Scrum Master – agile environment

The Scrum Master is a facilitator who ensures that the Scrum Team is provided with an environment conducive to completing the product’s development successfully. The Scrum Master guides, facilitates, and teaches Scrum practices to everyone involved in the project; clears impediments for the team; and, ensures that Scrum processes are being followed. The Scrum Master role is different from the role of a Project Manager, who works as a
leader of the project team. The Scrum Master only works as a facilitator and he is at the same hierarchical level as anyone else in the Scrum Team. Anyone in the Scrum Team who learns how to facilitate Scrum projects can become the Scrum Master for a scrum project or for a Sprint.

Responsibilities of the Scrum Master
The Scrum Master has several important responsibilities:
– guards the Scrum Team from external requests and disruptions
– acts as a change agent and adapt processes to maximize productivity of the team
– coaches the Scrum Team
– removes impediments for the Scrum Team
– ensures efficient communication between the Scrum Team and the Product Owner
– facilitates the various Scrum Events

In order to effectively do this, a number of skills are helpful:
– Moderation
– Coaching
– Development know-how
– Guarding the Scrum Team / Removing impediments

An important job of the Scrum Master is to guard the team members from ‘urgent requests’. Line-Management or the Product Owner will often try to assign new, unplanned and not committed requests to the team or individual team members. However one of the key aspects of Scrum is that all deliverables and work-packages are known and committed by the Scrum Team before the Sprint and that the Scrum Team can work 100% on these deliverables. The job of the Scrum Master is to discuss such requests and to either postpone the request until the next sprint starts or to cancel the current sprint and start-over.

The developers within the Scrum Team should only concentrate on developing customer value by delivering potentially shippable functionality. The Scrum Master helps by removing impediments that block or hinder development. Examples could be organizing meetings, clarifying questions or performing supporting work.

Change agent
One of the cornerstones of the Scrum Framework is continuously improvement through inspect & adapt. The Scrum Master hosts and moderates the Retrospective Meetings and his job is then to facilitate the change of the identified shortcomings.

Facilitation of Scrum Events
The Scrum Framework defines several meetings that have to be organized and facilitated by the Scrum Master:
– Daily Scrum Meetings
– Sprint Planning Meetings
– Sprint Review Meetings
– Sprint Retrospective Meeting