Scrum Master Skills List and Examples

Scrum Master Skills List and Examples

Business people discussing over computer in creative office
••• Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

Scrum is an Agile framework for complex projects. Originally developed for software development teams, Scrum can now easily be implemented across a variety of fields. Through daily meetings, detailed project timelines, and identification of potential project roadblocks, Scrum helps teams to easily break a project down into tangible goals. 

What a Scrum Master Does

The leader of this process is referred to as a Scrum Master. The Scrum Master (or Agile Coach) is responsible for maintaining a proper balance of power between the project owner, scrum team, and management.

Often the Agile evangelist, the Scrum Master is not a traditional project manager. Instead, he or she helps to increase productivity amongst the scrum team by selecting and splitting up project requirements into “Sprints.” The Scrum Master then ensures the right people are working on the right tasks and that all work will be completed within the expected timeframe.

If impediments or blockers (roadblocks) occur, it is the responsibility of the Scrum Master to troubleshoot and solve the issue. It is not a requirement that Scrum Masters have a technical background, but it is vital that a Scrum Master have excellent management and communication skills. 

Scrum Master Skills

Here's a list of Scrum Master skills to include in resumes and cover letters, job applications, and interviews. Required skills will vary based on the job for which you're applying, so also review our list of skills listed by job and type of skill.

Communication

Strong and persuasive written and verbal communication skills are vital for Scrum Masters. They must be able to communicate effectively with their team members, liaise across their organizations, and document project plans, benchmarks, and progress. They also are responsible for maintaining open lines of communication between all parties so that any problems during the project process can be swiftly identified and rectified.

  • Adapt and Write Product Visions
  • Agile Coach
  • Facilitate Daily Standup Meetings
  • Foster Feedback
  • Hold Retrospective Meetings
  • Moderate During Team Meetings
  • Speak on Behalf of Development Team
  • Write User Stories

People Management

Scrum Masters understand how to build and capitalize upon the strengths of their cross-functional team members. They observe individuals, analyze each person’s strengths and challenges, and decide where and how best to use their talents on the team. They must also know how to intervene and mediate between team members when disagreements arise.

  • Address Team Needs Efficiently and Effectively
  • Build and Develop a High-Performance Team
  • Ensure Team Follows the Values and Practices of Scrum
  • Focus and Educate Team on Business Goals
  • Help Team Learn From Past Experiences
  • Hold Team Members Responsible For Tasks
  • Keep Team Focused on Current Sprint Requirements
  • Promote Self-Help Within Development Teams
  • Serve as Team Lead
  • Shield Team From Interruptions During Sprints
  • Support Team Building
  • Utilize Skills and Abilities of Team

Project Management

As the primary process owner, Scrum Masters oversee all stages of a project – from the initial planning board through product launch. It’s their job to establish project deadlines, track the achievement of benchmarks, and ensure that deliverables are produced on time and within established budgets.

  • Achieve Sprint Goals
  • Adhere to Project Timelines
  • Continuously Improve Processes
  • Encourage Project Organization
  • Encourage Project Transparency
  • Ensure Scrum Process is Running
  • Detect Potential Problems
  • Maintain Scrum Tools
  • Owner of Blocker Board
  • Process Owner

Project Planning, Troubleshooting, and Analysis

Part of being an effective project manager is the ability to excel at both planning and continual troubleshooting. Powerful and active analytical skills are necessary throughout the course of the project lifecycle within Agile production environments.

  • Build Release Plan
  • Increase Productivity of Development Teams and Organization
  • Learn Everything Agile
  • Maintain Burndown Chart
  • Organize Daily Planning Meetings
  • Organize and Maintain Product Backlog
  • Quality Control
  • Set Up Sprint Review and Planning Sessions
  • Solve and Remove Impediments
  • Stay Up-to-Date On Industry Trends
  • Troubleshoot Impediments and Blockers

Stakeholder Relations

Securing executive-level buy-in for major projects falls to the Scrum Master, especially when budgets are tight and the corporate finance department demands that senior decision-makers pick and choose between proposed projects. Scrum Masters have to be forceful advocates of the projects they own if they are to ensure that goals are achieved and each project survives the development cycle.

  • Act as Liaison Between Project Owner and Development Team
  • Coach Organization into Scrum Adoption
  • Educate Project Owner, Team, Management, and Company
  • Evangelize Agile Within Organization
  • Maintain a Proper Balance Between Project Owner, Scrum Team, and Management
  • Promote Use of Agile Engineering Practices
  • Walk Project Owner Through User Stories
  • Work with Project Owner

Scrum Master Salaries 

Various online salary calculator tools report that scrum masters can earn an average base salary between $89,000 and $97,000. Compensation will depend upon one’s industry, geographical location, and whether one is a Certified Scrum Master.