Everyday Video: What is a Scrum Master?

So you're curious about this Scrum Master thing?

Maybe you’re a project manager interested in becoming a scrum master

Or maybe you found a job description online and want to know what the role is like and if you would enjoy it

Today's video from Everyday Design will answer these questions by covering:

  • The roles of a Scrum Master.
  • The responsibilities of a Scrum Master.
  • How to become a Scrum Master.

Reflection Questions

  • What are your goals as you learn about the role of a Scrum Master?
  • Are you looking to grow your skills in a current role or land a new role?
  • What is your plan for learning the basics of Scrum?

If you are interested in learning Scrum or teaching it to your team, you'll want to check out Everyday Scrum. It's a guide for everyday people to learn Scrum and is written intentionally to be accessible to those practicing Scrum outside the software development space.

You may also find this infographic helpful as a summary of the Scrum Master role.

If you want to explore more Scrum related content, I have lot's of Agile and Scrum posts for you and I've highlighted a few of them below.

Scrum Basics

Scrum Roles

Scrum Books

Related Videos

Related Posts


The first time I heard it, it was a funny-sounding name. Let's be honest. It kind of sounds like this weird mashup between rugby and Wizards. Spoiler. It's not. It's not nearly as exciting as that, but it can still be a really impactful and fulfilling role if done well. So you're curious about this Scrum Master thing. Maybe you're a project manager who's interested in becoming a Scrum Master.

Maybe you read a job description, and you're not sure what the role is like. Would you enjoy it? Either way, you're curious. And today, here in everyday design, we're going to cover. What is a Scrum Master? What role do they play? What responsibilities do they have? This is going to be an overview. So I've included down in the description lots of links to other videos and content that will help you take a deeper dive if that's what you want to do after this.

But for now, let's dive in. Scrum Master. What is it? I've been a Scrum Master. I've trained other Scrum Masters. But the first time I heard it, it was a funny-sounding name. Let's be honest. It kind of sounds like this weird mash-up between rugby and wizards. Spoiler. It's not. It's not nearly as exciting as that, but it can still be a really impactful and fulfilling role if done well.

Whisker Master is part of the larger Scrum team. So let's look at what the Scrum Master does on the team. They play three critical roles. The first one is that of coaching. They are a coach. They help the team focus on maximizing their impact as part of the development team. And they do this really through teaching them and helping them grow.

Second, they bring clarity. They help the team, and the organization understand Scrum, and really that latter helping the organization understand Scrum might be one of the most important parts of their job. More on that in a second. But the third part, the third role that they play is that of a servant leader and a servant leader. Let's be clear.

They're not the boss. They're not in charge of the development team members. They don't tell them what to do. In fact, they work hard for everybody, including themselves, to respect the team's agency that the team has that agency to do what needs to get done to deliver the value that they're being tasked with. They also ensure that they have the mastery and the resources they need.

They go to bat for them to get them the resources to protect the team's capacity. Most all of the work the Scrum Master does is on behalf of the Scrum Team so they can function well. Okay. Those are the three roles, and now kind of interwoven with those roles, are the Scrum Master's responsibilities. So you're going to see some overlap here, but I think it helps paint a more full picture for you.

So the first one is that of facilitation as a Scrum master, you do you do a lot of facilitation and that can come as part of the set. Scrum events. But you can also come in just a lot of ad hoc times as you're helping the team solve a problem that they're facing again, because you're not telling them how to solve it, but you might be facilitating some sort of exercise to really help them lean in and figure out how they want to solve it.

The second responsibility of the Scrum Master is to protect the practices of Scrum. And now that's not because the practices are super sacred in and of themselves, but it's because the practices are designed to help the team thrive. So they protect the team by protecting the practices. The thirdly, there's a decent amount of time helping the team by removing obstacles.

And obstacles can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. So this responsibility can vary a lot. And often those obstacles, sometimes they come from within the team, but often they come from outside the team. Which leads to the last responsibility that we hinted at before, and that is becoming a scrum champion to the rest of the organization.

It's their responsibility and it's an often overlooked responsibility of the Scrum Master to help the rest of the organization understand the why and the what and the how. Scrum not doing this is probably the most common reason I see Scrum fail to really take root and thrive. It's because if the people in the rest of the organization, no matter how well that team is functioning of the rest of the organization, doesn't understand it or they're they don't like it or they're frustrated by it.

There's going to just be friction everywhere. And that friction will eventually halt the progress of the Scrum team. So what does it look like to champion Scrum within your organization? Well, it can be well, at times. It's through just a ton of conversations, but it can be through training, it can be through documentation, can be through presentation. Asking hard questions, giving feedback can take all sorts of forms and shapes and sizes.

Now that we've covered the roles and responsibilities of Scrum, so you might be wondering what does it take to become a Scrum master? Well, there are two primary paths that you can take. The first one is training. You can go get the CSM is the most common kind of industry standard for getting a Scrum Master certification, and the PSM is also a common one.

More common outside the U.S. than inside. But it's still a good certification. It still validates that you understand the basics and really that's all both of them do, is they validate that you understand the basics. And so they're kind of costly. Can be anywhere from 1 to 3 grand for the CSM. The PSM is actually substantially cheaper because you don't have to pay for training in order to get the certification.

But the other option is self-guided learning and that kind of pairs well with the PSM and when it comes to certifications, but that was actually my initial path, it was self learning. I've since then gotten many certifications but I would really recommend this if you're curious if you're starting out go down self learning path. And I think the self-learning path combined with just the experimenting of practicing Scrum, whether that's on a project you're leading or on different aspects of your everyday life, is really the best way to incorporate that experiential

learning with the concepts and structures of Scrum. If the idea of learning how to use Scrum in your everyday life is intriguing to you, check out the link in this description. I've got a couple of them for that, and in particular I have one to a guide for everyday people learning to practice Scrum. And I wrote this because a lot of the resources out there, they are written for people in the software development space.

Now my guide. I'll still help those, but it's not written explicitly for that. It's written more for your everyday person who's trying to apply it in other domains, whether it's graphic design, content creation, marketing, you know, you name it, homeschooling, DIY projects for your house, your personal or professional development, all of those, you can find some resources for that because really Scrum is not just limited here this it is not just limited to developing software.

That is where it finds its origin, but it's not limited to just that space. I found Scrum to be a fulfilling and enjoyable role. You can earn a decent salary. It provides a lot of skills that can even transfer to a different job. If you decide to make a change again later. And really, when you think about it, what you're getting to do is you're helping people make an impact, make a positive difference in the world around you.

That's not a bad job. I hope you like this video. Found it helpful in covering the basics of the role of a Scrum Master. If you have questions, feel free to throw them in the comments. I would love to engage with you there or feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or on my website. We can engage there as well.

Would love if you'd like and subscribe to this video if it's been helpful so more people can find it. Thanks again and see you next time.