Scrum Master

Mature your organisation’s Scrum Master capability.

Facilitation

The Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring effective stand-ups through full attendance, clear communication, timely and effective engagement.

Developing - Scrum Master requires the confidence to project a sense of authority during the stand-ups to ensure the meeting is focused, everyone provides a concise 3-point update and everyone is aware of who has taken ownership of an activity that is blocked.

Experienced - Strong Scrum Masters ensure stand-ups are well attended and are confident to press individuals when necessary to ensure updates are captured on the activity board. Confident to step-in and take ownership or challenge a task that is taking too long to complete or appears to be confusing.

Iterative/Sprint Planning

The Scrum Master should be fully aware of the Team's current capability (i.e. cadence/velocity) and be prepared to protect, i.e. ensuring they do not commit to too much working during planning sessions.

Developing - Newly appointed Scrum Masters have a tendency to let the Product Owner run the planning sessions, determining what must be completed without any consideration for the Team's availability or cadence/velocity.

Experienced - Scrum Master brokers the relationships between the Team and the Product Owner who is constantly challenging the Team to do more. Guides the Team to Product Owner new ways to deliver value through facilitating a discuss that also considered technical and commercial risk, value and capacity.

Sprint/Regular Reviews

The Scrum Master works alongside the Product Owner to ensure Iterative Reviews are held that solicit feedback from the Stakeholders.

Developing - The Scrum Master consistently relies on the Product Owner to arrange and host regular reviews.

Experienced - The Scrum Master works alongside the Product Owner to agree on a suitable review agenda and ensure Stakeholder attendance. They ensure accurate record keeping of any discussions taken that may influence the product backlog.

Retrospectives

To ensure an Agile Team is constantly learning the Scrum Master must ensure regular retrospectives are held and the  follow-through of any findings and actions.

Developing - The Team has adopted an adhoc approach to retrospectives, either they're held on an infrequent basis, attendance is variable or the outcomes from any given retrospective are poorly managed.

Experienced - The Scrum Master has preached to the Team the importance of developing an Agile Mindset, (i.e. continuous learning) and therefore ensures a consistent approach to Retrospective management. They are prepared to take ownership of any agreed corrective measures and challenge the organisation or individual's where performance is affected.

Activity Board status

The activity boards (Sprint or Kanban) must be kept up to date to accurately reflect the current status of tasks and the objectives of the Team. The Scrum Master must ensure this is undertaken by every member of the Team on a daily basis.

Developing - As a consequence of the Scrum Master taking a passive role within the Team the activity board isn't maintained or they lack the confidence to challenge other Team members to act.

Experienced - Experienced Scrum Masters are constantly pressing the Team to the board up to date. They have the knowledge to evaluate and support the Product Owner on the quality of the user story  (i.e. needs and CoS). The Scrum Master is comfortable challenging the structure of the Team when it is revealed certain individual's are underworked or certain skills are missing.

Providing 1 to 1 Support

Scrum Master has a broad experience of Agile Ways of Working techniques (e.g. Kanban or Scrum) and therefore, act as the first line of support for other team members, prior to them reaching out to their community or Agile Coaches for further assistance.

Developing - The  Scrum Master themselves require further training and coaching on many of the basic aspects of Agile Ways of Working and therefore continue to rely heavily on others within the Team or the Coaching community for improving the Team's overall knowledge or tackling performance issues.

Experienced - The Scrum Master is playing both an active training and coaching role within the Team, resulting in very limit demand of external support. Their expertise covers a broad range of skills including, methodology, user story writing, analysis and stakeholder management.

Consulting with others

Working closely with the Product Owner the Scrum Master is comfortable to approach and engage others within the organisation to either gain their engagement or support as needed.

Developing - The Scrum Master has not truly found their role as an active participant, as a consultant or problem solver within the Team. Other Team member therefore retain ownership  of operational or commercial challenges.

Experienced - The Scrum Master has gained experience in a number of project teams, which has exposed them to range of commercial and operational factors, which they are happy to share/coach other team members. They have a strong understanding of how best to adopt the 12 principles. They're confident to approach others within/beyond the organisation to obtain the necessary knowledge, answers or expertise as needed.

Performance Reporting

The Team must produce high-quality reports that accurately reflect the current status (e.g. cadence) and mid to long term objectives. They must have the ability to use the Agile ALM tools to extract the necessary data to produce the appropriate reports.

Developing - Scrum Master relies on others to generate the necessary reports and/or lacks the knowledge to analyse the data to uncover potential issues/challenges and/or report on the Team's cadence, whether it be a Sprint Burn Down Chart or Kanban Cumulative Flow Diagram.

Experienced - Working alongside the Product the Scrum Master should be constantly encouraging the Stakeholders and others to 'come to the work' to discover or learn what the Team is current working on. The collaborative spaces express clear a wealth of information about the current performance, goals, activities and health of the Team.

Owning Blockers/ Impediments

To enable individual Team members to remain focused on their specialist tasks, the Scrum Master takes ownership of any blockers/impediments as they arise.

Developing - Scrum Master lacks the sense of ownership or confidence to step-in and take ownership when necessary. Issues remain with individuals which in-turn absorbs precious time (i.e. remains being a distraction or fails to get the immediate attention it requires.)

Experienced - They are happy to take ownership of blockers or impediments, work with the Product Owner and others (e.g. within the current organisation or beyond, e.g. suppliers or partners) where necessary. The Scrum Master is persistent in their pursuit to remove blockers and are aware of the escalation process.

Retaining a Cadence (rhythm)

Successful and happy Teams are those that have established a steady cadence (rate of work) that retains the right balance between stretching them, but doesn’t overwhelm them. 

Developing - Scrum Master is learning the importance of enabling the Team to set its own cadence and maintain it through the planning processes.

Experienced - The Scrum Master is fully aware of the Team's cadence and is constantly adjusting planning activities, reports and communicating outwards what is achievable whilst supporting the Team to only commitment to work that is achievable.