In the fast-paced world of software development, it can often feel like the only thing that is certain is change. And when it comes to managing and leading a team of developers, there are few frameworks as effective as Scrum.
And what is Scrum without a Scrum Master? But what qualities make a great Scrum Master? Is it simply a matter of understanding the Scrum Guide, or are there other factors at play? One question that often arises is whether or not a Scrum Master should know how to code.
As someone who has spent many years in software development, I believe that technical knowledge can be incredibly valuable to those in leadership roles, formal or not. But is it absolutely necessary for a Scrum Master to know how to code? In this blog post, I’ll be exploring the role of the Scrum Master, and discussing the pros and cons of having technical knowledge as a Scrum Master.
Should Scrum Masters Be Technical?
Let this be clear: The Scrum Guide does not require the Scrum Master to be technical. But knowing this or that about how to code can help a Scrum Master excel in their role as a team’s coach and facilitator.
As the Scrum Master, it is your responsibility to ensure that the Scrum rules — as outlined in the Scrum Guide — are understood and upheld by the team. But what’s often overlooked is the role that technical knowledge plays in this responsibility.
To truly coach and guide the Scrum Team to be self-sufficient, one must possess an understanding of the inner workings of the development process.
This is especially true when dealing with the Developers on the team, who are often deeply entrenched in technical jargon and concepts. A Scrum Master who has a background in development will find it much easier to communicate with and understand the struggles of these team members.
Of course, having technical knowledge doesn’t necessarily turn you into a great Scrum Master. However, it is undeniable that a Scrum Master who has experience as a developer will have a distinct advantage when it comes to removing any internal or external impediments to the team’s progress.
In my experience, some of the best Scrum Masters I have had the pleasure of working with are those who have a combination of technical knowledge and strong facilitation skills. They are able to not only understand the technical challenges the team may be facing, but also guide the Developers and Product Owner to stay focused on high value work that aligns with the product and sprint goals.
In conclusion, while it is not a requirement for a Scrum Master to know how to code, having technical knowledge can certainly help them in their role as a coach and facilitator.
Even so, the most important qualities of a Scrum Master are their ability to effectively guide and mentor the team, and their dedication to helping the team work towards meeting their goals. So don’t be discouraged if you’re not technical, but use your technicality as an advantage if you are.