Scrum Masters are responsible for leading and managing complex projects in Scrum, an agile methodology and framework. A Scrum Master’s primary responsibilities include ensuring the development team stays on track for development milestones while also reviewing the work in progress to ensure the Scrum group adheres to best practices.
A Scrum Master is also tasked with helping both those involved directly within a Scrum team as well as those impacted by the Scrum team’s work understand Scrum theory, practices, rules and values.
A Scrum Master is an advocate for Scrum theory and the work achieved by the Scrum Master’s team, and continually seeks to cause change in an organization that will increase the productivity, quality, and efficiency of the Scrum Team while also boosting the company’s return on investment (ROI) as a result of the Scrum Team’s work.
Daily Sprints and the Scrum Master’s Role in Them
In a scrum, a team typically works on “sprints,” which are two-week development cycles that include short daily stand-up meetings in which the scum master leads the quick 5- to 10-minute meeting. Each team member gets a chance to speak for roughly a minute in these stand-up meetings, and succinctly covers:
1. What they did yesterday
2. What they will be doing today
3. What issues or blockers are preventing them from accomplishing their tasks
The Scrum Master takes all of this information and works to help resolve issues while also encouraging and coaching the development team to be self-sufficient and self-organizing as much as possible when it comes to their tasks and challenges.
Scrum Masters vs. Project Managers
Scrum Masters are often compared to Project Managers, and while the roles are sometimes mistakenly considered to be similar, the two positions are actually quite disparate and require very different skill sets in terms of personality, experience and management style.
A Project Manager is closer to the role of a Project Owner in a Scrum Team, and they serve as the leader and overall decision maker who is directly accountable to the company for managing the project and accomplishing the objectives for the project.
The Scrum Master on the other hand serves in more of a coaching and facilitating role, supporting the Project Owner to coach the team to be as efficient as possible and resolve any roadblocks, personality issues, disagreements or other impediments while also ensuring the Scrum process is followed correctly and its value is maximized within the team and for the company overall.
How Much Do Scrum Masters Make on Average?
As the most widely-used framework for agile development, Scrum-certified employees, and particularly Scrum Masters, are held in high demand and typically command a high salary as a result.
The average annual salary for a Scrum Master in the United States is just under $88,000 as of 2018, with Scrum Master salaries typically ranging from a low of about $75,000 per year to just over $100,000 per year, depending largely on the size of the organization and industry.
While a number of companies provide Scrum training and certification programs, Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org are considered by many to be the most reputable Scrum certification organizations.
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