With Scrum constantly growing in popularity, so has the interest in what it takes to become a Scrum Master increased exponentially in the last few years. As you can imagine, the exponential growth also correlates to the number of online guides being handed out like pamphlets and detailing just what you need to become one. Of course, depending on who you ask, these tips range from you don’t need any experience or knowledge to you must get a certification, making it hard to find a middle ground with a reliable source of information. But that's precisely what we're aiming to do here, after all, there's literally not a single person on earth that wouldn't profit from you bettering your development cycle and thus the product overall, right? Good, let's get to it.
So, what does it take for you to become a Scrum Master?
To tackle this issue, we came up with 3 proven ways that will help you become a great Scrum Master. If this is your goal, here is what you should do:
- Know all about Scrum
- Constantly improve and learn
- Get certified
Know all about Scrum
As the name suggests - you have to be the master at using Scrum. This includes knowing everything there is to Scrum and its purpose, values, events, roles, artifacts, etc. In short, you should know it like the back of your hand.
When you become a Scrum Master, you will deal with teams that have different levels of Scrum understanding – from teams that have never used it to already experienced Scrum users. They may be working in the same industry or even on the same product, but their problems will differ significantly regardless, and you’ll need to be able to respond to each accordingly.
For instance, if you become a Scrum Master to a team that doesn’t know anything about Scrum (a scenario that happens more often than you'd think), you'll have to be able to convey its philosophy in terms they can understand and help them implement Scrum the right way from the beginning. Of course, introducing a new framework to a team with an established workflow (no matter how bad it is) also means that your beliefs will be challenged and it is up to you to prove, over time, that Scrum works. That is something you can only do when you've gathered a complete understanding of Scrum.
With that being said, if you work with an experienced team, they will need your guidance in completely different areas. You'll still have your hands full as your job becomes helping them overcome any advanced issues they might encounter. Once again, without knowing all ins and outs of Scrum - you will not be able to do it (properly).
Constantly improve and learn
Let's say you've gone through all available Scrum guides and courses. A bad Scrum Master would consider his learning process done and would start looking for opportunities to implement the seemingly "set in stone" doctrine. However, a good Scrum Master is aware that the framework not only enables but dictates constant learning and adapting process, seldom without areas to improve on. In other words, whereas some perceive their job as done, for others it is only the beginning.
The continuous improvement principles in Scrum should become your own personal principles as a Scrum Master. You should always look for various ways to improve and learn, whether in personal life or at work.
- Read the Scrum Guide over and over again
- Attend lectures and workshops
- Connect with other Scrum Masters
- Become an active contributor to Scrum community
- Read various books related to Scrum
- Apply critical thinking to Scrum and other frameworks
These are just some of the ways you can improve and become a better Scrum Master. But, as long as you inspect your work and adapt your methods, you are right on track to becoming an excellent Scrum Master.
A Scrum certificate isn't your golden ticket to the chocolate factory of Agile, but it does prove your passion and dedication towards the craft. Not only that but getting certified will surely put your knowledge to the test, giving you a clear idea of where you stand.
Keep in mind that no matter which certification program you choose, always make sure to check whether that certification is recognized and whether it will provide you with real value. Not just in terms of having a valid certificate, but in terms of truly learning a lot.
A great way to prepare for these certifications (other than attending workshops and similar training) is finding a good online source for learning Scrum - such as our (free) VivifyScrum Edu course. You can learn Scrum online for free and broaden your knowledge before you even start your Scrum training, which will only help you understand it better.
With that being said, getting a certificate shouldn’t be your only goal if you want to become an excellent Scrum Master, no matter how crucial it may seem at this point. You should think of it as just a first step of your lifelong journey. These certification programs will provide you with a solid base knowledge - but if you want to improve and excel as a Scrum Master, you have to refer to our previous tips - knowing all about Scrum and always learning and improving.
Now that you know what it takes to become a Scrum Master, what are you waiting for?
Go to our Facebook group Scrum Ninjas and leave your tips on how to become a Scrum Master; we are looking forward to reading your comments!