3 Essential Tips for New Scrum Masters

by Steve Ostermiller (Ed.)

Being a new scrum master can be an overwhelming experience, as there is much to learn and numerous challenges to face. It is natural to fall into familiar habits of project management that you may have used in previous roles. However, it is counter-productive to do so when using scrum. Instead, it’s important to focus on collaboration and building trust between team members. To help ensure success in this role, we’ve collected three of our top pieces of advice for new scrum masters. Read on to learn how these principles can help you be successful in your new role.

1. Question the status quo.

As a new scrum master, it is important to question the status quo and be a change agent for your team, as well as for your organization. Rather than simply maintaining the current processes and dynamics, your role should be to constantly improve and enhance team effectiveness and work to optimize how the broader organization supports your team’s work. This requires a willingness to challenge assumptions and break away from traditional norms that may be hindering progress. By actively seeking out opportunities to implement positive change and address any issues or roadblocks, you can help your team work more efficiently and productively, ultimately achieving greater success. As a change agent, you will need to think outside the box and explore new approaches to team dynamics that can drive progress and innovation.

2. Don’t be the decision maker.

If you are making the decisions, you are not doing your job. Your job is to empower others to make decisions. Your team should be given the freedom and autonomy to think creatively, identify solutions, and take responsibility for their actions. This can help build confidence and encourage collaboration among members. If the scrum master is making decisions for the team, then it can create an atmosphere of dependency and hinder progress. Instead, it is the responsibility of the scrum master to identify and remove any impediments that may be preventing team members from making and moving forward on their decisions. This can include anything from lack of clarity in purpose, to counterproductive processes or policies, to dysfunctions in communication. It is essential for the scrum master to proactively look for any potential problems that could be hindering progress and work as a servant leader to address them in a timely manner.

3. Ask, “What does the team think?”

As an effective scrum master, one of the key roles you play is that of a facilitator. You are the catalyst that drives collaboration and open communication among team members as well as the broader organization. To do this successfully, it’s important to always ask, “What does the team think?” Generating discussion and soliciting opinions creates an environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing their ideas and concerns. Open communication will build an atmosphere of trust and respect that drives productive collaboration.

Asking the team what they think also opens an opportunity for you to learn and grow from the feedback you receive. Being a successful scrum master requires adapting to change – both in your own leadership style as well as the evolving needs of your team.

As a new scrum master, it is essential to regularly review these three pieces of advice and ensure that they are being followed and implemented. And even as a seasoned scrum master, these principles should serve as an ongoing reference to assess how you’re doing and improving. Doing so can help drive team performance, foster collaboration, and build trust between members.


When taking on the new role of scrum master remember, your job is to be a change agent, facilitator, and servant leader. Successfully fulfill this role by being unafraid to challenge the status quo, resist making decisions for your team, and regularly ask every member what they think or have to say. Doing so will give you a platform to build toward a common goal that everyone can be proud of at the end of each sprint.


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