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What is a scrum master?

Definition: The Scrum master is the facilitator of the Scrum process. They are responsible for ensuring that the Scrum process is followed and that the team works together effectively. 

The Scrum master is also responsible for removing any impediments that may be preventing the team from making progress. They help the team to stay focused on the goal and to ensure that the team is making progress.

The Scrum master acts as a coach and helps teams make decisions and protects the team from external interruptions. The Scrum master checks if Scrum roles are followed and guides the team throughout the Scrum framework.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a lightweight Agile framework emphasizing collaboration, accountability, and iterative progress toward a well-defined goal. 

It is designed to help teams work together to deliver projects iteratively and incrementally. 

Scrum is based on the concept of self-organizing teams and encourages teams to take ownership of their work. 

Responsibilities of a Scrum master

The responsibilities of a Scrum master include:

  • Facilitating the Scrum process and ensuring that it is followed;
  • Removing any impediments that may be preventing the team from making progress;
  • Helping the team to stay focused on the goal and to ensure that the team is making progress;
  • Helping the team to identify and address any risks or issues that may arise during the project;
  • Helping the team to plan and prioritize tasks;
  • Ensuring that the team is meeting its goals;
  • Helping the team to communicate effectively and to ensure that everyone is on the same page;
  • Coaching the team in the use of Scrum and Agile principles and practices.

Scrum master certification

A Scrum master certification demonstrates the understanding of the Scrum framework and the ability to facilitate the Scrum process for an agile development team. 

Examples of institutions that offer Scrum master certifications include: Scrum alliance and professional Scrum master.

The cost of Scrum master certificates varies depending on the organization offering them. Generally, the cost of a Scrum master certificate ranges from $500 to $2,000. The cost of the certificate also depends on the type of certification and the length of the course. Some organizations offer discounts for group registrations or for those who have already completed a Scrum course.

Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) by Scrum Alliance

Scrum Alliance CSM course is the gold standard of certification. The CSM course gives you a solid definition of scrum. It is a 16 hour course taught by certified scrum trainers over a two day period. 

It gives hands- on experience that is applicable in the real world and helps to guide teams to understand scrum and scrum values in an agile environment. Here are concepts taught: 

  • Duties of a scrum master
  • Scrum ceremonies such as sprint reviews, product backlog, sprint retrospective, daily scrum and sprint backlog.
  • How to manage the product owner and organization
  • How to show transparency in each scrum event.
  • Coaching basics on how to encourage collaboration and teamwork

Benefits of being a certified scrum master:

  • It is an in demand certification according to Indeed.
  • Get a 2 year membership in scrum alliance after passing the CSM test. This needs to be renewed every 2 years by collecting 20 SEUs and paying a 100 USD renewal fee. 
  • Earn scrum education units.

Professional Scrum Master (PSM)

PSM is also a recognized scrum master certification . PSM is offered by The course is taught by a professional trainer and is taught in two phases: PSM I and PSM II. 

PSM I, shows basic understanding of  scrum knowledge. PSM II, shows complex understanding of scrum principles and its application. To get certified you can take the test without training if you feel you have the knowledge. 

The PSM I test is 150 USD per exam attempt but it's free if you join a training course.

PSM credentials have a lifetime validity 

Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM) by PMI

Offered by Project Management Institute. DASM is a course for people who are new to agile. It is done by either self-teaching online or having an online instructor. The exam is done in a 60-day time period. After passing the exam, you are given a certification and badge. DASM certification is valid for a year and renewable.

DASM concepts:

  • Explore leading agile approaches.
  • Know tools to use to solve problems.
  • Cultivate a disciplined agile mindset.
  • Find the best way of working for you and the team.
  • Familiarize with the disciplined agile tool kit
  • Master fundamentals of lean and agile strategies

SAFe Scrum Master (SSM)

Offered by Scaled Agile. This is a two day course that educates the importance of scrum in a SAFe enterprise. This means that every solution is managed within a specific portfolio. SAFe defines the role of a scrum master in the enterprise. 

SAFe Concepts:

  • Explain Scrum in SAFe enterprise
  • Facilitate effective iterations
  • Facilitate Scrum events
  • Support relentless improvement
  • Coach agile teams for maximum business results. 
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Article FAQs

What does a Scrum Master career path look like?
The Scrum master career path involves becoming a Scrum master for an agile development team. Scrum masters are promoted to team leaders of multiple teams and become agile coaches. They also have an opportunity of becoming product owners and project managers.
What is the difference between Scrum Master and a product manager?
A Scrum master facilitates the Scrum process for an agile development team by ensuring the team follows Scrum principles and practices. Product managers define and manage product vision, roadmap, and strategy. Product managers work with development teams to ensure products meet the needs of customers and businesses. Product managers create and manage product backlogs, ensuring products get delivered on time.

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