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What do Scrum Masters do all day, in an experienced team

Updated: May 13, 2020

There are many many blog posts out there that explain what Scrum masters generally do all day. We have all heard the responsibilities:

  • Backlog grooming

  • Sprint planning

  • Facilitation for retrospectives and spring planning meetings

  • Shielding the team from interruptions

  • Removing impediments

  • Supporting collaboration between the team and the product owner

  • Maintaining the burndown chart

I think it is pretty clear at this point, the value a scrum master can bring to a team. Especially a new team that is either new to agile, to each other, or to the product owner.

As a scrum master for a truly self-organized, experienced, Agile team though, a lot of the above items stop taking up most of a scrum master's time.

So this means:

  • The team is excellent at team daily scrum ceremonies, self assigns tasks to themselves, and gets to work.

  • The product backlog is well-groomed with an aligned product owner who is in great terms with the team.

  • The organization and the team are well versed with Agile philosophy and do not necessarily need any agile coaching.

  • The team tasks are well organized in a tool that works well for the team. Everyone owns the stories.

So what could a scrum master do with the rest of the day, if they are lucky to be a part of such a team?

Now I know it might seem like this is a rare scenario. It is rare to find a team that works so well together and does not require much help daily from the scrum master.

Yet I have seen this happen multiple times with mature, well adjusted, and motivated teams who work in a very positive environment.

So if that is the case, then what can the Scrum master of such a team do on a daily basis. Here are some of the ideas:

  1. Helping with training and coaching: As a scrum master works with more teams and gains more experience, their knowledge and insight becomes valuable to other teams who could be dealing with their own challenges. Offering to help other teams within the organization, or community is an excellent way for a scrum master to add value.

  2. Researching new agile topics: This is pretty self-explanatory, but keeping up-to-date with the latest news and topics in the agile world not only helps the scrum master improve their craft, but also adds tremendous value to the team and community around her as well.

  3. Creating and contributing to the scrum master community: This could be the scrum master community in your organization or city. But becoming a community builder and contributor is a skill that is invaluable in today's world.

  4. Facilitate team retrospectives and sprint planning meetings for other teams: This is a great one because it helps coach other teams that might be struggling, or need a fresh pair of eyes to look at their team dynamic.

  5. Look closely into team metrics: This is something that would slip through the cracks for me when I was a part of a team that required my attention full time. Because I was so focussed on the daily activities of a scrum master, I rarely would have the time to deep dive into the team metrics on a regular basis. I was so looking at metrics like team velocity, test coverage, bug rate, Cumulative Flow diagrams, WIP rate, throughput, and cycle times. All of these would give me some info about the team that I would probably never have known otherwise.

  6. Have 1-1s with team members: What the above metrics won't tell the Scrum master is how their team and each member of the team is doing, and how they can help them in their personal growth. It can also give the scrum master gauge team morale and confidence. This is where catching up with them 1-1 can be invaluable. Scheduling these catch-ups at least once every few weeks with each team member can be very insightful.

  7. Working with QAs: This could be to improve TDD processes and help the team achieve a TDD mindset. I speak more about this in this blog.

  8. Content creation: Creating blog posts, videos, and articles is another way that a scrum master can serve their team, organization, and community as a whole. These could be success(or failure) stories of their teams, and what they learned from it, any exciting experiments they have run with their teams, new tools they have recently tried, etc.,

I hope you have found this goal useful!

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