The ScrumMaster

By Jimi Fosdick  |  Posted 2009-11-20 Print this article Print

2. The ScrumMaster

The ScrumMaster is responsible for the success of the process and the productivity and health of the Scrum Team. According to Schwaber, the "ScrumMaster is responsible for the success of Scrum." Further, the "ScrumMaster is responsible for ensuring that Scrum values, practices and rules are enacted and enforced. The ScrumMaster is the driving force behind all of the Scrum practices." Responsibilities include:

- Keeping the process moving

- "Enforcing" the Scrum framework

- Facilitating and ensuring full-team involvement in all Scrum's meetings

- Keeping everything visible

- Communicating and sharing information to the larger organization

- Shielding the team from external interference

- Helping surface and remove obstacles impeding the Scrum Team from achieving its Sprint goals

- Advocating improved practices

- Tracking progress and posting it visibly

Good ScrumMasters spend considerable time helping the rest of the organization understand Scrum, including the Product Owner.

It is important to understand that the ScrumMaster has no authority and is not a manager of people or projects. In addition, the ScrumMaster doesn't assign tasks to team members or monitor individual team member performance. Rather, the ScrumMaster must understand he or she is not "in charge" of anything.

The role is one of "servant leadership" which relies on personal persuasiveness rather than organizational authority. In short, they serve the team by reminding them about the rules of the Scrum process; ultimately, it is up to the Scrum Team to observe those rules.

Jimi Fosdick is a Certified Scrum Trainer at CollabNet. With more than 14 years of experience in product development, Jimi has worked in a wide range of industries, including publishing, software, advertising, and the public sector. As one of the Certified Scrum Trainers on CollabNet's ScrumCORE team, Jimi conducts dozens of public courses around the world each year, helping organizations to surface dysfunction and improve processes through Scrum. Before joining CollabNet predecessor Danube in November 2008, Jimi spent four years advocating agile approaches to project managementÔÇöfirst as a program and project manager, and later as an independent agile and Scrum consultant. During this time, Jimi worked with companies such as CIBER, Avenue A | Razorfish, MTV Networks, and Microsoft, helping them transform to more agile ways of working using Scrum. Prior to these consulting engagements, Jimi spent a decade working in various capacities in software, including as a program manager of software product development and solutions architecture at the Riverside Publishing Company, and as a senior staff developer at Polycom, Inc. Jimi is a PMI-certified PMP, and received his MBA in Project Management from Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago. As an undergraduate, Jimi studied mathematics and computer science at Loyola University in Chicago. For more of Jimi's thoughts on Scrum, visit his blog at He can also be reached at

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