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Scrum Master Role – Everything What Managers Need to Know

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Having a Scrum Master we should be to create stable and self-organised teams with a clear and engaging direction, How is it done? What to avoid? (BY LUIS GONCALVES)

The main goal of having a Scrum Master at a company should be to create stable and self-organised teams with a clear and engaging direction, help to identify and resolve organisational impediments, as well as educate the organisation on Agile Methodologies.

The Scrum Framework:

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What is a Scrum Master? The role and its responsibilities
By Urszula Kaczorek

Scrum is currently the most recognized and desired framework in company management which provides guidance on how to manage and improve processes of software delivery. It can be used in different industries but basically, Scrum was dedicated to the IT industry. Its goal is to deliver the highest quality of the product, thanks to resolving problems in flexible and creative ways.

What a Scrum Team Is

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*The Development Team: This is a group of programmers, writers, designers, and others who work on the project. They’re the ones with the required skills to build the product.


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    *The Product Owner: This person is a representative from the business that owns the project. The product owner represents the business owner and stakeholders in the project by making sure the product accurately reflects their vision. While the development team works on the project, the product owner makes sure the work done is in line with the business’s priorities and goals.

    *The Scrum Master: The scrum master acts as a mediator between the development team and the product owner, coaching team members and facilitating the project as needed. Whatever agile framework you’re using, you can find scrum masters. You can even find scrum master roles in multiple agile frameworks, such as SAFe (scaled agile framework) and LeSS (large-scale scrum). The major difference between SAFe and LeSS is simply the frequency of multi-team meetings and the number of team members from each team at a meeting.

    4 Key Responsibilities of a Scrum Masters

    1. Keep the team organized, on track, and focused on what matters
    2. Serve as a bridge between product management and development
    3. Clear obstacle and protect the team from distractions
    4. Lead through influence and credibility

     

     

    1. keep the team organized, on track, and focused on what matters
    • A scrum master’s primary responsibility is to keep the development team organized and progressing on the projects they’ve agreed to, in order of priority.
    • The scrum master will keep these meetings short and on point. Then they will act on any useful information derived from the meeting—such as finding a way to remove obstacles to the team’s progress.

    • The scrum master’s role in these meetings will be to listen. To make sure the team has the right information. To allow participants to make decisions about projects and priorities.

    2. Serve as a bridge between product management and development.

    • One of the keys to being an effective scrum master is maintaining a strong working relationship with the product owner and the product management team.

    3. Clear obstacles and protect the team from distractions

    • When the developers discover a dependency or other challenge preventing them from completing a sprint task, it will be up to the scrum master to make sure the team clear that obstacle so the team can continue its work.
    • An effective scrum master will always be there to protect their developers’ time and to create an environment where they have a clear path to focus on doing their best work.

    4. Lead through influence and credibility

    • As the Agile Alliance explains, a Scrum Master has a lot of responsibility but no real authority in the company hierarchy.
    • These professionals lead their team, but they must do so from the earned position of a trusted expert and guide—not as a manager or supervisor who can dictate orders.
    • To succeed in this role, a Scrum Master needs to build credibility with the team. This won’t happen immediately but will have to be earned over time.

    Scrum Master role and responsibilities

    Responsible for the Scrum Artefacts

    1.Facilitating Planning

    2.Facilitating Grooming

    3.Facilitating Reviews

    4.Facilitating Retrospectives

    5.Helping the team to stay focused (e.g. by acting as a buffer between external, distractions and the team)

    6.Helping the team to maintain their scrum tools (Story board, Action board, charts, backlogs, etc.)

    7.Helping the team and the product owner to find a suitable Definition of Done and Definition of Ready

    Developing and nurturing group dynamics

    1.System Coaching

    2.Mediating through conflicts

    3.Helping the team to make decisions

    4.Fostering the developer team´s self-organization

    5.Mediating the general conflict of goals between development team and product owner

    Scrum Master role and responsibilities

    Serving as a mirror to the team

    1.Reflecting Agile and Scrum values to the team

    2.Reminding the team of their arrangements

    3.Helping the team to improve their process continuously

    4.Reflecting issues to the team through observation from outside of the team

    5.Asking open questions

    6.Checking all the modules the team uses (Spring backlog, metrics, etc.) and show them differences between the model and the real world

    Provide support to Product Owner

    1.Helping to write or split user stories together with the team

    2.Contribute to write or adapt product visions

    3.Helping to order product backlog items

    4.Helping with the release planning

    5.Coaching the Product Owner on Impact Mapping or Story Mapping

    Scrum Master role and responsibilities

    Update himself to teach and mentor the team and organization

    1.Reflecting Agile and Scrum values to the team

    2.Reminding the team of their arrangements

    3.Helping the team to improve their process continuously

    4.Reflecting issues to the team through observation from outside of the team

    5.Asking open questions

    6.Checking all the modules the team uses (Spring backlog, metrics, etc.) and show them differences between the model and the real world

    Responsible for helping the team to maintain the big picture

    1.Bringing people together and let them talk to each other

    2.Keeping in touch with every stakeholder regularly

    3.Helping the team to report to management

    4.Contribute to spread the Agile Community within the organisation further

    5.Organisational exchange events like Open Spaces or World Cafes fort the team, its stakeholders, and organisation

    6.Sharing insights throughout the company through blogging, internal conferences, etc.

    What a Scrum Master Is Not (By Plutora)

    Project manager

    • A project manager is the project lead for a product and is responsible for managing the project and making decisions. But it’s important to note that in scrum, there is no official project manager role. This is because the project manager can take the position of the development team, product owner, or even the scrum manager, depending on her skillset or desires.
    • The scrum master is a facilitator and a coach, serving as a mediator between the development team and the product owner. The project manager adds cost analysis, risk assessment and procurement to coaching and facilitating.

    Product owner

    • The product owner creates and maintains the product backlog (the list of everything the product needs) and ensures it matches the company’s priorities and values.
    • The scrum master’s role is to ensure the development team works according to the product backlog. For example, the scrum master might work with the product owner to make sure the product backlog is up to date.

     

    Cooperation with the Product Owner and the Development Team

    The Scrum Master has to cooperate with every Scrum role, but he has his own framework in this area.

    • He helps in product’s backlog management in order to maximize its business value.
    • He ensures that backlog elements are concise and clear for each team member.
    • He doesn’t manage the Development Team’s work and its progress but supports cooperation and self-organization.
    • He removes obstacles in the Development Team’s work in order to ensure its uninterrupted work.
    • He ensures efficient communication by keeping proper knowledge-sharing between the Product Owner and the Development Team.

    Qualities of an Effective Scrum Master

    • Teamwork:A good scrum master should be able to work with everyone in the development team and the product owner.
    • Persuasive skills:the ideal scrum master can inspire and motivate team members to meet the customer’s goal.
    • Negotiation skills:The scrum master also must be ready to bargain when necessary because the team members, product owner, project manager, stakeholders, and others all may have different goals and perspectives.
    • Knowledgeable and observant: A valuable scrum master should be able to anticipate and assess challenges facing the development team.

    Who is a Servant Leader?

    In the Scrum world, a ScrumMaster is often known as a Servant Leader.   The servant leader is a servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The best test is: do those served to grow as persons: do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or, at least, not be further deprived? (Greenleaf, 1977/2002, p. 27)

     A good servant leader has ten characteristics that are of critical importance:

    *Listening

    *Empathy

    *Healing

    *Awareness

    *Persuasion

    *Conceptualisation

    *Foresight

    *Stewardship

    *Commitment to the Growth of People

    *Building Community

    The common mistakes of the Scrum Master (By Urszula Kaczorek)

    There are many mistakes made especially by beginner Scrum Masters. Mistakes can also be caused by not understanding the framework and its roles correctly.

    • First, Scrum Masters trying to be taskmasters. Sometimes, poor knowledge of others on agile software development can require Scrum Masters to become task managers. Task management led by the Scrum Master can be a reason for the team’s laziness and lack of motivation to self-organize the work. Such a situation can provoke a return to the classic model of project management with a project manager and his team. In the Scrum framework, the Development Team members’ work is organized by them. The Scrum Master has no duty to participate in the daily Scrum meetings, and he should not manage the task board.
    • The second common mistake is to treat the Scrum Master as a technical leader. The technical knowledge obtained can be a great asset but it shouldn’t enable the Scrum Master to discuss the technical ways of resolving tasks with the team and force his point of view. His role is to teach them how to work in accordance with the framework and how to use it properly. He shouldn’t take part in technical discussions unless he is asked to do so.

    The scrum master role

    Help everyone understand Scrum:

    • Ensures that Scrum is understood and in place, both inside and outside the team.
    • Helps everyone improve to make the Scrum team more productive and valuable.
    • Works with the whole Scrum team to determine the definition of done.
    • Coaches the team on how to execute the Scrum process, helping them learn and use the framework and find and implement technical practices so they can reach Done at the end of each sprint.

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    REFERENCES

    • 4 Key Responsibilities of Outstanding Scrum Masters – Product plan
    • Roles and Responsibilities: A Guide To the Scrum Master Role -By Plutora
    • Scrum Master Role – Everything What Managers Need to Know – By Luis Goncalves
    • What is a Scrum Master? The role and its responsibilities -By Urszula Kaczorek
    • Scrum Master Interview Questions (1): Scrum Master Role – Stefan Wolpers

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