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How ScrumMasters Can Help with Project Estimation

19 February 2016

Ravi Sankar Konidena
STC Software

ScrumMasters play an integral role in estimating the effort needed for projects. They help the product owner present project details to customers. The ScrumMaster is not only the process owner for the project but is also responsible for removing impediments to ensure that the project is progressing. By being the process owner, the ScrumMaster provides all the necessary help to the product owner for improved customer interactions. This is important, since one of the major tasks of the product owner is to provide estimates to the customer in terms of cost and time.

The ScrumMaster is inherently knowledge driven and acquires the necessary capabilities through self-sufficiency and self-organization. Because ScrumMasters maintain their skills, they are capable of determining accurate work estimation, which is based on their respect for the scope of the work. The scope of the work is usually decided by either lines of code, based on the functional complexity, or by the domain complexity of the work. Accurate determination relies heavily on the type of ScrumMaster who can be either tech-savvy or domain-savvy.

The input the ScrumMaster can provide to the product owner for estimation are essential to the project domain/science. The product owner needs to be assured of receiving feasible estimates from the ScrumMaster that help him or her prepare a project plan and present it to the customer. Typically, the ScrumMaster provides estimation data as units of man-hours or man-months. This art of estimation is called project-scientific estimation.

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: 1 (2 ratings)


James Mortensen, CSD,CSM, 6/16/2016 5:22:27 AM
What you're describing appears to be that of a "subject matter expert", which can be played by anyone on the team. The ScrumMaster's job is simply to help make sure the team understands what is Scrum and to help the team achieve self-organization and self-management. Also, in Agile, it's the people who are doing the work who should be doing most of the estimation.

While it's possible that the ScrumMaster could also be playing the role of a member of the development team or a subject matter expert, lumping in estimation responsibilities in the ScrumMaster role sends the wrong message to those who are new to Scrum. Therefore, if you replace "ScrumMaster" with "subject matter expert" or "Scrum Development Team" then this would be more true to the Agile principles of self-organization. Hope this feedback is helpful.

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