All About Scrum Master Salary and Responsibilities

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Jun 20, 2022
Updated on
Jun 28, 2022
Table of Content

Scrum is (by far) the most popular way of Agile working, used by approximately 56% of companies for software development Sprints.  

This number is likely on the rise, meaning one main thing: Scrum Masters are fast becoming in high demand. 

Remote Working = Increased Need for Scrum Masters

Scrum Masters had their work cut out for them even before the pandemic, but once the majority of work turned remote, their challenges doubled practically overnight. 

As the team’s facilitator and process watchdog, a Scrum Master needs to ensure that everyone is on the same page, working in tandem and on track. 

But when a team is suddenly remotely scattered (likely with outside influences drawing away their focus during work hours), these responsibilities become a lot trickier to stand by.  

A development team is only as strong as their Scrum Master. And that Scrum Master has to ensure that their team is organized, communicative and collaborative – and even more so when their team isn't located in one place. 

Taking all of this into account, it becomes a lot clearer why demand for Scrum Masters has grown more than ever during the pandemic, and will continue well after: where chaos could reign and demand is increased, a Scrum Master can see through it, organize it, and make it work.  

Average Scrum Master Salaries

While not everyone is cut out for the life of a Scrum Master, those who do venture into the field will be rewarded nicely for their efforts. According to salary comparison site Glassdoor, Scrum Masters are one of the top 25 paid jobs in the US

But how does that compare to international Scrum Masters? The Scrum Master Salary Report 2022 is the fourth survey of Scrum Master salaries worldwide. Of the 1000+ Scrum Masters surveyed, it appears that: 

  • The average Scrum Master salary is $83,687, up from an average of $75,000 in 2019, and $67,000 in 2017 (taken across a range of experience levels, career sectors and organizational size) 
  • Most Scrum Masters have between 4 years or more (50.5%) or 2-4 years experience (31.2%)
Scrum Master Salaries
Source: Scrum Master Salary Report 2022

Of course, there are some key factors behind the very steep rise in annual Scrum Master salaries, including: 

  • The pandemic, which began in early 2020 (after the 2019 figures had been recorded), forced the world to move everything online. Not only did this push the Scrum Master’s collaborative and project management-focused role into focus, it also increased the world's demand for online consumption, leading to a greater need for quality development, fast. 
  • The job market for employers became a lot tougher, with not enough top talent to fill vacant positions in time. 
  • The cost of labor, goods and services have all increased since 2017 (and especially during the pandemic and other world crises of late 2021 and 2022).

Scrum Master Responsibilities

A Scrum Master is more of a coordinator than the owner of the product. Instead, they work with the Scrum team and Product Owner to smooth out processes and ensure everyone is working in alignment. 

Key Scrum Master responsibilities include: 

  1. Coaching: Every team member needs to have a clear understanding of what they’re doing, as well as a good grasp of general Agile processes. Team members need to take  full ownership of their tasks, follow processes correctly, and ensure they are ‘an independent team player’. 
  2. Running standup meetings: These daily meetings should take 15 minutes at most, and are designed to keep everyone on track and accountable. The Scrum Master will typically ask questions about what was done yesterday, what will be worked on today, and what could be hindering progress. It is the Scrum Master’s responsibility to ensure all participants attend these meetings. 
  3. Working with the product owner to refine and maintain the backlog, via information delivered during the daily standup meeting. Scrum Masters can also write User Stories and schedule meetings concerning the product backlog
  4. Process optimization: The Scrum Master’s overall role is to keep the team on track, so they should constantly be scanning for any potential roadblocks or distractions that can prevent the team from fulfilling their work, such as unnecessary meetings, or conflicting tasks. Scrum Masters can eliminate these meetings and redistribute whatever needs to be redistributed in order to polish the process. 
  5. Teach Scrum principles: The Scrum Master needs to ensure that the team functions smoothly, which includes ensuring that everyone has a solid understanding of Scrum practices, and is also in charge of onboarding new members to the Scrum team. 

It's important to note that the Scrum Master is not a direct manager; they're a technical manager, responsible for the outcomes alongside the whole team rather than as an individual.  

Who Should Be a Scrum Master? 

While every Scrum Master is certainly an individual, these are the key characteristics shared by most: 

  • An ability to communicate clearly, sharing their experience, encouraging information sharing from others, and being a good listener
  • Being able to lead, mentor and coach (and knowing the difference between these qualities)
  • Being flexible where they need to, but also knowing where to draw the line
  • Being both a self-led individual and a team player, being able to operate among a team and with different stakeholders 
  • Being resourceful and optimistic even when things don’t go as planned 

Scrum Master Predictions for 2022 and Beyond

Moving forward, Scrum Masters are going to become an even hotter commodity than they already are. 

Between having new team members to onboard, their increasingly growing development teams, and continuing to help teams implement and refine their Agile framework, there’s certainly a lot of work to be done. 

With every development Sprint and Scrum team seeking to become the fastest and most efficient yet, the Scrum Master plays a key role. 2022 seems to be the beginning of this exciting evolution, with much more yet to happen.

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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