What does a SCRUM Master actually do?

from | 5 June 2020 | Basics

In our #Inside [at] series we regularly introduce employees. Today it's Maria's turn. She has been with [at] for 4 years and works in her current role as SCRUM Master. In the interview, she tells us how she became a SCRUM Master, what her background is and what she particularly likes about her work.

What does SCRUM mean?

SCRUM is a widely used Agile project management approach. SCRUM is a great fit for many of our data projects because we often cannot foresee the exact course of the project at the beginning. In the SCRUM process, the project duration is divided into so-called sprints. A sprint lasts between one and four weeks. We learn from each sprint and can adapt the next sprint accordingly based on our experiences.


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What exactly does a SCRUM Master do?

A SCRUM Master has different roles: Mainly he is a Facilitator, a coach, the spirit of the team. As a facilitator, the SCRUM Master tries to avoid or remove obstacles in the team project and, if problems occur, to facilitate interpersonal communication between teams and stakeholders and protect the team from negative factors. In addition, as a coach, the SCRUM master should make sure that everyone in the team understands SCRUM and also implements and lives this framework.


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What knowledge and skills should one have?

  • Communication skills
  • Understanding people and remaining non-partisan
  • Moderation
  • Know and implement workshop methods
  • Use coaching methods
  • Empathy

How do you become a SCRUM Master?

Experience in projects is very important. To become an official SCRUM Master, there are certifications with mainly 3 certification levels:

  1. The first Basic certification is suitable for beginners
  2. The second certification is for SCRUM Masters who have advanced SCRUM knowledge and at least 1 year of experience or more.
  3. The third certification is for SCRUM Masters who have many years of experience and very deep SCRUM knowledge.  

Not all certifications on the market are officially recognised. I personally have successfully completed the first two certifications from scrum.org and can recommend them.

What is your background? How did you become a SCRUM Master?

I studied international business communication. Project management, leadership and agile methods were part of my studies. I started at [at] 4 years ago. In my previous role at [at], I worked a lot with Atlassian software and learned how to configure and administer it. When using Jira, you often hear the words SCRUM, Items, Kanban, Stories, Story Points. At that time I started to learn what the different terms mean and how they are used in the project. For this reason, I developed a great interest in agile methods, which play a particularly important role in the digital world. Classic project management is often not the best way here.   

For Data Science Projects SCRUM and agile methods in general are very important.
Data projects often have the following characteristics:

  • Unpredictable results from the beginning
    • Dependence on IT infrastructures
    • Wrong expectations from customers etc.

SCRUM and agile methods in general help our customers and us to manage projects better than with classic project management methods. As Data Project Manager at [at], this is an important insight.  

What does a typical working day as a SCRUM Master look like?

A SCRUM Master works on several levels in the company: In close collaboration with the product owner, as a facilitator for the team and at the organisational level. I would say that it is not a typical working day gives. Every day is different and there is a different focus. An important point for many SCRUM masters is to find a good balance between SCRUM in theory and SCRUM in reality.

What do you like about your work?

I like working with people and find it exciting to observe interpersonal communication. I enjoy organising and designing workshops. Overall, I love the diversity of my job. Agile, after all ????


Michaela Tiedemann

Michaela Tiedemann has been part of the Alexander Thamm GmbH team since the early start-up days. She has actively shaped the development from a fast-moving, spontaneous start-up to a successful company. With the founding of her own family, a whole new chapter began for Michaela Tiedemann at the same time. Hanging up her job, however, was out of the question for the new mother. Instead, she developed a strategy to reconcile her job as Chief Marketing Officer with her role as a mother.


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