Scrum Master – role and responsibilities

scrum master
scrum master

Let see what is really a scrum master in the scrum team. This scrum master role in scrum is often misunderstood.

In a scrum team, we have 3 different roles :

  • product owner
  • scrum master
  • development team (represented by several peoples)

Scrum master is a promoter of scrum

A scrum master have to promote scrum in the scrum team and with the people who work with this team. People don’t know the scrum guide (the official book of scrum) in the details; The scrum master will help them to understand the rules, the values, the ideas and the practices of scrum defined by the scrum guide.

He will help the scrum team and people in interaction with this to have the best interactions and remove the bad interactions. With a better collaboration between them, the scrum team will offer a better quality product.

The scrum master will monitor like the guardian of the framework that the interactions will continue to improve and everybody will continue to respect the scrum guide (rules, values, ideas, practices…). And if a new people arrive, he will train and mentor him.

Scrum Master is the Coach of the scrum team

Yes, a scrum master is a coach. He have to coach the product owner and the development team to become better.

Help to the product backlog management

He help the product owner to have a better product backlog management. It’s not so easy to manage a product backlog because the project and/or the context impose to manage it differently.

  • How will the product owner tidy up his product backlog?
  • What will the product owner use like practice to measure the value?
  • How will the product owner prioritize his product backlog?
  • Which practices could help the product owner in his product management?
  • How could the product owner manage the backlog in empirical environement?

Coach the development team

For each development team, it’s not easy to become agile and to adopt scrum. A scrum master will help the team in this way.

And, he will help the development team to have a self-organization and to be cross-functional. This task is not easy in some teams and in the big companies.

He have to help the development team to create high-value products. The development team have to deliver quality increments by using practices that assure this.

Sometimes, the development team’s progress will be impacted by some impediments; the scrum master will help them to find the best way to remove theses impediments. But if he is the servant-leader of the team, he will not do everything for that himself; the development team have to be independent to settle the issues.

A scrum master will help the team to understand how to do the daily sprint and what is the goals of this ceremony. He will help the team if there are some malfunctions during its running.

Help to the transparency

Scope, goals and product domain

For a scrum team, it’s essential to know what is the scope, the goals and the product domain. For each sprint for example, he’ll make sure the team will know what is the goal and the scope of the sprint.

He can use the visual management that is a very good practice to communicate about the scope and the goal. In a distributed team, he will use some numeric tools adapted at the scrum team (the scrum team choose theses tools together).

He will purpose the best ways to the team to obtain the best transparency as well as possible.

The items

A scrum master has to help all the team (potentially external people) to have the same language in the writing of the items. It’s very important that all the team member use the same language. This allow the future misunderstandings. Each misunderstanding become a waste of time.

Facilitator of events

A scrum master have to help the team to understand the goals of each ceremony and to become independent during theses running. He will offer a lot of tips at the team to improve them during each session.

Generally, he will animate the retrospective the first times but it’s possible that some team members decide one day to animate some sessions. He will help these members to have the keys to success.

Coach of the organization

A scrum master doesn’t limit his coaching with the scrum team. He will help the stakeholders and others employees to understand which behaviours to have in the product development.

He will work with other scrum masters to increase the effectiveness of the application of Scrum in the organization. They can create a scrum master community to have the same strategy of acculturation for example.

Useful link: scrum in french

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About Judicaël Paquet 368 Articles
Judicaël Paquet (agile coach and senior devops) My Engagements in France and Switzerland: - Crafting Agile Transformation Strategies - Tailored Agile Training Programs - Raising Awareness and Coaching for Managers - Assessing Agile Maturity and Situational Analysis - Agile Coaching for Teams, Organizations, Product Owners, Scrum Masters, and Agile Coaches Areas of Expertise: Scrum, Kanban, Management 3.0, Scalability, Lean Startup, Agile Methodology.