What is a Scrum Master?

The Role of the Scrum Master

The Scrum Master is responsible for keeping the process of Scrum flowing.  They are the ones that facilitate the Ceremonies of Scrum, Maintain the Artifacts of Scrum, and Removes Obstacles that are blocking the progress of team members.

It is the Scrum Master’s responsibility to ensure that the Product Backlog captures all requested functionality from stakeholders.  This means user stories are written in the correct format and have fully defined acceptance criteria.  The Scrum Master works with the Product Owner to insure this is the case.

The Scrum Master insures that during Sprint Planning the Product Owner and all stakeholders are fully represented so that the Development Team can ask questions to gain a full understanding of the candidate user stories and their acceptance criteria.  The Scrum Master captures the priority that the Product Owner assigns to user stories in the product backlog during sprint planning.

In the second half of sprint planning the Scrum Master leads the Development Team in their analysis and estimation of the effort involved in the delivery of the user story.  The Scrum Master helps the Development Team determine their capacity for the Sprint.  Once the team has estimated the effort needed for the candidate user stories the Scrum Master selects stories according to their priority that fit within the estimated Sprint capacity.

Next the Scrum master facilitates the capture of tasks to complete a user story by the development team.  They document these tasks as dependencies of the completion of the user story.

Each day, the Scrum master leads the development team in the Daily Scrum Meeting.  They make sure that all the development team attends and participates.  They capture any issues that are blocking the development team from accomplishing their goals and facilitate the resolution of those issues.  Following the Daily Scrum Meeting the Scrum Master updates the Sprint Burn-down Chart and posts it publicly for the Development Team, Product Owner and Stakeholders.

Following the Sprint the Scrum Master schedules the Sprint Demo and sets the agenda.  During the meeting the Scrum Master is responsible for asking for and documenting the acceptance of the user story by the Product Owner and Stakeholders.

In the Sprint Retrospective the Scrum Master prompts discussion among the development team of positive aspects of the Sprint, things to continue or expand, and the deltas of the Sprint, things to change or eliminate.  The Scrum master captures these items and any action items related to them so that during the following Sprint Retrospective these action items can be reviewed and determine if they were successfully achieved.

Summary

The Scrum Master’s role is one to ensure the flow of the Scrum process.  They are a facilitator and referee.  They are the ones that make sure the development team is adhering to the principles of Scrum and that communication is occurring within and outside the team.  They are the glue that holds a Sprint together.

Question

What does your Scrum Master do to keep your Scrum process flowing?  Leave your comments below to join the conversation.

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