The Scrum Master
The Scrum Master

Module 3 – The Scrum Team  

This module introduces the three different roles in a Scrum Team: the Development Team, the Scrum Master and the Product Owner. This module is made up of Videos, followed by a quiz to help support your understanding.   

  • Scrum Development Team  
  • Scrum Master 
  • Product Owner  

Scrum Masters are one of the most prominent members of the Scrum team, with many people familiar with the concept of Scrum knowing that a Scrum team has a strong master. So, who or what is the Scrum Master? The Scrum Master is the person responsible for promoting and supporting the five values of Scrum, commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect. Scrum teams that adhere to the values, enable the three pillars of Scrum, transparency, giving visibility to the aspect of the process to those responsible for the outcome, inspection, timely checks on progress towards a sprint goal to detect undesirable variances, and adaptation, adjusting a process to minimize any further deviation or issues. Scrum Masters help everyone in the Scrum team, as well as those outside of the Scrum team, to understand the theory, practices and values of Scrum. They help reinforce the rules of Scrum, such as ensuring the events occur and that the Scrum events are kept within the time box. Well, no, they're more of a servant leader. As mentioned, they're there to help those outside the Scrum team understand Scrum and how it works, as well as the best way to interact with the Scrum team. However, their main priority is to serve the Scrum team. Well, it depends on the member of the Scrum team that they're trying to help. They help the product owner by ensuring that the goals, scope and product are understood by everyone on the Scrum team as comprehensibly as possible, by finding techniques for effective product backlog management, they might suggest kanban boards or specific software tools, for example like Jira or Trello, by helping the Scrum team understand the need for clear and concise product backlog items, by understanding product planning in an empirical environment. This involves making decisions based on experience, i.e. what is happening or has already happened. A simple example of this would be to start a piece of work and then calculate how much work is left to complete by comparing it with how much work is getting done. This then allows the team to forecast or create an end date. By ensuring the product owner knows how to arrange the product backlog to maximize value, by understanding and practicing agility, for example making sure the dev team is nimble and able to adapt rapidly to changes in direction and by facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed. And that's just the product owner. They serve the development team by coaching the development team in self-organization and cross-functionality, by helping the development team to create high-value products, by removing impediments to the development team's progress, by facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed, and by coaching the development team in organizational environments in which Scrum is not yet fully adopted and understood. They serve the organization too, by leading and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption, by planning Scrum implementations within the organization, by helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact Scrum and empirical product development, by causing change that increases the productivity of the Scrum team, and by working with other Scrum Masters to increase the effectiveness of the application of Scrum in the organization. The Scrum Master needs to understand Scrum theory and practices to be able to be an effective leader. They also need to ready to adapt to the changing needs of the Scrum team.

About the Author
Learning Paths

Paul Williams is a Senior Learning Consultant for QA, based in Manchester, UK. He is a member of the Agile, Lean & DevOps Trainer Team.