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What is Scrum and What is a Scrum Master?

education Dec 05, 2022
Scrum Master

Working in the UX design field, designers often have to familiarize themselves with different technical terminology like Scrum or Scrum Master. It can be quite daunting and overwhelming to say the least, but never fear you have come to the right place. In short, being a Scrum Master is another challenging but rewarding career path if you work in the tech field. Read on to find out more about what Scrum is and what is a Scrum Master.


What is Scrum?

Scrum was originally introduced in 1986 by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka in an article published by the Harvard Business Review. Essentially, Scrum is one type of Agile workflow in which there are small teams that work towards short-term goals. Agile workflows, that is a series of stages used to develop projects, are quite common in the tech world. Scrum, in particular, is made up of several values and principles that aid team members in completing projects in short cycles while receiving quick feedback. 

Below are the Scrum values and principles that are intertwined throughout the Scrum process. The principles and values are vital to the Scrum process and to creating a cohesive team and successful outcome.

Scrum Values: courage, focus, commitment, respect, and openness

Scrum Principles: empirical, process control, self-organization, collaboration, 

value-based prioritization, time boxing and iterative development

Key Terms

Key terms to be aware of when embarking into the Scrum world include the following:

    • Product Backlog: a list of all items for a product which includes features, technical tasks, spikes, defects, and more. 
    • Sprint Backlog: a list of all items that need to be completed in the sprint.
    • Scrum Board: a table that tracks the progress of the work needing to be completed in the sprint.
    • Impediments Backlog: obstacles that need to be addressed by the Scrum Master for team members to continue working.
    • Burndown Chart: a chart in which completed work is measured against the projected rate of completion. This allows everyone to know if the project is going to be finished within the desired schedule. 
    • Sprint Planning Meeting: identifies the work that will be worked on in the sprint. 
    • Daily Scrum: a 15-minute meeting in which developers identify activities and plan for the next 24 hours.
    • Release Planning: Plan for when the products will be released and delivered and answer additional questions.
    • Sprint Review: Review how the sprint went overall, what went well or what went badly, and make changes for the future.
    • Definition of Drone: a list containing steps or criteria (agreed upon by the Scrum team) that must be completed before a project is considered finished. 

Scrum Workflow

A Scrum has a defined set of activities and rituals that occur to aid in the workflow process. 



Product backlog, spring backlog, burndown chart, and impediments backlog are all activities that have been completed before the Scrum process begins. Once those are completed the Scrum team moves on to the next step in the process which is the Sprint. Sprints are short-timed chunks in which a project is picked from the Product Backlog, is worked on for 1-3 weeks, and results in a working software program. 

At the end of the Sprint, the Scrum team meets to review the work completed, discuss how the Sprint went, and plan the next Sprint. Artifacts like the Scrum board and Sprint burndown charts are used to organize and track the progress of the team. This particular Agile workflow is chosen because it allows for constantly changing requirements and enables continuous feedback. 

Key Roles

There are three main roles when it comes to the Scrum team and its varying responsibilities:

 Scrum Master: a Scrum Master is the leader of the Scrum team and serves as a coach and mentor for the members. They establish and understand Scrum and lead the Scrum team through collaboration, training, and support. The Scrum Master also removes impediments and both organizes and facilitates the Scrum process. Scrum Masters wear multiple hats and additional responsibilities may include:

    • Removing barriers between stakeholders and members
    • Organizing Sprint rituals 
    • Ensuring there is an organized backlog
    • Making sure the Definition of Drone is followed
  •  Product Owner: defining the vision of what they want to build and delivery of the product. The product owner also owns the business and market requirements, creates and manages the product backlog, and decides which features to ship. They reject or accept work completed in a sprint. 
  • Team Member: a scrum team is composed of 5-7 members who wear many hats and work on projects together.


Advantages vs. Disadvantages of Using Scrum

Advantages of using Scrum

  • Use of Agile principles and values and Lean concepts
  • Receive constant feedback and make quick changes
  • Avoid mistakes more easily
  • Overhead cost is less
  • More customer focused
  • Great workflow for motivated team members
  • Better fit for a smaller team


Disadvantages of using Scrum

  • Transparency
  • Not an ideal workflow to use if the team is unmotivated
  • No defined project end date
  • Work is poorly defined
  • Workflow doesn’t work well for larger teams

Avocademy’s Design Masterclass-Agile for UX/UI Designers

Want to learn more about becoming a Scrum Master? Click here to join Avocademy’s Agile for UX Masterclass which will prepare designers to work with Agile teams and Scrum sprints. The week-long Masterclass course includes various learning modules, course activities, a knowledge check quiz, and a foundational level badge upon completion. Once you finish the course you’ll feel more than confident to join the Agile community and apply what you’ve learned.

Endless Possibilities 

Overall, being a Scrum Master entails multiple responsibilities and strong interpersonal skills to achieve quick project deadlines and successfully manage a team. Although it comes with its own set of challenges there are also various benefits to utilizing this type of workflow in the UX/UI design field. Being knowledgeable about Scrum and the essential role of Scrum Master can help you stick out from the crowd when job searching. 


Ready to Get Started? Schedule a Free UX Mentorship Session!

At Avocademy, we help students decide if UX design is right for them. Schedule a call with us to start your UX career journey today.  



Meggen is an SEO content writer who loves hiking, drinking coffee, and traveling. She loves her avocados on toast with egg and bacon. 

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