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Top Main Roles and Responsibilities of a Scrum Master

Agile Methodologies have gained an important place in almost all industries due to its flexible development models such as Scrum. These models have given companies a significant amount of flexibility to develop and deliver quality products. This helps companies stay ahead in the competitive industry and also market their products quicker. When a company has to adapt to the Scrum Framework, they need an expert in Scrum called the Scrum Master to fully implement it. It starts giving desirable products that would enhance productivity, business value, customer satisfaction, etc.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a framework that is a part of the Agile Methodology used in enterprise-level Product Development. When a product has to be developed, the Product Owner submits a request, where the Developers (facilitated by the Scrum Master) breaks it down into smaller work tasks called Sprints. The Sprint consists of collaborative and iterative development and testing procedures in a fast-paced environment where the team creates an efficient product lifecycle.

Who is a Scrum Master?

A Scrum Master is a servant leader or a coach for the Agile team who is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum. They help everyone understand the Scrum Theory, Practices, and Values such that all the team members religiously follow it. A Scrum Master helps in the collaboration of the Developers with other members of the organization, such as Product Owners and Stakeholders such that smooth and effective communication takes place between them, and an efficient and desirable product is developed. They are not directly related to developing product strategies and iterations but help the Developers achieve their goals by communicating and understanding their impediments. A Scrum Master possesses soft, practical skills and the latest tools and methods, as they are responsible for the interaction among people during Product Development and delivery.

Scrum Master Roles

The Scrum Master collaborates with all the team members and has a specific role for each particular purpose. The part of Scrum Master provides services to the following people in various ways:

To the Product Owner

The Scrum Master serves and guides the Product Owner in ways that include:

  • Helping the Product Owner communicate with the Scrum Team by creating an environment for clear communication and understanding.
  • Ensuring that the Product Owner knows the arrangement of the Product Backlog, so that product value is maximized.
  • Conducting and facilitating Scrum Events as needed or requested
  • Aids the team to understand the need for concise and clear Product Backlog items.
  • Understands Product Planning in an empirical environment.
  • Finds techniques for efficient Product Backlog management.
  • Makes sure that the Product Owner understands and practices Agility

To the Developers

The role of Scrum Master with the Developers are:

  • To assist the Developers in building high-value products.
  • To coach self-organization and cross-functionality in the Developers
  • To remove impediments to the progress of the Developers
  • To facilitate Scrum Events as needed or requested
  • To coach the Developers in organizational environments, where Scrum is not fully understood or adopted.

To the Organization

The roles of Scrum Master in the organization are:

  • To plan Scrum implementations within the organization
  • To help the Stakeholders and employees to understand and enact Scrum and empirical Product Development.
  • To cause change that enhances the productivity of the Scrum Team.
  • To lead and coach organizations in its Scrum adoption
  • To work with other Scrum Masters to strengthen the effectiveness of the Scrum application in the organization.

Scrum Master Responsibilities

Coach

The Scrum Master acts as a coach for both the Developers and the Product Owner. They are the connecting link between both and ensure that smooth communication takes place. The Scrum Master removes any barriers present between the Product Owner and the Developers so that the Product Owner can directly drive development. A Scrum Master makes sure that the team is functioning efficiently so that the performance is enhanced to the next level. They are the coaches who train the Developers members to solve their problems on their own. The Scrum Master acts only in extreme cases when issues cannot be addressed and take full responsibility for the problem and get it resolved.

Servant Leader

The Scrum Master acts as a servant leader and helps the Developers in terms of communicating with the Product Owner and other members. They do not act as leaders and demand work from the Developers. But they in turn ask the team members whether they can assist in any work which is to be completed. Although they act as coaches to the team, they are not the master of the team. The Scrum Master helps the team members to realize their potential by energizing, encouraging, and enabling them with the correct skills and knowledge of Scrum. These are a few skills that the Scrum Master should possess:

  • Empathy
  • Listening skills
  • Communication skills
  • Cultivates a culture of trust
  • Acts with humility
  • Encourages others

The main duties of the Scrum Master are:

  • To coach the organization and group to adopt and use Scrum in the organization
  • To assist the team in making effective enhancements to the product.
  • To lead the Scrum Team into healthy conflicts and debates about the strategies and ideas of the product to enhance the product quality.
  • To prevent and eliminate impediments
  • To develop self-management skills in the Developers.

Process authority

The Scrum Master helps the Scrum Team adhere to the Scrum Values to determine whether the Scrum Team adheres to the Scrum Values, practices, and principles along with the specific approaches of the Scrum Team. The Scrum Master does not exactly have the authority as the Project Manager, but they make sure that the team can define and adhere to its process so that work gets done easier without any hassle. The Scrum Master facilitates the Scrum Team during Scrum Events when the Developers and Product Owners are not on the same page of processing any ideas. The Scrum Master helps the organization to improve its process that delivers maximum business value.

Impediment Remover

Whenever a Sprint is developed, many impediments come in the way of the Developers that hinder the Sprint's progress. This may create a delay in the Sprint delivery that would decrease customer satisfaction and business value. The Scrum Master acts as an impediment remover and clears any impediments that the Developers could not remove. This ensures that the Developer completes their work on time, creates quality Sprints that enhance the project, and increases the company's productivity.

Interference Shield

The Scrum Master acts as a protector to the Scrum Team and deals with any interference coming from the outside environment. This interference may be from the Stakeholders who want the team to redirect in the middle of the Sprint or wish to apply their ideas and opinions on the Developers. The Scrum Master interacts with the outside world and ensures that the team works on the best design and strategy to enhance the business value. They also make sure that the Developers gets their freedom to choose their working method and is not forced upon the ideas of other members.

Implements Product Management

The Scrum Master is responsible for creating and selecting the Scrum Team and integrating them into the organization by providing a clear vision of the product with the help of the Product Owner. They also facilitate effective communication between the external groups and the Scrum Team so that there is no misunderstanding regarding any issues. They also drive an Agile culture by monitoring product progress and timely feedback and ensure that learning takes place continuously.

Keeping all teams on Track and informed

The Scrum Master has the responsibility of updating the product status to the external members, such as the product Stakeholders. They conduct regular meetings so that all the teams are informed about how far the project has progressed and whether any impediments have slowed them down. Overall, one of the Scrum Master duties is to ensure that the team meets its deadlines, and the desired outcome is achieved.

Introduce Agile Engineering Practices

The Scrum Master encourages the use of Agile practices such as Continuous Integration (CI), where the Developers integrate chunks of code into the central repository frequently, from which the automated builds and tests run in successive iterations. This method reduces risks, time, and effort as compared to traditional practices. With this process, if a bug appears in one build, it can be quickly fixed in the next. Scrum Master also advocates the use of pair-programming, which helps two Developers to collaborate in real-time in the same workstation. Ultimately, the Scrum Master ensures that the development time is reduced and the team develops the quality products.

Conclusion

The Scrum Master is a servant leader that enhances the Scrum Developers work and efficiency. They increase the organization's productivity by completing their roles and responsibilities and deliver immense value to the company in terms of business and customer satisfaction. Acting as a coach, the Scrum Master also solves the impediments faced by the team and also trains them to realize their potential. Hence, a Scrum Master in any organization has numerous roles and responsibilities when fulfilled enhances the company's growth.


Author

Paula

Is a passionate learner and blogger on Agile, Scrum and Scaling areas. She has been following and practicing these areas for several years and now converting those experiences into useful articles for your continuous learning.