Thursday, August 5, 2010

What does a Scrum Master do?

While many of you may be clear on the roles when moving to Agile, we thought it would be fun to tackle the role of Scrum Master. While researching today we ran across Steve Novoselac's blog and a recent post on Agile roles.

Here's what Steve had to say:

But what does a Scrum Master do? Well a lot of it might depend on your process and team but here are a few things (there are probably a hundred more)..

* Facilitate the Daily Standup/Scrum
Each day when you meet for your 15 minute standup, the Scrum Master should make things start on time, and keep flowing, and make sure people are answering the 3 questions (What I do today? yesterday? What is in my way?). The Scrum Master should cut off people from going long, make sure things get tabled or moved to a hallway discussion instead of taking of everyones time.

* Make sure the Burndown/Velocity is being tracked
The charts! Of course, someone needs to make sure the metrics are being tracked and also displayed. Now depending on your team, it might just mean .. well, nothing but making sure do’ers are updating their burndown correctly. You might have virtual charts. But in some teams, you might need to print the charts for the board, or you might even need to add the burndown yourself depending on your process/system. Keeping track of these metrics is key. You want to keep people informed of your progress every day (at least for the burndown – I like to track velocity as a bullet chart for the sprint and update each day as well).

* Get all the Stories Ready for Planning
In some teams, the scrum master might be the only person doing this, in others there may be a group of analysts, etc. But the Scrum Master should be sure to have the stories ready for planning, to score and discuss. Your team probably has a backlog of bugs, features, enhancements, technical debt, and it should be prioritized, but the Scrum Master should be where the buck stops to make sure everything is in order for planning.

* Facilitate Sprint Planning
Just like facilitating the daily scrums, the Scrum Master should facilitate the “Sprintly” Sprint Planning meetings. Review, Retrospective, Scoring. Keeping things moving, being an observer but not really a decision maker – that is for the team to do.

Check out the rest of the Scrum Master's role over at Steve's blog.

After reading through the role of the Scrum Master - what other job functions may be missing?

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