With an objective to enable continuous learning and progression for our learners, PremierAgile curated several learning articles. Out of a wide range of topics, you can choose to learn from the real-world experiences by practitioners in the areas of Agile, Scrum, Product Ownership, Scaling, Agile Leadership, Tools & Frameworks, latest market trends, new innovations etc.
As many companies have adopted Agile Methodology by implementing Scrum in their organizations, there is an increased demand for Scrum professionals in the Agile world. The most popular course offered by Scrum Alliance is Certified Scrum Master, as many companies look for professionals who can facilitate an Agile team effectively. Scrum Masters are the driving force of a Scrum team as they ensure that the Developers get the clarity and freedom to implement their ideas on the product, and also ensure that the Product Owner's vision for the product is conveyed to the team. Hence, companies look for professionals who have knowledge about Scrum and can implement their practices effectively. But one question arises in every candidate who wants to pursue a career in Scrum: whether a Scrum Master should be having technical knowledge and skills? And what are the skills that a Scrum Master should be possessing and how do the candidates achieve the same? Let us know in detail about the skills that the Scrum Master should possess, and whether technical skills are one among them.
The Scrum Master is a true leader of a Scrum team that facilitates the communication between the Developers and the Product Owner. They are responsible for ensuring that the Developers follow the Scrum values and principles and develop the product according to the Scrum Guide. The effectiveness of the Scrum team depends on the Scrum Master as they ensure that the team improves their practices and develops valuable products. Scrum Masters serve the organization at large by serving the Scrum Developers and the Product Owner.
In the Scrum framework, the three main accountabilities are of the Developers, the Product Owner, and the Scrum Master. Everyone understands the role of the Product Owner is to envision the product before it is developed and plan it according to the trends of the market. A Product Owner also has many other roles which are quite distinct and known by everyone on the team. The roles and responsibilities of the Developers are also distinct. However, when it comes to the accountability of a Scrum Master, it is quite ambiguous as to whether the Scrum Master should have a technical background or what type of skills and knowledge they should possess. Whether they should only act as a facilitator and will the Developers trust the Scrum Master if they do not speak in technical terms in Scrum events. These questions often come to mind when thinking about the Scrum Master's roles.
The answer to should a Scrum Master have technical knowledge is No, a Scrum Master does not require to possess technical knowledge and anyone from a non-technical background can become a Scrum Master. As given in the definition of the Scrum Master, according to Scrum Guide, the roles and responsibilities of Scrum Master do not mention anything specific of having technical knowledge. However, it is always helpful if the Scrum Master understands basic technicalities and knows about Scrum and the product development process. Any person aspiring to become a Scrum Master should also have a strong grip on the Agile values, principles and the mindset. Let us understand what are the pros and cons of a Scrum Master who has a technical background and one who does not have such that we can compare as to what is better for the Scrum team and the organization.
When a Developer or a Tester becomes Scrum Master, there are many advantages and disadvantages for the Scrum team.
In this article, when we refer to a person with a non-technical background, it does not mean that the person lacks technical skills and knowledge. This means that the person may not master the engineering practices and might not have worked on coding in the past. The person, however, knows how to handle a technical team and facilitates the entire process of product development.
As explained, the Scrum Guide does not say that a Scrum Master has to be technical. This implies that people from non-technical backgrounds can also apply for the CSM course and become Scrum Masters. Apart from that, looking at a career perspective, we have evaluated the pros and cons of being a technical and non-technical Scrum Master. It is up to the candidate to decide whether the pros outweigh the cons and they would like to take up the Scrum Master responsibility. One has to remember, that role of the Scrum Master does not require the person to be hardcore technical. If the person knows how to handle a technical team and has a strong grip on Agile processes and technicalities, then they could become an excellent Scrum Master.
If you are an individual who aspires to become a Scrum Master, you do not have to feel intimidated if you do not have a technical background. If you have strong knowledge about Scrum values and principles and how product development takes place, you already have a great game. A great grip on the process of Agile and knowing the basics of technicalities would help you to become a successful Scrum Master. As the CSM course does not have any prerequisites, it makes it clear that a technical background is not an absolute necessity for becoming a Scrum Master. If you are an aspiring SM without a technical background, then look out for the cons and try to improve on them. This would make you better at the role and would help you grow in your career.