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10 Characteristics of a Great Scrum Master

10 characteristics of a great Scrum Master

The purpose of the Scrum Master is to improve the effectiveness of the Scrum team. And yet, so many people don’t know what to look for in a Scrum Master or how to evaluate the Scrum Master’s performance. A great Scrum Master possesses a unique blend of technical expertise, leadership skills, and interpersonal qualities. In this article, we will explore the ten characteristics that define a remarkable Scrum Master.

Servant Leadership

A great Scrum Master embodies the principles of servant leadership, focusing on the needs of the team and enabling their success. They serve as a facilitator, removing obstacles, providing guidance, and fostering a collaborative environment where the team can thrive.

Strong Communication Skills

Effective communication lies at the heart of successful Scrum implementation. A great Scrum Master is an exceptional communicator, adept at active listening, articulating ideas clearly, and facilitating open and honest discussions. They ensure that everyone is on the same page, minimizing misunderstandings and maximizing productivity.

Deep Understanding of Agile and Scrum

To guide the team effectively, a great Scrum Master possesses a comprehensive understanding of Agile principles & values as well as the Scrum framework. They are knowledgeable about Scrum artifacts, events, and accountabilities, and they leverage this expertise to facilitate smooth and efficient execution to ensure that the team is able to maximize value and deliver a done increment every Sprint.

Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

Empathy and emotional intelligence are critical attributes of a great Scrum Master. They have the ability to understand and relate to team members' perspectives, needs, and challenges. By recognizing and addressing emotions, they foster a positive and supportive team culture that enhances collaboration and motivates individuals to perform at their best.

Facilitation and Conflict Resolution

A great Scrum Master excels in facilitating meetings and workshops, ensuring that they are purposeful, engaging, and outcome-oriented. They have a knack for resolving conflicts that may arise within the team or between stakeholders, finding win-win solutions and promoting healthy working relationships.

Continuous Learning and Improvement

By instilling a mindset of continuous learning and growth, the Scrum Master guides the team towards making a series of small improvements in their collaborative practices. They understand that these seemingly minor changes, accumulated over the course of several Sprints, can lead to significant and impactful transformations. Through effective facilitation and coaching, the Scrum Master facilitates retrospectives and other feedback mechanisms to help the team identify actionable improvements at the end of each Sprint. By fostering a culture of reflection, adaptation, and experimentation, the Scrum Master empowers the team to constantly evolve and excel.

Ability to Coach and Mentor

A great Scrum Master serves as a coach and mentor to the team, empowering them to become self-organizing and high-performing. They provide guidance, offer constructive feedback, and encourage individuals to take ownership of their work. Their coaching helps the team unleash their full potential and achieve outstanding results.

Strong Problem-Solving Skills

In an Agile environment, challenges and roadblocks are inevitable. A great Scrum Master possesses excellent problem-solving skills, enabling them to identify issues, analyze root causes, and devise effective solutions. They encourage the team to adopt a proactive approach to problem-solving, fostering a culture of innovation and adaptability.

Ability to Manage Complexity

Product development initiatives are complex, with numerous variables and dependencies. A great Scrum Master has the ability to manage complexity effectively, helping the team to figure out how to break down complex tasks into manageable increments and ensuring that the team remains focused on delivering value incrementally.

Passion and Enthusiasm

Last but certainly not least, a great Scrum Master is passionate and enthusiastic about their role. Their enthusiasm is contagious, inspiring the team to embrace Agile principles and embrace change with a positive attitude. Their passion creates a sense of purpose and commitment within the team, driving them towards achieving project success.


Being a great Scrum Master requires a unique set of characteristics and skills. By embodying servant leadership, effective communication, empathy, continuous learning, and the ability to facilitate, resolve conflicts, coach, and solve problems, a Scrum Master can create an environment that nurtures. Next week, we'll provide 10 interview questions that will help you identify a great Scrum Master!

Scrum Day Madison 2023

Don't miss Madison's first Scrum Day conference on Sep 14, 2023! Get your tickets now for an inspiring day of networking, exceptional speakers, and thought-provoking topics.


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