There are multiple descriptions of a ScrumMaster role, my personal favorite being Ken Schwaber's. When I assumed my responsibility of an Agile Coach, I was asked to draft a role description for a ScrumMaster. I used my own experience, multiple scrum sources including The Scrum Guide, and numerous job descriptions I found on the internet. Below (in blue) is the result:
Summary of role: A ScrumMaster is a team leader focused on bringing continuous improvement to the Agile Team and the Agile Community of Knowledge. The ScrumMaster helps the Scrum team and the organization adopt Scrum. The ScrumMaster is accountable for the ability of the team to deliver the sprint goal / deliverables. The ScrumMaster is responsible for ensuring that the Scrum team adheres to Scrum values, practices, and rules.
Responsibilities: A ScrumMaster:
1. Creates a motivational, transparent, collaborative, fun, open, and trustful environment where a Scrum team can work efficiently and the business can deliver high-quality products quickly;
2. Prevents team distractions, identifies and leads the impediments-solving process, and escalates risks and issues if necessary;
3. Organizes and facilitates (or works with a designated team member to conduct) effective product backlog grooming, sprint and release planning sessions, daily stand-ups, sprint reviews (demos), and retrospectives;
4. Creates and maintains an electronic repository for the team’s historic information and collaboration space on ongoing topics including but not limited to sprint summaries (demo decks), links to document repositories, impediment log, and the list of retrospective action items and their status;
5. Garners respect from the team and leads the team towards hyper-productivity; promotes self-management and self-improvement to grow team efficiency and velocity; monitors team’s velocity and suggests corrective actions at a Retrospective, if relevant;
6. Maintains metrics related to velocity and other metrics as agreed with the product owner and advised by the Agile Coach;
7. Promotes self-organization and cross-functionality within the team; relinquishes command and control style to involve the team in decision making ; promotes effective conflict resolution on the team and outside of the team;
8. Regularly attends and actively contributes to Scrum of Scrums and to the Agile community;
9. Reports non-resolved impediments to the Impediment Removal Team (IRT) and participates in resolution;
10. Assists the team in making appropriate commitments and supports the team in standing up for their estimates; responsible for working with the team to ensure that their team is realistic in their commitments;
11. Creates, updates, and leverages quality information radiators including but not limited to release and sprint burndown charts, task board, working agreement, and other relevant artifacts to create transparency around the team's velocity and progress against its current sprint or release;
12. Enables the team to focus on high-priority items and increases team accountability for the deliverables by removing impediments, scheduling all ceremonies and facilitating them effectively (or partnering with other team members to ensure effective facilitation), and following up on the action items agreed upon by the team;
13. Coaches the team on how to be more productive and produce higher quality products by ensuring the health of the process and adhering to Scrum principles;
14. Facilitates the involvement of shared, fractional, and cross-team resources with the Scrum team; reports cross-team dependencies in a cross-team dependency list and updates the status regularly at Scrum of Scrums and in the appropriate repository; respects other teams and successfully collaborates on shared goals;
15. Promotes open and transparent communication and alignment with other functional areas, including Finance and Operations; acts as a liaison with other departments within the organization;
16. Ensures that all deployment activities are in compliance with the established process; and coordinates deployment activities and resources with other teams as applicable;
17. Helps surface whether the product backlog is not "execution ready" for release planning or sprint planning;
18. Assists the Product Owner with product backlog maintenance and Roadmap creation; ensures that there is a Roadmap and release plan available to every team member.
19. Leads the Scrum team and its adoption of Scrum by communicating Agile principles and sharing team success in efficient sprint review meetings.
20. Understands the values, practices, and rules of Scrum and other methodologies and proactively seeks out opportunities to grow this understanding by attending internal and external trainings, reading relevant materials, or achieving professional certifications; educates others on the team and throughout the company;
Skills: A ScrumMaster:
As you can see, this role description is a combination of ScrumMaster role expectations in Scrum and organization-specific policies and rules, such as information repositories, mandate for having Product Roadmaps, and operational procedures. There are also pain points that are obvious from here, such as Product Backlog quality and residual command-and control management style.
Let me ask you a question: what do you think is the level of Agile maturity of an organization where this role description has been created?
Transformation agent with experience in business transformation including transition to Agile (Scrum, kanban, lean) and building scaled Agile and Lean organizations. Passionate about motivating people and building great teams.