The 8 Roles of a Scrum Master

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Sep 6, 2022
Updated on
Sep 8, 2022
Table of Content

There are many different roles in a Scrum team, and the Scrum Master is one of the most important of them. This person ensures that the team follows the Scrum framework correctly and efficiently. To do this, the Scrum Master must be able to take on different functions depending on the situation.

In this blog post, we will discuss the eight roles of a Scrum Master, what each role entails, and how they can help you become a better Scrum Master. We will also provide examples of how to put these into practice. If you want to improve your Scrum mastery, this guide is for you.

What is the Scrum Master’s Role?

Scrum is a framework that teams can use to optimize their workflow and increase productivity. At the center of Scrum is the Scrum Master, who guides the team and ensures that the Scrum values are followed. 

The Scrum Master is not a position; it is a role that anyone on the team can fill. They are responsible for facilitating Scrum to the larger team and ensuring that the Scrum framework is followed. 

The Scrum Master should be dedicated to the principles and practices of Scrum, but at the same time, they should maintain their flexibility and remain open to chances for the team to enhance their workflow. However, there are certain roles that the Scrum Master should not take. Other members of the team should fill these roles. 

Following the Scrum framework, teams can optimize their workflow, increase productivity, and deliver higher-quality products.

Why Do Scrum Teams Need a Scrum Master?

The Scrum Master is a key figure in the Scrum framework, and all Scrum teams need one. The Scrum Master's primary responsibility is to enable the Scrum team to capture more value by following the Scrum framework.

The Scrum Master is vital to the team's success since they ensure that the team adheres to the Scrum methodology. The Scrum process is a framework that helps ensure that teams are productive and deliver quality products. 

It would be highly challenging for a group to adhere to the Scrum methodology without a Scrum Master. In addition, the Scrum Master is responsible for removing any obstacles that may prevent the team from reaching its full potential.

Obstacles can include anything from technical problems to interpersonal conflict. It will be highly challenging for a group of people to overcome these challenges and achieve their goals if they do not have a Scrum Master.

The Scrum Master is also accountable for fostering open lines of communication and coordinated effort among team members. Effective communication and collaboration are essential for any team, and downright necessary for Scrum teams. 

This is because Scrum teams are self-organizing and rely on each individual member to contribute their ideas and knowledge. 

Without effective communication and collaboration, it will be very difficult for the team to function effectively. Without a Scrum Master, it would be tough for a Scrum team to work effectively. Scrum teams need a Scrum Master to be successful. 

The Eight Roles of a Scrum Master

Servant Leader

As Servant Leader, the Scrum Master focuses on team members, customers and intent on achieving results that align with the organization's values and objectives. The Scrum Master should be aware of the team's strengths and weaknesses and be able to provide support and encouragement when needed. 

They should also be able to remove the barriers that are preventing the team from achieving their goals. As a servant leader, the Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring that the team has what it needs to be successful.

Scrum Master’s Role as a Servant Leader

Being a servant leader means setting up Scrum as a process that empowers individuals and teams, not one that relies on command and control. 

The servant leader Scrum Master must guide the Development team towards self-organization. This means helping them to identify and remove barriers to effective collaboration and communication. 

Scrum Masters who assume the servant leader role must also lead the team through healthy conflict and debate by encouraging dissenting viewpoints and constructively challenging assumptions. 

As servant leaders, Scrum Masters must teach, coach, and mentor the organization and team in adopting and using Scrum. They must provide training and support to facilitate the best use of the Scrum framework.

Servant leader Scrum Masters must shield the team from disturbance and external threats. This means protecting them from distractions and disruptions that could impact their ability to deliver results. 

As servant leaders, Scrum Masters must help the team make visible, remove and prevent impediments by identifying obstacles to progress and taking steps to remove them. 

The role of servant leader requires Scrum Masters to encourage, support, and enable the team to reach their full potential and abilities.

Facilitator

Facilitators aim to ensure that each team member has an equal opportunity to contribute, while also helping the team function more efficiently as a unit. The Scrum Master should provide an environment where all team members feel safe to express their opinions and ideas. 

They should also facilitate discussion and debate so the team can reach a consensus on decisions. The Scrum Master must effectively design and lead meetings so the team can achieve its goals. 

As the name suggests, facilitators facilitate Scrum events, ensuring they are purposeful and effective. Additionally, the Scrum Master should facilitate communication between the team and other stakeholders, such as the product owner or stakeholders outside the group.

Coach

As a coach, it is the role of the Scrum Master to help team members expand their skill sets and knowledge bases so that they may carry out their responsibilities more successfully.

The coach's role is to guide individuals on how to think and act in a Scrum-appropriate manner, to guide teams on how to improve continuously, and to provide guidance to organizations on how to collaborate with other Scrum teams.

The Scrum Master should provide guidance and support to individual team members and help them identify areas where they need to improve. The Scrum Master should coach the team, helping them improve their processes and work more effectively.

Manager

As a manager, it is the responsibility of the Scrum Master to help the team discover and obtain the necessary resources for success. This covers physical resources (such as office space and equipment) and human ones (such as expert advice or training).

The Scrum Master should also make sure that any resources that are no longer needed by the team are released back into the organization. The role of a Scrum Master as a manager is to support the team in optimizing their process and facilitate team collaboration. 

The Scrum Master is also responsible for managing the culture within the team, making room for failure, and managing the boundaries of self-organization. The ultimate goal of the Scrum Master is to ensure that people, teams, and the organization realize the highest benefits from using Scrum. 

To do this, the Scrum Master must remain continually aware of the team's development and detect any obstacles that may hinder their productivity or forward movement. 

In addition, the Scrum Master needs to be conversant with the Scrum values and provide appropriate assistance to the team as they utilize it.

Finally, the Scrum Master needs to communicate successfully with the team and other company players to ensure that everybody knows the possible benefits of using Scrum.

Mentor

The Scrum Master is a mentor to the team, transferring Agile knowledge and experience. The Scrum Master is also responsible for ensuring that team members understand and enact Scrum and other relevant methods.

As mentors, Scrum Masters help team members to develop their skills and knowledge and to grow into their roles within the team. Scrum Masters should take an individual approach with each team member, tailoring their mentorship to the needs of the individual.

The Difference Between a Mentor and a Coach as a Scrum Master

As Scrum Master, you will often have to fill the role of both coach and mentor. What is the difference between these two terms? As a coach, you do not need to be an expert in a particular field to lead a session. 

All you need is to listen attentively and guide the conversation. On the other hand, if you want to teach something, then expert knowledge is a must. As a mentor, you can share your experiences and insights with others to help them grow. 

You can achieve much more with your team by combining coaching and mentoring in your practice. Taking on both roles can help your team members learn new skills while providing them with the support they need to overcome challenges.

Teacher

The Scrum Master role is also one of a teacher, helping the team learn and grow. The Scrum Master must be able to provide new insights and perspectives through powerful questions. 

The Scrum Master is a teacher to the team, providing instruction on Scrum values, practices, and rules. The Scrum Master also educates the team on other relevant methods and techniques. 

The goal of the Scrum Master as a teacher is to ensure that team members have a common understanding of Agile principles and can apply them to their work. A Scrum Master is responsible for teaching the team about the basics of Scrum, including self-organization and cross-functionality. 

They also help to create a common identity for the team and teach the organization about Scrum. In addition, a Scrum Master should ensure that the team is having fun and staying engaged with their work. By introducing these things, a Scrum Master can help ensure that the team can work effectively and efficiently.

Impediment Remover

The Scrum Master is responsible for solving issues that impede the team's progress. When impediments arise, the Scrum Master takes into account the self-organizing capabilities of the development team before taking action. Below are some techniques scrum masters can use to solve impediments:

Stop spending time and effort solving the wrong problem. Understanding the organization and the problem is essential before trying to solve it. Otherwise, you'll just be wasting time and effort.

Don't wait until the Daily Scrum to raise an impediment! If you see an obstacle, raise it as soon as possible so it can be dealt with quickly.

Use a Sprint Goal. The Sprint Goal is a powerful tool that can help you focus on the most important thing and ignore distractions.

Improve transparency by using an Impediment Kanban Board. The Impediment Board is a visual way of tracking impediments and their status. It's also useful for awareness and coaching purposes.

Be brave and creative in removing impediments. Sometimes, the best way to remove an obstacle is to be brave and try something new.

Collaborate with the Product Owner. The Product Owner is ultimately responsible for the product's success, so it's essential to collaborate with them when dealing with impediments.

Change Agent

The role of the change agent is to help the team to adopt new ways of working so that they can be more effective in their roles. It is the responsibility of the Scrum Master to ensure that all team members have a clear understanding of why change is required and they will benefit from it.

In addition, they should offer direction and assistance to the team members as they adjust to the newly implemented working practices. 

As the change agent for the team, the Scrum Master is responsible for assisting the team members in welcoming change and adjusting to new ways of performing their jobs.

Conclusion

The Scrum Master is a vital role in any Scrum team. They are responsible for ensuring that the team members have a common understanding of Agile principles and can apply them to their work.

In addition, the Scrum Master is responsible for solving blocking issues to the team's progress and helping team members embrace change and adapt to new ways of working. By taking on these responsibilities, the Scrum Master can help ensure that the team can work effectively and efficiently.

If you want to be a successful Scrum Master, then you need to be able to coach, teach, mentor, and remove impediments. Being a Change Agent is also essential to help the team embrace new working methods.

By understanding these eight roles of a Scrum Master, you will be well on your way to becoming a successful one. GoRetro is known for offering clients a certified Scrum Master who will work with them closely to ensure they have all the resources they need to become a certified Scrum Master.

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

Related Posts

Run team retrospectives easily, quickly, and absolutely FREE

get started
retro meeting art
Contact Us
Thank you! Your message has been sent!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Close