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The "Team Spirit" Guardian

14 April 2014

The Role of a ScrumMaster


The team


Naturally it takes time to reach the final stage. But you, as ScrumMaster, can compress that time. How?

Understand your team


Behavioral traits of Agile teams


As ScrumMaster, how do you overcome them?

  • Try to make people adaptable/flexible.
  • Encourage the team to fix problems without waiting for:
    • Who broke it.
    • Who should fix it.
  • Let the team be progressively elaborative.
    • Let them take baby steps.
    • Experiment and get feedback.
    • Take interim inputs from respective stakeholders (PO, team, etc.).
  • Conduct team bonding activities.
    • Encourage pair programming (not with two members sitting together with two laptops!).
    • Play/hold fun activities.
    • Have a name for your Scrum team.
    • Have lunch together.
    • Hold team outings.
  • The ScrumMaster is a very powerful role, so let the team understand this role and its responsibilities properly.
  • Encourage innovation wherever applicable.
  • Try to increase collaboration.
  • Encourage face-to-face communication.
  • Appreciate the team whenever they do a good job.
  • Everyone on the team should have a common understanding of the vision.
  • Share knowledge.
  • Make room to accept the feedback and act on it.
  • Team work means 1 + 1 = 3.
  • Let the team feel accountability.
  • Work as a team, more than as an individual.
  • Encourage transparency, openness in standups, reviews, and retrospectives.
  • Identify the weaknesses and address them.
  • Move people around.
  • Fail or succeed as a team, but not as an individual.
  • Understand the category of your team members. Are they Theory X or Theory Y?
    • If Theory X: You have to spend your time coaching them actively.
    • If Theory Y: Encourage them to help you in coaching Theory X members in the team.
    • You need to ensure that all the Theory X members will be converted to Theory Y within a stipulated time.

Learn and help your team learn


Ask yourself a question: "How do I learn?" This is the starting point to becoming Agile.
  • "Tell me, I forget; show me, I remember; involve me, I understand."
  • Learning styles: visual, musical/audio, verbal, physical, logical, social, etc.
  • Curiosity is the first step for learning and ego is the first blocker.

Have your own backlog for your team's growth

I want my team to be . . .

Sprint 1

1. Encourage secondary skills.
2. Arrange training.
Sprint 2
3. Encourage knowledge sharing.
Sprint 3
4. Dedicate X percent of capacity for learning.
5. Move people around.

Sprint 1

1. Introduce pair programming.
2. Start TDD.
Sprint 2
3. Introduce refactoring.
Sprint 3
4. Starting continuous integration.
5. Aim for ZQC.

Sprint 1

1. Manage their own impediments.
2. Timebox.

Sprint 2
3. Innovate, inspect, and adapt.

Sprint 1

1. Engage in team-building activities.
2. Select good metrics.
Sprint 2
3. Celebrate their success.
Sprint 3

An approach to success

Morale is a multiplier for velocity.

To formulate an approach to success, ScrumMasters must do the following:
  • Appreciate when the team does well.
  • Protect the team from obstacles from outside.
  • Take pride in the good work done or the great work delivered.
  • Empower the team.
  • Have optimism in process efficiency.
  • Celebrate success to make the moments memorable.
  • Create happiness genuinely.

How can you make the difference?

Agile is built on responsibility at all levels of the organization.

As ScrumMasters, we must:
  • Show responsibility at our level.
  • Let our teams feel that we are responsible by closely working with them to address their impediments and protect and support them.
  • Help management understand and be Agile.
  • Bridge the gaps at all levels through information radiation.

Thank you!

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

Article Rating

Current rating: 4.9 (7 ratings)


Tim Baffa, CSM, 4/14/2014 9:15:58 AM
An excellent resource for ways to serve teams and foster professional growth within an organization.
Aravind Uppu, CSM, 4/14/2014 12:04:58 PM
Excellent article, very useful for scrum masters
Haseena Fathima, CSM, 4/19/2016 4:47:03 AM
Awesome article.. :) Nice way to explain the role of Scrum Master. A way different from the articles written on SM.Thanks!

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