Scrum Masters are definitely a special breed. Not everyone has the ability to be a Scrum Master buried deep inside them. Others are just waiting for it burst forth like in the “John Hurt scene” from Aliens…
First, a Scrum Master must be willing to coach the team in project management best practices. They must be able to monitor progress on all tasks, no matter how mundane someone thinks it might be. One of the biggest helps to them team can be the Scrum Masters ability to help anyone on the team get past an issue they are having or is blocking them from getting their assigned tasks completed.
Second, the Scrum Master must be able to help facilitate collaborations amongst all parties. This could mean between the Development team and the DBAs, the Project Manager and an External team, whatever it takes to get the job done and move on to the next set of tasks.
Third, they have to watch over the sprint backlog – sometimes like a hawk. There is nothing – and I do mean nothing – more important than the current sprint to a Scrum Master. If someone – whether it is the Product Manager or even a member of the Development team – states that a new task has to be interjected into the current sprint, there should be at least 2 thoughts on the Scrum Master’s mind:
- Will this new task hinder other tasks in the current sprint?
- What needs to be taken out of the current sprint to get this new task done?
- Is there enough time to get this new task completed with the time remaining in the current sprint?
If any of these have a value of “No” or “None”, then the Scrum Master must be willing to tell whoever asked a DBAs favorite word – No, even if that person is their direct manager or the CEO of the company. (And yes, this does come up quite often, so don’t think that you might get lucky and never have it happen to you as a Scrum Master.)
Now, there are many more responsibilities and things that a good Scrum Master should do, but we’ll go into them next time. Until then…