This post will teach you how to become a Scrum Master.
Level up your agile and get professional training.
- How to become a Scrum Master in six steps.
- Eleven simple steps to become a CSM®.
- Twelve steps to becoming a RSM®.
How to become a Scrum Master in Six steps
- Read The Scrum Guide
- Study until you can describe the tasks and functions of the:
- Scrum Master role
- Product Owner role
- Developer role
- Study until you can describe the usage and standards for the:
- Sprint Backlog
- Product Backlog
- Product Increment
- Study until you can explain the length and purpose of
- A Sprint
- The Daily Scrum
- Sprint Planning
- Sprint Retrospective
- Sprint Review
- Work on a Scrum Team for at least a year to gain experience
- Learn how to lead small teams by
- Reading at least 20 leadership books
- Get to know five people you consider influential leaders
- Learn to listen to your teammates
- Gain the respect of your team through problem-solving
To become a Certified ScrumMaster® CSM® here is what you need to do.
Attend a Scrum Alliance® Certified Scrum Master® course, then pass a multiple-choice test.
11 simple steps to become a CSM®
- Visit Scrum Alliance's® Course Search
- Under "Courses," select "Certified ScrumMaster" ®
- For "Classroom Styles," select "in person" if you want to travel to and attend class in person. If not, select "Live Online" if you are OK with the virtual option. (I prefer virtual because it's so much more convenient) Select a provider or leave "all providers" selected by default."
- Select the appropriate discount type. Be aware that selecting a discount will limit the courses you can choose
- Out-of Work
- In "all languages," select either English or Spanish
- If you chose "in person" for your "Classroom Styles,"
- Use "Location Filters" to pick the correct
- Under date and time filters, select your desired
- Date range (hint, the longer the date range, the more likely you are to find a class)
- Class start time
- Complete your CSM® course
- You will get a link to an online exam you must pass
- Passing your CSM® requires Score 37 of 50 multiple-choice questions
- Complete the exam in 60 minutes or less
How will this look?
This is an example course finding a CSM® course with the following options.
- virtual delivery
- any provider
- no discount
- all languages
- from the 1st of January to the 28th of February
You can recreate this same dashboard if you click here.
12 steps to becoming an RSM®
- Visit Scrum Inc's® Find a Course Page
- Scroll down the left side of the page until you find a course you want to take or
- Enter "after date" for classes starting after a specific date
- Enter "before date" for classes starting before a particular date
- Select "Scrum Master" for the course
- Select "Trainers" or leave it blank (I recommend leaving it empty unless you know an instructor)
- Use the "Languages" dropdown to select the appropriate language
- Then use "Locations" to pick the proper location or leave it blank to see virtual and physical courses
- Register and pay for your course
- Attend your course Complete your course
- Pass your multiple choice exam in an hour or less
Here's how it looks to find a virtual RSM® course. You can recreate this dashboard by clicking this link.
What is Scrum?
Are you new to Scrum? Cool, learn about Scrum.
Do I need to take an online class other than the CSM® or RSM®?
No, you don't.
Both the CSM® and RSM® courses will fully prepare you to take your exam.
There are other companies that offer online training. These courses do not provide a recognized professional credential. I don't recommend you take these courses if you want to be a CSM® and RSM®.
If you're going to work as a Scrum Master, you do not need to take courses from companies like the ones above. Instead, take the CSM® or RSM® course.
You will need CSM® or RSM® to work in today's job market as a Scrum Master.
Like it or not, the world loves credentials.
It used to be a college degree was the best credential, but in many industries, that's changing.
How to get a job as a Scrum Master
If you want to work as a Scrum Master (or Product Owner), there are two ways to do it.
Get a job by moving into an SM position
The fastest way to get a Scrum Master job is to join a company based on your existing skills.
Once hired, move into a Scrum Master job. Moving into a Scrum job allows you to start working as a Scrum Master and get experience faster than any other way.
I instructed a Registered Product Owner course® from a private, huge company recently. All everyone had worked as a Product Owner for years but had never earned a credential.
The company paid me to train everyone, and they all got their Registered Product Owner® for free.
That's a great way to become a PO or SM, work as one inside a company and have them pay for you to get your credential.
Get hired as an SM by a new company
Here's what an Indeed job search for Scrum Master returns.
You might want to brush up on your Scrum Master job interview questions before you interview for a job.
To Be a Scrum Master Vs. Getting a Scrum Master Credential
You can be a world-class Scrum Master and not have a CSM® or RSM® certificate.
So let's explore what it takes to BE a Scrum Master.
To be a Scrum Master, you need to act as a leader, know the Scrum Framework and know about your industry.
The Scrum Guide is the ground truth for all questions about Scrum so let's start there.
"Scrum Masters are true leaders who serve the Scrum Team and the larger organization." - The Scrum Guide.
You expected to hear about courses, tests, and Scrum Master credentials. You don't need those to become a Scrum Master.
The best Scrum Master I've seen had never been to a course and had no certificate.
Matt was my second Scrum Master. Matt was a focused, articulate, and intelligent leader. He had a way of getting the best out of our team.
In the year he served as Scrum Master, our velocity doubled twice.
That's an outstanding Scrum Master! I've seen Scrum Master course grads who had no clue.
They needed help understanding the Scrum Guide's basics. They had no chance of being good Scrum Masters.
Example, "can you tell me what that velocity thing is again?" - from a Scrum Master course grad after class.
They needed to learn the fundamentals of Scrum. This example is not criticizing courses. I am a Registered Scrum Trainer and teach these courses.
The courses are great, and most instructors are fine. The point is that a piece of paper or a course doesn't make you a Scrum Master.
To be a Scrum Master, you don't need a credential; you need to be a leader and knowledgeable. To become a Scrum Master, you need knowledge and leadership. So let's break each of those down.
Four things every Scrum Master needs to know
We all know how necessary knowledge is, but do we ever appreciate how much it can mean to us in any given situation?
I recently experienced firsthand the power of knowledge in a difficult situation. I had attended a weekend retreat in the mountains and was looking forward to the getaway.
The unfamiliar environment was overwhelming. The foreign language, sights, sounds and smells were hard to cope with at first. I had no idea how to navigate the terrain, and I was starting to worry that I had made a colossal mistake.
I remembered something my grandfather taught me: "Knowledge is the key to success." So I took his advice and started researching the area.
I read up on the local terrain, the weather, and the best hiking paths. I studied maps and took notes on what to look for in certain areas. I used my phone for instant translation.
By the end of the weekend, I had learned enough to feel confident in my decision to attend the retreat. I started to enjoy the area, and I could enjoy the retreat without any apprehension.
This experience reminded me how valuable knowledge could be. It can give us the power to face our fears and find our way in unfamiliar situations. All it takes is a bit of research and an open mind to find the answers we need.
So next time you find yourself in a tricky situation, remember the power of knowledge. With a little bit of research and a lot of determination, you can find your answers.
It's no different in Scrum.
You need knowledge, and here are the four things you need to know to be a Scrum Master.
- Scrum Guide - explains everything about Scrum.
- Scrum Roles - Developer, Scrum Master, and Product Owner explained
- Scrum Events - Sprint, Daily Scrum, Sprint Planning, Sprint Retrospective, Sprint Review explained
- Scrum Artifacts - Product backlog, sprint backlog, and product increment explained Schedule, you need to know what day, time, and location for each of your team's events
- Backlog, this is your prioritized to-do list, and your product owner maintains it The network of people in your company.
Industry knowledge is a must
I knew I had much to learn when I started my business career.
I had the basics down. I knew how to crunch numbers, write a business plan, and conduct market research.
Unfortunately, I lacked the fundamental industry knowledge that comes with years of experience. At first, I thought it wouldn't be a big deal. But, boy, was I wrong!
After all, I was smart and had a lot of raw talent (or so I thought). But I learned that industry knowledge was essential.
This put me at a major disadvantage in the business world. I started researching the industry and reading as much as possible. It was great to learn about the latest trends, best practices, and strategies.
I started networking with people in the industry. This lead me to industry events. I wanted to learn as much as possible and become an expert in my field. It took a lot of hard work and dedication.
There were some days I felt embarrassed for asking basic questions. But I persevered through the embarrassment.
I had to eat my humble pie as I gained experience.
I built up my industry knowledge and became an expert.
I used my newfound ability to my advantage and finally got a job in my desired industry. I'm a successful business professional and owe much of it to my industry knowledge.
Now, I understand business opportunities and I can spot trends and opportunities.
As a result, I've been able to use my industry knowledge to my advantage, which has been integral to my success. Industry knowledge is an essential part of succeeding in the business world. It's not enough to have the skills and raw talent—you need the proper industry knowledge to make it.
You must be able to lead
Have you ever heard of Robert Townsend?
He transformed Avis from a small business to a giant company. He was president of Avis in the 1960s. During that time, he took the company from one that lost $3 million a year to one that made $2.8 million in profits.
Robert was an inspiration.
Robert served as the president of Avis Rent-A-Car. Townsend transformed the company into an international powerhouse. Born in 1920 in Washington DC.
Townsend's family instilled a strong work ethic, which he carried throughout his career.
Townsend served in the Navy during WWII, learning leadership as an officer.
Townsend's big break came in the early 1960s when he was hired to run a struggling company. The company was Avis Rent-A-Car, and Townsend was determined to turn it around.
He focussed on customer service and great marketing. Thanks to Townsend's leadership, Avis became one of the world's most successful car rental companies.
Townsend was a visionary leader who inspired those around him to strive for excellence. After leaving Avis, Townsend wrote a book on leadership and management, "Up the Organization."
Robert Townsend's legacy includes hard work, innovation, and success. He was a great business leader who set the bar for others to follow.
His story is an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders everywhere. His story shows the critical leadership behaviors every leader needs.
As a Scrum Master, you must be able to lead.
The five must-have leadership behaviors for every Scrum Master
As a leader, being present with your team is essential.
Being present means that you engage in conversations and activities. It also means being mindful of the feelings and emotions of your team members.
Being mindful will let you respond to their needs in an appropriate and timely manner. When leaders are present with their teams, they
- understand the dynamics of their team
- build trust
- foster collaboration
- create a culture of respect and support.
This type of leadership encourages team members to be present with each other. It also creates a healthy and productive work environment.
Leaders must be honest with their teams. Honesty builds trust, fosters collaboration, and maintains respect.
An honest leader builds trust. This trust allows everyone to feel safe and empowered at work.
Every leader has the potential to be a successful one.
Successful leader focus, work hard, and work at leadership. Leaders focused on their goals and objectives are likelier to reach them.
Leaders must be able to prioritize tasks to be effective. Take a step back and look at the big picture to determine how to reach your goals.
Leaders must be able to distinguish between important and unimportant tasks. Leaders must also stay focused on the task, no matter what distractions may arise.
There will always be distractions, but leaders must focus. Focus requires discipline and self-control, but keeping the team on track is essential.
Leaders also need to be able to focus their energy on the best projects and initiatives. It can be easy to get distracted. Leaders must be able to know what is most important and focus their energy on those things.
Leaders must rank and delegate tasks to ensure that the team is working on the most critical tasks.
Finally, leaders need to be able to stay focused on the team's vision. It can be easy to get sidetracked by minor details.
Avoid this by looking at the big picture and staying focused on the team's goals.
Scrum Masters will keep the team motivated and inspired to reach their goals. Leaders must focus on being effective. Leaders can inspire their teams to reach their goals and make a lasting impact.
Take your moment to lead.
Focus on your goals and tasks.
As a leader, you are responsible for guiding and supporting your team.
To do this, you must understand the needs and feelings of those around you. Empathy is your superpower.
Empathy is the ability to recognize, understand, and relate to the feelings of others. It is the ability to understand the perspective of others. Empathy is an essential skill for leaders because it allows them to be more effective in their roles.
Take time to understand and appreciate the feelings of their team. Then, your team will sprint to reach its goals.
Build relationships and trust with your team. This will lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.
Leaders must also be able to show empathy in difficult situations. When tensions are high, this is critical.
Leaders recognize and address the feelings of those involved. An empathetic leader can de-escalate a problem. Empathy is an essential skill for leaders to have.
Recognizing the feelings of others will help them be more effective in their roles. Leaders must:
- take the time to build strong relationships with their team
- show empathy in difficult situations
- adjust their strategies as needed
Empathy is a key to success for any leader.
As a leader, courage is an essential trait.
Courage inspires and motivates others. Leaders must be willing to take risks and stand up for their beliefs.
The first step in being a courageous leader is to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Good leaders know what they want and how they will do it.
They articulate their goals and strategies to their team in an inspiring way. A leader with a clear vision will be more able to take risks and make difficult decisions when necessary.
Another key to being a courageous leader is standing up for your beliefs. A good leader will have the courage to stand up for their values, even when it is unpopular or risky.
They will be willing to take risks and challenge the status quo when necessary. This type of courage builds trust and creates collaboration and innovation. Finally, a courageous leader will also have the courage to resist external pressures. Outside influences, such as public opinion or the latest trends, will not sway a good leader.
Leaders stand up for what they believe. Being a courageous leader is not easy. It takes courage to have a clear vision, to stand up for your beliefs, and to resist external pressures.
However, leaders with these traits inspire and motivate their team.
What does a Scrum Master do?
If you're looking for a job with a lot of responsibility and opportunity, listen up. A role as a Scrum Master in a big company could be the perfect fit for you.
Scrum Masters are responsible for guiding development teams toward successful project delivery.
They are the go-to person for anything related to
- the agile methodology used to manage complex projects
- program management
The Scrum Master's primary goal is to focus the team to be more productive. In a big company, the Scrum Master is normally responsible for leading two teams.
This leadership requires a high level of organization and communication skills. and a deep understanding of Scrum principles and practices.
The Scrum Master must be able to keep the teams on the same page. The Scrum Master must also be a leader who can motivate and inspire the team to deliver results. In addition, they improve efficiency through Kaizens.
A Kaizen is a continuous improvement event.
Finally, the Scrum Master must be able to mediate between the different stakeholders.
These teams include the development team, product owners, and customers. They communicate with all parties to resolve conflicts. A Scrum Master in a big company is an important role that requires a wide range of skills and experience.
Four must-have skills for a Scrum Master
- Adapt to change
Scrum Masters are essential to the success of any large organization. A Scrum Master leads the team and ensures that the work is done on time and to a high standard.
As such, any Scrum Master must have the necessary skills to be successful in the role. The most critical skill for any Scrum Master is communication.
A successful Scrum Master is a great communicator. Communication includes written, oral, and non-verbal communication. It covers topics such as goals, tasks, and timelines.
Another essential skill for a Scrum Master is problem-solving. A Scrum Master finds issues preventing the team from meeting its goals and solves them.
Problem-solving includes assessing and prioritizing tasks, delegating responsibilities, and identifying improvement areas. In addition to problem-solving, a Scrum Master must have strong leadership skills.
A successful Scrum Master must be able to motivate and guide the team to reach its goals. Leadership includes setting clear expectations, providing guidance, and managing any conflicts.
Finally, a successful Scrum Master must be able to adapt to change. A Scrum Master must be able to adjust to new challenges and come up with new strategies to address them.
These are a few skills that a successful Scrum Master needs in a large company.
With these skills, a Scrum Master can lead well, meet goals, and succeed.
How much does it cost to become a Scrum Master
The average cost is between $1,200 to $2,000 USD to become a Scrum Master. If you travel to your Scrum Master course, you'll add several hundred dollars of travel costs.
In this tutorial, we covered a bunch of material. You learned
- how to become a Scrum Master
- earn your CSM®
- earn your RSM®
- get a job as a Scrum Master
- how to succeed as a Scrum Master.
Whew! That's a lot of material. But, by now, you're prepared to start your journey toward CSM® or RSM®.
Why should you trust this information?
This post was written and checked by our staff writer, Jon H who is a Registered Scrum Trainer and Registered Scrum at Scale Trainer through Scrum Inc.
End Notes and references
- section: 11 simple steps to become a CSM® https://www.scrumalliance.org/get-certified/scrum-master-track/certified-scrummaster this page shows the source information for how to become a CSM®
- Section: how to become a RSM® https://agileeducation.org/find-class/?&date_start=Tue%20Dec%2027%202022%2011:30:03%20GMT+0000&courseType=Scrum%20Master this reference shows how to find a Scrum Master class
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Townsend_(author) this reference explains the life and business success of Robert Townsend
- https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjI4cuwoJz8AhVXiHIEHZ8vAvAQFnoECA8QAw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Farchive%2Flocal%2F1998%2F01%2F14%2Fexecutive-author-robert-townsend-dies%2Fced04fd9-2a0c-4b82-b277-e7f372f7d4aa%2F%23%3A~%3Atext%3DTownsend%2520was%2520president%2520of%2520Avis%2Cmade%2520%25242.8%2520million%2520in%2520profits.&usg=AOvVaw1koIs9q5Ah3arZLZNb8ay1 this reference provides more data on the life and accomplishments for the life and accomplishments of Robert Townsend
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6281759/ The Path Is the Goal: How Transformational Leaders Enhance Followers’ Job Attitudes and Proactive Behavior is a reference for how leadership enhance follower's job attitudes and performance.
- https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2158244020914634 Analysis of Leader Effectiveness in Organization and Knowledge Sharing Behavior on Employees and Organization this reference shows the relationship between effectiveness, knowledge sharing behavior and business performance.
- I also write at https://drink-mix-artist.com/ where I talk about things like the
Sprints typically last between one and four weeks, and they include several key events, including:
- Sprint planning: A collaborative event in which the team decides what work will be completed during the sprint and how it will be accomplished.
- Daily scrum: A 15-minute time-boxed event in which the team meets to discuss progress, identify roadblocks, and plan for the day ahead.
- Sprint review: A collaborative event in which the team demonstrates the work that has been completed during the sprint and receives feedback from stakeholders.
- Sprint retrospective: A collaborative event in which the team reflects on the sprint and identifies opportunities for improvement. Each of these events is time-boxed, which means that they have a set duration and are designed to keep the team focused and on track.