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A Day in the Life: Scrum Master

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

The Scrum Master day is never twice the same. As the guardian of the Team and Scrum spirit, the Scrum Master will experience all ups and downs of the group, its members, and developed products.

While success and failures are shared, the Scrum Master is the key role who helps and supports the Scrum Team. They are a leader who promotes a safe environment for growth and accelerated learning. Of course, a well-functioning team will need much less coaching in agile values and principles from a Scrum Master than a new team.

Scrum Master picture with Scrum board

Here is an example of what a day could look like for a Scrum Master towards the end of a Sprint. In this example, the Sprint Planning is completed and backed by the Product Owner. The team have started to work toward their agreed Sprint Goal and committed Sprint Backlog. They are only a few days away from the Sprint Review. The burndown chart which was showing promise at the start now has some roadblocks.


8:30am - Personal Focus for a Good Start

9:00am - Daily Scrum and Team Spirit

9:15am - Sprint Focus and Impediment Removal

10:30am - Product Owner Catch-up

12:00pm - Sharing Knowledge and Sharpening Facilitation Skills

2:00pm - Clearing Obstacles to Enable Operational Ease

3:00pm - Team Bonding Activity

4:00pm - Community Focus

8:30am - Personal Focus for a Good Start

As a Scrum Master, you want to be available to others and support them in times of adversity, but you need to take care of yourself as well. It is important to have a good start to support yourself so that you then can allow space for others. An easy way to free your worries and issues is to deal with them first. Check your calendar for appointments, address emails and pending requests so you are focused and prepared for the day ahead with a clean inbox and clear mind.

9:00am - Daily Scrum and Team Spirit

Let’s get together for the Daily Scrum! This is an important daily event in which you will observe plenty of non-verbal queues while gauging the collaborative spirit of the Scrum Team.

This event is meant to be owned by the team and protected by the Scrum Master. So you want to encourage appropriate behaviours while politely calling out demoting ones. Actively listen to individual’s updates and look for ways to help the team solve their time-consuming or blocking issues.

9:15am - Sprint Focus and Impediment Removal

The Daily Scrum regroups people, so it is natural to use this to your advantage as Scrum Master. After the Daily Scrum, you can dig a bit deeper into blockers with the team to find root causes or avenues to remediate them. You can then call on the collective intelligence of the group to find supportive and diverse ideas to progress further. Also, give feedback and ask questions on activities outside of the Sprint Goal scope to help the team focus further on what they aim to achieve.

10:30am - Product Owner Catch-up for Clarity and Visibility

The relationship between the Scrum Master and the Product Owner is key to provide the Scrum Team with a sound and cohesive leadership towards product and market success. Nurturing this relationship takes time and deliberate practice. A good one is to sit down and collaborate on future activities, focus of the product, and how to clarify this to the team. It means working up-close on the Product Backlog items with the Product Owner's ideas and customer data, along with the Scrum Master’s data and experience with the developers. This could be as small as reviewing priorities for the upcoming Sprints. This will allow the team to better understand the perspective and direction to align them and work better together.

12:00pm - Sharing Knowledge and Sharpening Facilitation Skills

Lunchtime is always a good time for stepping out of your work routine, either by meeting new people or just being more casual with familiar ones. In this regard, it is useful to engage with peers and get feedback or new ideas on how to facilitate recurring Scrum Events, for example. It is important to keep them engaging and diverse. So when you have time to share a break or a meal with people, share your knowledge, ideas and feedback; don't be afraid to run them through your ideas. You can also use this time to practice new facilitation techniques that you don’t feel comfortable with yet.

2:00pm - Clearing Obstacles to Enable Operational Ease

A good idea for team members facing roadblocks external to the Scrum team is to connect and build relationships to ease decision making, alignment and approvals. It is then easier as a Scrum Master to dedicate your own time to build relationships and advocate the good intentions and priorities of your team to others. This could take the form of attending a “Scrum of Scrums” to listen to other team’s priorities and dependencies while sharing burdens and roadblocks. Or it could be as simple as having a coffee with someone responsible for the overall architecture/infrastructure of the supporting platform. This can ease the path to production, leading closer to continuous delivery.

3:00pm - Team Bonding Activity

Having a well-operating team is good but we often miss out on time to connect on a personal level outside of normal work activities. As a Scrum Master, you recognise the value of gameplay and deliberate learning, so team bonding activities will marry both of these nicely. Just a simple game played together to help reinforce existing bonds and create new ones between team members, plus lighten the relationships. On top of that, the group could learn huge insights on how they collaborate. Indeed, your team will naturally behave in the same way they normally do, perhaps in an amplified manner. So when it is time to debrief, highlight those behaviours so that the team can learn as a whole. This will also help your techniques as a facilitator.

4:00pm - Journaling

Journaling is a key exercise for a Scrum Master and has many benefits: personally taking perspective, enabling data gathering for further retrospectives or reporting, and keeping a qualitative track of the product and team’s evolution. By reviewing your journal, you may realise you have already tried something to solve a similar issue, or check how you previously facilitated an event, so you can use past positive experiences to improve the next event. This activity is encouraged for every Scrum Master as it also improves mindfulness and resilience. Executed as a habit, it can become really easy to take notes and recurring pictures to observe any situation evolving, such as taking a daily photo of the Scrum board.

5:00pm - Community Focus

Giving back deepens your learning. It is as well a genuine path for building a stronger community of practice for any organisation, either internally or externally. This is why, dedicating time to attend, connect and share is essential as a professional Scrum Master. You can even start your community if it doesn’t exist or join a group. It is essential to keep your passion at the front and the ego at the back. Do not hesitate to expose your thoughts, struggle and frustrations. Someone is surely experiencing the same or can expose his path. It is an easy way to get constructive feedback on how we work.

Other Responsibilities

Other things that you may attend to are listed below. Top priorities will be ensuring the team lives the Scrum Values and Agile Principles, and follow the processes and practices that the team have agreed. The rest will depend on the day. Here is a list of other things that the Scrum Master are responsible for:

  • Establishing an environment where the team can be effective

  • Addressing team dynamics

  • Ensuring a good relationship between the team and the Product owner as well as others outside the team

  • Protecting the team from outside interruptions and distractions.

Common Pitfalls

While being a Scrum Master can provide several benefits to the organisation, several problems arise from improper application of the role. This can include:

  • Assuming you can just do Scrum Events while using a command and control type leadership with Project Management activities and expect the team to be effective.

  • Asking someone to fill the Scrum Master role without any experience working in an agile or Scrum environment

  • Expecting the workload for a Scrum Master to be the same on every team irrespective of how long the team has worked together, and their understanding of Scrum.

Further Reading

For further inspiration, check out: 7 Attributes of a Great Scrum Master

RedAgile are Australia's leading Agile Scrum training provider certified by the Scrum Alliance. As Australia's best Scrum training provider we offer Agile Scrum training courses and consulting services both online and in-person. Our training portfolio includes: Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) as well as our new Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM) and Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO) courses.

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