilarating. If you’d like to catalyse a similar transformation across the organization, or even work with different organizations on their Agile implementation journey, then you could choose to be an Agile coach. Your experience and expertise will prove invaluable in guiding individuals and teams to transform the ways in which they are working.   Scrum Coaches have the ability to coach at the managerial or executive level, and should be familiar with business agility and change management strategies to lead significant transformations.Career Options and Career Development of a Scrum MasterAgile has been found to be an operating model that is able to traverse the complexities and challenges of the new world, and companies that have adopted agile are able to manage the impact of change and cope with crisis in a much better way.   As indicated by the ScrumMaster Trends Report from Scrum.org in conjunction with Age of Product, the role of a Scrum Master is becoming more critical to ensuring project success in difficult times. LinkedIn called out the role of a Scrum Master as one of the most promising jobs of 2019 and this trend will continue through the decade.While they are most sought after in software development projects, Scrum Masters are also at the core of a range of industries, ranging from Manufacturing, Government, Healthcare, Finance and Insurance, to Engineering and Technology and Consulting Services.A Scrum Master Focuses on Soft SkillsA large part of a Scrum Master’s role is to ensure that everyone is on the same page, moving forward smoothly without conflict or any obstacles, and assisting both the team and the Product Owner to achieve goals. This requires a deep focus on soft skills.  To be an exceptional Scrum Master, you should have strong communication and collaboration skills, and should have the empathy and understanding required to work with the team as a coach and guide.  Teams are made of individuals who may have strong personalities that could often cause conflict. It is the Scrum Master’s responsibility to defuse any tension, resolve conflicts and dissolve any obstacles to the progress of the work.  By working as a servant leader, the Scrum Master can motivate and encourage the team to perform beyond their best and achieve all targets without fail. Scrum Master vs Project ManagerScrum Masters and Project Managers perform roles that could overlap, but are really quite different. A Project Manager assumes a key leadership role on a project, contributing to all ten knowledge areas of project management.  A Scrum Master, on the other hand, is termed a ‘servant leader’, managing the process of Scrum rather than the people, and contributing toward the resource management, scope management and quality management areas of the project.Scrum Masters facilitate Scrum events such as Sprint meetings and Daily Stand Ups, while the Project Manager creates overall time schedules and manages meetings on a regular basis.A Project Manager has the option of choosing any framework, traditional or agile; but the Scrum Master works with only the Agile Scrum model.For more clarity on the roles, here are the key responsibilities of a Scrum Master and a Project Manager:Scrum MasterProject ManagerAssists and guides the team on Scrum values and principlesAllocates and manages the budgetControls the processes so that they do not deviate from Scrum practicesAssigns people to tasksHolds regular meetings with the team in order to discuss the progress and plan future sprintsHandles change managementRemoves impediments to smooth progress, such as lengthy approvals, dysfunctional tools, poor communication from other departments, internal conflicts, etcNegotiates and communicates with stakeholdersSets in place risk management measuresMonitors and manages the project workflow, schedules and status and ensures that goals are metIdentifies and allocates resourcesThe Best Career Path: Agile Project Manager  Organizations that have embraced Agile are resilient, easy adaptable to evolving changes and have proven that they are consistently quicker to market. These forward-thinking companies are able to outperform their peers time and again, simply because of all these capabilities.  Especially in today’s world where change is the only normal, companies that employ agile practices are miles ahead in terms of customer satisfaction, operational excellence and employee engagement.Project managers are also greatly in demand due to their capabilities of leading successful projects that conclude on time and within budget, upholding consistent quality across products and services. In such a scenario, the ideal career path would be one that combines the best of both worlds; as an Agile Project Manager! Agile Project Management is a field that is strongly coming into its own, using an iterative approach to the traditional project management lifecycle.   Agile Project Managers cope with rapidly evolving scenarios much better as they are able to quickly change their direction, scope and focus as the need emerges.Agile project managers direct agile change by doing the following: They have an overall project vision, start in a broad direction and adapt to changing requirements. By working collaboratively, rather than in a hierarchical manner, they can achieve more in a shorter time. They learn from evolving conditions and are flexible to changes. By continually reflecting, learning and adjusting the ways of working at regular intervals, they are able to ensure customer satisfaction at every stage. They achieve the target in incremental stages.ConclusionA Scrum Master is uniquely positioned on an Agile team, working with the development team as well as the Product Owner to ensure that everything is perfectly in sync and on track to produce the best quality product. They wear many hats and take on the role of a leader who serves the team, rather than managing them.   The word “Scrum” had its origins in Rugby and this is a useful analogy as well; as in Rugby terms, the Scrum Master has mastery over the roles of a team coach, referee and a team member all at once! A Scrum Master’s role will always be in demand. To get started, visit this link !
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Scrum Master Career Path - Essential Guide

Susan May
Blog
17th Feb, 2021
Scrum Master Career Path - Essential Guide

With agile practices being widely adopted across forward-thinking companies, the demand for Scrum Masters who play a critical role in the implementation of the Scrum framework is at an all-time high.  

A Scrum Master is a ‘servant leader’ of the team who addresses all facets of the processes and practices that are at the core of Scrum.  

As the champion of the project, the Scrum Master is at the same time a guide, mentor and facilitator who serves the team, product owner and stakeholders, and has the best interests of the business in mind.

If you are a Scrum Master or someone who is aspiring to be one, you might have wondered at some point—what’s next?  

A Scrum Master’s role is inherently versatile. Scrum Masters are adept at stepping in wherever needed, performing multiple functions and tailoring their approach to meet the changing needs of the team or project.

A Scrum Master Has Options!

As a Scrum Master, you’ll find that you have plenty of career options. The more experience you have with Scrum, you will find that you could take on the mantle of an Agile coach, a mentor and guide, a Product Manager or Product Owner, or much more.  

You can undertake Scaled Agile certifications, collaborate across distributed teams, and work toward scaling agile across the enterprise. You can even undertake Project Management certifications and move to the role of a Project Manager.  

As the world of Scrum continues to evolve, you will find that many more opportunities open up for professionals who have proven Scrum expertise.

The Typical Career Path of a Scrum Master 

Quite typically, Scrum Masters start by serving one team on a single product. As they gain experience, they could start working with several teams on the same product, or even across multiple products.  

Many professionals continue on the same pathway, serving in leadership positions or more challenging roles as a Senior Scrum Master or Chief Scrum Master.  

There are others who choose to side step into the role of a Product Owner, a Developer or a Manager. As they gain more experience in any of these roles, they can leverage their expertise to become an Agile coach or mentor, or work as an Agile Transformation leader who guides large-scale transformations across enterprises.  

There is always scope for improvement and for learning something new, and whatever the path chosen, the skills and capabilities learnt as a Scrum Master will prove invaluable in any situation. 

The Scrum Master Becomes a Product Owner

As your role evolves, you might just find that you love the product itself, rather than the process of building it. You could explore the role of the Product Owner, and play a part in determining the why, what and how behind the product itself—as against determining the agile processes that go into creating that product.  

Product Owners, in tandem with the Scrum Master and team, work the Sprint Backlog and keep the product vision alive. They help to communicate with stakeholders and end users, and collaborate to build products that deliver value.

The Scrum Master Becomes a Manager

Scrum Masters are not managers in the typical sense, as they do not manage people or teams. They do, however, manage the process followed by the team.  

In their role as a facilitator, Scrum Masters are required to manage conflicts and remove impediments, which requires a good deal of collaboration, communication and empathy. These same skills will stand them in good stead if they choose to take on the role of a Manager.

The Role of the Mentor

Part of a Scrum Master’s responsibilities is to inculcate and foster the Agile Mind-set, which is essentially the role of a Mentor. By constantly reminding the team to follow Agile systems properly, the Scrum Master ensures successful implementation of the principles and processes.  

He or she must not only be well versed in the ‘What’ of Scrum, but should also know the underlying ‘Why’s and ‘How’s that Scrum embodies.

Next Step: Scrum Coach

Seeing the positive changes that Scrum brings to a project can be exhilarating. If you’d like to catalyse a similar transformation across the organization, or even work with different organizations on their Agile implementation journey, then you could choose to be an Agile coach. Your experience and expertise will prove invaluable in guiding individuals and teams to transform the ways in which they are working.  

Scrum Coaches have the ability to coach at the managerial or executive level, and should be familiar with business agility and change management strategies to lead significant transformations.

Career Options and Career Development of a Scrum Master

Agile has been found to be an operating model that is able to traverse the complexities and challenges of the new world, and companies that have adopted agile are able to manage the impact of change and cope with crisis in a much better way.  

As indicated by the 
ScrumMaster Trends Reportfrom Scrum.org in conjunction with Age of Product, the role of a Scrum Master is becoming more critical to ensuring project success in difficult times. LinkedIn called out the role of a Scrum Master as one of the most promising jobs of 2019 and this trend will continue through the decade.

While they are most sought after in software development projects, Scrum Masters are also at the core of a range of industries, ranging from Manufacturing, Government, Healthcare, Finance and Insurance, to Engineering and Technology and Consulting Services.

A Scrum Master Focuses on Soft Skills

A large part of a Scrum Master’s role is to ensure that everyone is on the same page, moving forward smoothly without conflict or any obstacles, and assisting both the team and the Product Owner to achieve goals. This requires a deep focus on soft skills.  

To be an exceptional Scrum Master, you should have strong communication and collaboration skills, and should have the empathy and understanding required to work with the team as a coach and guide.  

Teams are made of individuals who may have strong personalities that could often cause conflict. It is the Scrum Master’s responsibility to defuse any tension, resolve conflicts and dissolve any obstacles to the progress of the work.  

By working as a servant leader, the Scrum Master can motivate and encourage the team to perform beyond their best and achieve all targets without fail. 

Scrum Master vs Project Manager

Scrum Masters and Project Managers perform roles that could overlap, but are really quite different. A Project Manager assumes a key leadership role on a project, contributing to all ten knowledge areas of project management.  

A Scrum Master, on the other hand, is termed a ‘servant leader’, managing the process of Scrum rather than the people, and contributing toward the resource management, scope management and quality management areas of the project.

Scrum Masters facilitate Scrum events such as Sprint meetings and Daily Stand Ups, while the Project Manager creates overall time schedules and manages meetings on a regular basis.

A Project Manager has the option of choosing any framework, traditional or agile; but the Scrum Master works with only the Agile Scrum model.

For more clarity on the roles, here are the key responsibilities of a Scrum Master and a Project Manager:

Scrum MasterProject Manager
Assists and guides the team on Scrum values and principlesAllocates and manages the budget
Controls the processes so that they do not deviate from Scrum practicesAssigns people to tasks
Holds regular meetings with the team in order to discuss the progress and plan future sprintsHandles change management
Removes impediments to smooth progress, such as lengthy approvals, dysfunctional tools, poor communication from other departments, internal conflicts, etcNegotiates and communicates with stakeholders

Sets in place risk management measures

Monitors and manages the project workflow, schedules and status and ensures that goals are met

Identifies and allocates resources

The Best Career Path: Agile Project Manager  

Organizations that have embraced Agile are resilient, easy adaptable to evolving changes and have proven that they are consistently quicker to market. These forward-thinking companies are able to outperform their peers time and again, simply because of all these capabilities.  

Especially in today’s world where change is the only normal, companies that employ agile practices are miles ahead in terms of customer satisfaction, operational excellence and employee engagement.

Project managers are also greatly in demand due to their capabilities of leading successful projects that conclude on time and within budget, upholding consistent quality across products and services.

In such a scenario, the ideal career path would be one that combines the best of both worlds; as an Agile Project Manager! Agile Project Management is a field that is strongly coming into its own, using an iterative approach to the traditional project management lifecycle.  

Agile Project Managers cope with rapidly evolving scenarios much better as they are able to quickly change their direction, scope and focus as the need emerges.

Agile project managers direct agile change by doing the following:

  •  They have an overall project vision, start in a broad direction and adapt to changing requirements.
  •  By working collaboratively, rather than in a hierarchical manner, they can achieve more in a shorter time.
  •  They learn from evolving conditions and are flexible to changes.
  •  By continually reflecting, learning and adjusting the ways of working at regular intervals, they are able to ensure customer satisfaction at every stage.
  •  They achieve the target in incremental stages.

Conclusion

A Scrum Master is uniquely positioned on an Agile team, working with the development team as well as the Product Owner to ensure that everything is perfectly in sync and on track to produce the best quality product. They wear many hats and take on the role of a leader who serves the team, rather than managing them.  

The word “Scrum” had its origins in Rugby and this is a useful analogy as well; as in Rugby terms, the Scrum Master has mastery over the roles of a team coach, referee and a team member all at once!

A Scrum Master’s role will always be in demand. To get started, 
visit this link !

Susan

Susan May

Writer, Developer, Explorer

Susan is a gamer, internet scholar and an entrepreneur, specialising in Big Data, Hadoop, Web Development and many other technologies. She is the author of several articles published on Zeolearn and KnowledgeHut blogs. She has gained a lot of experience by working as a freelancer and is now working as a trainer. As a developer, she has spoken at various international tech conferences around the globe about Big Data.


Website : https://www.zeolearn.com

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