Scrum Master Roles and Responsibilities in Agile

I have an experience of being a scrum master for many years now and this is one question which I keep hearing directly or indirectly that what do scrum masters do in a day or how their day looks like and what are their responsibilities. Apart from that this is one of the very common question being asked in the interviews, in almost every interview you will have to answer this if you have applied for a scrum master’s role.

So, we will cover this information but let’s start with little more basics.

Who is Scrum Master?

A scrum master is a servant leader of a scrum team. He is the one facilitating all meetings and guiding the team all time during this time -boxed duration. The goal of a scrum master is eventually to make the team self-organized and independent.

Schedule of Scrum Master

Well, let’s start talking about the daily schedule of scrum master. Should I say meetings and meetings? 

Yes, most of the time of the scrum master goes into meetings if not all. I am sure most of the scrum masters agree with me. A lot of the time in a day goes into the meetings and if your sprints durations are short like a week then more meetings will fall into your plate. 

Daily scrum meetings, sprint review meetings, sprint retrospections, backlog grooming and sprint planning are a few to name here.

Apart from these basic vanilla meetings scrum masters also have to facilitate other meetings depending on the nature of your project and the environment you work in and of course the organisation you work for plays a major role as well.

Scrum Master Roles and Responsibilities

Let me categorise periodic meetings scum master facilitates to give you a flavour of scrum master role:

  1. Scrum Meetings: The basic meetings which you have to adhere while you are following scrum as an agile methodology.
  2. Technical Discussions:  Scrum masters optionally get involved in the day to day technical discussions so as to be aware of all the reasoning behind the important decisions taken.
  3. Roadmap Discussions: Scrum masters also get involved in roadmap discussions these are one of the important meetings they should be part of as these meetings form basis to grooming meetings.
  4. Client Meetings: If your project is one in which clients are involved in every step and regular discussions are planned with them then scrum masters facilitate these meetings as well.
  5. Release Planning Meetings : Release planning is different from scrum planning, these meetings involve discussions such as how many sprints do we see in a particular release etc. We all know scrum masters need to be part of these.

Talking to many scrum masters we came to know that majority percentage of scrum master’s role involves facilitation and co-ordination, let us find out what the portions of their role looks like.

  1. Coaching the Team: Scrum Masters help the team in learning the agile principles and applying them into the real work they do. They help the team to build the agile mindset which eventually helps them to deeply understand the scrum rules and concepts behind the chosen agile methodology. 
  2. Resolving the impediments around the team: It is scrum master’s responsibility to help the team to enable them overcome the difficulties they are facing and help them in every possible way so that they are able to proceed and complete the task assigned to them in a sprint.
  3. Protect the team from external influences: Scrum Master should be able to remove the distractions coming externally. Let me take an example let’s say that sprint has already started but now an influential manager from other teams comes in and asks one of the developers to pull in an extra task because if that task is not done the other team will not be able to move ahead. In such situations this team member should talk to scrum master so that he can help team take appropriate actions may be borrow a developer from some other team, ask senior management for help etc. There can be many such similar situations to deal with on daily basis.
  4. Boosting Team Spirit: A lot can be done by scrum masters to keep the morale of team high such as have fun times during retrospections. A lot of team building activities are also ensured by scrum masters to make sure all in the team are bonded the way they should be.
  5. Reporting: Last but not the least report preparation also forms part of scrum master’s activities. Preparing reports which gets published on periodic basis like Sprint End Report is one such example.

Now since there is more and more, we can talk about but let’s just stop here summarise the basic roles and responsibilities into crisp points.

Scrum Master Roles and Responsibilities: Summarised

ScrumMaster Roles And Responsibilities
  • Facilitate: Scrum Master should not rush into taking decisions on their own but facilitate the team so that they take control of project on their own.
  • Remove Impediments: Help team to move ahead if they get blocked.
  • Educate: Help team understand the concepts of Agile and Scrum such that they can be practically applied.
  • Resolve Conflicts: Team might get into their own internal conflicts. Help the team in a way that they gradually attain a condition where they are able to resolve the conflicts on their own.
  • Protect Team: Scrum Master is a shield for the team from external influences that impact the sprint work.
  • Communication and Co-ordination:  Scrum Masters have a responsibility of effective communication of the project’s / scrum’s state at all times to all stakeholders.
  • Rewarding the Team: Scrum Master should take the responsibility of rewarding the scrum team members as and when required. Team members should get their piece of cake during the success times. Scrum master should make sure that the team gets recognition for the good work done by them.

Though we have tried to put all the information with respect to this topic but still if there is something you are specifically looking for in this article the please do let us know we will try to cover those details.

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