What are the important 6 qualities of a great Scrum Master?

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Enjoys helping the team and being active part of it

In order to understand the needs of a team, a great scrum master must be an active part of it. Scrum Masters need to enjoy helping others. This cannot be something a Scrum Master does grudgingly. Helping can be particularly challenging if the Scrum Master is in a dual role and expected to contribute also as a programmer, tester, designer, or similar.

Even with good intentions, it’s hard for many of us to want to remove impediments and solve someone else’s problems rather than make progress on our tasks. Yet that is exactly what a great Scrum Master will do.

Does not bother to gain spot light on the self

Great Scrum masters do whatever they can to help their team look good rather than seeking to make themselves look good. For example, during a review in which the team has much to be proud of, a great Scrum Master fades into the background while the team receives the praise.

Good and Active Listener

For a scrum master listening is one of the most important tool in their tool box. Scrum Master helps remove impediments to a team’s progress and productivity. That often means listening, asking clarifying questions, and then solving the problem. But other times it means just listening: letting a team member vent about something. Great Scrum Masters know when to leap into action and when to listen sympathetically.

Influences without authority

One of the hardest lessons for many Scrum Masters is influencing without authority. Influencing without authority is an important skill for all good Scrum Masters. If you enjoy leading this way, count that as a point in favor of a career as a Scrum Master.

On the other hand, if you’d prefer to say, “Just do it because I told you so,” don’t rule out becoming a Scrum Master. The scrum master have the authority but that authority is granted to them by the team. A scrum master might be an expert in Scrum and has the ability to coach the team in the values, principals and processes of the Scrum framework but does not have the full authority to make the strategic decisions.

Handles conflicts calmly

Team members will differ on how to solve problems. Scrum masters may have to deal with personality clashes among team members or unrealistic demands from stakeholders.

Scrum masters don’t need to love conflict—most people don’t. But in service to your team scrum masters will need to handle it by following the below steps:

  1. Talk with the other person.
  2. Focus on behavior and events, not on personalities.
  3. Listen carefully.
  4. Identify points of agreement and disagreement.
  5. Prioritize the areas of conflict.
  6. Develop a plan to work on each conflict.
  7. Follow through on your plan.
  8. Build on your success.

Have knowledge of how things work, need not be a technical person

Scrum master does not require to possess deep technical knowledge. But to be a great Scrum Master one needs to have general understanding on how things work and the kind of work being done by the team. He need not be hands on, but should be able to understand terms used and business value being created. Scrum Master should be able to discuss progress and problems with the team. Wherever s(he) feels should ask questions from the team to get better understanding.


To grow from a good scrum master to a great scrum master, Scrum masters need to work on improving their skills and traits. More importantly, Scrum master need to work on their inner selves first to enable them to effectively work with people.

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Written by 

E Sowmya is a Project Manager/Scrum Master (Agile) at Knoldus.Inc. She loves to learn new technologies and new frameworks in Agile.And she loves to travel and explore new places and loves dancing.