3 Must-Have Qualities of a Successful Scrum Master

August 20, 2012

While every company should be taking advantage of the competitive advantage that Scrum offers, not every employee starts out with the right qualities needed to be a truly successful Scrum Master.

According to Alex Brown, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Product Owner at Scrum Inc., there are three qualities every great Scrum Master possesses.

  • A firm grasp of servant leadership & facilitation. The role of the Scrum Master isn’t to tell a team what to do, it’s to support the team members in what they do best by helping them identify and remove impediments. It’s not always an easy mindset for individuals to transition into, Brown suggests, but the best leaders typically have that drive to encourage and enable others that’s required if the team is going to achieve its full potential.
  • A relentless approach to the pursuit of continuous improvement. Above all, being a successful Scrum Master is about improving the way a team works, and often the best way to do that is through a retrospective analysis of processes and procedures that results in streamlining and optimization. While many employees are going to focus on what they are doing at the moment, it’s the Scrum Master’s job to encourage them to step back, review, and be precise about identifying anything that’s standing in their way in order to remove and/or improve it.
  • A good working relationship with the team. A successful Scrum Master interacts well with his or her team. Someone who knows how to work with them and is motivated by helping them succeed should be very successful, his or herself.

Want more tips for utilizing Scrum? Watch Brown discuss these topics below:


<strong>Alex Brown</strong> is a partner at <a href="">Recon Strategy</a>. Prior to this role, he was the Chief Operating Officer of Scrum Inc., a firm specializing in agile strategy and rapid new product innovation. Before that Alex spent 6 years at BCG, where he was a leader in the healthcare and consumer strategy practice areas. His engagements included re-envisioning high performance network design for a major national PBM; and designing a "nudge unit" leveraging consumer psychology to improve patient outcomes for a leading retail pharmacy. Prior to BCG, Alex led demand forecasting of complex transportation networks for major public investments. Alex graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. and Masters in Engineering, and earned an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.