What is the true role of a Scrum Master?
A Scrum Master is part of the Scrum team, and works alongside the Developer and the Product Owner.
Their mission is twofold:
- To ensure the proper application of the Scrum method within the team.
- To ensure an optimum environment conducive to effective work.
The main objective of the Scrum Master is to help the team integrate and apply the Scrum method to their work. They master the rules of the Scrum method, internalizing them to the point of intuition, which allows them to apply them while also adapting as required to the specific project context.
The Scrum Master thus influences the rules of the Scrum Guide within the team in a way that adapts to the environment in which their team will evolve. It may be necessary for them to explain how to evaluate user stories, or what, for example, are the rules of the game of Planning Poker.
“In other words, by relying on and respecting the framework of the Scrum method, the Scrum Master can then say that they have fulfilled their mission when they have managed to increase the productivity of the team by x%. ”
Scrum Master: Master of ceremonies?
It is important to clarify a prejudice often ascribed to the role of the Scrum Master, which goes something like this:
“The Scrum Master is not the moderator of Scrum meetings”
During Stand up Meetings (Daily Sprints) or Sprint Reviews, the Scrum Master is indeed not meant to be the host or facilitator. Nevertheless, they do need to assume the role of animator during particular meetings; specifically retrospectives.
But that’s it.
“The Scrum Master only facilitates the retrospective. Other meetings are hosted and moderated by the Product Owner”
It’s important that a Scrum Master is not – officially or by default – put in charge of most meetings, as this can have the unwanted effect of diminishing the important voice and agency of the Product Owner in the collaborative process.
During Sprint Planning, it’s the task of the Product Owner to communicate the product and customer vision with the team. During this process, the Scrum Master should support the Product Owner by helping them to maintain the attention of the whole team, by limiting the time allotted to the meeting or ensuring the correct material is available beforehand, for example. The Scrum Master’s role is to make the meeting as productive as possible for all members of the team.
The same goes Stand-up Meetings – the presence of the Scrum Master is useful in the event that the developers or the Product Owner stray from the rules of engagement. That being said, it’s ultimately important that the team can eventually conduct Stand-Up Meetings without the presence of the Scrum Master.
A Scrum Master Animator during the Retrospective
Retrospectives are where the Scrum Master is expected to assume the role of animator. They will have to take the time to prepare for these meetings carefully, using the information and insights they have observed in the team during the project.
The only goal of the Scrum Master during these types of meetings is to find areas for improvement and to propose solutions. Naturally, the Product Owner and the developers must be present too, however the Scrum Master needs to help team members understand the areas for improvement, and they therefore hold the keys to a successful retrospective meeting.
After a while, team members may want to animate retrospectives themselves – when the Scrum Master feels that they are ready to do so, they can grant them permission to do so.
The Scrum Master maintains a healthy and productive environment for the team
The Scrum Master ensures that the team is always focused on reaching the goal of each sprint, as set out by the Product Owner at the start of the sprint.
They will ensure to maintain a regular dialogue with the key members of the project: client, end-users, managers etc. They are also responsible for removing obstacles that might prevent the team from realizing their objectives in the best possible conditions.
Finally, they are also responsible for training the team members on agile methods when the need arises.
At Bocasay, our development teams work with the Scrum agile method. This method, which is the basis of all our packages and guides our projects, guarantees a smooth communication between the key project members. Providing a conduit between the satisfaction levels of end-users and the quality of the product developed, the Agile method is very efficient and places the team in a flexible and productive environment that is highly conducive to developing advanced products in an optimum environment.
Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.