Scrum Master with coding knowledge

Last post 08:17 pm February 14, 2020
by Simon Mayer
6 replies
Author
Messages
12:41 pm February 13, 2020

Hello Everyone, 

Does a scrum master need coding knowledge as I could see in many job description asking the scrum masters with knowledge of programming languages like Java,Python etc

Thanks & Regards, 

Deepa 

06:55 pm February 13, 2020

Well..Not really.

To save the cost some companies may expect technical team member to do this role as well. If company hires technical person who is ready to do scrum master job without actually having motivation & understanding of the role, it won't be really effective. He/she would be scrum master for the namesake. 

 

07:47 pm February 13, 2020

As a scrum master with strong technical knowledge, I find I have to be very disciplined to ensure that I am facilitating rather than directing. It often happens that the development team takes approaches that I think are inefficient or flat out wrong. I try to respond to these situations by asking questions and posing alternatives. But I recently caught my self championing an approach rather than facilitating and forced myself to back off and let the team decide for itself.

I don't think technical skills are required by any means. They can help in understanding the team's overall picture and direction, but a technical scrum master also needs to be very careful not to become a tech lead.

08:32 pm February 13, 2020

Depending on what the organization hopes to achieve, yes, sometimes coding (or whatever technical skills are associated with the domain in which Scrum is being applied) are necessary for a Scrum Master to have.

Consider the services that the Scrum Master provides. Some of these include helping the team to create high-value products and removing impediments. Depending on what kind of help the team needs or what kinds of impediments they are facing, an in-depth set of technical skills may be what is needed. However, in other contexts, perhaps a different set of skills is necessary.

I believe that there are a core set of skills that all Scrum Masters, or agile coaches of any type, need. These include a strong understanding of the agile and lean values and principles, teaching skills, coaching skills, mentoring skills, and facilitation skills. But the balance between the technical development skills, the product or service management skills, and transformational skills (which would include things like psychology, organizational behavior, change management, and similar) will vary widely depending on exactly what the organization and team needs.

08:46 pm February 13, 2020

The Scrum Master role as described in the Scrum Guide does not need to have technical knowledge.  However, job descriptions are very different.  A job descriptions list skills needed for that job.  A role describes the work that a person does.  So the list of skills on a job description could span multiple roles. 

I feel like a Scrum Master should have some knowledge of the technical field that the Scrum Team operates.  Does that knowledge need to be intimate enough that they could do the work?  Not really. Just enough to understand what kind of difficulties might be faced, enough to understand the impediments being raised to the Scrum Master to help remove.  So knowledge, yes.  Experience doing, not so much.

02:04 am February 14, 2020

Scrum is a framework for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products. Depending on the nature of the product, the implementation of the framework does not necessarily require coding skills at all.

08:17 pm February 14, 2020

It's good to keep a certain amount of scepticism about job postings.

These skills might indeed be needed, but it's also possible that this company doesn't understand what the Scrum Master's role is. At best, this would be an interesting challenge for a Scrum Master coming into a company. At worst a frustrating mistake, where you're destined not to be able to work effectively.

You might want to challenge such expectations if you get so far as an interview, and consider whether it is indeed the right position for you.