A Scrum Master's To Do List in Perfect Development

In our previous article, we were introduced to the Product Owner's To Do List during Development. Today, we'll look at the To Do List of another role on the team: the Scrum Master.

Five seemingly simple rules describe the Scrum Master's role in Perfect Development:

  • Shield the team from the Product Owner or Stakeholders during development work.
  • Conduct the required Scrum events.
  • Implement improvements identified during the previous Sprint Retrospective.
  • Help resolve impediments.
  • Conduct daily Backlog Refinement until the Product Backlog contains enough User Stories that are Ready for the next two Sprints and all other User Stories in the Product Backlog are estimated by the Developers.

What may seem simple, however, actually requires energy and patience.

Shield the team from the Product Owner or Stakeholders during development work

It often happens that during a sprint the Team is disturbed by "external" influences. Sometimes it is an attempt by a Stakeholder to directly interact with a team member. Other times, the Product Owner may feel like they are insufficiently informed about the current state of the Sprint work. Each distraction can mean a loss of focus on the Sprint goal, thus slowing progress on or making it impossible to meet that goal. The role of the Scrum Master is to prevent such distractions so that the Developers have uninterrupted time to develop.

Conduct the required Scrum events

When team members get into a flow, everything else can cease to exist. They can forget about everything not directly related to Product Increment creation. However, Scrum events have their own rationale, so the Scrum Master should assist the Team in facilitating the required Scrum events as requested or needed.

Implement improvements identified during the previous Sprint Retrospective

Just as Developers are responsible for product development, the Scrum Master is responsible for the process and making it better. And just as functionalities should get into the Product as soon as possible, so too should identified improvements be implemented as soon as possible. If they are delayed, they may no longer deliver the desired value.

Help resolve impediments

The word "help" is the key here. Many think that the Scrum Master alone should resolve the obstacles identified by the Team. This is not the case. Impediments must be dealt with by the person on the Team who is best suited to deal with them, possibly with the help of a Scrum Master.

Let me give you a little insight from my practice. The Scrum Master can work with the Impediments list similarly to how the Product Owner works with the Product Backlog. The list should be prioritized, each item has its solver(s), etc.

But beware! Not all obstacles can be solved immediately with current resources.

Conduct daily Backlog Refinement until the Product Backlog contains enough User Stories that are Ready for the next two Sprints and all other User Stories in the Product Backlog are estimated by the Developers

In most cases, it is not possible to create a Product in one Sprint, so it is important to remember that the work will continue in subsequent Sprints. To keep the development running smoothly, it is necessary to have User Stories ready even before the current Sprint is over. However, if we want to have some margin, we should always have enough User Stories ready for two Sprints. On the other hand, for the Product Owner to be able to predict the progress of the development, one of the prerequisites is to have estimated User Stories.

 

After the Product Owner and Scrum Master, we are left with the Developer's To Do List. We will take a look at that in the next article.

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