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The ScrumMaster role – is it REALLY full time?

This is a question we get asked almost everyday. Mostly it’s by people new to Scrum who don’t understand the role. Often it’s by new ScrumMasters themselves who find their job a bit boring in the beginning.

We often tell ScrumMasters all the things they shouldn’t be doing. Here is an example:

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But we realised that is only part of the picture, so we have also put together some thoughts of what ScrumMasters should be doing all day.
As new scrumMasters almost 60% of your time should be spent learning and reading and sharing what you have learnt. I know that sounds daunting … 5 hours EVERY DAY! But learning can be fun especially if you have other people doing it with you and you apply everything you learn.

I would suggest creating a learning map for the ScrumMaster role. Here is something to help you get started:

This way you can decide together what you will focus on in a particular week and then you can get together and talk about what you learned and how you applied that learning. This is something that ANYONE interested in the ScrumMaster role can participate in.

Here are the points to focus on for the first few sprints:

How Are My Product Owners Doing?
(1) Is the Product Backlog prioritized according to his/her latest thinking?
(2) Is the backlog an information radiator, immediately visible to all stakeholders?
(3) Does everyone know whether the release plan still matches reality? You might try showing everyone Product/Release Burndown Charts after the items have been acknowledged as “done” during every Sprint Review Meeting. Charts showing both the rate of PBIs actually completed and new ones added allow early discovery of scope/schedule drift.
(4) What is my PO struggling with and how can I possible help? What is taking up a lot of their time? Are there any skills they need that will enable them to work faster and smarter? How can you help them gain these skills?

How Is My Team Doing?
(1) Do team members seem to like each other, goof off together, and celebrate each other’s success?
(2) Do team members hold each other accountable to high standards, and challenge each other to grow?
(3) Are there issues/opportunities the team isn’t discussing because they’re too uncomfortable?
(4) Have you tried a variety of formats and locations for Sprint Retrospective Meetings? (
(5) Is your team’s taskboard up to date?
(6) Are team members leaving their job titles at the door of the team room, collectively responsible for all aspects of agreed work (including emergency tasks and adhoc work)?
(7) Is the team space hindering communication?
(8) Are we having FUN?

How Is The Organization Doing?
(1) Is the appropriate amount of inter-team communication happening?
(2) Are your ScrumMasters meeting with each other, working the organizational impediments list?

(The items above all come from this excellent checklist:

A quick google will reveal other checklists – here is another favourite:

If you need a little bit more – here is a blog post we wrote on what a new scrummaster should be doing:

Did you ever wish there was a path for you to follow as a Scrum Master? Something that could point you to what you need to learn and teach you how to deal with difficult situations you encounter daily with your teams and organisation. Well stop wishing, the Scrum Master Workbook is finally here!

This week by week guide will be your companion for the next 3 months, teaching you ways to deal with conflict, bugs, interruptions, meetings and many more topics.

You can download a free sample of the book here:

2 thoughts on “The ScrumMaster role – is it REALLY full time?”

  1. Pingback: What is a ScrumMaster? | Agile Coffee

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