Posted in Scrum Roles

Scrum Master

“The Scrum Master is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide”(1)


A Scrum Master…

  • helps everyone understand Scrum
  • is a servant-leader for the Scrum Team
  • helps those outside the Scrum Team understand which of their interactions with the Scrum Team are helpful and which aren’t (1)
  • The Scrum Master helps everyone change these interactions to maximise the value created by the Scrum Team (1)

Scrum Master service to the PO

Maximising Value 

  • Supports understanding product planning in an empirical environment (1)
  • Ensures the Product Owner knows how to arrange the Product Backlog to maximize value (1)
  • Coaching question:
    • How is the product going? (2)

Product Backlog Management 

  • Finds techniques for effective Product Backlog management (1)
  • Helps the Scrum Team understand the need for clear and concise Product Backlog items (1)

Development Team Interactions

  • Ensures that goals, scope, and product domain are understood by everyone on the Scrum Team as well as possible (1)
  • Coaching Questions (2) 
    • How is the team doing?
    • How each of you is fulfilling your roles?
    • How can you help one another?

Agility and Personal Development

  • Supports understanding and practicing agility (1)
  • Teaching Questions (2)
    • What must you believe about the team and the organisation to be a good PO
    • What parts of the role feel like a stretch for you?
    • What parts of the role do you feel you have mastered?
    • Which parts will you have to make yourself do?
    • What should I, as the coach, watch for to keep these beliefs?

Product Owner Support Exercise (3)

  1. Brainstorm with the Product Owner all the duties that their role should perform (or both Scrum Master and Product Owner if one person is doing both roles)
  2. Talk through them and highlight the ones that they are not able to do because of time-constraint/ training/ empowerment/ conflict of interest between roles/ etc
  3. Present the outcome to the Product Owner’s manager/ ‘trace the money’ if the Product Owner isn’t the decision maker

Scrum Master service to the Devs

  • Coaching in self-organisation and cross-functionality (1)
  • Removing impediments to the Development Team’s progress (1)
  • Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed (1)
  • Coaching the Development Team in organisational environments in which Scrum is not yet fully adopted and understood (1)

Scrum Master service to the organisation

  • Leading and coaching the organisation in its Scrum adoption (1)
  • Planning Scrum implementations within the organisation (1)
  • Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact Scrum and empirical product development (1)
  • Causing change that increases the productivity of the Scrum Team (1)
  • Working with other Scrum Masters to increase the effectiveness of the application of Scrum in the organisation (1)

Exercise with Management to Discuss Scrum and Create Impediments List (3, page 103)

  1. Make a space in the room and label it ‘Why Scrum?’
  2. Ask each person to write down an answer ‘Why are we adopting Scrum?’
  3. Each person reads out their answer one at a time and places their sticky on the ‘Why Scrum?’ wall
  4. Collate them together around themes (there is likely to be one around delivery/ predictability)
  5. Facilitator picks the one that best relates to delivery
  6. Place this sticky in an area labeled ‘Delivery; and ask ‘Why is delivery hard?’
  7. Take one minute for everyone to make their own list of all the reasons that delivery is hard
  8. Two minutes to compare lists, and amalgamate with a partner
  9. Four minutes for pairs to work with other pairs to compare and amalgamate their lists
  10. Have each group read theirs out and add the stickies to the delivery wall
  11. You have now made a list of impediments (congrats!)


Scrum Master Qualities (4, page 128)

  • Leads by example
    • Scrum values
    • Trust in empiricism
    • Positive mindset
    • Adaptive approach
  • Enables and empowers others
    • Doesn’t solve people’s problems, but makes opportunities transparent
    • Knows he/she doesn’t have the best answers
  • Creates and environment of safety and is comfortable with failure
    • Safety in conflict
    • Trying new things
  • Cares deeply for people and is also willing to challenge when they are capable of more
    • Assumes positive intent and doesn’t judge people
    • Meets people where they are and helps them find their next step
    • Inspires to hold themselves to even higher standards
  • Opertates with integrity and stays calm under pressure
    • His/her leadership provides consistency and stability
  • Shows low tolerance for organisational impediments
    • Willing to challenge and speak the truth
    • Advocate for the team


  1. The Scrum Guide 
  2. Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins
  3. Fixing Your Scrum by Ryan Ripley and Todd Miller
  4. Mastering Professional Scrum by Stephanie Ockerman and Simon Reindl

Explore more Scrum

Scrum TheoryScrum ValuesDevelopment TeamProduct OwnerDefinition of Done

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