The Role of the Scrum Master in a Development Team

The Scrum Master is the role most often associated with Scrum and a lot is written about the roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities of anyone fulfilling the role.

The Scrum Guide explains

The Scrum Master is accountable for establishing Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. They do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory and practice, both within the Scrum Team and the organisation

The Scrum Guide 2020

In other words its a Scrum Master’s job to coach and support the adoption of Scrum. Generally the commitment of a Scrum Master is to three main parties, these are:

  • The team
  • The Product Owner
  • The business
A Scrum Master has responsibilities to the Team, The Product Owner, and the Business.

Lets start with the Scrum Team itself.

The Scrum Master should coach the team in their adoption of scrum. This includes building and supporting self-managing and cross-functional teams and making sure they hold productive and valuable Scrum Events. They should stress the importance in the Scrum Artefacts and Commitments including creating a transparent Product Backlog and clear Definition of Done.

They should also act as a facilitator, helping the team make good decisions and removing impedements when they arise.

In their role to support the Product Owner the Scrum Master should help find effective methods of creating clear Sprint Goals and managing the Product Backlog. They should also help create a culture of transparency, openness, and empirism which will lead to better product decisions being made. They should encourage stakeholder engagement and offer to facilitate where needed.

A Scrum Master is the appointed people within the business to ensure that the Scrum process is a success. This involves supporting the business with the scrum adoption, advising on the implementation and helping engagement between teams and stakeholders. A good Scrum Master will look for barriers and issues arising between the business and the Scrum Teams and work to ensure that both management and Developers get what they need from the other.

Being a Scrum Master often means you have to be the champion of the process.

Being a Scrum Master is not an easy role. You have to be able to resolve impedements effectively, to engage with a wide variety of people and to champion the Scrum process to both the business and the teams. Be nice to your Scrum Master, they’re always working for you!

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