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Non-Technical Scrum Master roadmap

Last post 02:11 am July 21, 2023 by Subhasish Gupta
3 replies
06:51 pm July 16, 2023

Hello! I have experience in IT (digital supply chain domain) as consultant & EDI Manager but was never part of any actual product development team as a developer. While I came across many articles that say being a hardcore technical person is not needed to be a Scrum Master, I did not find any clear explanation on how a non tech person can have some background information on how a practical Agile implementation looks like. I completed different trainings/courses from various sources which were based off "Tech for Non-Technical people" & so that could have  have a basic understanding of - SDLC, Agile Methodologies (Scrum, Kanban, XP), Basic DevOps (CI/CD), Software Architecture. I want to navigate my career towards a SM role & want to ensure I understand Dev Teams lingo & processes so I can provide inputs to the team. Kindly guide on what should be the ideal roadmap for a NonTech SM. Thanks!!

09:46 pm July 17, 2023

Hi Yash,

I think your first step on the roadmap will be just to attend an official scrum master training and get aquainted with the framework and the role.

You will then find that your wish to "provide inputs to the team" has no place in scrum. At least not technical inputs, you will have many other inputs you can give them, but you don't need to be technical for those.

Additionally I would say that the best way to find out yourself is empirically, by just starting as a scrum master. Thats the best way to find out what next steps you will need to improve yourself.

03:29 pm July 18, 2023

Scrum Masters do not need to understand the technology or be able to participate in that part of the equation.  Where in this section of the Scrum Guide do you see that it mentions anything technical in nature within the Scrum Master's accountability? A Scrum Master helps the team be effective, makes sure that everyone in the organization understands the Scrum framework and how to best interact with the Scrum Team.  They help the Scrum Team discover ways of working that will enable them to produce usable increments of value in every Sprint. 

If you want to pursue a career as a Scrum Master I assume that you understand empiricism, since it is a basic building block of Scrum.  I say that because you should understand that empiricism can be used in any situation where knowledge needs to be gained.  As a Scrum Master for a Scrum Team you will have other individuals that have knowledge that you can use to learn other things.  The Product Owner can help you to learn the problem space in which the team operates.  The Developers can help you learn enough technical lingo to be dangerous.  All you have to do is ask for the help.  

Also remember that Scrum does not have to be used exclusively for software development.  I have worked in places where the Human Resources, Event Planning, Product Management, and Executive Leadership (i.e. CxO and SVP level) operated using the Scrum framework with Scrum Masters of their own. I've even introduced it into Medical Labs where my wife has worked.  

If you are set on learning some of the technical side of software development, continue your learning. You can find online introduction to software development classes where you can start to hone your skills. You do not need to be a senior level developer.  You just need to know the basics. 

To wrap this up, I will give you a little of my background. I started my career in software development 36 years ago as a COBOL programmer on mainframes.  None of the knowledge is usable today. I have done a little development in languages like Java, Scala, SQL but it has not been extensive or my primary job. I tested software for a large part of that career, doing manual validation and then venturing into some automated testing. The remainder has been in project management, people leadership, process engineering. If I were a hiring manager and I was one of the candidates for a software engineering position, I would not hire me.  There are so many people that can do it better.  But I am able to understand business. I understand software users. I understand enough of the technology to know what is difficult and what isn't. I also understand processes, risk management/assessment, human nature, and empiricism.  I do not consider myself a technical person. I consider myself a person capable of listening, reading people, reading situations, and helping others to consider options that they may not.  In my opinion, those are the type of skills a Scrum Master needs.     

02:11 am July 21, 2023

Experience with Scrum Master Role:

  • A strong understanding of Scrum and Agile concepts
  • Familiarity with the technology used by the team
  • To be able to coach and teach the team to follow Scrum practices
  • Having the ability to handle conflicts and resolve them quickly
  • To be a servant leader

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