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In the software development industry, agile scrum is one of the popular frameworks leveraged to get built solutions with an iterative approach. Scrum uses an incremental approach to build the solution in multiple parts known as sprints. Sprints comprise sprint planning, daily scrum meeting, sprint review by the developers, and sprint retrospection by the client.
The team moves ahead to develop the solution using scrum methodology wherein the features are added or modified based on feedback from the client after every sprint. In this Agile project management methodology, three main stakeholders are involved- the scrum master, the product owner, and the developers.
The harsh reality of the companies using the scrum methodology for software development is- they completely ignore the role of the scrum master. They found the team is self-organized and the product owner has the necessary expertise which makes hiring a scrum master is a no-brainer. However, the team struggles to reap the benefits of scrum without a scrum master because it works like a football team without a coach.
Without a scrum master, the team fails to concentrate on bigger goals. Instead, they get entangled in the nitty-gritty of development, suffer from distractions, and bad feedback from the business stakeholders that don’t allow them to work satisfactorily. All of these issues get alleviated when you hire a scrum master in the company and become the guardian of the scrum framework. Let’s first understand scrum master in a nutshell.
What is a scrum master?
A scrum master, also known as a servant leader act as a coach, promoter, and supporter for the team that’s working on the project using Agile project management methodology. The Scrum master helps everyone in the team to understand, practice, follow rules, and add values for creating a dynamic team that continuously improves the processes. They are accountable for improving the scrum team and scrum process effectiveness.
Scrum master make sure the scrum methodology principles- transparency, inspection, and adaptation are followed at the core so that there will be no conflicts among team members. They carefully listen to team interactions, find out which of them are helpful, and then help everyone on the board to change the interactions that maximize the value.
The role of a scrum master is broader which bridge the gap between developers and the business coach side. We have discussed their roles and responsibilities in the next section in detail.
The role and responsibilities of scrum master
The product owner cannot perform the role of scrum master. Instead, the scrum master serves the product owner in various ways such as creating techniques for product backlog management and helping the team and product owner understand the product backlog items and product backlog arrangement respectively.
The knowledge, patience, collaboration, and transparency are the basic characteristics of the scrum master that makes him behave like a coach and never interfere in the technical decisions of the developers. Take a glance at the responsibilities that are performed by the scrum master in your company.
Act as a coach and mentor
Scrum master is a chain between developers and product owner to bring efficiency to the development. He keeps monitoring the team and listens to interactions to ensure they are up-to-date with technical knowledge and improve productivity with boosted performance levels. as a good coach, they help the team to solve issues themselves and if the team fails to do so, scrum master takes things in his hand to resolve challenges.
Responsible for sprint events
Scrum master facilitates all the sprint events including- sprint planning meetings, daily scrum meetings, sprint reviews, and sprint retrospectives.
Under scrum meeting planning, the scrum master makes the team keep the optimal number of product backlog items that they can deliver. Being over-ambitious won’t allow them to reach goals.
The Scrum master is not involved in the daily meeting but ensures that all the team members are attending the meeting according to a pre-defined schedule.
Scrum master collects the feedback from the stakeholders in the review meetings, which is then considered under retrospective meetings to add value to the project.
Perform as a servant leader
Scrum master leads the team by acting as a servant for them. He invests time and effort to improve teamwork and output. He helps the team to avoid and remove the impediments while empowering the team for self-management.
Product backlog creation
Based on the data gathered from daily meetings, the scrum master assists the product owner to refine the tasks added to the product backlog according to development needs. The task prioritization and review meeting schedule are an important part of it.
Saves the team from interference
Scrum master works wonderfully in intercepting all the distractions that are not allowing the developers to perform to the notch. They allow developers to add value to the project by preventing these interferences.
Help to overcome the roadblocks
Scrum master enables the team to stay focused on their work irrespective of the changes brought after every iteration while keeping up with the tasks. They ensure all the obstacles are removed that hinder the project’s progress. For instance, if the team member cannot work well because he is involved in multiple projects or needs to attend so many meetings, then the scrum master initiates an action that creates a win-win situation for both team and the company.
Educate the team about scrum
Scrum Master in your company helps the team to achieve the goals following the scrum methodology by making them well-versed and well-trained in the scrum practices and processes. He can help him to understand the project vision and mission while adhering to the scrum rules.
The importance of a scrum master in an organization
Keep the team organized and high-performant
Scrum master keeps the team on track and focused on what matters in the order the tasks need to be done. For instance, scrum master ensures the meetings should be brief and to the point where essential tasks are discussed. They make sure the team has the right information so that the project steers in the right direction.
Scrum master ensure that team works without any distractions by preventing all the obstacles in their development path. He also protects the team from last-minute urgent tasks of Software testing that inhibit the developer from completing the pre-assigned task. It enables the team to give their best shot and work satisfactorily.
Fill the void between product owner and developers
The product owners are less often able to communicate the project vision and mission clearly, which doesn’t allow the developers to make the right decision and set priorities. The software testing company uses agile project management methodology when hiring scrum master, the project goal won’t lose in communication.
The Scrum master has a strong relationship with the product owner and product management that ensures the team has the right information every time. When the development team has some issues, it’s communicated to the product owner via scrum master make the project delivery as expected. Mutual trust keeps the team operational with no conflicts.
A coach that manages but never commands
Nowadays, making teamwork is possible only when someone in the authority position mentors them in place of controlling them. Scrum master plays the same role in the company hierarchy that leads the team, but never dictates orders; guides them to overcome the challenges, but never gets involved in technical decisions.
Trust, credibility, and reliability make the scrum master an important asset to ensure the project progress and is delivered beyond the client’s expectations.
Holds accountable for most of the things
The scrum master is responsible for making the team deliver the sprints according to the deadline and helping them address the challenges if they come. In the case, the team member fails to complete the tasks, then the blame rests on the scrum master that he cannot deny it.
Such setbacks are part and parcel of software development and Software testing in the companies. However, the responsibility on the shoulders of the scrum master frees up the product owner or the team from the stress of deliverables and lets them solely focus on their core work.
Wrapping it up
Scrum master is such a glue that remains hidden but keeps everything together for the smooth development and delivery of the project. With stellar communication, they ensure the project value defined by the product owner must be communicated to the team and they deliver the value brilliantly.
The Scrum master helps product owner in sprint planning and sprint reviews and serves the development team by acting as a facilitator for daily stand-up meetings and removing all the blockers that are beyond their capacity. The people-centric role of the scrum master is well-played by the personality that can hold things together.