The Scrum Master is the individual who is responsible for facilitating the Agile/Scrum Sprint process.
When to Use a Scrum Master
The Agile/Scrum Sprint process requires a Scrum Master. This individual has responsibilities before, during, and after each Sprint.
- Normally, the Scrum Master is not the project leader – that is more commonly the Product Owner on a small project or a separate role on large projects that may be using simultaneous Sprints. Remember that the actual Scrum Team does not have a project leader, rather they are a self-organizing collaborative team.
- The Scrum Master ensures the Agile/Scrum process is being followed and acts as coach and facilitator to the Scrum Team.
- It is much more important that the Scrum Master have strong inter-personal skills than any specific set of technical skills, including traditional project management skills.
- Responsibilities before the Sprint:
- Work with stakeholders to identify and free up Scrum Team members for the Sprint.
- Obtain adequate facilities for the team to be c-llocated. If the team will not be co-located, reserve a meeting place for the daily Scrum Meetings including the ability to display the Scrum Board and Burn Down Chart.
- Train Scrum Team members who have not already participated in a Sprint.
- Train/orient senior management about the Agile/Scrum process in order to set expectations of their involvement.
- Responsibilities during the Sprint:
- Facilitator, timekeeper, and scribe during the Scrum Meetings.
- Maintain the Scrum Board and Burn Down Chart.
- Remove Roadblocks.
- Train, coach and encourage the team as required concerning the Agile/Scrum process.
- Prevent process tampering by senior management or Product Owner.
- Ensure adequate support from Product Owner.
- Responsibilities after the Sprint:
- Facilitate the Sprint Retrospective.
Hints and Tips
- A good Scrum Master will recognize when the Scrum Team has team dynamic problems and works to resolve them.
- The Scrum Master must protect the team from outside distractions.
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