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The Role And Duties Of A Scrum Master In Scrum

Tue 08 Nov 2016 10:41

Scrum Master and Scrum implementation

Scrum is an Agile based framework. Like all other frameworks, Scrum too has to be implemented in a project. The better the implementation, the better are the results availed from it. Scrum suggests three primary roles:

  • Product Owner

  • Scrum Master

  • Development team

While the Product Owner is responsible for the project and the development team designs the product features, role of a Scrum Master is of much significance in the Scrum process. The Scrum Master is responsible for implementing Scrum, and ensuring that each team member adheres to Scrum theory, practices, and rules.

The Scrum Master ideally plays a servant-leader for the entire Scrum team and facilitates Scrum implementation. In addition, the Scrum Master also helps the stakeholders, end users, and outsiders to understand how their interactions and advice can help the team to improve its performance. At all times, the Scrum Master tries to better the Scrum process and maximise the business value created and delivered by the team.

The Scrum Master has certain responsibilities towards the team, the Product Owner, and the organisation.

Scrum Master's services towards the Product Owner

The Scrum Master aids the Product Owner in many ways, including:

Scrum Master

    1. Finding proper techniques for refining the product backlog

    The product backlog should be properly ordered with backlog items having high business values grouped together at the top of the list. Often, the Scrum Master helps the Product Owner in doing this by suggesting and working out effective grooming and sorting methods.

    2. Educating the team for maintaining concise product backlog items

    Big epics should be decomposed into simple, and easy to develop user stories. Large stories should be properly understood and split up into simple tasks. When DT finds it difficult to define, maintain, and granulate the stories, the Scrum Master educates the team how to maintain them, and how to break down the stories.

    3. Ensure that the Product Owner maximises the business value in the product backlog

    The product backlog represents the entire value of the project. It is imperative that it contains product backlog items which can deliver a certain business value in the project and represent functionality that is useful to the end users. The Scrum Master advises the PO regarding which stories to include, how to refine them, and how to get proper feedback from the stakeholders to ascertain that the stories remain valuable at all times.

    4. Facilitate Scrum events when requested or required

    Scrum events are important in improving the implementation process. They provide feedback regarding the work done by the team in previous sprint. The feedback is used for bettering the process flow. The Scrum Master organises the events on the team's behalf and ensures that proper decorum is maintained in the events when stakeholders, end users, and others attend the meeting and forward their suggestions to the PO and the team.

Scrum Master's services towards the development team

The Scrum Master helps the Development Team in different ways, including:

Scrum Master

    1. Coaching the Team in being cross-functional and self-organized

    Development teams in Scrum are cross functional. Each developer in the team possesses multiple skills and takes up other specialised kind of work such as testing, designing, etc. in addition to his or her core skill activities. The Scrum Master helps individual team members to organise their work in a manner such that their special skills are properly utilised and made effective.

    2. Developing high value products

    The development team delivers the business value to the client by developing dynamic and useful product features. It is important to understand the business value first so that the features can be developed keeping end users in mind. Scrum Master educates the team regarding the business value, and how features should be developed so that the value is actually delivered through the sprints.

    3. Removing impediments hampering the team's progress

    Teams face problems and impediments while working. The Scrum Master understands the impediments and tries to resolve issues to remove the impediments hampering the team's progress.

    4. Arranging Scrum events when needed

    Events play a very important part in supporting the "inspect" and "adapt" principles in Scrum. They should be conducted in a proper manner so proper outputs are derived out of them. The Scrum Master organises the events and ensures they remain effective in generating the desired outputs and proper call-to-actions.

    5. Guiding the team in organizations new to Scrum

    Scrum Masters have to put in extra efforts when dealing with Scrum implementation in organisations new to Scrum. Team members may have many doubts, and might need a lot of explaining to understand how Scrum actually works what should be done to deliver the business value in a Scrum project.

Scrum Master's services towards the organisation

The Scrum Master also helps the organization in several ways, including:

Scrum Master

    1. Coaching Scrum adoption to the organization

    The first and foremost duty of a Scrum Master is to educate the team about Scrum and how it should be implemented. This can also include the management, stakeholders, technical personnel, etc.

    2. Helping the management and employees to understand empirical product development

    Scrum follows the product incremental cycle model. The team, used to traditional Waterfall development methods, should be educated regarding the empirical product development method followed by Scrum. The Scrum Master teaches the empirical product development concept to the team and the management.

    3. Suggesting organisational changes to increase the productivity of the team

    Scrum working is very different as compared to traditional development methodologies. Scrum advocates self-organising and self-managing teams. This might induce some organisational changes. The Scrum Master suggests these type of changes to the organisation.

    4. Working with other Scrum professionals to improve Scrum implementation

    When new to Scrum, organisations may decide to employ other Scrum professionals to aid the team in many ways. The Scrum Master has to work with these professionals and aid them in their line of work to streamline the Scrum process.

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