What is a Scrum Master and Why You Need One

A Scrum Master is a professional who leads a team using Agile project management through the course of a project. A Scrum Master facilitates all the communication and collaboration between leadership and team players to ensure a successful outcome. 

What Is Scrum?

Scrum is an Agile framework for developing complex projects, most often software. The Agile project management methodology uses short development cycles, called sprints, that result in the continuous improvement of a product or service. There are many Agile frameworks, and Scrum is a popular option for fast-moving projects. The methodology is highly collaborative and requires efficient processes, and the results of the process depend upon the expertise of the Scrum Master.

Role of the Scrum Master

The role of a Scrum Master is to use Agile project management to champion a project, teams, and team members. So the big question is, does it make any sense to have a Scrum Master in your company? To make a long story short, it is not possible to enjoy the full benefits of Scrum without the Scrum Master. Without the coach, the team may become disorganized or disjointed from a lack of communication, and your project may fall short. Here are the top 5 things a Scrum Master can help your organization with:

Implementing best practices for project management

A Scrum Master takes care of building and onboarding project teams so they cooperate well on the particular project. He/she helps a Product Owner get a clearer vision of the product and communicate it to the development team in order to make that vision a reality. A Scrum Master implements the best agile practices in the development process in order to develop good quality software in an effective manner. One of the roles of the Scrum Master is to also provide feedback to the team and drive the culture of agility and learning. This has a positive impact on the continuous improvement of a Scrum team.

Keeping all parties well informed and on track

Scrum Masters host and facilitate scrum meetings, especially daily scrum meetings, in order to get updates on the progress of the project. Those meetings help to identify potential obstacles and find the right solution to them. What is more, the role includes ensuring the project stays on track and the team meets the deadlines with the desired outcome.

Introducing Agile engineering practices

Usage of Continuous integration (CI) and testing environment are the Agile engineering practices the Scrum Master will encourage the development team to implement. He/she also ensures that code quality and refactoring practices are addressed in the development team. Another Agile technique a Scrum Master advocates is a pair-programming session, where two developers collaborate in real-time, solving an issue or implementing a new feature. Altogether, these engineering practices reduce development time and improve the quality of the product.

Increasing the effectiveness of the Scrum team

A Scrum Master is concerned with creating an environment where the team can be effective by facilitating daily scrum meetings, setting up retrospectives, sprint reviews and sprint planning sessions. They help the team to maintain the burndown charts that show if the sprint is progressing according to the schedule. This technique helps detect any issues as soon as they appear so that they can be discussed during daily scrum meetings and focus on resolving them early to keep up with the pace. A Scrum Master also shields the team from any interruptions during the sprint and removes obstacles and distractions which means maximum efficiency of the development team.

Cooperating with the Product Owner

Cooperation with the Product Owner is also an important role of the Scrum Master. While the Product Owner is responsible for the product being created using Scrum, the Scrum Master is the “process owner” who keeps the team on track procedurally. Working closely with the Product Owner, a Scrum Master helps ensure to keep the product backlog in a good shape for each sprint. The Scrum Master helps to walk the Product Owner through the more technical user stories while encouraging collaboration with the Scrum team. Scrum Masters keep a good relationship between the team and the Product Owner as well as others outside the team.

If you are still wondering if a Scrum Master is right for your current project needs, get in touch with IT Avalon. We specialize in placing both permanent and contract Scrum Masters across all verticals and can advise your organization on the best strategy for utilizing a Scrum Master.