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Junior Scrum Manager - is this job ever offered?

Last post 04:48 pm February 7, 2014 by Kevin Byrne
7 replies
11:38 am February 6, 2014


I'm a student in the first of a two-years Masters programme. I have a bachelors in Computer Science with a special focus on Agile techniques and my thesis was based on Scrum. This bachelors took place in a small university in Spain, and I could not find any job offers looking for unexperienced Scrum (not even generic Project) Managers, so I decided to move to Sweden to head into the aforementioned Masters in Software Engineering in Chalmers, a university which has a relatively good name in the IT field (I'm not here for promoting it, check out Wikipedia if you're curious). However, even though the companies here are bigger and more serious than where I come from, they still don't have a place for inexperienced managers - the only role they want without experience is developer. I can "get relatively easily hired" as a developer in a swarm of companies, it doesn't matter that I'm not an outstanding programmer, simply because there are a lot of offers for it. But I want to work as a Scrum Manager, not as a coder. I haven't studied for that. I know that the role may imply coding depending on the situation, but that's different.

So, to the point, how am I supposed to get the experience necessary to be able to apply for a role as Scrum Manager if nobody wants a junior one? I've already listened enough times to the "build yourself from the ground up" - coding is not going to provide me with too much experience on project management...



01:56 pm February 6, 2014

> coding is not going to provide me with too
> much experience on project management...

Oh yes it will, believe me. You'll get to see how projects are managed by others and, just as importantly, mismanaged. That kind of experience is absolute gold dust for a Scrum Master.

If you're lucky that might soon lead to a Scrum Master or Kanban Leader appointment. However it is sometimes necessary to then take an oblique step into a non-agile PM role first, so as to evidence leadership experience.

11:28 pm February 6, 2014

NB more specifically, you'll get to see the kind of problems developers encounter in the field. This is of great value to a Scrum Master or other agile manager in a servant leadership role.

02:28 am February 7, 2014

But even if that experience is useful, I won't be able to apply for a job requiring a couple of years of experience as project/scrum manager because my role getting such experience will have been developer, not project/scrum manager. I guess then that the way to go is keep up the good work on the company as developer until they decide to put higher responsibilities on me? And what about going for a ScrumAlliance certification? Would it be actually useful to throttle this "promotion"?

04:04 am February 7, 2014

> I guess then that the way to go is keep up the good work on the company as developer

As I mentioned above, it is good and relevant experience

> until they decide to put higher responsibilities on me?

No. Higher responsibilities need to be actively sought out. Don't be held hostage to corporate whims or enslaved to their progression route.

> And what about going for a ScrumAlliance certification? Would it be actually useful to throttle this "promotion"?

Becoming a Scrum Master isn't a "promotion", even in quotation marks. It's just one of the three Scrum Roles. Studying for accreditations by the Scrum Alliance and/or is helpful, especially when first setting out. Engaging with these learning opportunities puts you in a better position than those who do not bother to do so.

06:05 am February 7, 2014

Hi Jorge,
you may want to look at this from the company's point of view. If you had to hire a SCRUM Master, would you select an experienced developer who has also done some project management, or a bachelor without any experience? (given that an experienced SCRUM master is not available)
The SCRUM master role is not an easy one, and before someone applies for it he should at least have some experience in software development, regardless in which role.
Good luck for your carreer!

06:29 am February 7, 2014

@Ian_Mitchell for "promotion" I didn't mean the certification, but the increase of responsibilities. But anyway if you say this has to be a proactive move from my side, I guess the certification acquires quite a little bit of importance.
@Ludwig true, I hadn't thought about it from the company's side.

Ok guys, thanks for this little discussion, I guess I'll have to stick around the developer role for some more time...


04:48 pm February 7, 2014

Just food for thought: the Scrum Master is "a servant-leader for the Scrum Team". There are many ways you can be a "servant-leader" in a team without having any official role, and will provide the experience companies want.

I think of a recent interview with QA when I was asked, "Tell me about a time when you did something to make someone else look good." They care about that stuff, and you can gain experience by encouraging good scrum principles and facilitating team members at any point in your career.

And who knows, maybe once they see that kind of enthusiasm for Scrum and "service-leadership", they could find it in their best interest to make you an official Scrum Master.

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