A Scrum Masters role in a scrum team is like that of motor oil to an engine. Cross functional scrum teams consist of lots of complicated moving parts. Software development, testing, infrastructure and release management, are just a few. They all have to work together and if one of these moving parts hits a snag, the whole team can grind to a halt.
This is where the Scrum Master comes in. It’s the Scrum Masters job to remove impediments for the team. Scrum Masters should always be on the lookout for any issues that could affect the performance of the team. It’s their job to clear the way so the team can operate like a high performance engine. This lets team members focus on what they do best and not deal with road blocks outside their control.
Scrum Masters also need to ensure their team’s social and human elements run smooth. This is why you’ll see good Scrum Masters bringing in food, injecting humor, and making the team environment enjoyable. Scrum Masters like to have fun! If you’re not someone who likes to have fun, the Scrum Master role wouldn’t be a good fit. This is part of the reason some traditional command and control style project managers struggle in the Scrum Master role.
Aside from removing impediments and enjoying some fun, Scrum Masters need to be positive. If the Scrum master is positive and optimistic about what they team can deliver, the team will feel the same. The good thing about Scrum is that team members shouldn’t have to worry about long term goals. Instead, they should focus on their current tasks at hand. These are usually tackled in two week sprints. By focusing on the short term assignments, this enables the team to stay positive and feel good about what they can deliver.
The actions I mentioned are a few ways the Scrum Master can act like high performance oil for the Scrum Team. What are some ways you think the Scrum Masters can improve team performance?
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