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A Scrum Master’s DNA

A look at the key characteristics of a Scrum Sensei

September 09, 2019 | 4 min. read

It’s time to delve into the world of Scrum Masters. Who are these wise beings with superhero abilities to motivate and lead? What kind of person travels down the Agile road and helps teams discover new avenues to success? We sat down with three of Digital’s Scrum Masters, Rima, Johan and Chinmaya to find out.

Before diving into a Scrum Master’s DNA, we should explain what the title actually means. First things first, Scrum Masters champion team projects, not rugby pitches. Many could rock the rugby field but most Scrum Masters are strictly Agile mavericks.

Ah Agile, another tricky term. Agile or Scrum refers to a simple framework used for effective team collaboration. Throughout a project, Scrum Masters ensure the team sticks to the best Scrum practices. They gently steer the ship and provide guidance, navigating the team through choppy waters to eventually land upon the shores of success.

Now that’s all cleared up, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty -what kind of person is a Scrum Master?

1. A Calm and Collected Communicator
After talking to Rima, Johan and Chinmaya, one trait quickly stood out -they’re all top-notch communicators. They can talk the talk with confidence and articulate complex terms with clarity. Should a problem arise, these guys know who to talk to and have no qualms speaking up when necessary. Johan, who has led many a Scrum session, says “you need to understand and translate business jargon” -this means knowing your OKRs from your GBTs. That way, Johan can lead meetings effectively and “guide the team towards possible solutions”.

2. Positive
It’s all about motivation, motivation, motivation. Scrum Masters keep teams on track with an upbeat, can-do attitude. They radiate positivity but they’re also realistic, understanding their team’s limits and setting achievable goals. Rima boils it down to intrinsic motivation -“you want to help the team, gain trust and get that goodwill factor”. Acting as a pillar of strength: “you set aside your own opinion and do what’s right for the team”.

3. Extrovert
You won’t find Johan hiding behind his laptop with don’t-ask-me-anything headphones glued to his ears. He walks on the extroverted side of life. He kicks a team into action by being outgoing and adaptable, forming solid connections so his team feels free to ask for help. Johan also says you can’t sit idly by while a team is struggling. You need to “stand up to people, make a decision and stick to it”.

4. Level-headed
Scrum Masters get stuff done, quickly. This means tackling issues with a level head and being sensible in their approach to solutions. When the going gets tough, they emphasise the importance of maintaining a composed demeanour. Chinmaya, a beacon of calm, never allows stress to overwhelm a team. His infectious ever-so-chilled vibe keeps things mellow, which cultivates an easy-going work environment. He doesn’t bow to pressure and “offers help at every corner”.

5. Insightful
Wise, insightful, supportive -it’s safe to say Scrum Masters have the Yoda-effect. Their perceptive powers allow them to spot problems quickly and see new ways of awakening the Force (aka success). Rima harnesses her insightful ways to “see the best routes to optimize a process” and Johan swears by maintaining a helicopter view. This essentially means hovering above the team, staying objective and pointing out issues that would otherwise be missed. As Yoda would say -one with the Force these Scrum Masters are.

Do you have Yoda-like qualities? Maybe you just like to get stuff done. We’re always looking for new talent at Digital. Come here to see where you can fit in.

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