Saturday, March 08, 2008

What does a Scrum Master really do?

Hmm! I am now a CSM (Certified Scrum Master) after two days of training with CST Pette Deemer.

You want to congratulate me! Lets congratulate me first-
You: Congratulations! It's really a great news! How does it feel to be a CSM?
Me: Greaaaaaaaat! You know, its so cool that my profile gets a CSM on it!
You: Oh Sohan! I am so sure that you will contribute more at the company?
Me: Yeah, I surely will. I just need a product owner and a team with me to contribute!

(Now that I am so good with the certificate let me be your teacher on 'Scrum Master'ing)

Well, I have been following SCRUM for almost two years in my team and we had a lot of questions in our minds regarding the process. Some of the questions are answered and some are not. But to be very positive, the outcome of the training is good. It clears the philosophy behind SCRUM and also creates a clear vision on why one should follow SCRUM. I will be going on a question answer mode that closely resembles my learning at the training.

Q: Is scrum master a part of the daily scrum meeting?
A: Yes, he is involved, but stays outside the team's SCRUM cycle and takes note whenever someone points out to anything that is a hurdle before the team in meeting sprint commitment.

Q: So, is Scrum Master is a lead role?
A: No. Its rather a helper role to the team.

Q: Is it possible that Scrum Master is not co-located with the team?
A: Generally its bad. It seems unlikely that she can remove blocks from heaven (the distant is always a heaven!).

Q: What are the core responsibilities of the Scrum Master?
Help team to follow SCRUM.
Do anything to remove blocks reported by the team.
Do nothing to create any block for the team.
Update the Burn Down charts, the 'Not Started, Started, Completed' board and other progress indicator 'things'.
Facilitate the team in meetings - avoid unnecessary time loss meetings, manage meeting place and things like laptop, projector, mic and sound systems... all that it takes for the team to have a potentially meaningful and quick meeting.

Q: Is Scrum Master part of the team?
A: Well, it depends. If the team is small and doesn't need/cannot afford a full time scrum master, someone from the team may take on this responsibility. But, a dedicated one is most likely to be effective.

Q: What should be the bullet points of the Scrum Master's characteristics?
A: Helping, self-motivated and feels comfortable to help people on any sort of problem.

Q: Enough is Enough. What else do you know about Scrum Master?
A: Hmm... Scrum Master is not executed if the team does not meet their commitment (unless its because of the fact that the Scrum Master wasn't able to remove blocks). Scrum Master always guards the team from product owner's pressure and change requests in the middle of sprints.

I could have a longer list of Q & A that I have actually learned at the training. But I am not going to do that partly because, I have only a few readers (namely I, me, myself and Sohan) in my blog and partly because I do not see comments on my posts too often.

So, if you have read this and really think you want to know more, energize me with your comments and questions :-). I will be really glad to share my learnings with you.