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Top 7 Scrum Master Techniques for a Successful Team

Scrum masters are innovative heads who think on their feet and ensure their scrum team is set up for success. To achieve their goals, they often use various scrum master techniques that they have learned through formal training or gained as experience over the years.

Because the role of the scrum master is fluid, you have to switch between many hats based on the circumstances you face. On any given day, you might have to transition from the role of coach and servant leader to become an evangelist or change enabler.

While each team and project is unique, there are a few essential techniques and responsibilities that any scrum master should cover. We share some of the most important ones in the guide below.

What Techniques Could the Scrum Master Use to Ensure Success?

To lead the team successfully, here are seven techniques for you to own:

1. Be Able to Establish a Unified Goal and Vision

One of the first and most important techniques for a scrum master to grasp is establishing a shared vision for the team. This technique involves working towards a central goal and ensuring everyone on the team is aware of this same goal. Doing this helps to align each person throughout the project.

A great way to do this is to create a vision statement for the project. This will be a concise statement that clearly outlines what the team aims to achieve. Every member should agree on this.

Having a clear goal and vision guides all decision-making processes and keeps the scrum team’s focus in the right direction.

2. Create Clear Communication Techniques

A vital role of the scrum master is to establish clear communication between the scrum team members. This is necessary to ensure the project moves along swiftly and that everyone is working towards the project’s vision.

The first scrum master technique in this context is to ensure proper communication channels are in place. Whether a team is working remotely or in an office space, everyone should know the correct channel to get in touch with each other and make requests.

The other vital technique is for the scrum master to promote a transparent environment. This involves regularly connecting with all team members, listening to their thoughts, facilitating discussions, and being open to new ideas. This kind of environment is a great way to enhance productivity and collaboration.

3. Know How to Prioritize Tasks

The scrum master is in charge of making sure the project runs efficiently, and that all sprints meet their targets and deadlines. To do this, the person will need to prioritize work properly.

Creating a prioritized list of work items helps the team understand the project’s scope and know what tasks require the most immediate attention. T-shirt sizing is an excellent technique for understanding the scope of the project tasks, where tasks are measured based on T-shirt sizes (XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL).

It’s the scrum master’s job to communicate the project’s progress with all stakeholders, including the product owner. To do this, they will need to clearly understand what tasks are being completed and by what date each task needs to be completed. Prioritizing work is an essential task here.

4. Help the Team Achieve Their Best

When leading and managing a scrum team, you want to ensure that each team member works to the best of their abilities. A useful technique to achieve this is asking the right questions.

Scrum masters should know how to ask powerful, open-ended questions to their teams. Instead of simply dishing out tasks, the scrum master should involve the team and encourage participation based on their skills.

This involves asking the team what skills and interests they have. Ask questions like “what possibilities are available for this situation?” and let everyone provide an answer. This can reveal some meaningful insights that help drive projects forward.

A good scrum master should always keep a neutral mindset and listen to every team member equally. This is important for understanding all viewpoints and facilitating collaboration and new ideas.

5. Identify and Clear Obstacles

The scrum master should be in charge of identifying any possible obstacles that might be slowing down or blocking a team’s progress. This involves carefully understanding the project’s goals, the tasks at hand, and the team’s advancement.

If tasks are taking longer than anticipated, host a meeting with the team members and try to establish what is slowing progress down.

Removing obstacles also often involves working closely with external stakeholders, like suppliers.

6. Host Team Meetings and Sprint Planning

Facilitating regular retrospective meetings with the team and planning sprints is a crucial part of scrum management. This is necessary to ensure you understand progress while keeping the team on track for the right tasks.

The start of each sprint should involve a sprint planning meeting, where the team creates a sprint goal and reviews the backlog. The end of the sprint should involve a retrospective to find ways to improve future sprints.

Efficient sprint planning and retrospectives ensure teams are constantly improving, learning, and growing. This helps make each sprint easier and more efficient.

7. Mastering Scrum Knowledge

This may seem obvious, but any scrum master needs to have a deep understanding of scrum and agile methodology, including the values.

An essential part of the role is ensuring the rest of the team also understands the values and knows how to use them effectively. As long as everyone is on the same page, projects will move along much more smoothly.

Man and woman siting in front of a laptop

Final Thoughts on Scrum Master Techniques

As a scrum master, your job is to ensure development projects run smoothly and the team achieves its best. To do this, it’s crucial for you to make the most of the scrum master techniques above.

As long as you can facilitate a well-planned project that has a clear goal, where all team members can communicate and work efficiently with each other, everything should be set up for success.

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