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What does a scrum master do in Agile?

In Agile methodology, the scrum master is responsible for ensuring the team adheres to Agile values and principles. They are there to ensure the team follows the practices and processes that the team agreed to use before commencing the project.

 

Scrum master responsibilities

 

A scrum master’s role typically includes a number of responsibilities which include the following:

 

Coaching

The scrum master must act as the coach for both the product owner and development team. They are tasked with removing barriers between roles and allow the product owner to easily drive product development. The scrum master’s main focus is their team: they have to analyse their team and help them define a way in which they can take their work to the next level. 

 

The scrum master ensures that when problems arise the team has the resources required to fix it without too many hassles. Scrum masters have to be good leaders and help the team fix any problems they come across without having to do all the work themselves. If in extreme circumstances, the team is unable to resolve an issue, it is expected the scrum master will take full responsibility for this.

Servant leader

The scrum master is often referred to as the Agile “servant leader”. Even if the scrum master coaches the team, they still have to serve the team in response. The scrum master (servant leader) should always be coming into the office with an idea or at least a question of how they can help their team excel on that given day, as opposed to thinking what they can get out of their team. 

 

They are there to emphasise their team’s skills and help them capitalise on them. They should always be ready to listen to team members and see how they can assist with their concerns. 

Barrier remover

The scrum master is tasked with removing any barriers to work being conducted efficiently. This includes any project blockades that can impede on development processes. This responsibility is vital as team members themselves may not have a plan for removing those barriers themselves. A skilled scrum master will be able to remove any impediments thus enhancing productivity.

Project leader

The scrum master is tasked with the role of ensuring team members adhere to Agile’s processes, philosophy, scrum values and practices. The scrum master is tasked with implementing these practices and ensuring the team is utilising them. 

 

Scrum masters, however, do not have the responsibility of hiring new staff or firing those who are not making the grade. The scrum master doesn’t ensure the project is completed, instead, he/she continues to define Agile practices and philosophy to ensure they are adhered to so that the project is completed efficiently.

Team protector

The scrum master has to protect their team from outside influences that could have a negative impact on Agile processes. They have to work hard to ensure that each process is followed with every “sprint” – scrum building blocks for completing a project. Regardless of who or what is trying to influence the project the scrum master is always there to ensure that interference is removed.

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