Finding a Scrum Master

How to hire the right scrum master for your team

Finding the right scrum master by looking for the right person

Today, in our brand new blog, you will learn how to hire a scrum master.  

Finding a Scrum Master can be challenging. Here are five keys you need to keep in mind.

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Five keys to finding and hiring a scrum master

  • Know how much experience your scrum master needs to have.
  • What credentials are industry-recognized, and what are the essential things your scrum master should have.
  • What tools or technologies are required?
  • Knowing who your scrum master needs to work with.
  • Knowing what challenges the scrum master may face.

Let's take a deeper dive into the first point, knowing how much experience your Scrum master needs to have before hiring them.

Scrum masters will be handling a large variety of tasks.

Scrum Masters are the person who is supposed to make sure the team follows the rules and promotes the Scrum process. A good scrum master needs to have all of the following:

  • Good conflict management skills since they will be dealing with people who may have issues with your choices and decisions.
  • Good communication skills so they can build relationships with the team and anything else that is needed.
  • Good management skills since they will have to deal with issues from outside of the team.
  • Moral leadership (I think of this as someone who will help guide you into making the right decisions.)
  • Know how to motivate people and understand team dynamics.
  • Understand how to deliver software.
  • Understand the business that you are dealing with. What do they stand for?

Since Scrum masters are expected to be a part of the product team, people want a scrum master who has a lot of development experience. If you want a scrum master who understands how to deliver quality software, you need someone who has done it before.

That being said, that doesn't mean someone who doesn't develop software can't be a good scrum master, but it may limit their experience. If the central part of the job is to act as a Scrum Master for someone else who does the development, they may be lost.

Recommended tools to evaluate the Scrum Master

Scrum Masters need tools that enhance communication, productivity, and teamwork.

There are many tools out there that fit into these categories, but when looking for a good scrum master, it's best to look at the following toolset.

  • How well does the scrum master use email? Does the scrum master tend to write long, complex emails, or are they short to the point with minimal information?
  • How well does the scrum master communicate with others?
  • How well do they use tools such as screen sharing or IRC?
  • How well does the scrum master talk in front of a group of people?
  • How well do they communicate information with a group of people over a video call such as Skype or hangouts?

A good scrum master will show they use these tools rather than force the others to because it’s more efficient.

Scrum master Credentials

Let's take a deeper dive into the second point, What credentials are industry-recognized and the most important things your scrum master should have. Scrum is an evolving methodology, so the set of credentials you need to look out for is continually changing.

Credentials are necessary, but it's the experience that matters. Find a scrum master credentialed from a reputable source but spend time finding a candidate with the right expertise.  An experienced team will help keep your teams running smoothly but a good culture is what you need to ensure a smooth-running team.

The most important aspect of hiring a scrum master is culture fit. You want someone who will be able to work with people on your team and staff, someone who will bring about positive changes, someone who's positive, patient, knowledgable, and passionate. Make sure that your scrum master will help create a positive culture.

A good scrum master understands the core principles and values of Scrum. They are some of the essential things a scrum master should have.

A Scrum Master will also have four attributes.

  • Productive
  • Cooperative
  • Professional
  • Great at listening

Productive, this is what you should expect from them. They should be helping the teams as much as possible. They should produce as many tangible things as possible as well. It may take time for them to get up and running, but they should be as productive as possible once they are.

Cooperative, this is one of the more important ones for sure. They need to think outside of themselves and their issues. As a scrum master, they need to cooperate with people from different teams, and they need to cooperate.

Professional, remember scrum masters are humans too. Don't forget that. Every once in a while, a scrum master may make mistakes. Downward feedback is essential for a scrum master, so it's okay to give them feedback as well as constructive criticism.

Great at listening.  A Scrum Master is like a team doctor who diagnoses performance problems and prescribes a solution.  That's why you need to be an excellent listener.  You'll never help your team if you don't listen to them.

Who does your scrum master need to work with

We should consider the third point in more detail now, knowing who your scrum master needs to work with. Who does your scrum master need to work with?

  • Does your Scrum Master need to work with an Architect or Analyst?
  • Program Manager or Project Manager?
  • QA Lead?
  • Other Stakeholders?

If you have to choose between these four, what do you prefer, or do you require them all?

Evaluate the duties of a scrum master

Scrum Masters have numerous roles. Both Management and Development, and it's essential to realize that Scrum is both a process and a way of life that sees the Scrum Master as a role model and protector of the critical values and tenets.

Qualities of a Scrum Master

Scrum Masters should have strong social and problem-solving skills and also a waste reducer and facilitator.

Not only the organization but also Scrum Masters need to be capable of withstanding significant challenges. They must be bold and lean and also be able to be humble enough to communicate with the stakeholders and team members.

As viewed through the Agile eye, growth paths are more complex than the traditional career paths for managers. Agile is a way of thinking about processes and a way of life. Scrum Masters need to be veterans with over a decade of experience and have worked on several projects during that period. 

When thinking about hiring

Consider the people doing the hiring. Most importantly, the vision and values of the company. The Scrum Master needs to fit in with the other personnel in the team. Do not stress if you don't meet all these criteria, as there are cases where a person is a perfect fit for just one project. If that is the case, just hire them for this project, even though they aren't an ideal fit

That's true. Scrum Masters should be:

  1. Professional
  2. focused
  3. stable
  4. open-minded
  5. tolerant
  6. thorough
  7. honest
  8. thoughtful
  9. empathetic
  10. knowledgeable
  11. practical
  12. clear
  13. timely
  14. disciplined
  15. neutral
  16. adaptable
  17. understood
  18. approachable.

Generally speaking, the Scrum Master should be an expert in some fields, such as development, quality assurance, business analysis, project or process management. They also need to possess some abilities, such as the ability to take action, formulate goals, the ability to visualize, the ability to promote growth, and the ability to organize.

Scrum Master's responsibilities are listed below:

  • Help resolve conflicts.
  • Remove dysfunctional behavior within the Scrum Team
  • Remain neutral through the Scrum Team.
  • Keep the processes as simple as possible.
  • Increase productivity by breaking up the work aggressively.
  • Maintain and build relationships throughout the Scrum Team and the organization as a whole
  • Be open to and encourage innovative ideas.
  • Recognize anti-patterns.
  • Earn the respect of everyone, including managers.
  • Help educate the organization and managers about agile.

Scrum Masters should be a leader who serves 

A great Scrum Master should be:

  • Motivated.
  • Very personal.
  • Always proactive.
  • Innovative and creative.
  • Collaborative.
  • Business-oriented 
  • Self-confident and able to behave boldly.
  • Capable of handling pressure.
  • An impeccable communicator, both verbally and in writing
  • Stand up for the values of the organization
  • persuade individuals and groups and aggressively solve problems.

Always stay up to date with the technologies and software libraries that are being used in the project. Technically, a Scrum Master needs to be as independent as possible. Stay up to date on trends and technologies and learn how to face as many challenges as possible.

The Scrum Master should know how to:

  1. Conduct a workshop.
  2. Coach and educate people.
  3. Be an excellent negotiator.

Challenges scrum masters face

If we know the challenges a scrum master will face, we can pick the right scrum master when interviewing many applicants. Here are the types of challenges scrum masters face across several industries.

Finding the right scrum master can be challenging. But understanding what you need him or her to do is critical.

This is something all scrum masters need, and also something most scrum masters don't have.


Today you learned how to hire a great scrum master. It's challenging but worth it because a great scrum master can make a team shine. You also learned how to interview a scrum master and what to ask. If you need a scrum master interview cheat sheet let me know and I can help.

I hope you enjoyed this post and you learned something.

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