January 23, 2015 / in Blog, / by Number8

Certified Scrum Master CSMBenefits of Scrum Master Certification

If you are new to agile software development, you may have some questions about the role of a scrum master. A scrum master has a very important job on an agile development team. Facilitator, coach, guide, manager, advocate, planner -- these are just a few of the roles a scrum master may be expected to play. Though scrum masters have a long list of responsibilities, at the end of the day, their primary focus involves making sure a project runs smoothly, and that obstacles that may have a negative impact on the team are removed quickly and effectively. While you can learn about the scrum process and the role of scrum master, the Scrum Alliance offers assistance to those interested in obtaining a scrum master certification. The Scrum Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated towards the mission to introduce Scrum to as many people as possible. To become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM), the Scrum Alliance requires the following:
  • Participate in a course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer. This course typically lasts a couple of days.
  • Successfully complete an exam and earn a passing score. You must get at least 24 out of 35 questions correct.
  • Accept the License Agreement for your scrum master certification.
Scrum master certification is not only useful for people interested in the scrum master role. Any member of an agile development team including software developers, product designers, would benefit from the training involved in getting the scrum master certification.

Why Hire A Certified Scrum Master?

There are many reasons to hire a certified scrum master for a software development project. Not only does a certified scrum master (CSM) help an agile software development team reach their full potential, but a CSM also makes projects run more smoothly and efficiently. A Certified Scrum Master offers knowledge and expertise that pushes an agile team to function at its highest level. During a product development project, a certified scrum master has the following responsibilities:
  1. Facilitates ongoing communication with team members. This is done in part through daily meetings or "scrums" where team members offer status reports, discuss the work plan for the day, report any unexpected problems and help one another solve challenges so that the project progresses as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
  2. Maintains close contact with project owners. A scrum master meets regularly with the project owners to keep everyone updated, and to make sure that backlog entries are effectively maintained. The backlog includes a descriptive list of all the features the product. Typically the list may differentiate items based on priority.
  3. Serves as team defender. A scrum master works hard to eliminate or minimize any distractions or obstacles that threaten the velocity of a project. Sometimes this involves making sure that software developers stay focused and are not pressured to underestimate the time specific tasks will take. It often involves managing stakeholder expectations.
  4. Boosts team morale and accountability.  Acting as team cheerleader and coach, a scrum master is always working to understand and improve team dynamics. This typically includes personnel issues. For example, a scrum master will gauge how well individual team members get along and whether team members support and push one another to perform at their highest level.
A certified scrum master plays a fundamental role on an agile software development team. Outsourcing with an agile development firm that has certified scrum masters on staff can drastically increase a development team's potential. At number8, company President David Easterling is a Certified Scrum Master. He enjoys  being an active member of the Scrum and Agile User Group.

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