What is Scrum in Agile? Ultimate Scrum Skills for 2024

What is Scrum in Agile? Ultimate Scrum Skills for 2024 | Project Management | Emeritus

Scrum is an Agile framework, particularly popular in project management that requires a high amount of flexibility. Scrum helps teams deliver value quicker, adjust to changes smoothly, and increase collaboration like never before. As we enter the second quarter of 2024, it has become more important than ever for working professionals, including managers and leaders, to comprehend what is Scrum in Agile, and master its necessary skills. This article discusses various aspects of Scrum, including the top 10 skills required to become a Scrum master. 

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What is Scrum in Agile?

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Let’s start with the obvious question: what is scrum in agile. Scrum is a well-known Agile framework that is mainly used in project management and software development. This approach becomes especially important for fostering teamwork while carrying out complicated projects. What makes Scrum distinct is the fact that it does not deal with a big task all at once. Instead, the framework divides this into small sprints, which permits flexibility and fast alterations. Furthermore, Scrum emphasizes constant feedback, allowing iterative enhancement during the entire lifecycle of a project. Hence, it is greatly appreciated in areas handling adaptable and intricate tasks. There are five main components of Scrum, which are given below:

1. Sprints

Scrum operates through sprints, which generally last one to four weeks. Consequently, sprints help create a proper structure for managing projects by guaranteeing regular progress and delivery.

2. Scrum Ceremonies

Within each sprint, Scrum incorporates ceremonies. This simply means a diverse range of activities, such as daily standups, sprint planning, reviews, and retrospectives. Consequently, they help ensure constant teamwork and improvement.

3. Defined Roles

Knowing what is Scrum in Agile requires understanding and defining three key roles. First and foremost is the product owner; then is the Scrum master; and finally, the development team. Within this tripartite division, every role comes with its specific tasks that help the division of responsibility and effectiveness throughout the project.

4. Self-Organization

Scrum teams, in contrast to typical hierarchies, function based on self-organization values, encouraging equality and common objectives. As a result, working this way enhances flexibility and nurtures a sense of teamwork.

5. Metrics for Tracking Progress

To track progress, Scrum uses metrics such as velocity. This proves beneficial for projects as instead of focusing on rigid timelines, it focuses on flexible methods, providing enough leeway for adaptability and quick adjustments. These metrics further help define what is Scrum in Agile.

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How Does Scrum Differ From Traditional Project Management?

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What is Scrum in Agile vis-à-vis traditional project management? When it comes to the latter, there is a clear and organized method called the Waterfall model. This structure highlights careful planning at the beginning of a project with a fixed scope that cannot be altered once agreed upon. Hence, making changes during a project often proves difficult, costing the organization in terms of time or money. 

In contrast, Scrum allows for adaptability and flexibility, managing projects through short sprints. Moreover, it promotes continuous collaboration among people involved to develop innovative solutions and quickly adapt based on feedback and/or market alterations. Additionally, this working method emphasizes the importance of iterative progress and stakeholder participation, ensuring a flexible and responsive approach to managing projects.

Scrum vs. Kanban

Even though Kanban is an Agile framework, just like what is Scrum in Agile, there are some notable differences between the two. The comparison table below highlights some of these key differences:

ApproachFollows fixed iterations known as sprints, usually lasting two to four weeks, to structure work and goals.Emphasizes a continuous flow of work, allowing tasks to progress through stages as soon as they are ready.
RolesFeatures-defined roles include a Scrum master who facilitates the process, a product owner who prioritizes the backlog, and a development team that executes tasks.Does not specify roles, thus enabling more flexibility in task management and allowing team members to adapt to various needs.
FlexibilitySprints provide a structured timeline for adjustments based on feedback and review at the end of each cycle.Offers the ability to make changes and adjust priorities at any point, therefore accommodating evolving project needs.
MetricsUtilizes velocity to measure the quantity of work a team can complete in a single sprint, helping in forecasting and planning.It focuses on lead time, the duration from the beginning to the end of a task, and aims for optimization and efficiency.
AdaptabilityBest suited for projects with well-defined goals that benefit from regular reassessment and adaptation at sprint intervals.Perfect for projects with fluctuating priorities or when work is continuous without a clear end point, requiring ongoing adaptation.
PlanningInvolves detailed sprint planning to assign tasks and set goals for the upcoming sprint, with the entire team participating in the planning process.Planning is more flexible and ongoing, with tasks pulled into work as capacity allows rather than being assigned in fixed intervals.
Task ManagementEmploys a Scrum board to track tasks across sprint stages, typically reset at the start of each sprint to reflect the new set of objectives.Utilizes a Kanban board to visualize the current state of all tasks in real time, with columns representing different stages of the workflow.
WorkflowAdheres to time-boxed sprints, with work divided into set periods followed by review and adjustments.Promotes continuous delivery, with tasks moving to completion as soon as they are ready without waiting for a sprint to conclude.
FocusCenters on achieving the specific goals set for each sprint, with tasks prioritized to meet these objectives.Concentrates on process improvement, looking for ways to make workflow more efficient and reduce delivery time.
Change ManagementIntegrates changes at the start of the next sprint, with the sprint review serving as a checkpoint for adjustments.Allows for changes to be made at any time, providing the flexibility to adapt quickly to new information or priorities.
VisualizationUses a Scrum board that is typically reset or updated at the beginning of each sprint to reflect the new sprint goals and tasks.Employs a Kanban board that provides real-time updates on task progress, showing the flow of work through various stages.
Progress TrackingRelies on burndown charts to track the amount of work completed versus what remains, offering a clear visual of the sprint progress.Uses cumulative flow diagrams to illustrate the number of tasks in each stage of the process, highlighting bottlenecks and progress.
LimitationsWork is confined to sprint durations, which can restrict flexibility for adding new tasks once a sprint has started.Lacks time constraints on individual tasks, which might lead to prioritization issues or lack of urgency without additional focus.
CollaborationEncourages team collaboration, with daily stand-ups and sprint planning meetings fostering a team-centric approach.Promotes autonomy in task management while still encouraging collaboration through the visual nature of the Kanban board and regular meetings.
OutcomeResults in deliverables at the end of each sprint, with the review phase used to assess and plan the next set of tasks.Enables continuous delivery of tasks as they are completed, allowing for a steady stream of progress and outcomes.

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How to Become a Scrum Master?

A. Understand Scrum Principles

To excel as a Scrum master, one must have a deep grasp of Scrum principles. For instance, one must become familiar with its iterative approach, roles, and ceremonies. Consequently, this deep understanding acts as the foundation for effectively applying the Scrum framework. It also ensures easy and confident navigation of the Agile environment.

B. Gain Relevant Experience

Securing practical experience of what is Scrum in Agile is invaluable. For instance, working within Scrum teams exposes professionals to the unique dynamics and challenges of this environment. As a result, this exposure sharpens the ability to effectively facilitate and guide teams, making it a critical step in overall development.

C. Pursue Scrum Certification

Achieving a Scrum certification, like CSM (l Certified Scrum Master) or PSM (Professional Scrum Master) underscores expertise and dedication to the role. Having a proper certification from a prestigious body can effectively highlight Scrum Master skills.

D. Develop Facilitation Skills

Possessing adept facilitation skills is non-negotiable for a Scrum Master. These skills are essential for leading teams through Scrum ceremonies, resolving conflicts, and creating a collaborative environment. Thus, mastery in facilitation ensures the smooth running of Agile processes.

E. Learn to Remove Impediments

A Scrum master plays a critical role when it comes to identifying and eliminating barriers that block the team’s progress. For example, this responsibility requires being proactive and inventive in problem-solving to keep the workflow unimpeded.

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F. Foster Team Collaboration

Encouraging a spirit of collaboration and teamwork is fundamental in Scrum. A Scrum master nurtures a space where open dialogue and respect flourish, which is vital for fostering a unified team dynamic.

G. Master Agile Coaching

Beyond facilitating projects, a Scrum master also acts as a mentor and coach, guiding team members in Agile methodologies. For instance, this role involves spurring ongoing improvement and fostering a learning culture within the team.

H. Understand Technical Aspects

An effective Scrum master doesn’t need to code but should understand the technical challenges the team faces. Consequently, this knowledge improves communication with the development team and stakeholders, bridging gaps between technical and non-technical realms.

I. Embrace Leadership Skills

Within a Scrum framework, effective leadership proves crucial for handling project management challenges. For instance, a Scrum master leads by setting an example, demonstrating commitment, and steering the team toward achieving its objectives.

J. Stay Up-to-Date

To excel in this role, it is important to stay updated with what is Scrum in Agile trends and ever-changing Scrum master skills . This will help to continuously enhance their methodology and keep their team at the forefront of Agile practices.

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What are the Top Skills Needed to Excel in Scrum in Agile in 2024?

These are some of the top skills to become a successful Scrum Master:

1. Master the Scrum Framework Execution

Scrum masters must not only understand but also adeptly apply the Scrum framework to real-world scenarios. This is one of the top skills that a Scrum master should possess. For instance, it involves organizing work into sprints, facilitating Scrum ceremonies (such as sprint planning, daily stand-ups, sprint reviews, and retrospectives), and utilizing Scrum artifacts (like product backlogs and sprint backlogs).

2. Understand Core Scrum Principles

Understanding the core principles of what is Scrum in Agile is necessary to excel as a Scrum master. For instance, this includes deep knowledge of its pillars—adaptation, transparency, and inspection—and values like respect, courage, openness, commitment, and focus. By internalizing these principles, Scrum masters can effectively navigate Agile environments, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration within their teams.

3. Exhibit Strong Leadership

Effective leadership is one of the most important Scrum master skills, and this requires not just managing tasks but inspiring and guiding a team. Scrum masters act as servant leaders, putting the needs of the team and project first. For instance, they must be able to build trust, encourage healthy conflict resolution, secure commitment, ensure accountability, and maintain a focus on the sprint goals. 

4. Facilitate Effective Communication

Scrum .asters are the communication linchpins in Agile frameworks tasked with bridging gaps between team members, product owners, and other stakeholders. Hence, they must be capable of ensuring that everyone has the information they need when they need it and that team objectives are clearly understood and agreed upon. 

5. Empower Team Collaboration

A Scrum master must excel in creating a collaborative team environment. Hence, they should be capable of encouraging team members to share their ideas, work together to solve problems, and support one another. In an Agile framework, Scrum masters facilitate this by removing impediments to collaboration and promoting practices that enhance team dynamics.

6. Show Proficiency With Project Management Tools

Scrum masters must be efficient in handling a range of project management tools. For instance,  project management tools like Jira, Trello, and Asana help teams to organize, track, and manage work efficiently. Therefore, Scrum masters should know how to leverage these tools to facilitate Scrum processes, ensure tasks are visible and transparent, and keep projects on track.

7. Drive Agile and Software Development Understanding

A solid understanding of Agile software development practices greatly enhances a Scrum master’s effectiveness. This knowledge enables them to guide their teams through the technical and methodological aspects of projects. Familiarity with coding practices, development tools, and the overall software development lifecycle thus allows Scrum masters to provide valuable insights and support to their teams. 

8. Practice Active Listening

Active listening is one of the critical Scrummaster skills. For instance, by attentively listening to team members, they can identify underlying issues, understand team dynamics, and facilitate effective solutions. Moreover, active listening also means being open to feedback and using it to improve team processes and outcomes.

9. Adapt to Change

Scrumnasters must be highly adaptable and always prepared to adjust the Scrum framework and team practices in response to project evolutions and team needs. As a result, this flexibility allows them to keep projects agile, embracing changes in requirements, priorities, and market conditions without disrupting the team’s workflow.

10. Manage Risks Effectively

Effective risk management skills are essential for Scrum masters. Hence, they should be able to proactively identify potential risks in the project and accordingly develop strategies to address them before they affect the project. For instance, this involves continuous monitoring and adjustment of plans as the project progresses.

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If you are looking to deepen your understanding of what is Scrum in Agile, consider joining Emeritus’ business analytics courses and enhance your career.

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Sanmit is unraveling the mysteries of Literature and Gender Studies by day and creating digital content for startups by night. With accolades and publications that span continents, he's the reliable literary guide you want on your team. When he's not weaving words, you'll find him lost in the realms of music, cinema, and the boundless world of books.
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