What Is a Scrum Master?

Agile has taken the world by storm, but like any other storm, it takes a while to reach everyone. Not everyone on Earth knows how scrum works yet, or how its prescribed roles function. In an article for InfoWorld, Isaac Sacolick provides a helpful overview of what constitutes the scrum master role.

What Scrum Means to You

Scrum is the most popular implementation of the agile philosophy, and a scrum team consists of a product owner, scrum master, and the rest of the team. The product owner, informed by regular discussions with stakeholders, sets the vision for the project and prioritizes the order in which features will be built in the project. (The list of features to be built is called the “product backlog.”) Meanwhile, the scrum master is responsible for managing and guiding the following elements:

  • How the team evolves its practices over time to improve the quality and velocity of what they deliver each sprint
  • How conflicts are managed and escalated.
  • How the team works with product owners who are demanding new features or are reluctant to prioritize technical debt
  • How teams channel the right work to the appropriate people to be most successful
  • What should be done to help team members who are struggling to complete their stories

In essence, the scrum master is responsible for growing the team, removing impediments to team progress, and ensuring proper team use of scrum. The scrum master also works with the product owner on backlog grooming and takes care of project reporting when necessary. In all respects, scrum masters are facilitators.

However, scrum masters are not project managers. Project managers function in a top-down manner, whereas scrum masters function in a bottom-up manner. Scrum masters are on the same level as the rest of team, not above them, and they collaborate to find solutions.

For further elaboration on these ideas, as well as advice on when it is right to seek scrum certification, you can view the original article here:

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