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A summarized checklist for use by a ScrumMaster running Scrum – how to be good at this role

Running a Scrum team is not very difficult, and a ScrumMaster can handle multiple Scrums (I have seen ScrumMasters handling multiple Scrum teams) as long as the timing of the daily Scrum meeting is modified. After all, you need to make sure that the team is there on time, are being brief and to the point, and you are ensuring that their impediments are being handled. Right, it’s that simple, right ? Well, there is a lot more you can do, to make sure that your Scrum team is working at peak productivity and efficiency, and this can be real rewarding for you to handle.

Here is an external checklist that is very detailed and useful (link to checklist).

The following is a much shorter version of some of the tips that seem to be useful in ensuring that you do a good job of the role of ScrumMaster. What are the things that you need to do or have (in terms of traits) that can help you be good at this role? Here are some tips:
– Be skillful in ensuring that you are not becoming the impediment for the team, or a bottleneck for the team. If you believe in the traditional command and control kind of system rather than the team being a empowered team, then you are doing a dis-service to the team or to the Scrum process.
– The ScrumMaster should work to ensure that the team treats the Daily Scrum as an occasion where the team talks to each other rather than to the ScrumMaster
– Work to anticipate problems rather than being reactive. If you only react to the impediments that are raised, then you will forever be chasing the impact of problems rather than working to prevent them from happening.
– Training. The ScrumMaster is a pivotal person who can provide guidance to the team about the processes followed in Scrum, work to ensure that they totally understand it, and point out issues as he sees it
– The ScrumMaster should never act as an intermediate between the product owner and the teams, even though the product owner may feel that their time is limited and would prefer the ScrumMaster to be the funnel through which information flow happens
– Work to get feedback and ensure that this feedback is incorporated. The team, especially after they get experience, typically has a lot of useful information to offer in the retrospective, but will continue to do so if they feel that their feedback is being valued and steps taken to incorporate the feedback.
– Once in a while, it is useful for the ScrumMaster to get some third party feedback, ideally by an expert in the process of Scrum
– Works to resolve dependencies. There are very few projects that are totally stand-alone, with teams being dependent on other groups (internal and external) in terms of either schedule of deliveries, or in terms of some critical technology. The ScrumMaster needs to take effective action to ensure that such dependencies are resolved in time.
– The ScrumMaster needs to have a checklist in place; this brings in a degree of thoroughness that can make the ScrumMaster even more effective (and also helps if somebody has to take over for periods in between)
– The ScrumMaster acts as a shield between the Scrum team and the external stakeholders such as management, engineering managers; this needs to be a very effective shield to ensure that people do not try to apply influence in a way that could affect the team.

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