Scrum master, his role in the team

Scrum Leader
Max Miller
Max Miller
21 February 2024
8 min

In IT development, flexible Scrum technologies are used for project management. Such a scheme for organising work in a team is in demand in management and design. Literally, “scrum” translates as a fight. But not programmers and developers with each other, but a joint confrontation with circumstances. In IT this term came from rugby. To win, a team must act cohesively and learn quickly from previous mistakes. Scrum system is not just a set of rules and rituals that require mandatory fulfilment. Scrum is a complex system that requires implementation, organisation and customisation. This is what a Scrum master does, making sure that Scrum principles are followed.

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Who is a scrum-master and what does in a team

A scrum master is not a position, but a role in a framework. To understand how scrum master helps in a team, let’s understand the essence of scrum as a methodology for working on projects. The term Framework in IT refers to a template used to write code. Scrum – one of the basics of frameworks Agile, which is a ready-made model that can be used to customise teamwork.

Scrum is a specific set of steps by which a work plan is built. In practice, scrum looks like this:

  1. Work on any project consists of individual short periods of time – scrum sprints – lasting up to a week. Sometimes sprints last two weeks or more.
  2. All tasks on a scrum project are put together in a common list – a backlog, which is a statement of work consisting of individual tasks.
  3. At the beginning of the sprint, scrum meetings are held to sort out tasks from the backlog. After Scrum has been successfully implemented in the company, scrum meetings become self-organising.
  4. Every day, the participants of the scrum project gather to do a stand-up, during which everyone answers questions about what they did yesterday and what they are going to do today.
  5. All project tasks scrum tasks are placed on kanban board. Cards with their description are moved in columns when the status changes: “In Work”, “To Test”, “Done”, “Finalised”. There can be different variants of categorisation and implementation of columns.
  6. At the end of the sprint, a retrospective is held, where individual and team results are discussed, mistakes are analysed, and options for correcting them are considered.

Each member of the scrum team plays an assigned role from these three:

  • Implementers. They are in charge of the tasks assigned to them (in IT they are Developers).
  • The management or Product Owner has the overall vision of the product, is responsible for its value.
  • Scrum master – team leader, coach, builder and process controller. We will look at this position in more detail.

The scrum master’s main role is to support and ensure the team is running efficiently between sprints. There is no department head or manager in a scrum team. From the point of view of Scrum policy, all performers are equal, not subordinate, but agree with each other. Scrum master ensures comfortable and productive work of all team members. The Scrum master should help to fulfil the project tasks, explain the essence of the rules, according to which the participants have to work.

To answer the question, scrum master, and who is it in simple words, we can say the following: it is a professional who is fluent in Scrum tools, teaching other employees to interact properly with each other in a team. A person who performs this activity within the framework fulfils several functions on the project. But he cannot be called a supervisor or manager. He should not redistribute tasks among the performers or influence their decisions in any way. His responsibilities include:

  • Training of performers. The Scrum Master explains the rules and principles of flexible methodology to the performers. Explains why they are needed. For example, if project participants consider collective discussion of tasks a waste of time, the scrum master needs to convey to them the importance of these activities.
  • Organising group communication or facilitation. Working according to the scrum methodology implies regular discussion of work processes. The time of daily stand-ups is regulated. It is desirable that their duration should not exceed 15 minutes, otherwise they will turn into useless discussions. The scrum master monitors the course of the conversation, directs it in the right direction. All scrum participants should participate in the discussion, make a decision jointly,collegiately and share responsibility for it. Scrum methodology is based on openness, when each performer can express his opinion. This approach to scrum contributes to the formation of a friendly atmosphere in the team.
  • Kanban board administration. Scrum master tracks tasks that stay in one place for a long time, reports it to the executors or the product owner. The scrum master analyses sprints and communicates his findings to the rest of the participants during the retrospective. This helps prevent many problems in their initial stages.
  • Mentoring, coaching. One of the important functions of a scrum master is to help employees express their thoughts and ideas in communication, prevent conflicts within the scrum team. For this purpose, personal or collective scrum sessions are organised, where it is decided how he or the whole team can help the performer. Feeling constant support, scrum project employees work more efficiently. A friendly atmosphere is formed in the team. A scrum master motivates his team, which has a positive impact on the self-esteem of the participants.
  • Improving team effectiveness. Participants should not just follow the rules of the framework, but accept and support the values of Scrum. Sprints lose all meaning without analysing and discussing emerging problems. Scrum master teaches the performers to listen and hear each other, removes from the work of the team elements that hinder it and leaves only useful ones. As a result, the scrum team works more efficiently and productively.

What skills a Scrum master should have

It is important for a person applying for a scrum master position to have a certain set of personal qualities and professional skills. What is the first thing to learn, what skills do you need to become a scrum master?


  1. Scrum master needs basic knowledge of programming, software product development. This is necessary to understand the working processes. Without an understanding of testing techniques, it will be difficult for the scrum master to understand how successful the testing was. For this reason, the scrum master’s duties are usually performed by one of the team members.
  2. Excellent knowledge of Agile methodology and its frameworks. If the Scrum master works with multiple teams, it will be useful to learn more about scalable frameworks.
  3. Knowledge of other project management techniques. This is necessary to eliminate unnecessary management techniques from workflows that often conflict with each other. This skill is pumped up after a lot of experience working with different teams, but there are special training courses that can help you quickly learn many of the best management techniques without having to rely only on scrum.

Soft-skills scrum master:

  1. The Scrum Master needs organisational skills to run rallies according to approved regulations, to train team members to speak up, to follow the rules of the framework.
  2. Scrum master it is desirable to have knowledge in the field of psychology, for timely detection of problems arising in the team, to eliminate disagreements arising between participants.
  3. The Scrum Master will benefit from coaching skills, to inspire and support team colleagues, motivate development and growth.
  4. Mentoring, tolerating other team members to communicate the rules.
  5. Open-mindedness, well-developed communication skills that build trust in the Scrum Master with other team members.

Why do you need this role on the project

The main task of a scrum master is to make teamwork efficient, organised and predictable. Participants of the scrum team should get positive emotions from the work process. Upon its completion, the customer should receive the finished product within the approved timeframe. Scrum master in the team is a coach, a technical support representative and a bit of a psychotherapist. Scrum masters find a common language with developers and business unit of the project, for example, with sales specialists, knows how to write code.

If a company uses Agile or Scrum approaches to organise work on projects, its employees are obliged to follow their principles and work with a Scrum master. His work lasts until the final formation of the team. Some teams take six months to do this, while others come together and learn Scrum principles in a year or a year and a half. When the Scrum master realises that the team is working independently according to the rules of the framework, he can delegate his responsibility to another member of the team, retaining his advisory function on the project.

What is not part of a scrum master’s duties

Some companies do not fully understand the responsibilities of a scrum master. Because of this, the Scrum Master is mistakenly assigned duties that do not fall within his competence. A Scrum Master is not a Jira administrator, office manager or secretary. The Scrum Master is not a leader or team leader. In a scrum team, all roles of the participants are equal. The Scrum Master does not manage the team, but supports and guides it. A scrum master does not select team members independently. Usually the decision is made collegiately based on the results of the interview with the candidate.

A Scrum master does not necessarily need to have a programming background or IT experience. Some teams need masters with skills in certain industries, such as engineering.

In some teams, the role of scrum master is fulfilled by the sales manager. This approach is called scrum-bat (scrum, but). It is not popular in pure scrum for several reasons:

  • Product-manager demands fulfilment of his orders, threatening the team with sanctions. Scrum master – convinces the team of the correctness of the chosen methods.
  • A product manager defends the interests of the team and sometimes ignores business requirements in favour of development. A separate Scrum master finds a balance between the interests of the team and the customer.

Therefore, it is believed that the separate role of a scrum master is more effective.

LeaderTask is a handy project management tool

To effectively manage teams within a scrum project, scrum masters use various services, trackers that help to monitor and analyse the progress of participants. They visually demonstrate what stage the scrum project is at and what each team member is doing. One of such services is the LeaderTask application. LeaderTask is a modern, cross-platform online service with a full set of tools for working according to Agile or Scrum methods. The programme features a kanban board, calendar, planner, daily planner and project management system.

The service is convenient to use for formulating and distributing tasks to executors with control of their due dates. Large-scale tasks can be decomposed into smaller subtasks. Structure them according to different criteria: priority, importance, deadlines with the help of colour designations or labels. Maintain any projects on Kanban e-boards.

For organising rallies and discussing work issues, the app provides a convenient corporate chat room.


Good scrum masters are in huge demand in today’s labour market. The average salary level for these specialists is from 100,000 roubles and more. To master this profession it is necessary to develop communication skills, to be able to work with people, and to have the gift of persuasion. The master cannot be imposed on the team, appointed directive. He must prove in practice his importance and usefulness to other participants, deservedly gain trust and use it prudently.

You can get an idea of what a scrum master does on a project, you can sign up for specialised courses. If you want to try on this important position, start with personal psychotherapy with a psychologist. It will help you understand people better and support them.

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