Scrum Master job description
I've cobbled together(from other sources) a Scrum Master job description for a client, and I'd be interested in any feedback anyone has. This position is for an "Experienced Scrum Master" who would be an SM for 1-2 teams of appropriate Scrum team size.
- Doing everything possible to ensure delighting customers
- Guiding the team and organization on how to use Agile/Scrum practices and values to delight customers
- Guiding the team on how to get the most of out self organization
- Guiding the team on self organizing to fill in the intentional gaps left in the Agile/Scrum frameworks
- Assessing the Scrum Maturity of the team and organization and coaching the team to higher levels of maturity, at a pace that is sustainable and comfortable for the team and organization
- Removing impediments or guiding the team to remove impediments by finding the right personnel to remove the impediment.
- Building a trusting and safe environment where problems can be raised without fear of blame, retribution, or being judged, with an emphasis of healing and problem solving.
- Facilitating getting the work done without coercion, assigning, or dictating the work.
- Facilitating discussion, decision making, and conflict resolution
- Assisting with internal and external communication, improving transparency, and radiating information
- Supporting and educating the Product Owner, especially with respect to grooming and maintaining the product backlog.
- Providing all support to the team using a servant leadership style whenever possible, and leading by example
- First level Scrum Master certification (CSM, PSM I)
- Experience playing the Scrum Master role for at least one year for a software development team that was diligently applying Scrum principles, practices, and theory.
- Good skills and knowledge of servant leadership, facilitation, situational awareness, conflict resolution, continual improvement, empowerment, and increasing transparency
- Knowledge of numerous well documented patterns and techniques for filling in the intentional gaps left in the Scrum approach(example: numerous Burndown techniques, numerous Retrospective formats, handling bugs, etc)
Preferred Skills/Experience (Any of these is a plus)
- Second level Scrum Master certification (CSP, PSM II)
- Experience playing the Scrum Master role for at least two years for a software development team that was diligently applying Scrum principles, practices, and theory.
- Knowledge of other Agile approaches: XP, Kanban, Crystal, FDD, etc
- Knowledge and/or experience with widely successful Agile techniques: User Stories, ATDD, TDD, Continuous Integration, Continuous Testing, Pairing, Automated Testing, Agile Games
- Applicable knowledge of the technologies used by the team
- Experience applying a wide variety of well documented patterns and techniques for filling in the intentional gaps left in the Scrum approach(example: numerous Burndown techniques, numerous Retrospective formats, handling bugs,etc)
- Previous experience as a team lead
- Excellent communication and mentoring skills
</end job description>
Some other things you(the job poster) might want to fill in:
- Required education level
- Required software product development experience (I don't recommend picking a particular development role -- just general software development experience)
- Any other things that you feel are important to your project, company, or team culture
I'm not sure about the first two lines on Essential Duties which mention "delighting customers". To mention this twice at top-level seems to imply that the ScrumMaster is going to be in a heavily customer-facing role. Maybe I'm too European (we often forget customer satisfaction is everyone's responsibility) but it does make me wonder about Product Ownership in this job, and how effective I can expect it to be.
"...to fill in the intentional gaps left in the Agile/Scrum frameworks" seems a bit jarring; it might be better just to say "to fully realise the potential of Agile/Scrum frameworks".
Asking for experience leading a team "that was diligently applying Scrum principles, practices, and theory" is of dubious value. It isn't the team that's being hired, it's the ScrumMaster. Moreover, that ScrumMaster will be looking for a new job for a reason. Don't rule out someone with endless experience of ropey projects in which their position may have been compromised, but who has developed a critical understanding of what the various shortcomings were and what it would take to remedy them. That would surely be better than hiring someone who reads the job description and who glibly reckons they can tick all boxes about an A-1 job being done.
Excellent feedback, Ian. I was so tunnel visioned that I couldn't see your excellent points...
Re: delighting customers.
Point taken. What if I re-worded it to... ?
Strongly serving the Product Owner and Development Team in their quest to do everything possible to delight customers
Re: diligently applying Scrum principles
Excellent point, and I think you are right, of dubious value. I will remove that language.
Re: intentional gaps left in the Agile/Scrum frameworks
This one I have to stick with, because I think it's a point missed by many people in the biz. Plus, I'd like the interviewee to come prepared to answer questions around it -- and I mention some examples down below so it's not like they'll totally be shocked by the questions. In short, this is a personal viewpoint of mine that I feel very strongly about. I coach a lot of new teams, and I feel like too many new teams focus on changing the Scrum framework when instead they should be focusing on how to work *within* the framework to optimize their Scrum implementation and delivery abilities. I don't feel like we as an industry stress the "intentional gaps" thing enough. Plus, I want an SM to know several techniques for fulfilling those gaps so that they can coach the team towards a better fulfillment of those gaps. I would certainly be open to re-wording this one to achieve the same effect.
I'm going to evolve this description on a wiki page on my web site. Here is the link:
P.S. I've bolded and did strikethroughs for the most recent edits. I'll try to continue doing that as I get feedback.
Ian, thanks for your great feedback.
(The bold and strikethroughs are on my wiki page linked above) Sorry for the zillion posts but there is a bug in the forum software that doesn't allow me to edit my posts. I've reported the bug to Scrum.org.
Is there any formal course available to qualify as scrum master?
Not sure I understand your question.
Is this what you're looking for?
As a follow up, I've made some more updates, so for the most up to date copy of the job description, see here:
Thank you so much for writing this up. It's excellent!
Please explain in detail:
- Coach the team and organization on how to use Agile practices and values
- Coach the team on self organizing to fill in the intentional gaps left in the Agile/Scrum frameworks
- Remove impediments or guide the team to remove impediments by finding the right personnel to remove the impediment.
- Work towards trusting and safe environment where problems can be raised without fear of blame with an emphasis of healing and problem solving.
- Facilitate discussion, decision making, and conflict resolution
- Assist with internal and external communication, improve transparency and radiate information
- Support the Product Owner with respect to grooming and maintaining the product backlog.
- Provide all support to the team using a servant leadership style whenever possible and leading by example
- Excellent communication and mentoring skills
Just a concern on the phrase "Delighting the customer" or "quest to do everything to possible to delight the customer", just what Ian said above, your candidates might still ask you or explain to you about this phrase.
IMO, try not to use that word as a job description to avoid asking what it means or what are their boundaries.