What is a Scrum Master?
By Thayer Tate
When it comes to developing software programs, there are a lot of different methodologies and workflows a team can adopt. For many companies today, an Agile development methodology is preferred as it is less rigid than its traditional counterparts. The Agile method focuses on helping teams work as quickly and efficiently as possible to produce a quality product on time.
Working within an Agile process also means there is more communication between various parts of the team and more fluidity to the process. Agile teams can quickly recognize and adapt to obstacles or alternate solutions that better serve the client and the project. For Agile to work, though, you need to have a supportive and adaptable Scrum Master.
What is a scrum master?
An agile scrum master is a coach and facilitator whose focus is providing individuals in a cross-functional team with the information, tools, and skills needed to complete their job. Unlike a project manager, who will often take on more of an authoritative function, the scrum master is there to serve. The day-to-day of this role is always different. From clearing obstacles to obtaining tools and sharing information between teams, the scrum master does whatever it takes to keep everyone on task to ensure the project is completed.
However, there are some essential tasks and meetings that every scrum master will need to perform or facilitate for each project:
- Daily Scrum: Similar to how opposing rugby teams huddle together for a scrum to restart a game, a scrum master brings the team together for a quick morning meeting to review the teamwork status. The includes an update from the previous day, what they will be the focus for that day, and any obstacles that may be hindering them from doing their best work.
- Sprint planning: At the start of each “sprint”, the team meets to discuss the goals of the coming sprint and which items will be part of this sprint. The sprint provides a framework to work from and ensures everyone is on the same page.
- Sprint Demo: At the end of each sprint, the team will demo their completed work product for that sprint. This meeting keeps everyone up-to-date and encourages additional feedback leading to a better product in the end.
- Financials: In some companies, it works well to have the scrum master coordinate the team to ensure they’re staying on track. This allows the scrum master to also raise awareness if things start to run off-course.
- Status Report: Each week, our scrum master will provide a detailed project overview to let everyone know exactly where they are at within the project.
- Critical project decisions: One of the biggest hold-ups in a project can be decision-making. To make quick, smart decisions, the scrum master can play a significant role in facilitating and driving to a conclusion. Scrum masters have the most holistic view of the project and are well equipped to drive the team to decisions if the scope, budget, or other elements of the project change.
Who else is on the scrum team?
If you’re not in the IT world, you probably picture a lonesome worker sitting in front of the computer typing away code to develop the perfect program. In reality, it takes a lot of hands to build software. Typically, a software development project involves collaborative cross-functional teams that work together to create a quality software application quickly.
Members of our teams fall into one of three categories:
- Solution Architect: This is the person you’ll see most, as it’s the role that works directly with the client through the entire solution process. From the initial free consultation to challenges or changes throughout the process, to final implementation and ongoing maintenance, this person’s primary focus is to collect and share information between the client and the developing team.
- Implementation Team: This is the meat and bones of our teams. The implementation team is the largest group. It includes our engineers who write and develop custom applications and our quality assurance experts who ensure the project meets our standards and matches client requirements.
- Scrum Master: Of course, we couldn’t have a scrum team without its master. As stated above, this person is like the glue of our software developing family and helps to position everyone for success.
We believe the process of a project can be just as important as the skills put into it. Get in touch with one of our team members today to see how we can serve your software needs.
Thayer TateChief Technology Officer
Thayer is the Chief Technology Officer at SOLTECH, bringing over 20 years of experience in technology and consulting to his role. Throughout his career, Thayer has focused on successfully implementing and delivering projects of all sizes. He began his journey in the technology industry with renowned consulting firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM, where he gained valuable insights into handling complex challenges faced by large enterprises and developed detailed implementation methodologies.
Thayer’s expertise expanded as he obtained his Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and joined SOLTECH, an Atlanta-based technology firm specializing in custom software development, Technology Consulting and IT staffing. During his tenure at SOLTECH, Thayer honed his skills by managing the design and development of numerous projects, eventually assuming executive responsibility for leading the technical direction of SOLTECH’s software solutions.
As a thought leader and industry expert, Thayer writes articles on technology strategy and planning, software development, project implementation, and technology integration. Thayer’s aim is to empower readers with practical insights and actionable advice based on his extensive experience.