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International Scrum Master Foundation

Steen Lerche-Jensen

4.2 Scrum Master

Generally, it is the scrum master`s job to facilitate scrum events and being both a teacher and a coach make sure that each team member adheres to the scrum theory, practices and rules.

The scrum master is not a team leader who dictates what the team or team members shall do; the scrum master is part of the team. 

Let`s bring in the analogy of a scrum master being like a sheepdog. A sheepdog keeps the sheep together and protects them from the wolves. It also herds the sheep in the right direction. In a similar way, the scrum master shows the way by making sure that the team sticks to the practise and rules in the scrum framework, and it is the scrum master`s responsibility to protect the team members, so they are not dragged out of their work by other teams, line manager, or managers. The scrum master helps the team stick to the commitment they gave the product owner in the sprint planning meeting.

Responsibilities of Scrum Master are:

  • Making sure that the development team follows the rules of the scrum framework
  • Coaching the development team
  • Facilitating the scrum events (daily scrum, sprint review and planning meetings)
  • Maintaining the impediment list and removing barriers
  • Shielding the team from external interferences (keeps the wolwes away from the sheep)

The responsibilities of the Scrum Master in various scrum processes:


Scrum Master Responsibilities

Identification of Scrum Master and Stakeholder(s)

Helps identify Stakeholder(s) for the project

Formation of Development Team

■  Facilitates selection of the Development Team

■  Facilitates creation of the Collaboration Plan and the Team Building Plan

■  Ensures back-up resources are available for smooth project functioning

Epic(s) Development

Facilitates creation of Epic(s) and Personas

Creation of Prioritized Product Backlog

Helps product owner with creation of the Prioritized Product Backlog and in definition of the Done criteria

Conducting Release Planning

■  Coordinates creation of Release Planning Schedule

■  Determines Length of Sprint

Creation of User Stories

Assists the Development Team in creating User Stories and their Acceptance


Estimation of User Stories

Facilitates meetings of the Development Team to estimate User Stories

Commitment to User Stories

Facilitates meetings of the Development Team to commit to User Stories

Identification of Tasks

Facilitates the Development Team in creating the Task List for the next Sprint

Estimation of Tasks

Assists the Development Team in estimating the effort required to complete the tasks agreed to for the Sprint

Creation of Sprint Backlog

Assists the Development Team in developing the Sprint Backlog and the Sprint Burn down Chart

Creation of Deliverables

■  Supports the Development Team in creating the Deliverables agreed to for the Sprint

■  Helps update the Scrum Board and the Impediment Log

Coordination of Daily Scrum Meeting

Ensures that the Scrum Board and the Impediment Log remain updated

Grooming of Prioritized Product Backlog

Facilitates Prioritized Product Backlog Review Meetings

Presentation and Validation of Sprints

Facilitates presentation of completed Deliverables by the Development Team

for the Product Owner’s approval

Sprint Retrospection

Ensures that ideal project environment exists for the Development Team in the succeeding Sprints

Project Retrospection

Represents the Scrum Core Team to provide lessons learned from the current project, if necessary

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