Congratulations! You passed your Scrum Master Certification.

So, now what? As a Scrum Master, once you have the basics of Scrum down, what do you focus on next?

Attending a certification class is a great step in becoming a Scrum Master. It teaches the fundamentals of Scrum. Unfortunately, it is only two days, and there’s only so much information you can cover in two days.

An important aspect of being a Scrum Master is focusing on your soft skills. According to the “Collins English Dictionary,” the term “soft skills” is defined as “desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge.”

Listed below are my interpretations of soft skills needed for Scrum Masters, each Scrum Master responsibility plays a separate, but distinct role that is critical for success.

Ring Master – Enter any circus ring, and you’ll immediately notice a ring master overseeing the event. The ring master facilitates the event, without telling the performers how to do their work. He/she encourages and supports the circus members.

Inventor –Experimenting is the key to learning and adapting. Don’t allow the “that’s how we have always done it” mentality keep your teams (and yourself) from trying new things. Scrum Masters help their teams play a vital role in shaping their organization through experimentation.

Teacher – We all have one teacher who inspired us to do more and be more. A great teacher continues to learn and encourages others to learn as well. As a Scrum Master, we must acquire those same traits by continually learning and encouraging our teams and organization to learn as well.

Protector – When an organization begins its Agile journey many obstacles pop up, including the organization itself. It takes time to adapt and to change the way they have always worked. The Scrum Master reinforces the “new” behaviors and protects the team from themselves and other organizational areas. He/she also helps the team and the organization understand the rules, value theories, and practices of Scrum.

Magician – As a Scrum Master, have you ever been asked, “What do you do all day?” I hear this question a lot at conferences and user group meetings, and I always respond, “Scrum Masters do what needs to be done.” Many times, it might be before anyone realizes there is a need. There isn’t a Scrum Master daily checklist list or agenda. Each day is a new adventure where the Scrum Master makes magic happen.

Coach – Having a strong coach is fundamental in sports. Like a sports coach, a great Scrum Master is focused on teambuilding, guiding, and encouraging the team to be self-organized. The team follows the coach’s casted vision and rely on him/her to hold the team together.

Bartender – In many movies, a common scene shows someone pouring his/her heart out to a bartender, who listens to the patron’s woes. Good bartenders don’t tell the person how to fix their problem, they simply actively listen. A Scrum Master must actively listen to members of the Scrum team, not try and provide a solution or agree or disagree with what is being said. Sometimes, the team just needs to know they are heard.

Servant Leader — Finally, a Scrum Master is a servant leader. A servant leader shares power, serves the team by putting the needs of others first, and helps people develop and perform as high as possible. When you shift to the mindset of serving others first, you unlock purpose in those around you, resulting in higher performance and engaged, fulfilled teams.

Each role holds a unique responsibility, such as building camaraderie and increasing collaboration, and produces multiple benefits for both you and your team. While adopting these roles may not come naturally (or quickly), implementing these critical soft skills into your daily routine culminates in overall success.

Interested in becoming a Scrum Master or furthering your Scrum skills? Find an upcoming training near you!

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