What Does A Scrum Master Do?

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Nov 14, 2022
Updated on
Mar 16, 2023
Table of Content

What does a Scrum Master do, really? The Scrum Master is the quarterback of your Agile team. In essence, they ensure that the Scrum process is being followed and that the team is productive. 

It has been found that 70% of meetings prevent employees from being productive at work. There is a lack of quality in these meetings, which can be avoided with the organizational help of a Scrum Master.

The Scrum Master’s role can be challenging, but it is also very rewarding. This is because at the end of each day they are able to see the team progress and achieve their goals.

As a Scrum Master, your day may vary, but there are some common tasks and duties that you will probably be responsible for. Ultimately, a Scrum Master’s role is to ensure that the team is able to work effectively while meeting their deadlines and delivering high-quality products.

In this article, we will take a look at a typical day in the life of a Scrum Master, gain a deeper understanding of their responsibilities, and recognize what they do for the team as a whole.

What Are a Scrum Master’s Responsibilities?

A Scrum Master is a facilitator for the Agile development team. In other words, the Scrum Master is expected to lead, train, and coach the organization's members on how to adopt Scrum effectively. The Scrum methodology emphasizes teamwork, accountability, and steady progress toward a well-defined goal.

The Scrum Master’s responsibilities include:

  • Removing Impediments—The Scrum Master plays a key role in ensuring a smooth development process for the team. This includes removing potential obstacles and helping the team resolve conflicts.
  • Coaching the Team—A Scrum Master provides coaching to the team regarding the effective use of the Scrum framework. They also help the team resolve any issues that may arise.
  • Managing Stakeholders—It is the responsibility of the Scrum Master to inform all stakeholders of the project's progress. Additionally, they ensure that stakeholders understand the Agile development process and what to expect from the project.
  • Facilitating meetings—The Scrum Master facilitates all time-boxed events: Daily Stand-Ups, Sprint planning, and Retrospective meetings

In every Daily Scrum, the Scrum Master removes any roadblocks, creates a plan with the team, and coaches team members to achieve the Sprint goal. They must be able to adapt quickly to changes and be able to work with all types of personalities.

What should the Scrum Master do during the Daily Scrum?

The Scrum Master should primarily ensure that the Daily Scrum is conducted effectively and efficiently while also ensuring that everyone is aware of their responsibilities during the meeting. The Scrum Master should also keep track of any blockers that may have arisen and work to resolve them as quickly as possible.

How Many Hours Do Scrum Masters Work?

The number of hours in the daily life of a Scrum Master is dependent on several factors, including your experience, your team's experience, and the nature of the project.

A Scrum Master typically works with one team for a minimum of 15 hours per week, but some may work with multiple teams at the same time. The Scrum team is a small group of talented individuals who collectively possess the skills to achieve a variety of objectives.

In addition to managing the Scrum process, the Scrum Master is also responsible for acting as a coach and mentor to the team, helping them resolve any issues that may arise.

So, how many hours should a Scrum Master work? This question cannot be answered in a one-size-fits-all manner, but a full-time position of 40–44 hours per week is a reasonable estimate.

Day in the life of A Scrum Master

As a facilitator of the team, the Scrum Master’s daily duties are typically filled with meetings, tasks, and coaching. There is never a day when you sit at your desk and do nothing, since there is always something interesting going on.

Below is an outline of some of the typical events that make up a Scrum Master’s day.

Check out the example day of a Scrum Master below:

9 AM: Review the Scrum board

The Scrum Master reviews the Scrum board for an overview of all projects at the start of the day, at the start of each Sprint planning meeting, and then again during the Daily Stand-Up meeting. They identify blockers, as the team needs to figure out why the project is stuck and how to overcome it.

9:45 AM: Prepare for the Daily Scrum

Also known as the Stand-Up, the Daily Scrum is a meeting done every day between the Development Team and their Scrum Master. Make sure coffee and snacks are ready before the start of the meeting so the team can also start their day right!

10 AM: Start of Daily Scrum

Timeboxed for 15-minutes, the Daily Scrum allows team members to share what they have accomplished since the last meeting, what they are working on currently, and any blockers they are dealing with. This allows the team to track their progress and ensure that they are on track to meet their goals. Allow time afterwards for individual or follow-up questions.

11 AM: Alignment Meeting

By aligning with management on the status of the project, all stakeholders and members are on the same page, and the vision is in line with the plan. The Scrum Master will also update management on the team's progress and any changes that have been made to the project plan.

12 PM: Lunch Break

It is not uncommon for the Scrum Master to conduct working lunches or to discuss availability for Scrum sessions with the Developers.

1 PM: Meet with the Product Owner

Meeting with the Product Owner is the Scrum Master's responsibility. It is done to ensure that the Product Owner has all the information they need in order to create and maintain a prioritized product backlog. Additionally, this provides reassurance that they are aware of upcoming changes and tasks that need to be completed.

It is crucial that this meeting takes place because the Product Owner plays a vital role in the Agile development process. Since they serve as a link between the customer and the team, they are ultimately responsible for the success of the product.

1:30 PM: Prepare for a Backlog Refinement Meeting

Based on the outcome of the previous meeting, the Scrum Master can prepare for a Backlog Refinement Meeting to discuss any changes that need to be made to the product backlog, making certain that everyone is on the same page.

2 PM: Hold a Backlog Refinement Meeting

The Scrum Master should hold a Backlog Refinement Meeting to ensure that the product backlog is well-organized and meets the needs of stakeholders. The Scrum Master can use this meeting to help prioritize items in the product backlog and identify any potential risks or dependencies. 

Backlog Refinement can also serve as a precursor to a Sprint Retrospective, in which the team can reflect on the past Sprint and identify what went well and what could be improved. It’s for participants in these meetings to contribute and get in discussions with one another; but it can be hard to make everyone feel comfortable in doing so. It’s a great idea to use icebreaker games, icebreaker questions, this or that icebreaker questions and would you rather icebreaker questions to start the meeting and get the team in the right headspace to add to the meeting.

3 PM: Conduct a Team Building Workshop

A Scrum Master's most important responsibility is to help the team work together effectively. A daily team building workshop is a great way for the Scrum Master to help the team get to know each other better and identify any potential conflicts or personality clashes within the team.

By addressing issues early on, the Scrum Master can help prevent them from becoming a problem down the road. 

Are you stuck for ideas on what to do for your upcoming team building activity? Make things fun with these team building games.

4 PM: Catch up on Emails

To keep projects aligned and everyone informed, the Scrum Master catches up on emails. They ensure that one-on-one questions are answered and that the team is on track.

5 PM: Update the Scrum Board

To ensure everything is tracked, and no update is missed, the Scrum Master updates the Scrum Board at the end of each day. Don't forget to give yourself a pat on the back for your hard work today!

Final Thoughts

Is Scrum Master a stressful job? Yes, it can be especially stressful when a Scrum Master is under pressure and is not fully prepared to handle their responsibilities.

The Scrum Master has considerable control over how they manage their own stress, and there are many techniques that they can use to make the role more manageable. If you would like to make your retrospectives more productive, GoRetro can assist you. 

We at GoRetro can help you become an expert in this next-level way of working to maximize your Agile teams' potential in a sustainable way.

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.

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