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SAFe Scrum Master Role: SAFe Best Practices and Certification

05th Sep, 2023
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    SAFe Scrum Master Role: SAFe Best Practices and Certification

    Modern project management is at once an empowering and challenging space. You find complex problems and have various efficient tools and methodologies to tackle them. Since its inception, Agile has paved the way for process-oriented management that helps organizations scale up more efficiently. Multiple Agile methodologies such as Scrum, Kanban, XP, and more continue to take the Agile agenda forward. But you can maximize your team’s potential when understanding Agile management principles.  

    Scrum Master in SAFe is more than just a Scrum Master. As described by SAFe, the Scrum Master plays the role of a servant-leader for the agile team, helping to educate the team on various tools and methodologies, including Scrum, Kanban, Extreme Programming, and SAFe, to ensure that the agreed-upon agile process is followed. Therefore, SAFe Scrum Master certification in SAFe would require more tools in their toolbox than Scrum alone. 

    Who is a SAFe Scrum Master?

    SAFe® Scrum Masters (SSM) is SAFe Scrum professionals responsible for implementing Scrum practices within an organization. Facilitating team meetings using Scrum and Kanban, supporting program execution, and coaching Agile teams are among the key competencies required of a SAFe Scrum Master.  

    What Does a SAFe Scrum Master Do?   

    SAFe Scrum Master Roles and Responsibilities [Based on Level of Experience] 

    Entry-Level Scum Master  

    As a new scrum master, your duties will include: 

    • Developing and overseeing scope, schedule, risk, and quality management strategies for projects 

    • Project planning, weekly operational planning, KPI reporting, and other processes are streamlined by working closely with the product manager and delivery team.  

    • Promoting inter-team communication and updating the engineering manager and product manager on changes  

    • Conduct daily Scrum, retrospectives, demonstrations, and other meetings in addition to Sprint preparation.   

    • Work closely with the product owner to manage and groom the backlog.  

    • Tracking daily project management tool team tasks  

    Mid-Level Scrum Master 

    Being a scrum master entails: 

    • Solution planning, management, and delivery using an agile approach  

    • Agile technique training, mentorship, and support for scrum teams  

    • Identifying and controlling problems, threats, and action items  

    • Scheduling and leading decision-making processes, standup meetings, and scrum events  

    • Following up on developments and assisting teams with improving  

    • Preparing for and managing product/software testing and demos  

    • Ensuring that collaborative procedures are used properly 

    • Eliminating obstacles for the scrum team 

    • Tracking project financials and deliverables 

    • Preparing and giving stakeholders status reports  

    Senior-Level Scrum Master 

    As a Senior scrum master, your duties will include the following: 

    • Lead scrum team should use Scrum practices and the Agile approach.   

    • Facilitating the product owner's and the development team's efforts to satisfy customers  

    • Manage the self-organization of the scrum and development teams.  

    • Remove obstacles and instruct the scrum team on how to do so. 

    • Resolve disagreements and challenges by assisting the scrum and development teams in identifying and completing gaps in the Agile methodology.  

    • Increase the level of scrum maturity of the team.  

    • Support the product owner and offer instruction as necessary 

    • Make sure the scrum team follows the five scrum values, the Scrum theory, and the Scrum practices. 

    • Assign a definite owner to all project risks and problems.  

    • Lead enhancements to the project deliverables' effectiveness and efficiency  

    • Determine areas for improvement and come up with solutions   

    • Continually provide project team members with feedback.  

    • Utilize the pertinent procedures established by our leadership team and provide the sponsor with regular updates on your development.  

    • Create and sustain successful connections with all customers, suppliers, and other parties.  

    • Work closely with the designated business manager(s) to guarantee their involvement in the project.  

    • Help the program manager manage the project's budget.  

    • Throughout the project, project the business case and benefits and confirm them.   

    Key Roles at Different Levels

    There are four levels to the famed scaled agile framework, and we will explore the importance of each level to developing an Agile-powered system. The four levels are: 

    • Team Level 
    • Program Level 
    • Portfolio Level 
    • Solution Level 

    Key Roles at Different Levels

    We can get a better understanding of each level by breaking them down one by one.  

    Team Level

    SAFe involves a variety of roles in the development and testing process, including Product Owner, Agile Team, and Scrum Master. These roles are foundational for a successful implementation. At the team level, these roles should deliver value. Typically, teams at this level use software frameworks such as Scrum, Kanban, or XP, which promise better products at the end of every sprint. 

    This is a requirement based on the backlog, which is managed by the product owner. Iterations consist of creating, building, and testing the requirements. The ART cadence determines the sprint length in Agile Release Train. Get Agile overview and more resources on KnowledgeHut. 

    Program Level

    In the ART concept, the Program Layer is the level above the team level. The system team collaborates here with DevOps, UX, and release train engineers, as well as BA, DevOps, and the system architect. The DevOps team and the system team are the primary teams. An important goal of the system team is to design a development infrastructure that creates an environment for development. Additionally, the team provides support for test automation as well as staging system sprint demos. 

    On the other hand, DevOps team is largely responsible for automating the deployment process and deploying the software.  

    Portfolio Level

    Adding a portfolio level to the enterprise's core competencies increases the odds of delivering on the enterprise's strategic direction. A programming portfolio management role, as well as an enterprise architecture role, are part of this level. There is no tightly bound rule at this level, but these are the roles that participate there. 

    Scaled agile frameworks are one of three levels of business agility that incorporate investment funding, lean portfolio management, and lean governance tailored to the organization's needs. Lean budgeting is used by enterprises to fund products with the use of best practices for lean budgeting. 

    Solution Level

    This level is part of version 4.0 of the scaled agile framework. To ensure that clients receive quality products, the ARTs and program teams combine their efforts to achieve it. When businesses are looking to remain competitive, the level of their value stream plays a major role. The value stream can be classified into two types: 

    • In the operational stage, the company provides its products and services to clients, which can also be considered a revenue-producing stage. 
    • The development stage involves the invention of new products and system capabilities. 

    What Makes a Good SAFe Scrum Master?   

    To be a good SAFe Scrum master, you need to have the required soft and hard skills:

     1. Knowledgeable 

    The Scrum Master has to have sufficient knowledge of the developing product. In addition, he has to be aware of the technology and tools the development team uses. Instead of becoming an expert in business, a Scrum Master might partially benefit from having working knowledge to avoid impending obstacles. Additionally, the Scrum Masters must be knowledgeable about other Agile approaches like Lean, Kanban, and XP. This knowledge can be gained through experience, self-study, or SAFe certification training. 

    2. Observant 

    A Scrum Master is a team facilitator rather than the organization's leader. Therefore, he must pay special attention to the team member's participation in the meetings and the daily Scrum activities. He must also be aware of the challenges the group is facing.  

    3. Influential  

    First and foremost, the Scrum Master has to be a leader and an organizer. To meet the project's deliverables and milestones, they must manage many teams working on it.  

    4. Transparent  

    Every team-wide event should be transparent enough to be connected to communication. It becomes crucial for the Scrum Master to encourage communication beyond the team at a certain point in the project. It is challenging to get the required corporate objectives without adding transparency.  

    5. Collaborative  

    The Scrum Master is accountable for having the ability to collaborate with several teams, including the development team, product owner, and others. Through stand-up meeting sessions, iteration planning meetings, and demo sessions, they must assist the team members in achieving their objectives. 

    Become a master in project management effortlessly! Achieve PRINCE2 certification through our online PRINCE2 training program. Join now and elevate your career to new levels.

    How is SAFe Scrum Master Role Different from Scrum?

    SAFe Scrum masters enable their agile teams to adopt and identify features of SAFe, but they also learn various lean tools and techniques to improve the team's flow of value. Only the Scrum framework has been the focus of a Scrum Master. 

    Scrum Master Responsibilities

    In order to achieve their objectives, the Scrum Master performs the following responsibilities:

    Planning Meetings

    Scrum masters schedule meetings as well as decide who will attend and how often they should occur. In addition, daily stand-ups may also be planned as part of meetings. When it comes to planning meetings, the scrum master has several responsibilities.  

    • By estimating projects and classifying them into smaller tasks (subtasks), the scrum master aids in sprint planning. 
    • Planning sprint reviews and gathering feedback from the development team or product owner are some of the tasks he or she occasionally undertakes. 
    • Product owners and development teams should meet regularly with the scrum master. 
    • The scrum master should ensure that all members of each team participate in meetings and express their views.


    Product owners and developers communicate through the scrum master. By fulfilling these responsibilities, the scrum master will simplify the process of building the product:  

    • Stand-ups should be held by the scrum master to discuss challenges and possible solutions, as well as to collaborate with team members and the product owner. 
    • The scrum master should make sure all of the team's tasks are known to the product owner. 
    • A product owner and other stakeholders should be informed about the progress made by the product manager.


    Among scrum's responsibilities is coaching. Product owners expect that scrum masters will coach them into delivering products that add value according to their specifications and priorities. Scrum masters are responsible for coaching product owners.  

    • Scrum masters should be prepared to address disagreements about the project process and workflow with the development team and stakeholders as needed. 
    • Scrummasters should encourage teams to conduct retrospectives, which identify problem areas and identify actions to be taken. 
    • A scrum master must keep track of sprint changes and ensure that scrum tools are working. Take action to prevent tasks from falling behind their due dates in the future, and discuss the matter with team members. 
    • During the sprint-creation process, he or she should discuss business priorities and values with the product owner. 

    Scrum Master Qualities

    What qualities do good scrum masters need to have?  

    • Good scrum masters work well with the product owner and the development team. It is crucial to this job to be a mediator. 
    • The ideal scrum master should also have persuasive skills in order to motivate employees and inspire them to achieve the customer's goals. 
    • Scrum masters must also be prepared to bargain whenever necessary since team members, product owners, project managers, stakeholders, and others all may have different goals and perspectives. 
    • An excellent scrum master should be knowledgeable and observant in order to anticipate and identify challenges facing the development team. If adequate knowledge is not available, then the scrum team won't be able to generate solutions by itself. 


    SAFe Scrum Teams are self-organized, collaborative, and communicative. The SAFe Scrum Master ensures that these teams deliver on their projects efficiently and are provided with the required resources. The Scrum Master ensures that the teams follow the local Agile processes and support the Product Owner in delivering a flawless product.  

    As more enterprises choose to adopt Agile practices and improve business continuity and build better products, SAFe Scrum Masters will continue to be in demand as coaches, as mentors, and as facilitators who ensure that the Scrum teams are empowered to deliver the best. Enroll in KnowledgeHut SAFe Scrum Master certification program and get a step closer to becoming a SMM. 

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1What is part of the role of a Scrum Master in SAFe?

    Scrum Masters facilitate the Scrum process and enforce other rules that their teams have agreed to. During the Agile Release Train (ART), the Scrum Master also coordinates with other teams and communicates status to management in the case of an emergency.  

    2How is SAFe different from Scrum?

    The main difference between them is how they approach their work. In simple terms, Scrum is basically used to organize teams, while SAFe® is used to organize the entire organization. SAFe® manages to incorporate many important aspects that Scrum tends to miss.  

    3What are the Essential Skills and Qualifications required for SAFe Scrum Master?


    • Knowledgeable 
    • Observant 
    • Influential 
    • Transparent 
    • Collaborative


    You must attend a 16-hour Certified ScrumMaster course (CSM®) from a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®). You must answer 37 out of 50 questions correctly within the 1-hour time limit in order to pass the CSM® online exam. 

    4Is Scrum Master a project manager?

    Both yes and no. Scrum masters are project managers, so they must possess certain skills such as communication and organization. Accordingly, they are qualified as project managers.  

    5What does a Scrum Master do and not do?

    It is essential for a Scrum Master to avoid committing certain common mistakes. 

    • A Project Manager's Behaviour 
    • Over-checking 
    • Refusing to accommodate changes 
    • Making decisions on your own 
    • Excessively complicating or simplifying 
    • Providing a single point of contact 

    It is essential for a Scrum Master to do these things: 

    • Using Agile project management methods, Scrum masters guide a team through the project life cycle. 
    • Scrum masters facilitate communications between leaders and team members in order to ensure a successful project.

    Lindy Quick

    Blog Author

    Lindy Quick, SPCT, is a dynamic Transformation Architect and Senior Business Agility Consultant with a proven track record of success in driving agile transformations. With expertise in multiple agile frameworks, including SAFe, Scrum, and Kanban, Lindy has led impactful transformations across diverse industries such as manufacturing, defense, insurance/financial, and federal government. Lindy's exceptional communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills have earned her a reputation as a trusted advisor. Currently associated with KnowledgeHut and upGrad, Lindy fosters Lean-Agile principles and mindset through coaching, training, and successful execution of transformations. With a passion for effective value delivery, Lindy is a sought-after expert in the field.

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