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Scrum Master: Roles and Purpose

Scrum Master is one of the three roles of Scrum, and the other two roles are Product Owner and Development Team. The Scrum Master needs to understand Scrum correctly, based on the definition of Scrum in the Scrum Guide, to promote the correct implementation of Scrum. The Scrum Master does this by helping everyone on the Scrum team correctly understand Scrum ideas, values, principles, and practices.

Scrum Master is the coach of the team

As a coach, Scrum Master needs to coach the team, including the development team and the product owner. For a new Scrum team, the team is not familiar with the Scrum process. Like a sports coach, the Scrum Master should help the team understand the core ideas and values of Scrum, explain the rules, and demonstrate the relevant Scrum practice. After a period of operation, the team is familiar with the operation mechanism and rules of Scrum. Scrum’s key activities, the team has been able to carry out through self-organization. At this time, Scrum Master, like a life coach, should help the team continuously improve by listening and asking questions.

As a coach, Scrum Master can help the team in the following ways:

1. Help the team understand Scrum’s ideas and practice through demonstration, games, sand table drills, etc. In the process of practicing scrum, Scrum Master needs to help the team answer questions and solve doubts.

2. Guide the team to operate the scrum process, establish and optimize the cooperation environment, promote effective communication and cooperation within the team, and help the team solve problems.

3. Observe and pay attention to the daily work of the team, understand their work style, carefully think, and analyze why they do it and explore possible improvement opportunities.

4. Give feedback to the team, share what you have observed (if necessary, provide visual charts or data), help them find problems themselves as much as possible, and put forward improvement ideas.

5. When the team meets difficulties, find ways to help the team solve the difficulties and help the team win external support. Protecting the team from outside interference is also important.

As a coach, Scrum Master’s work includes the following:

1. The Scrum Master serves the product owner

・Make sure that everyone in the Scrum team understands the goal, scope, and product domain as much as possible
・Find the skills to effectively manage the product backlog
・Help the Scrum team understand why a clear and concise product backlog item is needed
・Understand product planning in an empirical environment
・Ensure that the person in charge of the product knows how to arrange the product to-do list to maximize its value
・Understand and practice Agility; and, guide Scrum events as required or needed

2. Scrum Master serves the development team

・Give development team guidance in self-organization and cross-functional aspects
・Help the development team create high-value products
・Remove obstacles in the progress of the development team
・Direct Scrum events as required
・Guide the development team in an organizational environment where Scrum has not yet been fully adopted and understood

3. The Scrum Master serves the organization

・Lead and guide the organization to adopt Scrum
・Plan the implementation of Scrum within the organization
・Help employees and stakeholders understand and implement Scrum
・Initiate changes that increase the productivity of the Scrum team
・Work with other Scrum Masters to improve the effectiveness of Scrum application in the organization

4. The Scrum Master serves relevant stakeholders outside the team

・Scrum Master helps people outside the Scrum team understand how he/she interacts with the Scrum team. It is beneficial to maximize the value created by the Scrum team by changing the way he/she interacts with the Scrum team.

Scrum Master must be responsible for the process

The Scrum Master is the authority in the work process of the Scrum team. In order to ensure that the team operates the Scrum process correctly and abides by the principles and disciplines of the Scrum process, the Scrum Master needs to be fully authorized. The Scrum Master has no authority over team members. He is not responsible for hiring or layoffs,and he may not say “You are fired”, but the Scrum Master can say “I have decided that we will try two-week Sprint next month. ” The core mission of the Scrum Master is to continuously help the team improve the process in order to achieve maximum value delivery.

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