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Scrum Master Certification - The Definitive Guide

What is a Scrum Master?The Scrum Master in a Scrum team is responsible for managing the process, while at the same time ensures that the team is observing the Scrum theory, rules and practices. They are not a part of the decision-making process, but they act as a guide for the team, thanks to their experience and expertise. They also help in simplifying complex projects.Scrum Masters act as a facilitator and advisor for the Scrum team and are always on a continuous lookout for the team’s development. Moreover, they make sure that Scrum adoption is successful in their organisation.Roles played by a certified Scrum MasterBroadly speaking, the role of a Scrum Master is challenging as they are responsible for the functioning of the team as well as monitoring the Scrum processes and events. Professionals with a Scrum Master certification, however, are acknowledged to be the masters of the art of facilitation and drive their teams to success.An efficient (and certified) Scrum Master ensures that the Definition of Done (DoD) is being followed, and this helps him maximize the potential of the team.A Scrum Master has several important responsibilities, to name a few:Act as a supervisor for the Scrum TeamKeeps the Scrum Team protected from any external requests or disruptions as well as over-commitmentsAssists the Scrum EventsTake measures to  maximise the productivity of the teamBuild trust and transparency between the teamMake sure that there is proper communication between the Scrum Product Owner and Scrum TeamPromote daily stand-up, as neededThe popularity of the role of a Scrum Master has increased exponentially in the past few years. Glassdoor has included Scrum Master in their list of highest paying jobs, with a rank of 20 and a median salary of $98,239 USD. On top of this, LinkedIn has included Scrum Master in top 2019 most promising jobs list.What are the benefits of Scrum Master certification?Legit concern. If knowledge is the fundamental aspect here, what is the need for a Scrum Master certification at all?Recently certified Scrum Masters will have so many positive anecdotes to share.1. Validation from the industryAs a professional Scrum Master certified by an accreditation body of global repute has a lot to contribute to the industry. Basic benefits aside, a globally valid Scrum Master Certification lets you:Expand your career opportunities across multiple sectors embracing Agile practicesDemonstrate your scrum knowledge and skillsLearn about the fundamentals and scope of ScrumEngage with active Agile practitioners committed to continuous improvement and deliveryScrum Master certifications do not just merit a raise in salary but offer several additional benefits which include but are not limited to the following.Now that you already know the benefits of Scrum Master certifications in terms of knowledge, salary, designation, mindset, and industry value, let us walk you through the roles and responsibilities of certified scrum masters.2. Scrum knowledge and skillsEarning a Scrum Master certification will help you in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed in any project that entails scrum. Having a scrum certification will also give you the motivation and confidence to implement Scrum across different sectors and projects.3. Grow in your careerBeing certified as a Scrum Master will make you more marketable and relevant in your field. It equips you with the skills that will help you reach the goals of the business and offer the highest value to the customer. It is the basic validation of an agile mindset, knowledge and skills to apply in organisations.4. Boost team’s collaborationA certified Scrum Master encourages the whole team to work together in a better manner as (s)he has a good understanding of Scrum.5. Change of mindsetMore than doing Agile, being Agile fosters teamwork, avoids conflicts and helps create more successful projects.According to a survey conducted as stated in the 2019 Scrum Master Trends, when asked about their current title, the following response was received by the participants:ChoicesResponses (%)Happy as Scrum Master15.85Happy as Agile Coach10.95I am a Scrum Master now, but want to become an Agile Coach20.65I plan to become a certified trainer or coach22.59I am working to become a Scrum Master11.49Other18.47And when asked about their current titles, the following response was received:ChoicesResponses (%)Scrum Master39.45Agile Coach15.56Development Team Member5.84Product Owner3.15Product Manager9.62Agile Project Manager3.26Product Manager1.24Others21.87Also, about Scrum and facilitation training, it was observed that:83% of participants had formal Scrum training17% of participants had formal facilitation training15% of participants had no certifications45% of participants had more than one certificationAnd, the top three certifications among the participants were:Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I)Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)Professional Scrum Product OwnerTM  (PSPO I)Scrum has been adopted by many big organisations like Google, Spotify, IBM, 3M, etc. Moreover, Scrum is no more limited to the fields of the IT sector. According to a State of Scrum Report 2017-2018, participants voted Scrum Master (85%) as the top certification of 2017.The following is a list of departments that use Scrum other than the IT department:Operations or Production - 42%Research and Development - 31%Sales and Marketing - 25%Content Development, Management - 24%Consulting - 22%Human Resources - 19%Financial or Accounting - 18%What is the average salary of a certified Scrum Master?As a certified Scrum Master, salary is the last thing you need to worry about. A Scrum certification alone will boost your salary manyfold.According to a research by Glassdoor in 2018, the role of Scrum Master is one of the highest paid jobs in the United States with a median base salary of $98,239 and with job openings of over 1800. Being certified makes the Scrum Master a more accomplished person for the job, providing prospective employers with acknowledgement of their skills.The following is the average salary of a Scrum Master by region, as per the survey: 2019 Scrum Master Trends.CityAverage SalaryNorth America$113,295Europe$76,889South America$43,505Africa$62,571Asia$40,326Oceania$149,507Top Scrum Master CertificationsHere’s is a globally acclaimed Scrum Master certification programs:Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) by Scrum Alliance®Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I) by Scrum.orgSAFe® Scrum Master (SSM) Certification by Scaled AgileEXIN Agile Scrum Master by EXINScrum Master Certified (SMC™) by SCRUMstudyScrum Master Accredited Certification™ by International Scrum Institute™Advanced & related Scrum Master certifications:Advanced-CSM® (A-CSM®) by Scrum Alliance®Certified Scrum Professional®-ScrumMaster (CSP®-SM)  by Scrum Alliance®Professional Scrum MasterTM II (PSM II) by Scrum.orgProfessional Scrum MasterTM III (PSM III) by Scrum.orgPMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® from Project Management Institute (PMI)How do I get a Scrum Master certification?To become a professional Scrum Master, you need to clear an examination or assessment and get certified. This will help you to get a better understanding of the fundamentals of  Scrum framework, values, practices and applications. It also provides a level of expertise and knowledge. Having a certification means an acknowledgement that you hold the core knowledge of Scrum as well as know how to engage with other practitioners for further collaboration and improvement.It is necessary to familiarize with Scrum and understand the prerequisites that are needed to attend any certification course. With various certification courses available in the market, it is equally necessary to research well and choose a certification according to their needs and demand.The procedure for getting certified is roughly the same for all Scrum Master certifications:Step 1: Attend training or take a course, as per the certifying body’s requirement.Step 2: Register for an examination as per the certification.Step 3: Take a test and score at least the minimum required score.Step 4: Get certified.To make things easy for you, we have put together a list of the best Scrum Master certifications which will help you get essential knowledge of the how to get certified and can also help you decide which certification to opt for.1. Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) is the most widely acknowledged Scrum Master certification. To become a Certified ScrumMaster, it is essential to attend a 2-day classroom training, after which you will be required to take an online test. You will acquire the required essential knowledge in this two-day training, which is conducted by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST®) authorised by the Scrum Alliance®. The topics of discussion during the training include Scrum frameworks, its usage, User Stories, Estimations and Release Planning.According to the State of Scrum Report 2017-2018, Certified ScrumMaster® is the most popular certification, selected by 84% of the respondents.1.1 Who is the authorised body for Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?Scrum Alliance® is the authorised body for the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification.1.2. What is the eligibility & prerequisites for Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?There are no eligibility criteria for a CSM certification. But, it is advisable to have familiarity with the Scrum framework. You have to take up a two-day (16 hours) course, which is conducted by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST®). This course provides an overview of supporting and organising a Scrum team.Taking a course is mandatory for Certified ScrumMaster® certification.1.3. What is the cost of Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?Cost of 2-day Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) course is around $1000 (depends on your training provider), which also includes the cost of certification and examination fee.1.4 How to become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM®) with Scrum Alliance®Attend a 2-day Scrum Master course from a Registered Education Provider (REP) like KnowledgeHut.After your course completion, you’ll receive an email with a unique username from Scrum Alliance® to register online. Click on the activation link, log in with the given username and create your own password. Fill in your profile information in all the mandatory fields.Proceed by clicking on “Take CSM® test” form the certification dashboard that can be reached on the settings page. You can take the test within 90 days after completion of the Scrum Master course.Take the test.After passing the test, you can download your internationally valid Certified ScrumMaser® certificate from the certification dashboard (under the “Print Certificate” option). Scrum Alliance® has partnered with BadgeCert Inc. allowing you to display a secure and verifiable digital certification badge on social networks, resumes, email signatures, and websites.1.5. What will the Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification exam be like?Take the test, which comprises of 50 multiple-choice questions based on the CSM® learning objectives within a 60 minute time limit. The test can be taken anytime, anywhere and is available to take in English, Spanish (Castilian), Portuguese, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Danish, Czech, and Russian. You’ll be tested on the types of topics and questions as mentioned in CSM Test Specifications Outline. The passing score is 74% - this means you should have answered 37 questions correctly.1.6. Reattempts for Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification examIf you don’t pass your exam in the first attempt, you can take up a second attempt without any extra charge.If you fail the second time as well, you can attempt the exam again by paying a fee of $25 to ScrumAlliance.If you are a Certified ScrumMaster and are wishing to level up, then you can opt for the Advanced Certified ScrumMaster certification. The Advanced Certified ScrumMaster certification has been discussed further in the blog under the advanced certification sectionHow to renew your Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?Every two years, it is necessary to get the CSM certification renewed by paying a fee of $100 as well as earn 20 Scrum Education Units® (SEU®). Learn how to earn SEUs here.2. Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I)Professional Scrum Master I is another highly sought after Scrum Master certification offered by Scrum.org, founded by Ken Schwaber — the co-creator of Scrum — after he parted from Scrum Alliance®.Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I) is a course with 2-days duration that covers the process theory and the principles of the Scrum framework, also covering the role of the Scrum Master. This course contains instructions as well as team-based exercises, which teaches the core of the Scrum and Agile movement.According to the 2019 Scrum Master Trends, on Scrum and facilitation training, the maximum number of votes were obtained for PSM I certification, which is 53 % of the participants.Scrum.org says Microsoft uses the PSM I assessment “to validate knowledge as part of its Silver and Gold Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) competencies”.2.1. Who is the accreditation body for Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I)?Scrum.org2.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM I) certification?There are no specific prerequisites for undertaking the examination or attending this course. The Professional Scrum Master training can be attended by professionals who are interested in attending the training and giving the examination. After completion of the course, you will receive a password for PSM I assessment conducted by Scrum.org. Subsequently, you can decide if you should proceed and undertake the PSM II and PSM III assessments.The following individuals can benefit by taking up the Professional Scrum Master training to showcase the fundamental level of Scrum mastery:Professionals who wish to pursue the Professional Scrum Master CertificationScrum Team managersTeams which are transitioning to ScrumScrum Team members such a Product Owners and developersTaking a course is optional for PSM I certification.2.3. What is the cost of the Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM I)certification? If you are well-versed with Scrum, taking a course is optional. PSM I assessment fee is $150 per attempt.But if you to attend a 2-day training, the exam fee for the certification is included in the course price of around $350 and depends on the training provider. If you have attended the training, you’ve two attempts to clear your exam as opposed to only one chance when attempting the exam without any training.2.4. Here’s how to become a Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM) professionalAttend a 2-day PSM training (optional). You’ll need an Assessment Password to take the test - after clearing which you’ll receive the industry recognized PSM I Certification.If you have paid for your PSM course, you’ll receive the Assessment Password to your email address. If you haven’t taken the course, you’ll have to buy PSM I assessment online to receive the Assessment PasswordThe password doesn’t have an expiration date but is valid for one attempt only if you haven’t taken the PSM 1 course, and two attempts you have taken the course.Take the test.After the completion of the assessment, the results will be emailed to you. Here’s an example Scrum.org Assessment Results email.If you have scored at least 85% in your test, your certificate and badge will be added to your member profile on Scrum.org. Your name your name will also be added to the public list of certified professionals on their website.2.5. What will be the Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM I) examination like?With the knowledge of the Scrum Guide (authored by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland), official Scrum.org resources, and other suggested reading material, you can assess your basic Scrum knowledge before taking the actual assessment that covers topics from multiple Focus Areas defined by the Professional Scrum Competencies.  The PSM examination that can be taken in Enlish language only, consists of a total of 80 questions in the following formats: multiple choice, multiple answers and true/false.PSM exam can be a bit difficult and you’ll have 60 minutes to attempt all the questions, where you’ll have to score a minimum of 85% in order to pass the examination.2.6. How to renew the Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM) certificationAlong with the PSM certification, any Scrum.org certificate is has a lifelong validity and do not require any additional payments or renewals.3. SAFe® Scrum MasterGain a thorough understanding of the roles of a Scrum Master in a SAFe® enterprise by attending a 2-day course. With the help of this course, explore the roles of a Scrum Master at the enterprise level and prepare yourself to plan and execute the Program Increment successfully, which is the primary enabler of alignment through all levels of SAFe® organisation. Discover different approaches to become a servant leader and coach to build high performing Agile teams.  3.1. Who is the authorised body for SAFe® Scrum Master certification?Scaled Agile is the authorised body for SAFe ® Scrum Master certification.3.2. What are the eligibility & prerequisites for SAFe® Scrum Master certification?The course is open to all, regardless of what experience you hold. But, the following prerequisites are recommended for those who wish to take the SAFe Scrum Master (SSM) certification exam:Insight of Agile concepts and principlesAwareness of Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP) and KanbanWorking knowledge of hardware and software development processes3.3. What is the certification cost for SAFe® Scrum Master certification?The first attempt of the exam is included as a part of the course registration fee, provided the exam is taken within 30 days of completion of the course. Each retake attempt costs $50.3.4. Here’s how to become a SAFe® Scrum Master professional:The very first step is to attend a SAFe® Scrum Master course. This is a requirement as this will help you gain access to all the study material as well as the examination.Upon completion of your SAFe® Scrum Master course, you can gain access of the examination within the SAFe® Community Platform.Take the test.After clearing the test, you’ll get a Certified SAFe® 4 Scrum Master PDF certificate or a Certified SAFe® 4 Scrum Master digital badge along with a one-year membership to the SAFe Community Platform, which includes access to the SSM Community of Practice.3.5. What will the SAFe® Scrum Master certification examination be like?The SAFe® Scrum Master certification examination can be taken in English, consists of a total of 45 questions of the type multiple choice and multiple select, and out of which you are required to score a minimum of 73% (33 out of 45) to obtain your certification. The time duration for the exam is 90 minutes. Here are a few sample test questions.3.6.Reattempts for SAFe® Scrum Master certification examThe first retake, that is the second attempt of the examination can be taken immediately after the first attempt. The third attempt requires a 10-day wait, while a fourth attempt requires a 30-day wait. Each retake attempt costs $50.3.7. How to renew your SAFe® Scrum Master certification?SAFe® certifications hold the validity for one year. After the completion of first year, you will be required to renew your certification by paying a renewal fee of $100.4. EXIN Agile Scrum Master (ASM)The EXIN Agile Scrum Master certification is a unique certification that combines the Scrum practices and Agile methodologies along with practical assignments. The certification tests the proficiency of a Scrum Master which is required to coach, facilitate and enable a cross-functional team. The course covers various topics like the role of the Scrum master, Adopting Agile, Agile planning estimation, control, monitoring, etc. This certification can be attained by professionals belonging to fields like business management, IT project management, Software development, IT service management.4.1. What is the accreditation body for the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) certification?EXIN is the accreditation body for Agile Scrum Master (ASM) Certification.4.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for ASM certification?There are no particular eligibility criteria for the Agile Scrum Master course. But it is mandatory for you to successfully complete an EXIN Accredited Agile Scrum Master Training.This certification is suitable for professionals in the following fields:Business managementSoftware DevelopmentIT Project ManagementIT Service Management4.3. What is the cost of the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) examination?The cost of the examination comes around $260, without any training course. If you have opted for a training course, it will include the exam fee as well.    4.4. What is the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) examination like?The  EXIN Agile Scrum Master certification examination consists of a total of 40 multiple choice questions (can be taken in English, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Latin American Spanish, Dutch, German, Polish, Czech, Chinese). The difficulty level for the examination is advanced and the exam duration is 90 minutes. You have to score a minimum of 65% in order to pass the examination and to get the ASM certification.5. Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)The Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) professionals can ensure that the Scrum Team is provided with the proper environment which helps the team in completing the project successfully. It is the duty of the Scrum Master to make sure that the Scrum process is being followed, while at the same time he is responsible to guide, facilitate and teach the Scrum practices to everyone who is involved in the project.5.1. Who is the accreditation body for Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)?SCRUMstudy is the accreditation body for Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)5.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for SMC™ certification?This certification is suitable for anyone who is interested in becoming a Scrum Master. There aren’t any specific prerequisites needed for this course. But, if you  who have completed the Scrum Developer Certified (SDC™) certification before opting for this certification are highly preferred.Moreover, it is recommended that you attend a 2-day SMC classroom training provided by a SCRUMstudy approved Authorized Training Partner (A.T.P.).5.3. What is the cost of the Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) examination?The cost of the examination is $450.5.4. What is the Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) examination like?The  SMC™ certification examination consists of a total of 100 Multiple Choice questions. The exam duration is 120 minutes. The current pass rate of this examination is 95%.5.5. How do I maintain my Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) certification?You are required to maintain 40 Recertification Units (RCUs) every 3 years in order to maintain your certification.6. Scrum Master Accredited Certification™The Scrum Master Accredited Certification Program is an online test examination that can be taken from anywhere around the world. The examination success rate is 98%.6.1. Who is the accreditation body for Scrum Master Accredited Certification™?International Scrum Institute™6.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for Scrum Master Accredited Certification™?This certification is suitable for anyone who is interested in becoming a Scrum Master.6.3. What is the cost of certification for Scrum Master Accredited Certification™?The test and certification cost for Scrum Master Accredited Certification is $69, with no other hidden costs or fees involved.The number of re-attempts: you can retake your examination for 10 times, without any additional fee. If you fail at your last attempt, the full amount of registration fee will be refunded to you.6.4. What will the Scrum Master Accredited Certification™ be examination like?The test contains 50 multiple-choice questions that you have attempt within 60 minutes. In order to obtain the certification, you will have to answer at least 60% of your test questions correctly.Summary of comparison between Scrum Master CertificationsCertificationAuthorized BodyDifficulty level Exam  DurationNo. of Questions CostRenewalCertified ScrumMaster (CSM®)Scrum Alliance®EasyNo Duration35$1400 (including a mandatory course fee)$100, every 2 yearsProfessional Scrum MasterTM (PSM)Scrum.orgMedium1 hour80$150 (course fee not included -depends on provider)Not required, has a lifetime validitySAFe® Scrum MasterScaled AgileDifficult1.5 hours45$995 – $1,295 (including a mandatory course fee)$100, every yearEXIN Agile Scrum Master (ASM)EXINDifficult1.5 hours40$260Not required, has a lifetime validityScrum Master Certified (SMC™)SCRUMstudyEasy2 hours100$45040 RCUs every 3 yearsScrum Master Accredited Certification™International Scrum InstituteDifficult1 hour50$69Not required, has a lifetime validityAdvanced and Related Scrum Master certifications1. Advanced CSM® (A-CSM®)If you have Certified ScrumMaster certification from Scrum Alliance® and have twelve months of working experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years you can get Advanced CSM® certificate after taking the class and “successfully completing all educator-designed components of an approved educational offering”.This course demands that you need to have a basic understanding of Scrum along with its practical usage and implementation. This workshop will help you get a deeper insight into the  Scrum Framework and how it relates to the Agile Manifesto and learn the ways to coach the Product Owner and development team members. You can renew your A-CSM® by earning Scrum Education Units® (SEUs) every two years.2. Certified Scrum Professional®-ScrumMaster (CSP®-SM) The CSP-SM certification is unique and distinct to developers. Along with the certification, the professional get opportunities to attend exclusive CSP events along with many other leaders in Scrum and Agile. The certification helps professionals to make an impression on the recruiters as well as attract a higher rate of pay.If you have an active A-CSM® certification with 24 months of experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years, and attend a CSP-SM workshop which is conducted by the Scrum Alliance® approved ‘Path to CSP Educator’, you can get certified after “Successfully complete all educator-designed components of an approved educational offering”You can renew your CSP-SM by earning Scrum Education Units® (SEUs) every two years.3. Professional Scrum MasterTM II (PSM II) & Professional Scrum MasterTM III (PSM III)The Professional Scrum Master II (PSM II) and Professional Scrum Master III (PSM III) are advanced-level courses from Scrum.org. You can attend an optional 2-day training for PSM II, while there isn’t any training required for PSM III. If you have cleared the PSM I assessment, can opt for PSM II assessment. If you have cleared the PSM and PSM II assessments and if you wish to gain a distinguished level of Scrum mastery can take up the PSM™ III assessment.PSM II assessment will cost you $250, will have 30 questions to answer in 90 minutes, and needs at least 85% passing to get certified. Whereas, PSM III assessment will cost you $500, will have 34 questions to answer in 120 minutes, and needs at least 85% passing score to get certified.4. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® from Project Management Institute (PMI)PMI-ACP acknowledges your knowledge and skill in Agile principles and techniques. The PMI-ACP covers agile approaches such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, extreme programming (XP) and test-driven development (TDD.)If you have 2,000 hours of general project experience working on teams along with1,500 hours working on agile project teams or with agile methodologies and 21 contact hours of training in agile practices, you can get PMI ACP certified after clearing the exam having 120 multiple-choice questions within 3 hours. You can renew your PMI-ACP certification every 3 years by earning professional development units (PDUs) in agile topicsThe Career path for a Scrum MasterBeing a certified Scrum Master opens the door for opportunities growth.1. Scrum MasterAfter completing the Scrum Master certification, the Scrum Master gets to perform all the roles that a Scrum Master is assigned to do. They need to work in this position for a minimum duration of one year to five years.2. Senior Scrum MasterAfter Scrum Master, you progress to becoming a Senior Scrum Master. A Senior Scrum Master needs to gather advanced knowledge of the best practices of Scrum and should know how to implement them in teams as well.3. Agile CoachFor the transition to become an Agile Coach from a Senior Scrum Master. It is essential for you to have a minimum of five years of knowledge in being a Scrum Master along with at least one year of experience of coaching and mentoring.Scrum is an Agile development framework which is used to manage the process of product development. The Scrum Master is a person who is responsible for implementing Scrum amongst the team members, remove the obstacles faced by them and make sure that the team members understand Scrum and its principles. He does the planning, takes care of the team backlog, sprint retrospective and sprint demo.Scrum Master certification opens the door to a leap in career growth. There are many certifications options to choose from. With the provided information, we hope you will choose a best Scrum Master certification as per your expectations and requirement work towards your getting your dream job.
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Scrum Master Certification - The Definitive Guide

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Scrum Master Certification - The Definitive Guide

What is a Scrum Master?

The Scrum Master in a Scrum team is responsible for managing the process, while at the same time ensures that the team is observing the Scrum theory, rules and practices. They are not a part of the decision-making process, but they act as a guide for the team, thanks to their experience and expertise. They also help in simplifying complex projects.

Scrum Masters act as a facilitator and advisor for the Scrum team and are always on a continuous lookout for the team’s development. Moreover, they make sure that Scrum adoption is successful in their organisation.

Roles played by a certified Scrum Master

Roles played by a certified Scrum MasterBroadly speaking, the role of a Scrum Master is challenging as they are responsible for the functioning of the team as well as monitoring the Scrum processes and events. Professionals with a Scrum Master certification, however, are acknowledged to be the masters of the art of facilitation and drive their teams to success.

An efficient (and certified) Scrum Master ensures that the Definition of Done (DoD) is being followed, and this helps him maximize the potential of the team.

A Scrum Master has several important responsibilities, to name a few:

  • Act as a supervisor for the Scrum Team
  • Keeps the Scrum Team protected from any external requests or disruptions as well as over-commitments
  • Assists the Scrum Events
  • Take measures to  maximise the productivity of the team
  • Build trust and transparency between the team
  • Make sure that there is proper communication between the Scrum Product Owner and Scrum Team
  • Promote daily stand-up, as needed

The popularity of the role of a Scrum Master has increased exponentially in the past few years. Glassdoor has included Scrum Master in their list of highest paying jobs, with a rank of 20 and a median salary of $98,239 USD. On top of this, LinkedIn has included Scrum Master in top 2019 most promising jobs list.

What are the benefits of Scrum Master certification?

Legit concern. If knowledge is the fundamental aspect here, what is the need for a Scrum Master certification at all?

Recently certified Scrum Masters will have so many positive anecdotes to share.

1. Validation from the industry

As a professional Scrum Master certified by an accreditation body of global repute has a lot to contribute to the industry. Basic benefits aside, a globally valid Scrum Master Certification lets you:

  • Expand your career opportunities across multiple sectors embracing Agile practices
  • Demonstrate your scrum knowledge and skills
  • Learn about the fundamentals and scope of Scrum
  • Engage with active Agile practitioners committed to continuous improvement and delivery

Scrum Master certifications do not just merit a raise in salary but offer several additional benefits which include but are not limited to the following.

Now that you already know the benefits of Scrum Master certifications in terms of knowledge, salary, designation, mindset, and industry value, let us walk you through the roles and responsibilities of certified scrum masters.

2. Scrum knowledge and skills

Earning a Scrum Master certification will help you in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed in any project that entails scrum. Having a scrum certification will also give you the motivation and confidence to implement Scrum across different sectors and projects.

3. Grow in your career

Being certified as a Scrum Master will make you more marketable and relevant in your field. It equips you with the skills that will help you reach the goals of the business and offer the highest value to the customer. It is the basic validation of an agile mindset, knowledge and skills to apply in organisations.

4. Boost team’s collaboration

A certified Scrum Master encourages the whole team to work together in a better manner as (s)he has a good understanding of Scrum.

5. Change of mindset

More than doing Agile, being Agile fosters teamwork, avoids conflicts and helps create more successful projects.

According to a survey conducted as stated in the 2019 Scrum Master Trends, when asked about their current title, the following response was received by the participants:

ChoicesResponses (%)

Happy as Scrum Master

15.85

Happy as Agile Coach

10.95

I am a Scrum Master now, but want to become an Agile Coach

20.65

I plan to become a certified trainer or coach

22.59

I am working to become a Scrum Master

11.49

Other

18.47

And when asked about their current titles, the following response was received:

ChoicesResponses (%)

Scrum Master

39.45

Agile Coach

15.56

Development Team Member

5.84

Product Owner

3.15

Product Manager

9.62

Agile Project Manager

3.26

Product Manager

1.24

Others

21.87

Also, about Scrum and facilitation training, it was observed that:

  • 83% of participants had formal Scrum training
  • 17% of participants had formal facilitation training
  • 15% of participants had no certifications
  • 45% of participants had more than one certification

And, the top three certifications among the participants were:

  • Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I)
  • Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)
  • Professional Scrum Product OwnerTM  (PSPO I)

Scrum has been adopted by many big organisations like Google, Spotify, IBM, 3M, etc. Moreover, Scrum is no more limited to the fields of the IT sector. According to a State of Scrum Report 2017-2018, participants voted Scrum Master (85%) as the top certification of 2017.

The following is a list of departments that use Scrum other than the IT department:

List of departments that use Scrum

  • Operations or Production - 42%
  • Research and Development - 31%
  • Sales and Marketing - 25%
  • Content Development, Management - 24%
  • Consulting - 22%
  • Human Resources - 19%
  • Financial or Accounting - 18%

What is the average salary of a certified Scrum Master?

As a certified Scrum Master, salary is the last thing you need to worry about. A Scrum certification alone will boost your salary manyfold.

According to a research by Glassdoor in 2018, the role of Scrum Master is one of the highest paid jobs in the United States with a median base salary of $98,239 and with job openings of over 1800. Being certified makes the Scrum Master a more accomplished person for the job, providing prospective employers with acknowledgement of their skills.

The following is the average salary of a Scrum Master by region, as per the survey: 2019 Scrum Master Trends.

CityAverage Salary

North America

$113,295

Europe

$76,889

South America

$43,505

Africa

$62,571

Asia

$40,326

Oceania

$149,507

Average salary of a Certified Scrum Master by region

Top Scrum Master Certifications

Here’s is a globally acclaimed Scrum Master certification programs:

  1. Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) by Scrum Alliance®
  2. Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I) by Scrum.org
  3. SAFe® Scrum Master (SSM) Certification by Scaled Agile
  4. EXIN Agile Scrum Master by EXIN
  5. Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) by SCRUMstudy
  6. Scrum Master Accredited Certification™ by International Scrum Institute™

Advanced & related Scrum Master certifications:

  1. Advanced-CSM® (A-CSM®) by Scrum Alliance®
  2. Certified Scrum Professional®-ScrumMaster (CSP®-SM)  by Scrum Alliance®
  3. Professional Scrum MasterTM II (PSM II) by Scrum.org
  4. Professional Scrum MasterTM III (PSM III) by Scrum.org
  5. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® from Project Management Institute (PMI)

How do I get a Scrum Master certification?

To become a professional Scrum Master, you need to clear an examination or assessment and get certified. This will help you to get a better understanding of the fundamentals of  Scrum framework, values, practices and applications. It also provides a level of expertise and knowledge. Having a certification means an acknowledgement that you hold the core knowledge of Scrum as well as know how to engage with other practitioners for further collaboration and improvement.

It is necessary to familiarize with Scrum and understand the prerequisites that are needed to attend any certification course. With various certification courses available in the market, it is equally necessary to research well and choose a certification according to their needs and demand.

The procedure for getting certified is roughly the same for all Scrum Master certifications:

Step 1: Attend training or take a course, as per the certifying body’s requirement.

Step 2: Register for an examination as per the certification.

Step 3: Take a test and score at least the minimum required score.

Step 4: Get certified.

To make things easy for you, we have put together a list of the best Scrum Master certifications which will help you get essential knowledge of the how to get certified and can also help you decide which certification to opt for.

1. Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)

Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) is the most widely acknowledged Scrum Master certification. To become a Certified ScrumMaster, it is essential to attend a 2-day classroom training, after which you will be required to take an online test. You will acquire the required essential knowledge in this two-day training, which is conducted by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST®) authorised by the Scrum Alliance®. The topics of discussion during the training include Scrum frameworks, its usage, User Stories, Estimations and Release Planning.

According to the State of Scrum Report 2017-2018, Certified ScrumMaster® is the most popular certification, selected by 84% of the respondents.

1.1 Who is the authorised body for Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?

Scrum Alliance® is the authorised body for the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification.

1.2. What is the eligibility & prerequisites for Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?

There are no eligibility criteria for a CSM certification. But, it is advisable to have familiarity with the Scrum framework. You have to take up a two-day (16 hours) course, which is conducted by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST®). This course provides an overview of supporting and organising a Scrum team.

Taking a course is mandatory for Certified ScrumMaster® certification.

1.3. What is the cost of Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?

Cost of 2-day Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) course is around $1000 (depends on your training provider), which also includes the cost of certification and examination fee.

1.4 How to become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM®) with Scrum Alliance®How to become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM®) with Scrum Alliance®

Attend a 2-day Scrum Master course from a Registered Education Provider (REP) like KnowledgeHut.

  1. After your course completion, you’ll receive an email with a unique username from Scrum Alliance® to register online. Click on the activation link, log in with the given username and create your own password. Fill in your profile information in all the mandatory fields.
  2. Proceed by clicking on “Take CSM® test” form the certification dashboard that can be reached on the settings page. You can take the test within 90 days after completion of the Scrum Master course.
  3. Take the test.
  4. After passing the test, you can download your internationally valid Certified ScrumMaser® certificate from the certification dashboard (under the “Print Certificate” option). Scrum Alliance® has partnered with BadgeCert Inc. allowing you to display a secure and verifiable digital certification badge on social networks, resumes, email signatures, and websites.

1.5. What will the Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification exam be like?

Take the test, which comprises of 50 multiple-choice questions based on the CSM® learning objectives within a 60 minute time limit. The test can be taken anytime, anywhere and is available to take in English, Spanish (Castilian), Portuguese, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Danish, Czech, and Russian. You’ll be tested on the types of topics and questions as mentioned in CSM Test Specifications Outline. The passing score is 74% - this means you should have answered 37 questions correctly.

1.6. Reattempts for Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification exam

If you don’t pass your exam in the first attempt, you can take up a second attempt without any extra charge.

If you fail the second time as well, you can attempt the exam again by paying a fee of $25 to ScrumAlliance.

If you are a Certified ScrumMaster and are wishing to level up, then you can opt for the Advanced Certified ScrumMaster certification. The Advanced Certified ScrumMaster certification has been discussed further in the blog under the advanced certification section

How to renew your Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?

Every two years, it is necessary to get the CSM certification renewed by paying a fee of $100 as well as earn 20 Scrum Education Units® (SEU®). Learn how to earn SEUs here.

2. Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I)

Career path of PSM
Professional Scrum Master I is another highly sought after Scrum Master certification offered by Scrum.org, founded by Ken Schwaber — the co-creator of Scrum — after he parted from Scrum Alliance®.

Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I) is a course with 2-days duration that covers the process theory and the principles of the Scrum framework, also covering the role of the Scrum Master. This course contains instructions as well as team-based exercises, which teaches the core of the Scrum and Agile movement.

According to the 2019 Scrum Master Trends, on Scrum and facilitation training, the maximum number of votes were obtained for PSM I certification, which is 53 % of the participants.

Scrum.org says Microsoft uses the PSM I assessment “to validate knowledge as part of its Silver and Gold Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) competencies”.

2.1. Who is the accreditation body for Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I)?

Scrum.org

2.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM I) certification?

There are no specific prerequisites for undertaking the examination or attending this course. The Professional Scrum Master training can be attended by professionals who are interested in attending the training and giving the examination. After completion of the course, you will receive a password for PSM I assessment conducted by Scrum.org. Subsequently, you can decide if you should proceed and undertake the PSM II and PSM III assessments.

The following individuals can benefit by taking up the Professional Scrum Master training to showcase the fundamental level of Scrum mastery:

  • Professionals who wish to pursue the Professional Scrum Master Certification
  • Scrum Team managers
  • Teams which are transitioning to Scrum
  • Scrum Team members such a Product Owners and developers

Taking a course is optional for PSM I certification.

2.3. What is the cost of the Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM I)certification? 

If you are well-versed with Scrum, taking a course is optional. PSM I assessment fee is $150 per attempt.

But if you to attend a 2-day training, the exam fee for the certification is included in the course price of around $350 and depends on the training provider. If you have attended the training, you’ve two attempts to clear your exam as opposed to only one chance when attempting the exam without any training.

2.4. Here’s how to become a Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM) professional

  1. Attend a 2-day PSM training (optional). You’ll need an Assessment Password to take the test - after clearing which you’ll receive the industry recognized PSM I Certification.
  2. If you have paid for your PSM course, you’ll receive the Assessment Password to your email address. If you haven’t taken the course, you’ll have to buy PSM I assessment online to receive the Assessment Password
  3. The password doesn’t have an expiration date but is valid for one attempt only if you haven’t taken the PSM 1 course, and two attempts you have taken the course.
  4. Take the test.
  5. After the completion of the assessment, the results will be emailed to you. Here’s an example Scrum.org Assessment Results email.
  6. If you have scored at least 85% in your test, your certificate and badge will be added to your member profile on Scrum.org. Your name your name will also be added to the public list of certified professionals on their website.

2.5. What will be the Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM I) examination like?

With the knowledge of the Scrum Guide (authored by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland), official Scrum.org resources, and other suggested reading material, you can assess your basic Scrum knowledge before taking the actual assessment that covers topics from multiple Focus Areas defined by the Professional Scrum Competencies.  

The PSM examination that can be taken in Enlish language only, consists of a total of 80 questions in the following formats: multiple choice, multiple answers and true/false.

PSM exam can be a bit difficult and you’ll have 60 minutes to attempt all the questions, where you’ll have to score a minimum of 85% in order to pass the examination.

2.6. How to renew the Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM) certification

Along with the PSM certification, any Scrum.org certificate is has a lifelong validity and do not require any additional payments or renewals.

3. SAFe® Scrum Master

Gain a thorough understanding of the roles of a Scrum Master in a SAFe® enterprise by attending a 2-day course. With the help of this course, explore the roles of a Scrum Master at the enterprise level and prepare yourself to plan and execute the Program Increment successfully, which is the primary enabler of alignment through all levels of SAFe® organisation. Discover different approaches to become a servant leader and coach to build high performing Agile teams.  

3.1. Who is the authorised body for SAFe® Scrum Master certification?

Scaled Agile is the authorised body for SAFe ® Scrum Master certification.

3.2. What are the eligibility & prerequisites for SAFe® Scrum Master certification?

The course is open to all, regardless of what experience you hold. But, the following prerequisites are recommended for those who wish to take the SAFe Scrum Master (SSM) certification exam:

  • Insight of Agile concepts and principles
  • Awareness of Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP) and Kanban
  • Working knowledge of hardware and software development processes

3.3. What is the certification cost for SAFe® Scrum Master certification?

The first attempt of the exam is included as a part of the course registration fee, provided the exam is taken within 30 days of completion of the course. Each retake attempt costs $50.

3.4. Here’s how to become a SAFe® Scrum Master professional:

  1. The very first step is to attend a SAFe® Scrum Master course. This is a requirement as this will help you gain access to all the study material as well as the examination.
  2. Upon completion of your SAFe® Scrum Master course, you can gain access of the examination within the SAFe® Community Platform.
  3. Take the test.
  4. After clearing the test, you’ll get a Certified SAFe® 4 Scrum Master PDF certificate or a Certified SAFe® 4 Scrum Master digital badge along with a one-year membership to the SAFe Community Platform, which includes access to the SSM Community of Practice.

3.5. What will the SAFe® Scrum Master certification examination be like?

The SAFe® Scrum Master certification examination can be taken in English, consists of a total of 45 questions of the type multiple choice and multiple select, and out of which you are required to score a minimum of 73% (33 out of 45) to obtain your certification. The time duration for the exam is 90 minutes. Here are a few sample test questions.

3.6.Reattempts for SAFe® Scrum Master certification exam

The first retake, that is the second attempt of the examination can be taken immediately after the first attempt. The third attempt requires a 10-day wait, while a fourth attempt requires a 30-day wait. Each retake attempt costs $50.

3.7. How to renew your SAFe® Scrum Master certification?

SAFe® certifications hold the validity for one year. After the completion of first year, you will be required to renew your certification by paying a renewal fee of $100.

4. EXIN Agile Scrum Master (ASM)

The EXIN Agile Scrum Master certification is a unique certification that combines the Scrum practices and Agile methodologies along with practical assignments. The certification tests the proficiency of a Scrum Master which is required to coach, facilitate and enable a cross-functional team. The course covers various topics like the role of the Scrum master, Adopting Agile, Agile planning estimation, control, monitoring, etc. This certification can be attained by professionals belonging to fields like business management, IT project management, Software development, IT service management.

4.1. What is the accreditation body for the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) certification?

EXIN is the accreditation body for Agile Scrum Master (ASM) Certification.

4.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for ASM certification?

There are no particular eligibility criteria for the Agile Scrum Master course. But it is mandatory for you to successfully complete an EXIN Accredited Agile Scrum Master Training.

This certification is suitable for professionals in the following fields:

who should opt for ASM certification?

  • Business management
  • Software Development
  • IT Project Management
  • IT Service Management

4.3. What is the cost of the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) examination?

The cost of the examination comes around $260, without any training course. If you have opted for a training course, it will include the exam fee as well.    

4.4. What is the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) examination like?

The  EXIN Agile Scrum Master certification examination consists of a total of 40 multiple choice questions (can be taken in English, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Latin American Spanish, Dutch, German, Polish, Czech, Chinese). The difficulty level for the examination is advanced and the exam duration is 90 minutes. You have to score a minimum of 65% in order to pass the examination and to get the ASM certification.

5. Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)

The Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) professionals can ensure that the Scrum Team is provided with the proper environment which helps the team in completing the project successfully. It is the duty of the Scrum Master to make sure that the Scrum process is being followed, while at the same time he is responsible to guide, facilitate and teach the Scrum practices to everyone who is involved in the project.

5.1. Who is the accreditation body for Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)?

SCRUMstudy is the accreditation body for Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)

5.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for SMC™ certification?

This certification is suitable for anyone who is interested in becoming a Scrum Master. There aren’t any specific prerequisites needed for this course. But, if you  who have completed the Scrum Developer Certified (SDC™) certification before opting for this certification are highly preferred.

Moreover, it is recommended that you attend a 2-day SMC classroom training provided by a SCRUMstudy approved Authorized Training Partner (A.T.P.).

5.3. What is the cost of the Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) examination?

The cost of the examination is $450.

5.4. What is the Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) examination like?

The  SMC™ certification examination consists of a total of 100 Multiple Choice questions. The exam duration is 120 minutes. The current pass rate of this examination is 95%.

5.5. How do I maintain my Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) certification?

You are required to maintain 40 Recertification Units (RCUs) every 3 years in order to maintain your certification.

6. Scrum Master Accredited Certification™

The Scrum Master Accredited Certification Program is an online test examination that can be taken from anywhere around the world. The examination success rate is 98%.

6.1. Who is the accreditation body for Scrum Master Accredited Certification™?

International Scrum Institute™

6.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for Scrum Master Accredited Certification™?

This certification is suitable for anyone who is interested in becoming a Scrum Master.

6.3. What is the cost of certification for Scrum Master Accredited Certification™?

The test and certification cost for Scrum Master Accredited Certification is $69, with no other hidden costs or fees involved.

The number of re-attempts: you can retake your examination for 10 times, without any additional fee. If you fail at your last attempt, the full amount of registration fee will be refunded to you.

6.4. What will the Scrum Master Accredited Certification™ be examination like?

The test contains 50 multiple-choice questions that you have attempt within 60 minutes. In order to obtain the certification, you will have to answer at least 60% of your test questions correctly.

Summary of comparison between Scrum Master Certifications

Certification
Authorized BodyDifficulty level Exam  Duration
No. of Questions CostRenewal
Certified ScrumMaster (CSM®)Scrum Alliance®EasyNo Duration35$1400 (including a mandatory course fee)$100, every 2 years
Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM)Scrum.orgMedium1 hour80$150 (course fee not included -depends on provider)Not required, has a lifetime validity
SAFe® Scrum MasterScaled AgileDifficult1.5 hours45
$995 – $1,295 (including a mandatory course fee)
$100, every year
EXIN Agile Scrum Master (ASM)EXINDifficult1.5 hours40$260Not required, has a lifetime validity
Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)SCRUMstudyEasy2 hours100$45040 RCUs every 3 years
Scrum Master Accredited Certification™International Scrum InstituteDifficult1 hour50$69Not required, has a lifetime validity

Advanced and Related Scrum Master certifications

Advanced and Related Scrum Master certifications ​

1. Advanced CSM® (A-CSM®)

If you have Certified ScrumMaster certification from Scrum Alliance® and have twelve months of working experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years you can get Advanced CSM® certificate after taking the class and “successfully completing all educator-designed components of an approved educational offering”.

This course demands that you need to have a basic understanding of Scrum along with its practical usage and implementation. This workshop will help you get a deeper insight into the  Scrum Framework and how it relates to the Agile Manifesto and learn the ways to coach the Product Owner and development team members. You can renew your A-CSM® by earning Scrum Education Units® (SEUs) every two years.

2. Certified Scrum Professional®-ScrumMaster (CSP®-SM) 

The CSP-SM certification is unique and distinct to developers. Along with the certification, the professional get opportunities to attend exclusive CSP events along with many other leaders in Scrum and Agile. The certification helps professionals to make an impression on the recruiters as well as attract a higher rate of pay.

If you have an active A-CSM® certification with 24 months of experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years, and attend a CSP-SM workshop which is conducted by the Scrum Alliance® approved ‘Path to CSP Educator’, you can get certified after “Successfully complete all educator-designed components of an approved educational offering”

You can renew your CSP-SM by earning Scrum Education Units® (SEUs) every two years.

3. Professional Scrum MasterTM II (PSM II) & Professional Scrum MasterTM III (PSM III)

The Professional Scrum Master II (PSM II) and Professional Scrum Master III (PSM III) are advanced-level courses from Scrum.org. You can attend an optional 2-day training for PSM II, while there isn’t any training required for PSM III. If you have cleared the PSM I assessment, can opt for PSM II assessment. If you have cleared the PSM and PSM II assessments and if you wish to gain a distinguished level of Scrum mastery can take up the PSM™ III assessment.

PSM II assessment will cost you $250, will have 30 questions to answer in 90 minutes, and needs at least 85% passing to get certified. Whereas, PSM III assessment will cost you $500, will have 34 questions to answer in 120 minutes, and needs at least 85% passing score to get certified.

4. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® from Project Management Institute (PMI)

PMI-ACP acknowledges your knowledge and skill in Agile principles and techniques. The PMI-ACP covers agile approaches such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, extreme programming (XP) and test-driven development (TDD.)

If you have 2,000 hours of general project experience working on teams along with1,500 hours working on agile project teams or with agile methodologies and 21 contact hours of training in agile practices, you can get PMI ACP certified after clearing the exam having 120 multiple-choice questions within 3 hours. You can renew your PMI-ACP certification every 3 years by earning professional development units (PDUs) in agile topics

The Career path for a Scrum MasterThe Career path for a Scrum Master

Being a certified Scrum Master opens the door for opportunities growth.

1. Scrum Master

After completing the Scrum Master certification, the Scrum Master gets to perform all the roles that a Scrum Master is assigned to do. They need to work in this position for a minimum duration of one year to five years.

2. Senior Scrum Master

After Scrum Master, you progress to becoming a Senior Scrum Master. A Senior Scrum Master needs to gather advanced knowledge of the best practices of Scrum and should know how to implement them in teams as well.

3. Agile Coach

For the transition to become an Agile Coach from a Senior Scrum Master. It is essential for you to have a minimum of five years of knowledge in being a Scrum Master along with at least one year of experience of coaching and mentoring.

Scrum is an Agile development framework which is used to manage the process of product development. The Scrum Master is a person who is responsible for implementing Scrum amongst the team members, remove the obstacles faced by them and make sure that the team members understand Scrum and its principles. He does the planning, takes care of the team backlog, sprint retrospective and sprint demo.

Scrum Master certification opens the door to a leap in career growth. There are many certifications options to choose from. With the provided information, we hope you will choose a best Scrum Master certification as per your expectations and requirement work towards your getting your dream job.

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

Author

KnowledgeHut is a fast growing Management Consulting and Training firm that is a source of Intelligent Information support for businesses and professionals across the globe.


Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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3 comments

Kisha 19 May 2019

I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it. I have you bookmarked to check out new things you post?

Jeffery 24 Jul 2019

Great article! Thank you :)

bindu reddy A 06 Aug 2019

Hi, Thanks for the wonderful explanation about Scrum Master Certification. I learned scrum master roles and salary and complete guide was awesome. Thank you knowledgehut for a great article!

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Respond to Change over Following a PlanChanges do happen in software development. Changes in technology, business trends and strategy, etc. Being flexible with the flow of change is what the fourth value of Agile all about.Following a project plan is fine. However, the same must be flexible and should have some room for changes or it will soon be forgotten as some misplaced faith of self-righteousness.This, on the other hand, makes the life of software testers difficult. Let me tell you why.The software testers analyse and test the functioning bits of the software after its development. However, due to sudden changes in the technical part, business plans or strategy, the testers are not aware of the sudden changes or updates that the developing team are made aware of and need to change their testing strategy accordingly.This results in communication gaps being formed between the testers and the developers thus putting the testers under tremendous pressure to deliver on time.In order to get this issue sorted out, you need to go back to the first value of Agile, which is communicating across teams to stay updated about the changes for a better and more effective workflow. It is more like an initiative to be taken by the testing team, that is, to communicate with the developers to stay in the loop of changes or a new course of action.Now that we have covered on the four values of Agile, let us move ahead to show you what the twelve principles of Agile have to offer and in what way they can help.Agile Manifesto PrinciplesThe twelve Agile principles form the ‘twelve commandments’ of the ‘Agile Movement’ methodology, ones which embrace change and consider the customer as the focal point. They also denote the movement’s intent, that is, to bring development into alignment with business needs, as described by one of the signatories of the manifesto, Alistair Cockburn.The twelve principles of Agile development include:1. Customer Satisfaction through Early and Continuous Software Delivery:The best way to make customers happy is by delivering the software early for testing and feedback, to let them know about the progress, the implementations, and acknowledge the delivery value by fulfilling their top priority requirements first. Each iteration has an outcome, a working code that can be applied to examine and respond to the ever-changing user requirements.2. Accommodate Changing Requirements Throughout the Development Process:This stresses on responding to change instead of staying strictly aligned to an approved plan. It involves a simplified version of handling change with the necessity of no formal documentation or approval. This is done to have control over change for the customer’s competitive advantage because it fastens the response to the latest changes in the business to bolster your advantage to emerging opportunities.3. Frequent Delivery of Working Software:This explains how to provide immediate value to the customers by delivering working features. Each iteration or Sprint must end up in yielding a product release. The teams ensure that each feature is fully developed, tested, customised, and styled according to the customer’s satisfaction before considering it as delivered. The structure of the project team can be bettered by focussing on the delivery of value with a fixed delivery timeframe.4. Collaboration between the Business Stakeholders and Developers throughout the Project:Agile development principles aim at keeping requirements and documentation light.The primary thought process is that it is fine and acceptable for changes to happen in software development. This results in close collaborations being given importance to clarify requirements on a timely basis to always keep all the team members notified during the development of the software.5. Support, Trust, and Motivate the people involved:Fruitful and competitive projects depend on focussed, trusted, and motivated individuals to get the job done. Team members are allowed to select the work they are most interested in by self-organisation with no interference of external management. Micromanagement and top-down approach is a strict no-no.6. Enable Face-to-Face InteractionsThis form of interaction is the best one of the lot. No other mode of communication could beat this one, especially when you need to get to the root of an issue. Feedback via face-to-face interaction or video conference (for the teams separated geographically) is always encouraged as it involves a smoother transfer of information amongst the members.7. Working Software is the Primary Measure of ProgressThis is done by collocating a number of teams in an open area and programmers are paired with each other at each workstation. So what that means is, each pair works in a symbiotic manner. The programmer at the keyboard, known as the ‘Driver’. The other one, known as the ‘Navigator’, actively works on the programming, thinking more about the overall direction. Normally, the job roles are to be switched to have a better understanding between each other.This results in better coding, as these symbiotic interactions help in clarifying the complexities and hidden details in the coding task in a better way. This also leads to a smoother exchange of information and knowledge amongst the team, hence reducing coordination efforts greatly, and improving the flexibility of the pair to interruptions.8. Agile Processes to Support a Consistent Development PaceThe Agile methodology aims at keeping the perfect work-life balance and never over exhaust the employees, thus keeping them happy. By maintaining close collaboration and being alert and creative, extended work after normal working hours is avoided, especially at the weekends, the time when people try to recover from their hectic lifestyle.9. Attention to Technical Detail and Design Enhances AgilitySelf-organising teams are the key to yield the best architectures, designs, and requirements. The team engages in retrospective meetings that hold discussions on the things needed in order to be more effective, after which a decision is made on the next course of action depending on the situation. This ensures that whatever is learnt during the project can be reapplied in the next iteration.10. SimplicityThis principle hints at the application of the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule. It means that as a matter of fact, 80% of the results may be achieved from just 20% of your efforts. What actually needs to be done is to focus on the ‘20%’ that will yield the majority of the results. You need to focus on the things that are important to add value to the project and customers. Ignore the things that do not add value, such as components, process, etc.11. Self-organizing teams encourage great architectures, requirements, and designsIn Scrum methodology, the team has complete control and is responsible to meet the target of each sprint, and on deciding how to achieve the same. Cutting long story short, the team knows the best way to carry out the task, the interference of the project manager or even the human resources department is not welcome.12. Regular reflections on how to become more effectiveTo get the right results, it is imperative for teams to work as a cognitive unit by focussing on working out new plans to be more effective, checking the requirements, tuning in to the change, and adapting accordingly. Changes do happen most of the time, so you will never come to know what changes in the requirements might emerge until the software is looked at and tested. And the external conditions might have changed while you spent lots of time analysing and reviewing the requirements and designing a solution.Purpose of Agile ManifestoThe basic ambition of Agile is to deliver better software, and that is achieved by presenting a structure which is transparent and direct by emphasising on iterative development, team collaboration and embracing change.Really, it is difficult to imagine how Agile Manifesto has given rise to numerous software and activity. Before the emergence of the same, developing software was not as quick as it is nowadays. This led to the cancellation of many projects because of the continual changes in business needs and was quite unsettling for the software developing industry.The Agile Manifesto is the heart of the Agile movement. Its twelve core principles and four values aimed at changing the process, speeding up productivity with quality and development time. It was noticed that Agile has been implemented even on fields outside software development. Agile stressed on lean manufacturing, collaboration, communication and quick development of smaller sets of features under the guidance of an all-inclusive plan whilst always adapting to changes.Agile Vs Scrum and other methodologiesEven though Agile and Scrum go along with the same system, they do differ in some aspects when compared with each other.While Agile explains a set of principles in the Agile Manifesto employing interactive development to build software, Scrum follows a specific set of rules when practising Agile software development. Agile forms the philosophy whereas Scrum is the methodology to implement the Agile philosophy.Scrum is one of the ways to implement Agile, so there is no surprise when both are similar in many aspects. Both base on delivering software sooner and at regular intervals. Both are iterative processes and have scope for changes too, not to forget their transparency and constant improvement.Here are the notable differences and similarities between Agile and Scrum:AspectsAgileScrumPhilosophyYesNoAdds processNoYesMethodologyNoYesAccommodates changeYesYesConstant improvementYesYesDeliver software early and oftenYesYesIterativeYesYesTransparencyYesYesWhen it comes to Agile and Waterfall, it can be said that Agile is much more flexible and ever-evolving while Waterfall is a rigid and inflexible process.The chances of finding similarities between these two are remote. As a matter of fact, Agile was brought into existence because of the shortfalls of Waterfall and is its polar opposite although they both strive at delivering quality products efficiently.Here are the notable differences and similarities between Agile and Scrum:AspectsAgileWaterfallSequentialNoYesRigid processNoYesFlexibleYesNoAccommodates changeYesNoContinually evolvingYesNoDeliver quality productsYesYesDefined requirementsNoYesOn comparing Agile with Kanban, although the latter implements the former in a visual manner, there are numerous differences and notable similarities, which are:AspectsAgileKanbanIterationsYesNoContinuous flowNoYesPhilosophyYesNoVisualisationNoYesContinually improvingYesYesCross-functional teamsYesNoTransparencyYesYesFaster deliveryYesYesSplitting projects into smaller segmentsYesYesUpfront planning is not necessaryYesYesEqually beneficial to all industriesNoYesNo project management methodology is 100% foolproof all the time. Different methodologies are introduced in different situations and prove useful too. It depends on the type of change you want to bring in your team. For example, Kanban is a better option if you want to introduce something on the top of existing infrastructure with small but incremental changes. However, Agile would be a better choice if your goal is to go for a bigger change.ConclusionSo, here we are, at the end of the line of this topic. We have discussed a lot about Agile Manifesto, its values and principles, and focussed on the benefits of its applications, not to forget about how different Agile is from the various methodologies.You can freely implement the magnificent set of values and principles of Agile to your own business or organisation. It will work wonders if followed religiously.All the best for your future!
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The Ultimate Guide to the Agile Manifesto

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Failures in Agile Transformation

With the increase in Agile adoption across the organization, the stories are piling up too. Now the question is, are these success stories or the failure stances. Usually, in the conferences or meetups, you get to meet people from various establishments, this is just another way of getting to hear what worked or what not. Even in your own organization, you can feel the pulse of the transformation. There are many reasons why we end up with messy transformation, I have tried elaborating few in the discussion today but there’s more to it. As you read, you might connect with some of the points, let’s start the digging:1. AIMING ON PROCESSES AND NOT PEOPLEThe inclination of Agile is more towards people or individuals, we talk about empowering team, making them self-organized. We even talk about creating high performing teams which can deliver maximum value by the end of every increment. With the adoption of Scrum, where the core values involve Focus, Openness, Respect, Commitment and Courage at the root level, the ‘people’ factor becomes important. Ultimately, it the ‘people’ who work at the ground level for client satisfaction, to achieve this, they adopt processes for smoother workflow. That’s it! Organizations, during their transformation, tend to overlook this critical piece. Their approach becomes more inclined towards processes and they start considering Agile as a process but in fact, Agile is more of a mindset change. Process starts getting priority over people or individuals, always remember, process is just for supporting or helping the individuals with their work. People are not for the processes, even one of the four principles in the agile manifesto says: “Individuals and Interactions over Processes and tools”. I was surprised to hear in one of the trainings’ that people in the same team are using mail to communicate around the stories/deliverables. Can we not give preference to face to face interactions?2. MICROMANAGING THROUGH CEREMONIESSelf-organization is one of entities in Agile, the core says, trust your teams. Micromanagement not only hinders creativity, but it also impacts the morale of agile teams. Management or the scrum master should refrain from getting into the minute details during the scrum ceremonies. Most of the times, it is observed that the daily scrum gets converted into a status meeting either for the scrum master or for the technical lead. As a Scrum Master, you should help the team getting self-organized rather than being directive. One of the principles from Agile talks about giving the space and trust: “The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.” This enables the team to find their own solutions, helps them with innovation and most of all, teaches them the value of being a team. Every ceremony has its own schema and none of the ceremony is to track individual chores. You must trust your teams, remember, trust can do wonders, believe me, if you trust your people, they will never let you down. Here comes another principles’ focusing on the same. “Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done.”3. Hastening the TransformationAny change, whether it is for the system or for an individual, takes time. When was the last time you promised yourself to change one of your habits, was that easy? Almost every individual at the start of the year takes so many resolutions, how many do you think gets accomplished! Same goes with the transformation, it takes time and you will have to give because it is not just about the individual, it is about the organization. When the transformation journey starts, the delivery teams take the maximum heat. They are the ones who are expected to be Agile BUT the management usually lags, they are still in need of mindset to support the change. Just by doing the agile ceremonies is not being Agile, it comes with a wide variety of shift, be it - culture, technical, management or team. You have to accept that it is going to be a challenging journey which will have its own milestones and you cannot skip those. Also, it is long journey with hiccups, be ready to accept the challenges, learn from the mistakes and come up with the action items to improve.4. Scrum Roles Getting a Back SeatWhen teams in agile are formed, some of the roles are asked to play dual. In such scenarios, scrum master roles can be played either by the team lead or by someone who is ready for that extra piece. Though the role gets played, but the essence of this position goes for a toss. The focus just stays on delivery without instilling the purpose.  The organisation needs to acknowledge that scrum master'sis a fulltime job that helps teams in staying on track, motivated and helps them see their own progress through information radiators. Anyone else playing a dual role might not do justice and end up walking on two different tracks - not able to reach the goal in both the positions. The team needs someone who can teach, mentor, train and be with them. Just forming the team is not enough if the organization doesn't follow the best practices, such cases tend to get trapped.5. Lack of support from Middle managementIn my past experiences with the organizations in transformation mode, usually the middle layer is where the problem brews. Transformations get a go ahead from the top layer, but it gets difficult for the middle management to adopt. It is important to ensure alignment among the leaders of the organization on the aspiration and value of the transformation is done before moving ahead with the approach. In another example we can see a project manager being insecure as most of the juggling is being handled by the scrum master. In such cases, to prove their existence, the middle layer starts getting into the little details, this impacts the team as half the time they are functioning as per the project manager. Due to this, we hear a lot about the role of scrum master being questioned on their responsibilities. They are assumed to be just sitting and watching, in other words, doing nothing! According to the research led by AgileTurkey.org in Turkey in 2018, the two major hindrances to agile transformation were found out to be the resistance to transformation and culture transformation. Existing managers have a lot to do in order to manage with these two major challenges, they should be part of the transformation beginning from themselves, their day-to-day actions, and should guide the whole company by being supportive of the process.6. Tools over mindsetWith the transformation comes the need to use fancy tools and abide by ‘laws of the tools. Some feel proud in using the costliest tool, some make it a point to introduce the tool being used by the competitor. But is it worth it? Transformation can be done using ‘MS Excel’, there is no set protocol for focusing on the tool. Though the tools play an important part, but teams should focus on Agility and Scrum framework first and then on tools. You certainly need to track metrics like velocity, burn-down, estimates. But with the right mindset, the goal can be achieved with no trouble. This doesn't mean tools are bad, but it means mindset should be given priority over the extensive use of tools.7. Transformation as a Destination (Thinking Your Transformation Is Done)Many a time, we hear ‘We are now agile, we transformed in so and so year’ and what not. But is agile a destination, NO, it a journey, a never-ending journey. Some teams think just by implementing a bunch of backlogs, doing the ceremonies and tracking metrics, they are Agile. No, they are not!Whatever way out we have today are based on our experience, knowledge and the situation we are in. If any of the factors change, our solutioning will be different. Both the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto point to the continuity of the process. Responding to change over following a plan relates appropriately as much to the processes as to our sprint outputs. We have to understand that process is never whole. You just have to continue reflecting what worked and how to fine tune the process whenever required.8. Misunderstood cross-functional teamEvery time I speak about the delivery teams, at least one of the participants from the audience ask this question “We say it's a cross functional team, but my tester is not ready to code!” Have we understood it correct? None of the processes are bad, it is about how we adopt them that makes a difference. “Cross Functional Doesn’t Mean Everyone Can Do Everything, a cross-functional team has members with a variety of skills, but that does not mean each member has all of the skills.”  – Mike Cohn. This interpretation of cross-functional imposes a pressure on the delivery team which breaks the team apart and is sometimes the cause of conflicts among the members. As per scrum guide – “Cross functional teams are groups consisting of people from different functional areas of the company. – it should be formed not only with technical specialists (Back-end, Front-end developers, QA engineers, etc.), but also consists of member like Business Analysts, Marketing and UX specialists or anyone else taking an active part in the project.”9. Scrum for AllJust because everyone is going that way doesn’t mean that way is for you too! It is necessary to understand the current and what exactly you want it to be once the journey starts.  Scrum is one of the frameworks to help with complex adaptive projects, but it is not for all the products or projects. If you are transforming your IT helpdesk department, scrum might come out as a failure, the support team cannot say that they will be delivering 10 high priority tickets after the end of sprint, where sprint duration ranges from two week to a month. Second scenario can be the team handling production defects. But this does not mean that Scrum is bad, no it is not. It is just that these scenarios are not meant for Scrum.Every story is different and so are the reasons, as said earlier as well, this is not just a complete list, there can numerous other details depending on the situation. I will be happy to hear your viewpoints on the misalignment and disorientation. Lastly, it is significant to focus more on the people, the mindset and the collaboration to get better results.
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Failures in Agile Transformation

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Scrum Master Salary

How much does a Scrum Master earn? How prolific being a Scrum Master is? These are quite relatively simple and common questions but answering them is not that simple. Scrum Master was created around 1992 by Jeff Sutherland and his teams and is quite a new term. Nevertheless, it has not taken long to establish its importance to companies across the world. Scrum Master is currently one of the most promising jobs in the world.In this article, we will cover various aspects of a Scrum Master salary, such as how much a Scrum Master earns, what affects it and how, what the future prospects of a Scrum Master are in terms of salary structure and growth, and why Scrum Masters earn so much.How much does a Scrum Master Earn?According to Payscale, on an entry-level, Scrum Masters in India earn an average of Rs 723,565 per year, going up as high as Rs 1,486,991. In the USA, the average entry-level scrum master salary is $79,309 per year, the highest reaching a six-figure mark of $107,957. However, with more experience, the figures become interestingly better and here is how. Once again, Payscale search results indicate that an experienced Scrum Master in India earns an average of Rs 1,441,276 per annum with the maximum earnings going as high as Rs 2,078,905. Similar reports show that an experienced Scrum Master in the USA earns $103,566 per year on an average, earning as high as $134,203.Below mentioned are statistics from Payscale:Scrum Master Experience/CountryIndiaUSAEntry-Level Scrum MasterRs 723,565 p.a.(Rs 1,486,991 highest)$79,309 p.a.($107,957 highest)Experienced Scrum MasterRs 1,441,276 p.a.(Rs 2,078,905 highest)$103,566 p.a.($134,203 highest)The 2018 research by Glassdoor state that the Scrum Masters are one of the highest paid professionals in the USA, with the average salary being $98,239 and vacancies as high as 1,876. Cities such as New York, Atlanta, Charlotte, Columbus, and Richmond are considered to be the best and most prolific places for the Scrum Masters to work in.Evidently, the figures above are quite staggering and impressive, showing us how fruitful and career aspiring being a Scrum Master is.Here is a table of content for Average Scrum Master salary based on regions:Scrum Master Salary/RegionUSAINDIACANADAGBRAUSTRALIAAverage Scrum Master Salary/yearUS$93,2851,411,000CA$87,000£51,124A$110,000And here is the average salary based on various Scrum certifications:Scrum Master CertificationsSalary in US$/YearCertified Scrum Master (CSM)89,150Professional Scrum Master (PSM )91,000Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)108,000Agile Scrum Master (ASM)115,000Scrum Master Certified (SMC)115,000SAFe Scrum Master114,546Salaries that Top Companies pay the Scrum MastersScrum has become so popular down the years that an incredible number of the major software companies adopt its methodology and ways of solving issues.According to the Scrum Guide, Scrum has been adopted by a vast number of software development companies around the world.Apart from being religiously used in manufacturing, operations, education, marketing and other fields, Scrum has been an important problem-solving tool for all the major software companies.Provided that you have the skills to deal with conflicts and are a proven facilitator, you have a great chance to join any of the top companies who are hiring skilled Scrum Masters like you.Glassdoor job search results in India reveal that the major companies hiring Scrum Masters are:Companies Hiring Scrum MastersAverage Salary in INR/yearCisco Systems2,200,000Capgemini1,487,461Amdocs1,279,001Tata Consultancy Services1,243,340Cognizant Technology Solutions1,242,530Wipro1,019,654Accenture1,000,975And in the USA, Scrum Masters are highly sought after by these major brands:Companies Hiring Scrum MastersAverage Salary in US$/yearTransUnion104,728Thomson Reuters104,130UnitedHealth Group97,904Ciber97,156IBM93,403J.P. Morgan91,786Capital One87,732AT&T85,977In the past few years, the pay structure for Scrum Masters has increased at a relatively quick pace. Although Scrum’s popularity status continues to get better, being a Scrum Master is undoubtedly a tough task because what a Scrum Master needs is more like servant leadership skills, and that is the primary asset a Scrum Master needs to possess. After all, it is all about following the Agile-Scrum tactics to finish projects on time along with keeping the quality of the end product intact.Factors affecting a Scrum Master’s salaryThere are many factors that determine how much a Scrum Master earns. Some of the key ones are:1. ExperienceThis is one of the most important criteria, if not the most important one. Like discussed in the previous section of this article, not only the salary of a Scrum Master increases with experience, the job role and position in an organisation gets better as well. Here are a few of the required skills/experience:In terms of landing a better Scrum master job with high pay package, it is recommended for a professional to have worked as a Scrum Master for a minimum of one year with a software development team, one that was diligently applying Scrum principles, practices, and theoryAdequate skills in and understanding of servant leadership, facilitation, situational awareness, conflict resolution, continual improvement, empowerment, and increasing transparency.2. The skills required by the job roleAnother important one. A Scrum Master’s role is not restricted to particular job designation. The more you know about the other Agile approaches in problem-solving, the better your job role and salary will be. By Agile approaches, we are talking about XP, Kanban, Crystal, FDD, etc3. Awareness of multiple Agile techniquesTo get better job opportunities, it is preferred to have knowledge of widely successful Agile techniques such as:User StoriesATDDTDDContinuous IntegrationContinuous testingPairingAutomated TestingAgile Games4. Applicable knowledge of the technologiesA particular organisation will pay you a better package for a Scrum Master if you have a sound grip over the type of technology they use to run their business. Why? It is simple. If you are aware of the system they work in, then they do not have to work on much in getting you in sync with the way they work in their organisation5. Knowledge of appropriate patterns and techniquesA progressive Scrum Master always thinks of using a variety of relevant well-documented patterns and techniques for filling in the intentional gaps left in the Scrum approach, such as Burndown technologies, various Retrospective formats, handling bugs and many more6. Location of the jobThe salary of a Scrum Master depends massively on where the job posting is. If the living standard of a particular city is high, so are the chances of getting a higher pay package. On the other hand, a city having a comparatively lower standard of living renders the Scrum Masters with a lesser salary range.Reason for Scrum Masters being so valuedWhy are the Scrum Masters paid so much? What do the Scrum Masters have to offer that makes them so vital to organisations? After all, in the past few years, Scrum methods have swiftly brought in a revolutionary change in project handling and problem-solving matters.We are living in times when software needs to be delivered on time after much feedback, changes, supervision. Collaboration with frequent updates and patches. To meet the delivery deadline, it is essential to keep the team members connected and in sync, preferably face-to-face. This is critical as the team working on the project should be well informed, collaborated and kept up to date throughout the project. Failure to execute any one of these steps would lead to a breakdown in software, the end result being loss of business, not to forget the reputation of the relevant organisation being tarnished.Nowadays, companies prefer the Agile workflow and are aware of the importance of a Scrum Master in an organisation. Converting a team into a productive one and self-organised by following the Agile practices without any fail, that’s what Scrum Masters do and that is what makes them special.
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Scrum Master Salary

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