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Top 10 Things an Agile Team Should Expect from the Scrum Master

The Scrum Master is the servant leader and the glue of the Agile team.

1. Be a Servant Leader

The Scrum team expects the Scrum Master to support and serve the team, which is why it is common for the Scrum Master to be described as a servant leader. This means the main focus of the Scrum Master is to make sure the team needs are being met. A key distinction of the servant leader is to not be misunderstood as a team manager. The team does not work or report to the Scrum Master.

2. Scrum Process Expert

The Scrum Master helps everyone understand and embrace the Scrum values, principles and practices. They own the Scrum process and the team looks up to them for any advice, best practices or guidance on how to work within the Scrum framework.

3. Agile Coach

The Scrum team expects the Scrum Master to be their dedicated agile coach. When the Scrum team encounters challenges and problems, the Scrum Master will try to steer the team to find their own solution first. In the case the team is not able to do that, the Scrum Master will take ownership and help find a resolution.

4. Scrum Roles and Responsibilities Expert

When any confusion arises from the Scrum Team on roles and responsibilities, or any questions come up in this area, they look at the Scrum Master for clarification. The Scrum Master should explain the Scrum activities and duties and be knowledgeable to provide examples if needed, especially to any new Scrum team members.

5. Protecting the Team from Outside Interference

Another expectation for the Scrum Master is to protect the development team from outside interference, so they can remain focused on delivering business value every sprint. Interferences usually come from stakeholders and managers in the form of new work requests.. Sometimes they can come from other teams as well. If the requests are not being intercepted by the Scrum Master, they could re-direct the team members in the middle of the active sprint.

6. Removing Impediments

When the team runs into impediments or blockers for the user stories they are currently working on during the active sprint, the team expects the Scrum Master to jump in and remove those blockers. The Scrum Master will either directly remove those impediments or escalate and work with higher management to get them removed and minimize downtime.

7. Capture Team Metrics

The best Agile teams will always want to measure and improve their own performance every sprint. The team expects the Scrum Master to capture the team metrics and provide visibility to the Scrum team of their performance. The Scrum Master will create dashboards to capture metrics and teach the team how they should interpret these metrics.

8. Process Improvement

The Scrum Master is expected to continuously improve the team process and always strive to elevate the team to a higher standard of delivery. Using a data-driven approach is one of the best ways to identify process improvement opportunities.The Scrum Master also observes the team during the entire Sprint cycle, collects team and stakeholders feedback and in partnership with the Scrum team creates action items of improvement every Sprint.

9. Change Management Agent

Always aiming to raise the bar and improve the team every Sprint, requires a lot of change. Sometimes the changes required to be successful with Scrum can be difficult. Not everyone in the Scrum team might be comfortable with so many changes. The Scrum Master helps the team understand the need for change and helps them navigate through any big changes.

10. Have a Positive Attitude & Motivate Team

You might not hear this point directly from a team or find it part of an official responsibility, but having a positive attitude and motivating the team at all times is how the best Scrum Masters stand out.

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