Scrum Master Competencies.

Last post 08:41 am May 2, 2013
by Mark Newman
8 replies
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02:43 am April 26, 2013

Hi,

Just would like to know how much technical competent a scrum master should be to play his/her role. Deep technical knowledge and architect skills are must for scrum master?

My view is that the Scrum master must have the good grasp on the scrum processes/rules and their application with good people management skills. It is nice to have a deep and good grasp in technical front for scrum master.

Please guide me if i am wrong.

Thanks
Vikas Gupta

07:45 am April 26, 2013

Vikas,

IMO and IME, an SM having technical knowledge can be a great asset, so long as the SM doesn't use that technical knowledge to harm the Dev Team's ability to self organize. It is very easy for a SM with technical background to "stomp on" the DT's self organizational abilities.

Having said that, while the main skills of an SM are probably Scrum knowledge and Servant Leadership, just about any other extra knowledge/experience (Expert facilitation knowledge, Domain knowledge, Company knowledge, Technical knowledge, Project/Product knowledge, teaching knowledge, coaching knowledge) can be highly useful, so long as they don't interfere with Scrum or Servant Leadership/Self Organization. The value that the "extra knowledge" brings to a particular team will obviously depend on the needs of that team/org.

So, long story short, while technical knowledge in an SM might an asset, there are drawbacks to that knowledge, and there are other areas of knowledge that might actually be more important for a given team or org.

Does that help?

10:19 am April 26, 2013

For what it's worth, I just blogged on the SM / Servant Leadership issue today:

"Scrum Master: Servant Leadership in Practice"

http://agile.dzone.com/articles/scrum-master-servant?mz=123873-agile

11:46 pm April 28, 2013

Charles,

Thank you very much for the answer. It really helped me.

Thanks
Vikas

11:49 pm April 28, 2013

Thanks Ian, doubt clearing blog relly helpful.

Vikas

09:59 pm April 30, 2013

I've seen success with SMs with and without deep technical knowledge. I think it depends on the larger team. How much deep knowledge is there on the rest of the team? If a lot, then the SM can focus on the scrum leadership, and leave more architecture, technical knowledge to others. I've also been in other situations where the SM was also the most technically knowledgeable, as well. It is much more work for an SM to have to cover both. I think the perfect world is where the team has deep knowledge, the SM also goes deep, so can pick up wherever needed, but can also fall back when other sprint, scrum related issues crop up that need to be dealt with to keep the team from being impeded.

02:57 am May 2, 2013

I would say it is nice to have a technical SM but he should not be too technical and should not get involved in day-to-day coding activities.

SM should be very much deep into processes and tools to be used in Scrum.

06:17 am May 2, 2013

Thanks Sanjay.

08:41 am May 2, 2013

I am out of the office until Monday, May 13th.

Please direct any questions to Perica Zivkovic

Mark C. Newman
PDS Americas LLC
1177 West Loop South, Suite 525
Houston, TX 77027
<mailto:mark.newman@pds.nl&gt; mark.newman@pds.nl
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Skype: mark-c-newman