Not everyone who goes by the title of “Scrum Master” in their LinkedIn profile might be suitable for the role you have in mind. As a recruiter, it is crucial to understand exactly who qualifies as a Scrum Master.
What is Scrum?
Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams, and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems.
To understand Scrum, we have to understand the Agile methodology. Agile is a way of how teams are organized. Here, the emphasis is on collaboration. Kanban and Scrum are two variations that come under the Agile methodology. While Kanban focuses on the visualization of tasks, Scrum is more prescriptive with specific roles, meetings, and time-based sprints.
This allows for a greater ability to incorporate changes as they occur.
In other words, the emphasis is on continuous improvement.
What to look for in a Scrum Master?
Here, we have attempted to build a cheat sheet that will assist recruiters & hiring managers to correctly identify and recruit Scrum Masters. The cheat sheet captures the end-to-end workloads and responsibilities of a Scrum Master.
So the next time you’re looking to hire a Scrum Master, you’ll know exactly what to look out for.
How to find the right Scrum Master
Most HR representatives are unaware of the skills a Scrum Master should have to perform their duties.
So we have prepared a few parameters that HR can use to gauge the person’s fit.
Scrum Framework Knowledge and Agile Mindset: Obviously, the person’s knowledge of the Scrum framework takes precedence over any of the following points. Ideally, this person should have a robust experience in using the framework and should have imbibed the agile mindset into their work ethos.
Previous Experience: Merely being certified in Scrum is not enough. Implement the framework tools efficiently is a skill that only comes with experience. To identify this, the person should be asked to take the HR team through a complete end-to-end implementation of the scrum-driven project they have spearheaded.
If the person is a novice, about to embark on their first role as a Scrum Master, this can be sidestepped. However, this is usually not the case as enterprises promote Scrum Masters from within their project teams. So any person interviewing for the role should have some experience in the position.
Traits/Characteristic of Scrum Master: This parameter is crucial. Given that almost anybody can learn the framework and add it to their LinkedIn profile, the onus falls on HR teams to weed out people whose personality doesn’t align with a Scrum Master.
So, what are the traits of a Scrum Master?
- A Scrum Master has a natural curiosity and an inquisitive attitude towards problems
- Even if they do not have enough real-world experience, they certainly have the street smarts to understand and practice agile methodology
- A Scrum Master should have the courage to protect the team from any extraneous events and should have the tenacity to hold hard conversations
- And most importantly, they should be someone who is coachable. In other words, they should have the listening skills and attitudes to take feedback impartially and implement corrective steps without affecting the team’s work.
As you’ve guessed by now, these are attributes that cannot be gauged over a simple interview. This is why it’s important for HR teams to be aware of a Scrum Master’s workloads and ask for use cases where they have successfully pushed for these workloads.
For example, ask them how they would implement a Sprint Review for a project that is dangerously close to the deadline. How would they react to a Sprint Backlog that is growing bigger by the day? And how flexible they are with pushing project release dates.
There are no wrong answers. But the answer they give will provide you an insight into well they will fit into your organization as a Scrum Master.
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