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Do Scrum Masters need to be technical?

January 10, 2019

 

Whether or not a Scrum Master has a technical background, there are going to be instances when the Scrum Master struggles to understand the technical complications faced by the team. It simply isn't possible to understand all the inner workings of the team without being in the trenches with the team. That's why some teams have one of the developers also function as the Scrum Master. However, that situation isn't ideal because the individual will constantly be pulled in both directions and ultimately both roles will be inhibited.

 

Technical Scrum Masters can certainly provide a lot of value. The team may respect the Scrum Master out of the gate just based on their background. Also, the Scrum Master may be able to provide technical guidance that the team may not have considered. For example, the Scrum Master may be able to identify alternative frameworks or possibly teach the team on how to perform mob programming.

 

So why would you ever hire a non-technical Scrum Master? The role of a Scrum Master actually requires quite a few skills. And a lot of those skills are non-technical. There are many times where a Scrum Master needs perform conflict resolution, negotiate with other Scrum Masters, escalate issues to senior management, and many more. So a technical Scrum Master is not always a better choice than a non-technical Scrum Master. However, if you are hiring a non-technical Scrum Master, they should be able to highlight those non-technical skills that they bring to the table.

 

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