Does a Scrum Master Need to be Technical?

Given that Scrum has traditionally been adopted in IT first and is seen as an “IT thing,” there is a myth that a Scrum Master need to be technical. That’s not true at all! There’s nothing in the Scrum Guide that requires them to be technical. Their communication and collaboration skills are of more importance than technical skills. However that doesn’t mean there’s nothing for them to do.

If we look at the Braintrust Scrum Master Action Plan, we see that the accountabilities of the Scrum Master lie in 3 distinct areas—Service to the Team, the Product Owner, and the Organization. A good Scrum Master will be able to score themselves 5/5 on each of these 24 items, and is so much more than a meeting-scheduler and scribe.

The most important skillsets for a Scrum Master

The Scrum Master wears 4 hats—Coach, Mentor, Trainer, and Facilitator. None of these hats requires them to have a technical background. It’s more important that they are able to Coach and Mentor the Team, the Product Owner, and the Organization than to necessarily understand the technical realm of the project. Let’s face it—a Scrum Master should be able to trust the Team to have good engineering practices. 

Another way to view a Scrum Master is as a conductor—they make sure the different parts of the Team are working together. They’re there to conduct and make sure everyone is working in harmony—they don’t jump in and play the instrument themselves.

If you’ve been considering becoming a Certified Scrum Master® (CSM®) but have been hesitant because you have no software or technical background, Braintrust has created a certification class just for you! Our Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) Outside of Software class explores the basics of Scrum, the concepts behind Agility and the key roles and responsibilities in the Scrum framework. This class will use jargon-free terms and examples throughout the class and allow you to gain the CSM® certification in a relatable environment with “The Rest of Us!”