Teaching the Scrum Master Role using Professional Agile Coaches and Communities of Practice

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


As Scrum currently is the most popular Agile method, most universities teaching software development teach it. A Scrum Team consists of a Scrum Master, a Product Owner, and developers. The Scrum Master role is vital in the team. However, looking at the industry, companies have difficulties both in hiring good Scrum Masters, and in convincing their developers or other personnel to take that role. Agile trainers do offer short Scrum Master training courses. However, we lack information on how to train Scrum Masters in university education. In this paper, we report how we arranged a one semester long Scrum Master training course. During the course, students worked as Scrum Masters under the guidance of professional agile coaches and collaborated in a Scrum Master Community of Practice. We collected data by conducting 13 post-course semi-structured interviews with Scrum Masters, and by analyzing the learning diaries of 37 students from three course instances. Team-specific Agile coaches supported their Scrum Master first by example, then by observing the Scrum Masters in action and providing feedback and ideas, and finally by helping the students to reflect. Students found the coaches extremely useful, and wished they had utilized them more. The Scrum Master community of practice worked best when students self-organized, shared practices and tools, and provided peer support when facing problems. Finally, students non-technical backgrounds, as well as female students performed better as Scrum Masters than computer science and male students.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2021 IEEE/ACM 43rd International Conference on Software Engineering: Joint Track on Software Engineering Education and Training (ICSE-JSEET)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-7381-3320-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-6654-0138-8
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Software Engineering - Virtual, online, Virtual, Online, Spain
Duration: 25 May 202128 May 2021
Conference number: 43


ConferenceInternational Conference on Software Engineering
Abbreviated titleICSE
CityVirtual, Online
Internet address


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