What a ScrumMaster Does
The ScrumMaster’s primary job is to do everything he can to ensure the team meets its sprint goal commitment. To enable the team to do this, the ScrumMaster
- Facilitates the various sprint ceremonies
- Removes obstacles to team progress
- Helps the team understand what it means to self-organize around the work
- Tries to keep everyone on the team fully engaged and productive
- Runs interference between the team and outside influences
- Tracks the team’s progress
- Assists the team in getting from sprint planning to sprint retrospective.
What a ScrumMaster Does Not Do
A ScrumMaster is not necessarily a manager, has no authority over the members of the Scrum team, and certainly isn’t intended to function as the team’s manager.
Relationship Between the ScrumMaster and the Team
A ScrumMaster is often called a servant leader, meaning someone who leads with the team’s consent, who acts in the best interests of the team, and has an honest and real desire to see the team succeed. The team depends on the ScrumMaster to maintain focus on their commitments, shield them from outside distractions, help them to self-organize and collaborate, and facilitate the resolution of disagreements that might arise among team members or with stakeholders. ScrumMasters do not work on items in the sprint backlog. Effective ScrumMasters understand that they serve the team, but also know that they must sometimes push the team beyond the its comfort level in order for the team to grow.
Relationship Between the ScrumMaster and the Product Owner
The ScrumMaster helps to balance the demands and desires of the product owner. The ScrumMaster helps ensure that the team and product owner understand one another. The ScrumMaster facilitates interactions between the team and product owner. The ScrumMaster acts in the best interests of the team, defending against a product owner who demands too much and requiring more from a product owner who is absent or unavailable. The ScrumMaster and product owner work closely to ensure the product backlog is prioritized and that upcoming product backlog items are right-sized for development in a Sprint.
Why It Is Important to Have a ScrumMaster
Some teams try to get by with no ScrumMaster or with a ScrumMaster who is also working as a team member or even as the product owner. Though this can sometimes work, it upsets the delicate balance a ScrumMaster must achieve between challenging the team and protecting the team. * ScrumMasters protect the health of a team. They balance the will of the product owner against the good of the team in the long term. Healthy teams perform at a sustainable pace yet constantly look for ways to increase velocity * ScrumMasters defend the development process. They help to ensure the realization of high-quality results, even when there is pressure to cut corners or otherwise “save time.” * ScrumMasters remove impediments that stand in the team’s way. By having a ScrumMaster to find better tools, help overcome organizational obstacles, and filter noise from the product owner, the team can focus on the task at hand. * ScrumMasters keep the team moving through the sprint. Facilitating meetings, ensuring the team follows its own rules, and providing visual indicators of the team’s progress (or lack thereof) frees the team to produce working software each and every sprint.