GUIDE 2024

What Does a Scrum Master Do?

Have you ever been to a team meeting where the group spends more time talking about their weekend plans than work?

Meetings like this are a waste of the company’s profits, and they’re also ineffective at moving the project forward.

This is where a Scrum Master comes in handy.

The overarching goal of a Scrum Master is to keep Scrum teams on track during their meetings. In doing so, they ensure that the main focus is the project and that no one ends up wasting company time talking about their after-work shenanigans.

In this article, we dive into the roles, responsibilities, and other key facets of the Scrum Master position.

What are the Responsibilities of a Scrum Master?

As a Scrum Master, your goal as a project manager is to ensure the Agile team adheres to the Agile methodology of project management.

In this capacity, you must commit yourself and the team to the values and practices that go hand-in-hand with Scrum.

However, you must also maintain flexibility and be open to changing your approach so long as it’s beneficial to improving the team’s workflow.

Let’s review the most critical roles and responsibilities of an influential Scrum Master and how they apply to the Scrum process.

1. Serve as an Agile Coach

Whether your team is new to agile project management or you’ve been using the methodology since day one, some of your team members haven’t grasped the nuances and intricacies of the practice.

As a Scrum Master, your role is to be a point of reference for your team members on all things Scrum. In doing so, you keep the team grounded in the principles of both Agile and Scrum to encourage more homogeneity.

This role becomes all the more important in cases where your company hires a new team member. It’s the Scrum Master’s responsibility to teach this new person the principles and practices of Scrum.

What’s more, it’s common for teams to lose sight of the objective of Scrum over time.

The Scrum Master then steps in to reinforce the Scrum methodology and help their teammates understand the importance of the practice today, tomorrow, and into the future.

2. Host a Daily Scrum

One of the primary aspects that make the Agile methodology effective is that it ensures that all team members know what’s going on. At all times, individuals within the Agile teams must know how their roles and responsibilities impact the entire team. They must also be willing to share that information with the rest of the team so that everyone knows how their role influences what others do.

The most effective way to do this is to host a daily stand-up meeting, which is a short meeting that brings everybody up to speed.

Daily stand-up meetings or Scrums don’t last longer than fifteen minutes.

Therefore, it’s your duty as a Scrum Master to ensure that everyone has a chance to brief their team members during this time.

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3. Encouraging Agile Practices

Encouraging the adoption and continuous improvement of agile practices within the team is a fundamental responsibility of the Scrum Master role. They stay informed about the latest developments in agile methodologies and bring new ideas and practices to the team. By fostering an agile mindset, the Scrum Master helps the team become more adaptable, responsive, and efficient.

4. Conduct Scrum Ceremonies

The Scrum Master must lead and engage their team during other ceremonies. This includes sprint planning meetings, sprint or iteration reviews, and retrospectives.

Each agile ceremony has its own goals that the Scrum Master must keep as their main priority during the meeting.

An effective Scrum Master is an individual who has the skills needed to plan, execute, and lead all Scrum events.

This does not mean that the Scrum Master is the one who must do all the talking. Instead, they encourage the entire team to share their respective accomplishments and goals.

5. Review Product Backlog

As the leader of the Scrum team, a Scrum Master must work alongside product owners to review and update the product backlog after each ceremony.

Whether we’re talking about a daily stand-up, a sprint planning meeting, an iteration review, or a retrospective, it’s during these ceremonies that the Scrum Master learns about the current state of the master vs project manager’s tasks.

Therefore, it’s common for the Scrum Master to itemize a list of tasks that affect the running of the product backlog and share it with the product owner. That way, the product owner knows how to groom the product backlog through the activities conducted by the Scrum team.

6. Removing Impediments

One of the key responsibilities of a Scrum to become a Scrum Master is to remove impediments that hinder the team’s progress. This can involve resolving conflicts, addressing external dependencies, or securing resources that the team needs to complete their tasks. The Scrum Master actively works to create an environment where the team can focus on delivering high-quality work without unnecessary obstacles.

7. Report to the Project Manager

After a Scrum ceremony, Scrum Masters report to the project manager on any progress, issues, or inefficiencies that they’ve become aware of.

This doesn’t have to be a formal written report. However, you must ensure that the project manager knows about the project’s current status at all times.

Depending on the project, a Scrum Master also reports to the product owner and other external stakeholders involved.

8. Supporting Product Owner

The Scrum Master supports the Product Owner by helping them manage the product backlog effectively. This includes assisting with backlog refinement, ensuring that user stories are well-defined and ready for the team to work on, and helping prioritize tasks based on business value and team capacity. By supporting the Product Owner, the Scrum Master ensures that the team is always working on the most valuable tasks.

9. Solve Concrete Team Problems

Whether during a meeting or throughout a sprint, teams sometimes run into obstacles that prevent work from moving forward.

A Scrum Master must be motivated and ambitious. They must also work toward removing barriers that stand in their team’s way, a process known as ‘workflow improvement’.

Other Scrum Master Responsibilities:

Here are other responsibilities of a scrum master:

  1. Scrum Masters facilitate various Scrum events, such as daily stand-ups, sprint planning, sprint reviews, and retrospectives, ensuring they are productive and within the time box.
  2. A Professional Scrum Master coaches Scrum team members on agile principles and practices, improving the Scrum framework, promoting the Scrum framework, and ensuring adherence to agile methodologies.
  3. In the Scrum master role, they serve as a servant leader, focusing on the needs of team members and fostering an environment of collaboration and continuous improvement.
  4. The Scrum master job description emphasizes promoting effective communication and collaboration within the Scrum teams and between stakeholders.
  5. Scrum Masters ensure the Scrum process aligns with agile project management methodology, facilitating the adoption of best practices across the organization.
  6. Holding a Scrum Master certification, such as Certified Scrum Master or Disciplined Agile Scrum Master from Scrum Alliance, is often part of a Scrum Master’s professional credentials.
  7. While not a traditional project manager, the Scrum Master serves agile project management with the Scrum methodology to enhance project outcomes.
  8. Scrum Masters are particularly vital in software development, guiding teams through iterative cycles to deliver high-quality products.
  9. The Scrum Master’s responsibilities include fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement and encouraging team members to obtain further Scrum Master certifications and professional development.

Tips to Improve as a Scrum Master

A Scrum Master has their hands full. To help make your job easier, let’s review a few tips on keeping your next Scrum meeting on track.

1. Focus on the Product Backlog

The product backlog is a prioritized list of every task required to complete a project.

As a Scrum Master, whether you’re hosting a daily Scrum, a sprint planning meeting, a sprint review, or a retrospective, it’s essential to keep the product backlog as your main priority and topic of discussion.

What is your Scrum team working on? Are there any items that are falling behind schedule? Are there any roadblocks that are affecting the development team?

These are questions that you must ask as a Scrum Master. It is also your responsibility to work with the product owner to review and revise the product backlog.

2. Understand Scrum Values

Although you already understand the Scrum and Agile methodologies, reviewing and challenging your knowledge is never a bad idea.

There’s no harm in beefing up your Scrum values by taking a certification course in case you haven’t already done so. If not, consider subscribing to a YouTube channel that pushes out engaging content on Scrum and Agile practices. Keeping up to date with the latest novelties and frameworks in the field helps you to remain current as a Scrum Master.

3. Use a Timer

While iteration reviews and sprint planning meetings tend to last for several hours, a daily scrum never takes more than ten or fifteen minutes.

Using a stopwatch or timer helps keep your Scrum meetings on track. At the same time, this helps the scrum team members improve their ability to communicate and work under pressure.

  • Sprint planning meetings – Last one hour per week of iteration.
  • Daily scrums – No longer than ten or fifteen minutes once per day.
  • Iteration reviews – One hour per week of iteration.
  • Sprint retrospectives – Forty-five minutes per week of iteration.

4. Help the Team

Scrum Masters facilitate team meetings and ensure that the project is moving forward as planned.

Therefore, your goal as a Scrum Master is to help the Scrum team through each sprint of an iteration.

Whether a team member has a simple question or the product owner has a problem, your job is to answer questions and solve these problems before they impact the project’s performance.

Final Remarks

In the end, being a Scrum Master means having to juggle several responsibilities.

However, it is a lucrative role that is integral to the success of Agile teams.

Do your best to remain up-to-date with the latest in Agile and Scrum to make sure that you lead your Scrum team in the best way possible.

Above all, remember that your role as a Scrum Master is to create an environment that allows everyone in the Scrum team to shine. Work alongside them to make sure everyone is on the same page, working hard to achieve the team’s overall goals.


Here are answers to the questions that aspiring scrum masters frequently ask:

What does a Scrum Master do?

A Scrum Master facilitates Scrum events, removes impediments, and coaches the team on Scrum practices.

Scrum Masters ensure the team follows the agile development principles and maintains a productive environment. They also protect the team from external disruptions and support effective collaboration.

Is a Scrum Master an IT job?

While Scrum Masters are commonly found in IT and software development, their role is not limited to IT agile software development. Scrum Masters can work in any industry that adopts agile methodologies to manage projects and improve team productivity.

What does a Scrum Master do all day?

Scrum masters spend their day facilitating Scrum events, addressing team impediments, and coaching team members on agile practices. They also communicate with stakeholders, track team progress, and ensure that the team adheres to Scrum principles. The Scrum Masters’ day involves continuous engagement with the team to foster collaboration and efficiency.

Is Scrum Master a good skill?

Yes, being a Scrum Master is a valuable skill, especially in organizations adopting agile methodologies. It demonstrates expertise in facilitating agile practices, improving team performance, and managing complex projects efficiently. This skill is highly sought after in various industries, offering diverse career opportunities.

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