Role of the Scrum Master
The ScrumMaster is a multifaceted, full-time role. The Scrum Master's primary job is to coach the team to perform at their highest level. On the surface, this might seem simple: facilitate the daily scrum, coordinate various meetings and tasks, help to track the team's progress, and remind the team of their commitment to the project and to each other. The truth is, though, that nothing about the Scrum Master job is simple. A good ScrumMaster is someone who can:
- Navigate politics to remove organizational impediments
- Read non-verbal communication
- Be comfortable with conflict
- Communicate effectively
- Understand team dynamics.
- Lead without authority
Scrum Master & Product Owner Interaction
ScrumMasters must also work closely with product owners. The Scrum Master coaches the product owner to use Scrum effectively; but perhaps more importantly, the ScrumMaster acts as a check and balance against the will of the product owner. Where the product owner's primary responsibility is to the stakeholders and the product, the Scrum Master is always looking out for the well being and health of the team. Keeping this tension in place is essential for optimizing velocity while maintaining quality.
Scrum Master as a Change Agent
The final job of the Scrum Master is to be a change agent in the organization. Good ScrumMasters reach beyond transforming the team to help transform the company as well. Scrum Master's look for opportunities to create a learning organization, offering lunch-and-learn and other informal training on Scrum, advising new Scrum teams, and generally being a resource and advocate for Scrum throughout the organization. A ScrumMaster's subtle, servant leadership can have a tremendous impact on the rest of the company.
Some key competencies of Scrum Masters, besides those already listed, include:
- Build Trust and Earn Respect
- Help Others Find Answers
- Provide Leadership through Influence
- Enjoy Working with Other People
- Stay Calm under Pressure