In addition to the product owner, the Scrum Master ranks at the top of the team hierarchy on most Agile or Scrum initiatives. They hold many of the same responsibilities as a project manager on an non-Agile project, but also need to understand the special principles, procedures and nomenclature of Agile and/or Scrum. The best Scrum Masters typically boast exemplary technical, business, communication and people skills.
With an eye towards a better understanding of the role and its duties, here is a closer look at the Scrum Master.
The Glue that Holds a Scrum Project Together
As noted earlier, a Scrum Master shares some of the responsibilities as a project manager in a typical technology initiative. Development teams in an Agile project, on the other hand, largely manage their own assignments; they are essentially self-organizing. While the Scrum Master shares a measure of responsibility for the success of a project with the product owner, that latter person ultimately has more authority.
So what does a Scrum Master actually do during their workday? In short, they serve as the glue that holds the entire project together. Anything from leadership to inspiration and administration is part of their daily routine.
Typical Duties of a Scrum Master
Scrum Masters may not actively participate in daily Scrum meetings, but they handle all the legwork to facilitate those standups, including scheduling and notification. Helping the development team manage their burndown chart is another important duty. They also assist the team with the planning of each sprint, sometimes with input from the product owner.
Serving as a communication buffer for the team ensures they are able to stay heads-down throughout each sprint. The Scrum Master also handles the scheduling for sprint reviews and retrospectives. These kinds of administrative tasks are vital in improving the overall efficiency of the project effort.
Being able to translate technical information into something easier to understand is a necessary skill, as the Scrum Master works closely with the product owner and other business stakeholders to make sure everyone understands the more complex parts of a project. Fostering a collaborative environment among the entire team may be their most important duty.
Ultimately, making sure the process doesn't interfere with the project timeline is the sign of a successful Scrum Master.
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