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Within the agile Scrum methodology there is the professional profile of Scrum Master, a profile that aims to streamline work processes by facilitating the resolution of tasks.
Scrum Master: definition
As we have just seen, the Scrum Master is a leading figure within the Scrum methodology, and its main function is to establish Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. To achieve this, the Scrum Master must help the entire Scrum Team and the organization to understand Scrum theory and practice.
Is in the Scrum Team which is formed, in addition to the Scrum Master, also by the Product Owner and the Development Team.
What does a Scrum Master do?
The main task of a Scrum Master is to help and lead the team so that projects move forward in the most optimal way, always applying the theory and practice of agile methodologies.
His task is to be the facilitator and to be at the service of the Scrum Team by eliminating impediments that hinder the progress of the Development Team.
To do this, the Scrum Master helps both the Development Team and the Product Owner, the other roles of the Scrum Team, in the following way:
How the Scrum Master guides the Development Team
The Development Team relies on the Scrum Master to:
- Guide the Development Team in being self-organizing and cross-functional
- Help it create high-value products
- Remove impediments that hinder the Development Team from moving forward
- Facilitate Scrum events (Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective)
- Guide the Team in those organizations where Scrum has not yet been fully adopted and understood
- Ensure that there is a definition of Done
- To know the degree of motivation of each of the members, to work with them and with the people in the organization related to this aspect
How the Scrum Master guides the Product Owner
The Scrum Master must also guide the Product Owner in the following tasks:
- The Scrum Team or Scrum Team must understand the product goal, scope, and domain
- Finding techniques to manage the Product Backlog
- Help the Scrum Team understand that the elements of the Product Backlog must be clear
- Ensure that the Product Owner knows how to order the Product Backlog to maximize value
What not to do
This role is quite new, so some have misunderstood its functions, creating more inconveniences or generating more work than it would take away.
Although the label sounds powerful, the Scrum Master is not the leader of the projects, nor is he or she responsible for the results.
Some of the most common mistakes are:
- Organizing the team’s work: in Scrum it is understood that the Development Team is a team that knows how to self-manage, the Scrum Master should not tell them what tasks to perform or dictate any order. That is the task of a Project Manager
- He should not organize the events of a Sprint: his role is only to make sure that the Scrum events are carried out and that they are carried out within the established timeframe
- Assign roles to the Development Team, which is multidisciplinary: there are no “programmers” or “testers” or “designers” roles, it is the team itself who decides who does what
- Relying only on the Product Owner to make decisions: in reality, the decisions made should involve the entire Scrum Team
Skills that a Scrum Master must have
He/she must have two different types of skills: soft-skills and hard-skills.
- Must be a good psychologist: must be a leader to help the whole Scrum Team to move projects forward
- Must be a good listener: it is important to avoid a toxic team
- Must be exemplary and generate tribe: knowing how to generate a consolidated team is important for production agility
- Must be a Scrum ambassador: this implies a thorough knowledge of this agile methodology.
- Must be both a coach, mentor, solver, helper…
- Must have the ability to remove impediments
- It is important that he/she knows the industry, the product, etc.
The Scrum Master is a role of the Scrum Team that applies the agile methodology in work teams and is at the same time a facilitator of the same.
It is an indispensable figure when it comes to organizing the team and facilitating the work but always from a coaching perspective, it should never say what tasks each team member should perform or how much time to devote, this figure should not be confused with a Project Manager.
It is a reference, a leader on whom both the members of the Scrum Team, the organization and the client can count on.