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Scrum Master Certification – A Guide to becoming a certified Scrum Master

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams, and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems.

Scrum Team

The fundamental unit of Scrum is a small team of people, a Scrum Team. The Scrum Team consists of one Scrum Master, one Product Owner, and Developers. Within a Scrum Team, there are no sub-teams or hierarchies. It is a cohesive unit of professionals focused on one objective at a time, the Product Goal.

Developers 

Developers are the people in the Scrum Team committed to creating any aspect of a usable Increment each Sprint.

The specific skills needed by the Developers are often broad and will vary with the work domain.

However, the Developers are always accountable for:

  • Creating a plan for the Sprint, the Sprint Backlog;
  • Instilling quality by adhering to a Definition of Done;
  • Adapting their plan each day toward the Sprint Goal; and,
  • Holding each other accountable as professionals.

Product Owner

The Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Scrum Team. How this is done may vary widely across organizations, Scrum Teams, and individuals.

The Product Owner is also accountable for effective Product Backlog management, which includes:

  • Developing and explicitly communicating the Product Goal;
  • Creating and clearly communicating Product Backlog items;
  • Ordering Product Backlog items; and ensuring that the Product Backlog is transparent, visible, and understood.

Scrum Master 

The Scrum Master is accountable for establishing Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. They do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory and practice, both within the Scrum Team and the organization.

The Scrum Master is accountable for the Scrum Team’s effectiveness. They do this by enabling the Scrum Team to improve its practices, within the Scrum framework.

Scrum Masters are leaders who serve the Scrum Team and the larger organization.

The Scrum Master serves the Scrum Team in several ways, including

  • Coaching the team members in self-management and cross-functionality;
  • Helping the Scrum Team focus on creating high-value Increments that meet the Definition of Done;
  • Causing the removal of impediments to the Scrum Team’s progress; and,
  • Ensuring that all Scrum events take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox.

The Scrum Master serves the Product Owner in several ways, including:

  • Helping find techniques for effective Product Goal definition and Product Backlog management;
  • Helping the Scrum Team understand the need for clear and concise Product Backlog items;
  • Helping establish empirical product planning for a complex environment; and, facilitating stakeholder collaboration as requested or needed.

The Scrum Master serves the organization in several ways, including:

  • Leading, training, and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption;
  • Planning and advising Scrum implementations within the organization;
  • Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact an empirical approach for complex work; and, removing barriers between stakeholders and Scrum Teams.

Scrum Events

The Sprint is a container for all other events. Each event in Scrum is a formal opportunity to inspect and adapt Scrum artifacts. These events are specifically designed to enable the transparency required.

Failure to operate any events as prescribed results in lost opportunities to inspect and adapt. Events are used in Scrum to create regularity and to minimize the need for meetings not defined in Scrum.

Optimally, all events are held at the same time and place to reduce complexity.

The Sprint 

Sprints are the heartbeat of Scrum, where ideas are turned into value. They are fixed-length events of one month or less to create consistency. A new Sprint starts immediately after the conclusion of the previous Sprint.

All the work necessary to achieve the Product Goal, including Sprint Planning, Daily Scrums, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective, happen within Sprints.

Sprint Planning 

Sprint Planning initiates the Sprint by laying out the work to be performed for the Sprint. This resulting plan is created by the collaborative work of the entire Scrum Team.

The Product Owner ensures that attendees are prepared to discuss the most important Product Backlog items and how they map to the Product Goal. The Scrum Team may also invite other people to attend Sprint Planning to provide advice.

Daily Scrum

The purpose of the Daily Scrum is to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work.

The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team. To reduce complexity, it is held at the same time and place every working day of the Sprint. If the Product Owner or Scrum Master are actively working on items in the Sprint Backlog, they participate as Developers.

The Developers can select whatever structure and techniques they want, as long as their Daily Scrum focuses on progress toward the Sprint Goal and produces an actionable plan for the next day of work.

This creates focus and improves self-management.

Daily Scrums improve communications and identify impediments, promote quick decision-making, and consequently eliminate the need for other meetings.

Sprint Review

The purpose of the Sprint Review is to inspect the outcome of the Sprint and determine future adaptations. The Scrum Team presents the results of their work to key stakeholders and progress toward the Product Goal is discussed.

During the event, the Scrum Team and stakeholders review what was accomplished in the Sprint and what has changed in their environment. Based on this information, attendees collaborate on what to do next. The Product Backlog may also be adjusted to meet new opportunities. The Sprint Review is a working session and the Scrum Team should avoid limiting it to a presentation.

Sprint Retrospective

The purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to plan ways to increase quality and effectiveness. The Scrum Team inspects how the last Sprint went with regard to individuals, interactions, processes, tools, and their Definition of Done. Inspected elements often vary with the domain of work.

Assumptions that led them astray are identified and their origins explored. The Scrum Team discusses what went well during the Sprint, what problems it encountered, and how those problems were (or were not) solved.

Scrum Artifacts

Scrum’s artifacts represent work or value. They are designed to maximize the transparency of key information. Thus, everyone inspecting them has the same basis for adaptation.

Each artifact contains a commitment to ensure it provides information that enhances transparency and focus against which progress can be measured:

  • For the Product Backlog it is the Product Goal.
  • For the Sprint Backlog it is the Sprint Goal.
  • For the Increment it is the Definition of Done.

These commitments exist to reinforce empiricism and the Scrum values for the Scrum Team and their stakeholders.

Product Backlog

The Product Backlog is an emergent, ordered list of what is needed to improve the product. It is the single source of work undertaken by the Scrum Team.

Product Backlog items that can be Done by the Scrum Team within one Sprint are deemed ready for selection in a Sprint Planning event. They usually acquire this degree of transparency after refining activities. Product Backlog refinement is the act of breaking down and further defining Product Backlog items into smaller more precise items. This is an ongoing activity to add details, such as a description, order, and size. Attributes often vary with the domain of work.

Sprint Backlog

The Sprint Backlog is composed of the Sprint Goal (why), the set of Product Backlog items selected for the Sprint (what), as well as an actionable plan for delivering the Increment (how).

The Sprint Backlog is a plan by and for the Developers. It is a highly visible, real-time picture of the work that the Developers plan to accomplish during the Sprint in order to achieve the Sprint Goal.

Consequently, the Sprint Backlog is updated throughout the Sprint as more is learned. It should have enough detail so that they can inspect their progress in the Daily Scrum.

Increment

An Increment is a concrete stepping stone toward the Product Goal. Each Increment is additive to all prior Increments and thoroughly verified, ensuring that all Increments work together. In order to provide value, the Increment must be usable.

Multiple Increments may be created within a Sprint. The sum of the Increments is presented at the Sprint Review thus supporting empiricism. However, an Increment may be delivered to stakeholders prior to the end of the Sprint. The Sprint Review should never be considered a gate to releasing value.

Who is a Scrum Master?

A scrum master is a person who works with a software development team to ensure that the development is done following the scrum framework. The scrum master’s role is to act as the bridge between the team and the stakeholders and to be the voice of the customer.

Professionals with a Scrum Master Certification are acknowledged to be masters of facilitation and drive their teams to success.

What are the benefits of Scrum Master certification?

  • Gain Scrum knowledge and skills

Scrum master certification offers learners a better understanding of the Scrum framework. This will allow them to increase their effectiveness by understanding best practices and techniques. They will also be able to make the most of their time and work on the most important work. It will also help them grow as individuals.

  • Validation from Industry

One of the most essential benefits of Scrum Master certification is validation from the industry. When you are certified, you can prove that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to be a successful Scrum Master. This is a massive benefit for your career. The certification will also make it easier for you to get a job related to Scrum. It also can help you to practice Scrum in your current organization.

  • Become Part of a Community of Scrum Experts

Once you become a certified Scrum Master, you can become a part of the Scrum experts community which is dedicated to Agile. The community has a global network of certified Scrum trainers and practitioners and serves as a storehouse of knowledge, a way to look for events, and a place to provide and find guidance.

  • Improve Team Collaboration and Management

Once you become a Certified Scrum Master, you can lead and motivate your teammates. You will be able to guide them and aid the teamwork in a smooth way. The Scrum Master credential demonstrates to your employees that you possess the skills and experience to lead a scrum team successfully. It also acts as a differentiator proving to potential employers that you are a cut above your peers.

  • Change of mindset

More than doing Agile, being Agile fosters teamwork, avoids conflicts, and helps create more successful products.

According to a survey conducted as stated in the 2019 Scrum Master Trends, when asked about their current role, the following response was received by the participants:

Choices Responses (%)
Happy as a Scrum Master 15.85
Happy as an Agile Coach 10.95
I am a Scrum Master now but want to become an Agile Coach 20.65
I plan to become a certified trainer or coach 22.59
I am working to become a Scrum Master 11.49
Other 18.47

When asked about their current titles the response was following:

Choices Responses (%)
Scrum Master 39.45
Agile Coach 15.56
Development Team Member 5.84
Product Owner 3.15
Project Manager 9.62
Agile Project Manager 3.26
Product Manager 1.24
Other 21.87

What is the average salary of a Certified Scrum Master?

Here are several factors that can affect your salary.

  1. Experience
  2. Location
  3. Skillset
  4. Company

These four factors directly affect the salary even if you are a certified scrum master.

An entry-level CSM with less than 1 year of experience can expect an average total compensation of $84,000. An early career CSM with 1-4 years of experience and a mid-career CSM with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $101,416 and $109,140 respectively.

Country Salary (Annual)
United States USD 92,978
India INR 1,329,170
Canada CAD 81,139
United Kingdom GBP 47,573
Australia AUD 113,873

Certified Scrum Master Salary Based on Popular Skills

The average salary of a CSM based on popular skills is as shown below:

Skill Avg. Salary (Annual)
Scrum Master USD 92,309
Project Management USD 92,517
Facilitator USD 89,894
Agile Software Development USD 92,962
Scrum USD 91,083

How to become a certified Scrum Master?

To become a professional Scrum Master, you need to clear an examination or assessment and get certified. This will help you to get a better understanding of the fundamentals of Scrum, its values, practices, and applications.

It is necessary to familiarize yourself with Scrum and understand the prerequisites that are needed to attend any certification course. With various certification courses available in the market, it is equally necessary to research well and choose a certification according to your needs and demand.

The procedure for getting certified is roughly the same for all Scrum Master certifications:

Step 1: Attend training/course, as per the certifying body’s requirement.

Step 2: Register for an examination.

Step 3: Take a test and score the required score.

Step 4: Get certified.

To become a certified Scrum Master through Massivue Academy this is the learning path we highly recommend: 

Introduction to Scrum

Agile fundamentals is an industry-recognized credential that demonstrates an understanding of the agile mindset, values, principles, and foundational concepts. Professionals are grounded in what it means to “be agile while doing agile” and achieve organizational agility without a specific focus on any single agile methodology or framework (i.e., Scrum, Kanban, XP, DSDM, SAFe, etc.)

  • Scrum Foundation

This course Scrum Master is highly interactive. Class participants will start by organizing into Scrum teams. You’ll take part in a variety of games and exercises that will allow you to experience a hands-on approach to Scrum. With the help of your instructors, you and your team will experience Scrum with a real-time example.

Certification body – Scrum. Inc

In this course, you will learn how to assess business value, prioritize features, projects, and portfolios, and return real revenue with the product backlog. Through a combination of interactive exercises, you’ll get hands-on experience as a Product Owner. This training will provide you with the knowledge and the tools you’ll need for success.

Certification body – Scrum. Inc

The SAFe® Scrum Master course covers the tactical skills to be an effective Scrum Master in a SAFe organization. And gives you the guidance and tools you need to work effectively in remote environments with distributed teams.

Certification body – Scaled Agile Inc (SAFe)

The SAFe® Product Owner and SAFe® Product Manager (POPM) course covers the tactical responsibilities of these roles in the Agile Release Train. The course also gives you the guidance and tools you need to work effectively in remote environments with distributed teams.

Certification body – Scaled Agile Inc (SAFe)

      2.Advanced Training

Scrum@Scale naturally extends the core Scrum framework to deliver hyper-productive results across industries and disciplines, including software, hardware, services, operations, and R&D. You will learn how to apply fundamental Scrum and Lean product development skills to scale Scrum from one to many teams across any sized initiative.

Certification body – Scrum. Inc

Being an effective Scrum Master at Scale requires exceptional organizational aptitude. and to perform across multiple teams requires an even greater skill set spanning leadership, analytics, and interpersonal communication. This course will teach you how to be successful in this role, and the essential elements to fostering high-productive teams at scale.

Certification body – Scrum. Inc

This training will provide you with the knowledge and the tools you’ll need to advance your career and achieve greater impact at scale. Through a combination of interactive exercises, you’ll get hands-on experience in product leadership in a scaled environment.

Certification body – Scrum. Inc

The SAFe Advanced Scrum Master course will give you the tools you need to improve your coaching and facilitation skills, avoid pitfalls, and encourage relentless improvement. You’ll learn how to apply Lean, Kanban, DevOps, and SAFe principles to improve team and business outcomes. You’ll up-level your facilitation skills for key Agile and Scaled Agile Framework® events, whether they’re in person or across remote teams and time zones. And you’ll discover how communities of practice can support continuous improvement.

Certification body – Scaled Agile Inc (SAFe)

The Career Path for a Scrum Master

  1. Scrum Master

After completing the Scrum Master certification, the Scrum Master gets to perform all the roles that a Scrum Master is assigned to do. He/She needs to work in this position for a minimum duration of one year to five years.

  1. Senior Scrum Master

After Scrum Master, you progress to becoming a Senior Scrum Master. A Senior Scrum Master needs to gather advanced knowledge of the best practices of Scrum and should know how to implement them in multiple teams as well.

  1. Agile Coach

For a senior Scrum Master to transition to an Agile Coach role, it is essential for he/she has a minimum of five years of knowledge in being a Scrum Master along with at least one year of experience in coaching and mentoring.

Scrum is a framework used to manage the product development process among teams. The Scrum Master is a person who is responsible for implementing Scrum amongst the team members, Scrum masters also help teams to remove the obstacles faced by them, and make sure that the team members understand Scrum and its principles.

Scrum Master certification opens the door to a leap in career growth. There are many certification options to choose from. We hope you will choose the best Scrum Master certification as per your needs and requirements to  get your dream job. Feel free to contact us with questions regarding Scrum certifications, group training, and discounts.

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