The Scrum Master is one of the 3 key roles of the Scrum with the Product Owner and the developer. Its role is to ensure the right application of the Scrum within the team and ensure undeniable quality in the work environment.
If I have simplified the definition, I’ll detail of its role during this article.
The Scrum Master helps the team member
The role of the Scrum Master is to help the team put a Scrum framework adapted to the context of the team. Indeed, he will not apply stupidly the set of rules but will propose additional elements not always present in the Scrum Guide as the use of user-stories or the implementation of Poker Planning to estimate requests.
He will be the guardian of the respect of the ceremonies, the roles and the proper functioning of the team. If he has 0% of productivity, he will allow the team to potentially increase productivity by x%.
It is important to understand that the Scrum Master will do the best to help the Scrum team to become completely autonomous; it is imperative to avoid to create a “scrum master dependence” in the team.
His involvement in ceremonies
The Scrum Master is seen as a simple host of the ceremonies. However, I ‘m not agree with this definition; I will explain you why I refuse this way of saying and really what is his role in each ceremony.
Let’s be clear, our Scrum Master is not the organizer of Sprint Planning! We will privilege that the animation is organized by the Product Owner because he must know how to share his vision and propose the items that the development team will have to work during the sprint that will start.
If we position the Scrum Master as a master of ceremonies during the sprint planning, we tend to see a Product Owner to be in the back; this is not necessarily very optimal. It’s too difficult in this case to share the vision of the product and its progress.
Our Scrum Master will rather be the one who will assist the Product Owner to intervene in case of drift. For example, if the Product Owner is engaged in a discussion on a specific topic, the Scrum Master will ensure that the rest of the group remains attentive.
Yes, in general, the lack of attention of a part of the group is quickly transformed as a waste of time and an adding time at the end of this ceremony.
The Scrum Master will only be at this ceremony to remind the rules in case of breach of the developers.
The goal is clearly that the team becomes 100% autonomous on this ceremony. The Scrum Master can and should end up to disappear during this ceremony.
As for Sprint Planning, I strongly advise that this ceremony are animated by the Product Owner; he must be able to share his vision and sell the product to key users, sponsors and/or invited stakeholders.
It will be difficult for him to do it if he is not the master of ceremony and could even see his credibility fall.
The Scrum Master will be the second facilitator to avoid drift and keep the attention of the entire team. He may however present possible facts that have disturbed the team to success the objectives if the need is felt.
This ceremony is 100% animated by the Scrum Master. Moreover, to have a good retrospective, he will take time to prepare it well. Knowing that the goal of this ceremony is to find areas for improvement, it will be necessary for the developers and the Product Owner to be 100% available to participate.
Always one eye on the goal
It is very important that the Scrum Master is the guardian of the sprint goal; the latter is announced by the Product Owner in the beginning of the sprint. The scrum master will do the right thing for the team to focus on it.
In order to guarantee a quality environment, he will regularly maintain an active communication with the managers, the sponsors, the key users (or their representatives) and the stakeholders. The goal of the sprint will be much more likely to be achieved in a holy environment.
The obstacle cleaner
The Scrum Master has this very important role to do its possible to eliminate all obstacles encountered by the team; if he can not remove the obstacle himself, he will do his best to find those who can do it and follow the progress.
Remove the obstacle allow at the team to be in the best possible conditions to progress on the product and ensure a good quality of it.
In general, the Scrum Master participates actively in the implementation of a complete visual management; with it, the objective and progression of the sprint are more visible. He will regularly propose new evolutions so that this visual management is never obsolete.
A real trainer
Although it is complicated when the Scrum Master is junior, he must however become the trainer of the team. It will help the Product Owner to become better in its role and to the developers to fully understand what is an agile developer.
The Scrum Master will not hesitate to do workshops and trainings for the team to develop the agility skills; he will also accompany the new members who arrive in the team so that they adapt as quickly as possible.
The Scrum Master should not hesitate also to sensitize the external actors who have impacts on the Scrum team; he will also reduce the risk that they will become obstacles in the future.
And what the Scrum Master is not!
So, the Scrum Master is not a project manager. And, if you can do it, I recommend you do not mix the role of developer and scrum master.