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Scrum Master FAQ’s

Welcome to our Scrum Master FAQs library, check out our FAQ’s on Scrum & Agile to support you with your journey.

How do I deal with sabotage from an individual in the scrum team?

How do I deal with sabotage from an individual in the scrum team? My first piece of advice to you is…

What is the most valuable communication tip you have for Scrum Masters?

What is the most valuable communication tip you have for Scrum Masters? In a nutshell, simply be cur…

I can’t get senior leadership to buy into a proposal. What am I doing wrong?

I can’t get senior leadership to buy into a proposal. What am I doing wrong? Possibly, you’re doing …

scrum project success
We have set up a scrum pilot project. How do I make sure it is a success?

We have set up a scrum pilot project. How do I make sure it’s a success? That is an interesting ques…

Not everyone on the team supports the decision to do scrum. How do I resolve that conflict?

Not everyone on the team supports the decision to do scrum. How do I resolve that conflict? That is …

Our scrum team are battling to self-organise . How do I help them?

Our scrum team are battling to self-organise. How do I help them? What you need to do is understand …

How do I help developers work closer with customers?

How do I help our developers work closer with customers? A part of me wants to say that scrum master…

I am a scrum master and we have just hired an agile coach. How do I help them?

I’m a scrum master and we’ve just hired an agile coach. How do I work with them? It depends. First a…

I’ve just qualified as a scrum master and our team are going to do scrum. What do I do?

I’ve just qualified as a scrum master and our team are going to do scrum. What do I do? Congra…

What does a scrum master do if the team simply can’t get the job done?

What does a scrum master do if the team simply can’t get the job done? It depends on what we m…

How does a scrum master create and nurture motivation in a scrum team?

How does a scrum master create and nurture motivation in a scrum team? I’m not sure if scrum masters…

What is your favourite scrum event and why?

What is your favourite scrum event and why? If you know me at all, it’s the sprint retrospective. I …

Can you walk us through the 2nd Agile principle and why it is so important?

Can you walk us through the 2nd Agile principle and why it is so important? Let’s start off by expla…

How does a Scrum Master heal a toxic team environment?

How does a Scrum Master heal a toxic team environment? The short answer is that they don’t. Yes, the…

Does a scrum master help identify what skills are needed and if so, how?

Does a scrum master help identify what skills are needed and if so, how? That’s a bit of a tricky qu…

What is an increment in Scrum and how do you measure its success?

What is an increment in Scrum and how do you measure its success? The increment is the thing you are…

Is the scrum master active during the sprint?

Is the scrum master active during the sprint? That’s put a smile on my face. I’ve got an image of a …

Why is there no project manager in Scrum?

Why is there no project manager in Scrum? The short answer is that it simply isn’t needed. Project m…

What soft skills does a Scrum Master need?

What soft skills does a Scrum Master need? Soft skills are an interesting one. I remember going thro…

What are good OKRs for a Scrum Master?

What are good OKRs for a Scrum Master? So, OKRs stands for Objectives and Key Results. It is a goal …

What is the difference between a sprint review and a sprint retrospective?

What is the difference between a sprint review and a sprint retrospective? In the scrum framework, a…

What are your top tips for facilitating a great sprint retrospective and why?

What are your top tips for facilitating a great sprint retrospective and why? A sprint retrospective…

Who does a scrum master usually report to or answer to?

Who does a scrum master usually report to or answer to? There is a big difference between where scru…

How does a Scrum Master help instil Agile values and principles in a Scrum Team?

How does a Scrum Master help instil Agile values and principles in a Scrum Team? That’s a huge quest…

What does a seasoned and experienced scrum master do differently to a newbie scrum master?

What does a seasoned and experienced scrum master do differently to a newbie scrum master? That’s an…

What are some of the most useful metrics for a scrum master to measure and why?

What are some of the most useful metrics for a scrum master to measure and why? When I’m asked this …

How does a scrum master help with continuous excellence in a scrum team?

How does a scrum master help with continuous excellence in a scrum team? Contributing to continuing …

What are the scrum values and why do they matter?

What are the scrum values and why do they matter? In addition to the Agile values and principles as …

What would be an example of a poorly performing team and why?

What would be an example of a poorly performing team and why? If you look at a lot of textbooks or a…

What was one of your most rewarding days as a scrum master and why?

I could speak to the teams I’ve worked with, the individuals I’ve worked with and the aspiring Agile…

What does a great team look like and what sets it apart from average teams?

If you’ve got homogenous teams where everybody looks the same, sounds the same, and thinks the same,…

Why is a product vision so important and how do you help a product owner craft one?

In a scrum team, a product owner is responsible for crafting a product vision that inspires the deve…

What 3 books would you recommend to help me understand product ownership?

As a scrum master, you work in service of the development team and the product owner. To do so effec…

How do I nurture and develop coaching skills?

In an agile environment such as a scrum team, a scrum master acts as both the glue that binds the te…

What are some of the challenges I will face when working with a project manager?

In most cases, adopting scrum or a large scale scrum framework involves an integration of the old wa…

How do I earn the development team’s trust?

In a scrum team, you have 3 roles. The scrum master, the product owner and the developers or develop…

What are some of the challenges I will face in facilitation and how do I overcome them?

There are many challenges that you will face when it comes to facilitating meetings and scrum events…

What are 3 things I should do on day one as a scrum master?

In my experience, there’s a great formula you can follow regardless of whether it’s your first day a…

Why is it so difficult to estimate time in product development?

In traditional waterfall style project management, a project manager will work with project stakehol…

Is it a good idea to swap scrum masters and teams occasionally?

Yes, it is a good idea. Responding to Change or Loss We don’t want to make those kinds of changes to…

What was your personal definition of success as a scrum master?

It’s something that evolved over time. In the beginning, my definition of success was that the team …

What are 3 great tools for a scrum master and why?

Any craftsman needs a great set of tools and resources to get the job done well. A scrum master is n…

How does a scrum master facilitate backlog refinement?

Ideally, a scrum master doesn’t need to be in a backlog refinement meeting at all. In a mature scrum…

What was your worst day as a Scrum Master and why?

I don’t generally have bad days, nor do I take things personally enough to consider certain days har…

What are 3 key responsibilities of a scrum master?

If you look at the scrum guide, it’s very clear. They are there to coach the organisation in the ado…

Who coaches and mentors the scrum master?

In my experience, most scrum masters don’t have coaches, agile coaches, or mentors. It’s a pity. It’…

How do you develop influence and have an impact outside of the scrum team?

A scrum team consists of the scrum master, the product owner, and the development team. Usually a sm…

What are your 3 most recommended books for Scrum Masters and why?

At the end of each of my Certified Scrum Master, Advanced Certified Scrum Master, and Certified Scru…

Do product owners generally understand the value of a scrum master?

In my experience, the majority of product owners have received no formal training as a product owner…

What are common mistakes you see in daily scrums?

There are a few common mistakes that you find with daily scrums, either because the team are relativ…

How does a Scrum Master manage conflict within a scrum team?

One of the things that you have to get used to as a Scrum Master is conflict. Many people think it’s…

How does a scrum master help a development team effectively estimate work?

The first thing to remember when it comes to estimating work is that it isn’t on a scrum master to c…

What are some of the most common challenges a scrum master faces from product owners?

This is always an interesting question to deal with. Generally speaking, there are 3 primary challen…

What does a Scrum Master do if a team is underperforming?

The first place to start is to assess what is meant by ‘performance’ and how you evaluate whether th…

What does Servant Leadership mean and how do you do it effectively?

It’s an interesting one. Many people are familiar with the term servant leadership but aren’t necess…

What is sprint planning and how do you facilitate it like a pro?

Let’s start with Sprint planning. It’s the first event in scrum, the first meeting inside that sprin…

How could you tell if a Scrum Master is not doing their job well?

That’s a tricky one because Scrum Master’s don’t have tangible output. The product delivered at the …

What are some of the biggest challenges a Scrum Master faces?

The biggest challenge you will face as a Scrum Master is justifying why you are on the team and why …

How do I stand out as a scrum master?

That’s a common question and an interesting question because it implies that you must do more than b…

What is the most important responsibility for a scrum master?

When I ask this question in my Certified Scrum Master and Advanced Certified Scrum Master courses, t…

How do scrum masters help improve decision making?

A good scrum master will have taken the time and effort to learn about coaching. The art of asking q…

What are the key elements of a great sprint retrospective?

The purpose of a retrospective is to facilitate an event that gives you a concrete element that your…

What is WIP and how do effective scrum masters manage this?

WIP is an acronym for ‘work in progress’ and refers to the work which the scrum team are working on …

How do burndown charts work and who facilitates them?

In a Scrum team, burndown charts are a tool you can use to track progress throughout the sprint and …

Why is a Scrum Master a critical element of the Scrum Team?

In an environment where people don’t have a great scrum master, there can be a little confusion arou…

What are the key elements of a great personal review?

What are the key elements of a great personal review? For those who know Scrum, there will be no sur…

How would you conduct an annual review?

How would you conduct an annual review? I think we need to unpack what you mean by an annual review …

What are three key elements of a great sprint review?

So, a sprint review is not only a demonstration of the work that has been achieved by the team over …

What are SEUs?

SEUs are Scrum Education Units. They were created by the Scrum Alliance to foster continuous learnin…

Should I do the CSM or the CSPO course?

Ideally, you would do both. To summarise, if you have anything to do with product development or pro…

Is there a recommended reading list for Scrum Masters?

There isn’t an official reading list from the Scrum Alliance or Scrum organisation, but I have creat…

I’m a project manager, is the CSM a good fit for me?

Yes, it is. It can be challenging for project managers though. Why? Because a project manager tradit…

How do I progress as a Scrum Master?

In the role of a developer, you would progress from a junior developer to a senior developer, and fr…

I have experience as a Scrum Master. Do I need to do the CSM before doing the ACSM course?

If certification is important to you, then yes, you will need to do the CSM course before doing the …

Can a Scrum Master also be a line manager?

The answer is yes, they can. There is nothing in Scrum that speaks to line management but there is n…

What is my earning potential as a Scrum Master?

It depends on your level of experience and the application, for example, whether you are a contracte…

What can I do with a CSM credential?

The Certified Scrum Master (CSM) credential is an internationally recognised and respected certifica…

Is there an exam I need to pass to become a CSM?

Yes, there is. The Scrum Alliance have created an online international examination that consists of …

Is there an alumni group for CSMs?

Officially, the Scrum Alliance acts as both the certification body and the active community of Certi…

Kanban Framework
Is the CSM course theoretical or practical?

I can only speak to my own course, and that is a combination of both theoretical as well as practica…

How long is the CSM course and how is it configured?

Traditionally, the Certified Scrum Master course is 2 full days. From 9:30am to 5:30am. Our online d…

Do companies invest in the CSM course?

We do have companies who approach us to provide a private Certified Scrum Master course for anywhere…

Are there different Scrum Master certifications and how do they differ?

Yes, there are. There are several Scrum Master courses available on the market, certified and uncert…

Will I be able to lead a Scrum Team after doing a CSM course?

Yes. A Certified Scrum Master course gives you the confidence to set up good scrum within a small Sc…

What will you learn on a CSM course?

You are going to learn Scrum. The Certified Scrum Master course introduces you to the scrum environm…

What is a good certification path for a Scrum Master?

A natural progression from a Scrum Master role is to evolve into Agile coaching. There are, however,…

What is a Certified Scrum Master?

A Certified Scrum Master is a person who has completed the 2-day Certified Scrum Master course and s…

What do I need to know before signing up for a CSM course?

A lot of people think that they need to have technical expertise or previous experience with Scrum t…

How well recognised and respected is the CSM course?

There are about 1 million Certified Scrum Masters in the world today. It is by far the biggest, most…

How well does a CSM course prepare you to be a Scrum Master?

It prepares you very well. Doing a Certified Scrum Master course is like doing your driving license …

Do you get course materials and textbooks on the CSM Course?

Yes, you do get course materials. At the end of the course, I will share the course presentation PDF…

Daily Scrum
What is a daily scrum and do Scrum Masters lead them?

What is a daily Scrum? A daily scrum is a short, sharp meeting that includes members of the Scrum Te…

What do Scrum Masters do?

When I was training to become a coach, my coach at the time, Jen Corburn, said something that answer…

What are career opportunities for a Scrum Master?

In the spheres of project management, a project manager would move from practitioner to manager and …

Must you be an expert in Scrum to become a Scrum Master?

It depends on how you define ‘expert’. There are different stages of career development and deep, ex…

How will I know if the Scrum Master role is a good fit for me?

One of the hardest parts for Project Managers who transition into a Scrum Master role is the lack of…

Do I need to be a developer to be a Scrum Master for a Software Development team?

The answer is no. You don’t need to be a software developer to be a great Scrum Master for a softwar…

Can you create a Scrum environment in a company that isn’t Agile?

Yes, you can. In fact, if it were not for people who did create Scrum pilot projects within companie…

Are there different levels of seniority amongst scrum masters
Are there different levels of seniority amongst Scrum Masters?

This is a bit of a loaded question because of the tension between the Scrum Guide’s definition of a …

What are 3 traits of a Good Scrum Master

A good Scrum Master is a servant leader of the Scrum team and works collaboratively with others to c…