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This is What a Scrum Master Does & How They Help Your Product Succeed

February 21, 2024

What a Scrum is in software development, what exactly a Scrum Master does, their key roles and responsibilities and why you need them on your team

Are you realising the full potential of your project team?

In other words,. can you say with absolute certainty that every single action any one person on the team performs at any given time will 100% add to the overall value and success of the product? 

Scrum, in our opinion, is the gold standard for managing the ever-increasing complexity of software builds. The Scrum Master keeps all the moving parts moving in the same direction while aligning all the stakeholders for project success. 

Here’s how…

‍First: What is Scrum exactly?

Software development involves intricate, long-term tasks. Given its complexity, projects are often divided into manageable phases or stages. To ensure these stages progress cohesively, we employ structured methodologies.

Scrum is one such methodology: a framework that organizes large-scale projects into smaller, manageable stages and ensures they are executed efficiently.

(Note: The term "Scrum" has its origins in rugby, representing a team effort. In the software context, it's less about the name and more about the collaborative approach it promotes.)

What is a Scrum Master?

While the Product Owner sets the overarching vision for a product, the Scrum Master ensures this vision becomes a reality through methodical execution.

The Scrum Master is the guardian of the Scrum process. When we divide a large project into smaller stages, challenges arise. It's easy for details to get lost or overlooked. For instance, a minor code modification made on day 4 might become a mystery by day 90.

This is where Scrum—the predefined framework of rules and guidelines—comes into play. It systematically organizes the who, what, when, how, and approval status of each task. But a framework is only as effective as the team’s adherence to it.

The Scrum Master's primary role? Ensuring that every team member adheres to this Scrum framework, optimizing its efficacy to the fullest.

Why your team needs a Scrum Master

Think of the Scrum Master as the guide who helps everyone stay on track. They ensure everyone knows their tasks, when to do them, and how best to approach them. With their help, every team member can perform at their peak.

Each project can be like its own puzzle with unique pieces and ways to fit them together. That's why it's beneficial to have a Scrum Master, someone who knows how to navigate these distinct challenges for every project. See what an average week for an agile development team looks like.

(As an aside, considering the competitive grocery deliveries segment in retail, learn about the crucial delivery challenges and how to overcome them for winning e-commerce.)

The Role of a Scrum Master in an Agile Framework

The Scrum Master is not just a fancy title. They are the heart of a smooth-running project. They break down complex tasks into doable steps and ensure everyone works well together.

Throughout a project, the Scrum Master ensures a positive, productive atmosphere. They help the team not just to finish tasks but to do them excellently.

So, what does a Scrum Master do to make all this happen?

Scrum Master Responsibilities in an Agile Delivery Team

1. Guiding the Rules

Think of the Scrum Master as the rulebook holder in a board game. They ensure everyone knows and follows the Scrum guidelines, making the software-building process smooth.

2. Supporting the Crew

Just as a backstage crew supports actors in a play, the Scrum Master ensures the development team has everything they need – from tools to the right environment – to bring the software to life.

3. Organizing Team Gatherings

Like scheduling regular band rehearsals, the Scrum Master sets up key events such as planning sessions and daily check-ins to keep everyone in sync.

4. Clearing the Path

Imagine a hiking guide removing stones and branches off a trail. The Scrum Master does just that by identifying and solving issues that slow down the software-making journey.

5. Being the Team Coach

Much like a sports coach, they train team members, helping them work well together and bring their best game to the software project.

6. Upholding Transparency

In the same way, a bookkeeper maintains clear records, they ensure everyone can see and understand the team's progress, challenges, and goals.

7. Championing Growth

Like a mentor urging self-reflection for personal growth, the Scrum Master promotes team reflections to constantly improve the software development approach.

8. Maintaining the Rhythm

As a dance instructor ensures everyone keeps to the beat, the Scrum Master shields the team from distractions, letting them focus and maintain their workflow rhythm.

9. Solving Disagreements

Think of them as a mediator, stepping in when disagreements occur, ensuring the team environment remains productive and positive.

10. Ensuring Smooth Communication 

Acting as the team's communicator, they ensure everyone, from developers to stakeholders, stays on the same page, much like a news anchor relays information to the public.

11. Adapting to New Twists

Just as a director might adapt a play to a new twist in the plot, the Scrum Master helps the team adjust when software requirements change, ensuring flexibility.

12. Monitoring the Journey

They keep an eye on the team's journey, much like a captain ensuring the ship is on course, gauging if the software project is on track.

By championing the team’s cause and performance, the Scrum Master becomes an irreplaceable asset within your Agile delivery team.

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