42 Tasks for a Scrum Master’s Job

Questions like the following are coming up quite often when I do Scrum training or coaching:

Why should the Scrum Master and Project Manager roles be filled different people? (Quora)

Will a scrum master for a team of 10 be a full time position or can a programmer fill this position if highly trained in agile planning? (Quora)

Behind those questions is the assumption that the Scrum Master is not a full time role. The askers of those questions conjecture that you save money by merging two roles or by placing the duty of the two roles on a single person.

The questions are asked by Scrum master beginners, by product owners, by team members, by managers, by stakeholders of any kind. From the three roles in Scrum, everyone seems to immediately grasp that being a team member is a full time job – because she develops software all day – and that being a product owner is a full time job – because he develops the product all day -, but it seems far beyond imagination what a Scrum master’s job could be and why the heck that would be a full time job, too.

Maybe those who ask don’t know what it is that a Scrum Master does all day long?

Here’s a list of 42 things I’d say are part of a Scrum masters job:


  • Facilitating meetings for the team. This includes:
    • preparing
    • moderation
    • postprocessing
  • Holding retrospectives. Retrospectives are special meetings, therefore I count them separately.

Team Dynamics

  • Coaching team members (e.g. with one-on-one coachings).
  • Mediating through conflicts.
  • Helping the team to make decisions.
  • Fostering the developer team’s self-organisation.
  • Mediating the general conflict of goals between development team (high technical quality) and product owner (more features).


  • Continuing learning regarding everything Agile (e.g. visit user groups, attend conferences, read books, write blogs, etc.).
  • Consulting team members regarding everything Agile.
  • Helping the team to create information radiators.
  • Giving feedback to the team.
  • Encouraging the use of Agile Engineering Practices within the development team (this is a huge field to spent a Scrum Master’s time in, including e.g. one click releases, continuous delivery, feature flags, and many more).
  • Challenge team with Agile management innovations (e.g. FedEx-Days).
  • Exchanging constantly with other Scrum masters in the organisation (e.g. through community of practice).
  • Doing Gemba Walks.


  • Helping to write or split user stories.
  • Helping to write or adapt product visions.
  • Helping to order product backlog items.
  • Helping with the release planning.
  • Being familiar with the team’s work (i.e. the product).

Big Picture

  • Bringing people together who should talk to each other.
  • Keeping in touch with every stakeholder regularly.
  • Helping the team to report to management.
  • Helping to further the Agile community within the organisation.
  • Organizing exchange events like Open Spaces or World Cafés for the team, its stakeholders, and its organisation.
  • Sharing insights throughout the company (micro-blogging, blogging, internal conferences, etc.).
  • Being a contact person for everyone in the team and their stakeholders regarding Agile.
  • Giving learning opportunities to people in the organization (e.g. talks or workshops) and letting them learn important Agile concepts like e.g. technical debt.



  • Reflecting Agile and Scrum values to the team.
  • Reminding the team of their arrangements (e.g. policies).
  • Helping the team to continuously improve their process.
  • Reflecting issues to the team through observation from outside of the team.
  • Asking open questions.
  • Checking all the models the team uses (e.g. Sprint backlog, metrics, etc.) and show them differences between the model and the real world.


  • Helping the team to keep focus (e.g. by acting as a buffer between external distractions and the team).
  • Helping the team to maintain their Scrum tools (Story board, Action board, charts, backlogs, etc.).
  • Helping team and product owner to find a suitable

You’ve done and/or considered everything mentioned above? Take a break, you must be exhausted.

We believe the Scrum Master is a full-time position for one person on one Scrum team — ScrumMaster Manifesto (not online anymore)
Other sources I find helpful in this context are:

[Update: Check out the great addition from Bob Marshall in the comments.]

This entry was posted in General and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

About Bernd Schiffer

Bernd Schiffer is consultant, trainer and coach for Agile Software Development in Melbourne, Australia. Learn more about him on his personal homepage, have a look at his company Bold Mover, or contact him on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, XING or LinkedIn.

86 Responses to 42 Tasks for a Scrum Master’s Job

  1. Tom Howlett says:

    It’s a great list. I think when a team is new to Scrum its a very intensive job but once the team is self organising well I prefer to step back whenever I can and get on with some development. After 4 years of being a Scrummaster on the same team I now spend less than an hour a day on these tasks although the team is still moving forward.

    • Interesting. I never would advice a scrum master to be part of one and the same team for more than 2 years. I doubt that she could still have the “perspective from outside in” to challenge the team and kick it out of its comfort zone from time to time.

  2. Pierre Neis says:

    This is a good work, well done Bernd.

    Some of the topics aren’t attending my vision on a ScrumMaster (e.g. Michael James: A ScrumMaster’s Checklist needs to be updated).
    +1 for the Scrum Master Manifesto : I didn’t know it.

    Well done


  3. Some teach that SM role should be temporary. I agree ;-> as soon as ***change is reduced to zero*** (inside and outside the team) then an experienced team might be able organise their meetings, their learning, their communications, cross-team co-ordination, assumptions, habits, obstacles, conflicts… and still get the software done.

    Oh, but if there is ***no change*** you can go back to Waterfall, too! Soooo much more *efficient* ROFL

  4. Paul Goddard says:

    This blog post makes me happy. Thanks Bernd.

    I have always maintained that whilst the focus of the purpose changes with the team over time, the job still exists in a full-time capacity. Someone else also made a good point recently that as the team becomes more productive using Scrum the impediments potentially become bigger, more challenging to the company, not just the team.

    Too many people start out as ScrumMasters thinking it’s a just “process control” and fail to get the true spirit of Scrum into the team.

  5. Bob Marshall says:

    An excellent list.

    I would add one further category, that of “psychology”, with elements like:
    o Envisioning the future (how the team wants the work to work, next month, next year, …)
    o Building and articulating a common goal (aka common purpose) for the team (which may morph or change from time to time)
    o Surfacing team values and ethos
    o Helping everyone inside AND outside the team understand the role of mindset in team performance
    o Helping the team improve its social skills, especially wrt constructive conversations.

    (Maybe some overlap with some other items in other categories).

    And also one other key element missing(?) from your items (can’t immediately see the best category for it):
    o Keeping the team together: protecting the team as a cohesive unit (e.g. from other parts of the business wanting to poach people, or people’s time), even from complete dissolution (aka tear-down)

    – Bob @FlowchainSensei

  6. Pingback: Why Invest in Scrum Masters

  7. Frank Klosek says:

    This is a great summary, focussing on all the aspects and not just keeping the Scrum basics.

    ScrumMasters losad is not just :

    load = nDays*15min + nSprints*(Retro+Planning) hours


  8. Pingback: Scrum Posts November 2011 | Dominik Müller-Kunad

  9. Sharna Sammy says:

    I am on an Agile journey – new to it, but totally engrossed in it. This is one of the most useful and constructive Agile info I have received – and all within just this one blog story. Many, many thanks! I WILL be using this info to add to my Agile journey :)

    • Thanks for the kind feedback. On second thought, it’s not surprising that you found something for your Agile journey on my Agile trail, right :D

  10. Pingback: Scrum Master Activity Board | Intégration continue

  11. roberto says:

    The scrum master has to be a different person from Product Owner. This is obvious! Otherwise we have the old style command-control project manager (or boss!)
    But is very difficult that a company (expecially in Italy) agrees to have one person not productive (they have too many people in burocracy and a lot of boss-lovers in PR!!!)
    However is more easy to put a SM like a team member (the rules of Scrum allow it) and the SM has more priority in doing her/his 42 Tasks than his developement tasks.
    If you start with strong rules, you will defeated. You have to introduce rules step by step. This for the old slow fearful greedy treacherous italy

    • Thanks for your thoughts, roberto. I disagree about you saying that the Scrum Master is “one person not productive”. See the 42 reasons above.
      If those 42 reasons are not enough for a full time job, then I would recommend to introduce a team member as a Scrum Master crosswise, i.e. team member in team A is Scrum Master in team B and vice versa. If you have a team member as a Scrum Master in the same team, you’d end up with lots of conflicts of goals within this one person, e.g. e would have huge difficulties to remain neutral as a facilitator for the team.

  12. Pingback: Retrospective: 42 Tasks for a Scrum Master | RENEMT_DE

  13. Hello Bernd,
    This post is great! I’ve translated it into french :
    42 tâches qui font partie du boulot de Scrum Master
    Regards, Fabrice

  14. Pingback: On the challenges of being one Scrum Master among others | Agile In Berlin

  15. Pingback: James Snape

  16. Pingback: 42 Tasks for a Scrum Master’s Job | James Snape

  17. Adityag says:

    It looks one of the most useful site for Agile & CSM.
    I am new in Agile and have a query — Is Scrum (or any other methodology) is necessary to learn for understanding in Agile?

  18. Pingback: The Insufficiency of Scrum is a fallacy

  19. Mohammad says:

    How Scrum Master is different than a release manager? Can a release manager be a good Scrum Master?

    • Hi Mohammad.

      In my experience: no, a release manager cannot be a good Scrum Master. The release managers I know have at least two responsibilities that hinders being a good Scrum Master: a) also being a line manager, and b) being responsible for everything technical to deliver software. While a is in conflict with servant leadership and that the Scrum Master has no power to direct, b interferes with the Dev Team’s responsibility for everything technical.

      To give a more sophisticated answer it certainly would be helpful to be clear about what a release manager is from your point of view.


  20. Ian Lamb says:

    Great post, but I disagree that in every case SM is a full-time job. On small teams of 4-5 it doesn’t take 100% of your time to do the SM tasks, and I think it’s a good thing if you still do some development work. I believe the SM is really just a member of the team that plays the role of facilitator, meaning the really important tasks first and foremost are resolving blockers and acting as buffer. Really your job is to keep the team moving along at their maximum velocity.

    A lot of the things you listed are great if you have the time, but in certain company/department structures the people management tasks are done by project managers. And I think freeing up your time to do some development keeps you more in touch with how the team is doing and what they’re working on, allowing you to perform your primary role better in my opinion.

    Anyway, just some food-for-thought. Scrum is different at every company depending on the structure and other factors, so the role of SM will vary greatly.

    • Hey Ian, thanks! Well, I’m glad that it works for you the way you described. There are always exceptional environments. What you describe, though, is from MPOV different to Scrum in crucial ways: the SM is not part of the dev team, hence he can’t take over dev work; there are no project managers in Scrum; there aren’t event projects in Scrum; the SM doesn’t need to code with the team to be in touch, on the contrary, it prevents the team from having an outside perspective, something which is immensely important for a Scrum team. Changing the environmental conditions for the SM role, I totally understand how you came to the conclusion that it’s not a full-time job. Why you would change the conditions for the SM role in the first place, well that’s a different topic though…

  21. Pingback: What does a Scrum Master do?

  22. Pingback: ScrumMaster in need, part-time | Markus Gärtner

  23. Pingback: Do you know how many tasks has to do an Scrum master | Coaching Agile Teams

  24. Cihan YILMAZ says:

    Hey Bernd,

    Great post, thanks a lot for this much effort.

    I translated it into Turkish and published it at my website.

    “Scrum Koçunun 42 Görevi”

    I hope this is okay for you.

  25. Pingback:  Hvad laver en Scrum Master? Del 1: Samarbejdet med POen | Therese Hansen

  26. Willem-Jan Ageling says:

    Even after 3 years this article is still found by new readers like me :-)

    Great article. I have seen it happen that organization banished Scrum because it doesn’t work. Reason: the Scrum Master(s) need to service 3 or more teams. And this during introduction of the framework…

    • Great to read that you got some value out of this. Yes, I’ve seen exhausted Scrum Masters and under-coached teams over and over again. Feeling with you here!

  27. Hi Bernd,
    thanks for your really helpful summary and I fully agree that the ScrumMaster role is a full time job considering all perspectives. At least in the starting phase for a team and guiding it to become a high performant team. As mentioned I created a Whiteboard Animation based on your list available at . Maybe it’s useful to transfer the message to team members and management asking what this role is about.

  28. Pingback: Managing Agile Teams with Project Managers | Technology One Unplugged.

  29. Pingback: The ScrumMaster role – is it REALLY full time? | Growing Agile

  30. Pingback: Five Things a Full-Time Scrum Master Should Do

  31. Pingback: Is Scrum Master a full-time job?

  32. myrtokamen says:

    I never realized how many thinks a Scrum Master does all day long, until this article hit me. Indeed, I have been doing all of these things (apart from the FedEx days) and I was exhausted. I have been teaching this article to new Scrum Master trainees in our organization for quite some time now. It’s very helpful to see the tasks grouped under these categories. Many thanks for this great resource!

  33. Pingback: The Pair-Coaching Domino Game | Agile Coffee

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

  35. Anubhuti says:

    Thanks for nice summary of ScrumMaster’s responsibilities.
    I have often come across people (Managers) stating that building team’s competency is also SM’s resposibility. Also, that SM should identify where competency gaps are there in the team and should work along with the managers to create training plans for individuals.
    I have also been told that since we have SM for a team, we do not need managers and hence all responsibilities lie with SM alone.
    This is different from what I have learnt in SM workshops and tranings.

  36. Pingback: What’s Wrong With Scrum? | Ka anyi kwuo okwu (Let's Talk)

  37. Pingback: OnTheAgilePath – Watch the new Scribe video describing the Role of an Agile Coach/ScrumMaster as (DE)

  38. Aniket Mhala says:

    Great article. It gives the perfect picture of Scrum Master Responsibilities. I have seen during my coaching, most of the time Scrum Master struggles to get their jobs done on daily basis and specifically resolving the tough impediments. In such case, the responsibility of Scrum Master is to escalate the impediment based on its severity and agile of not resolution so that there would not be major impact on the Iteration planned delivery.

    Scrum Master has to show the courage in the face of fear. He has to work with team, Product Owner to ensure that there is a balance between the Quality of Working Software and Speed of the delivery. Building Quality working software should not take long time because of poor practice implementation and Frequency of Releases and Deployments should not impact the quality of working software.

    Hence the main responsibility of the scrum master is to work with team to balance the momentum between QUALITY and SPEED on continual basis. Off course he must take help of experienced agile coach on his agile journey for better outcomes.

  39. Pingback: Scrum Master Role

  40. Sachin Girkar says:

    Thanks for the wonderful post.
    I am beginning my journey in Scrummaster Role. So this article is helpful to me.

  41. Desi says:

    Awesome! Unfortunately, many decision makers still believe scrum master role is not a full time role and scrum masters are expected to replace either project managers or delivery managers or technical managers. That’s one of the reasons, many organizations do not use designation “scrum master” for the role of a scrum master; rather they prefer to call that person an “Iteration Manager” or “Agile Project Manager”.

  42. Chris says:

    If a team has a full time product owner and a full time scrum master what are the IT project manager responsibilities?

  43. Pingback: Agile Scrum Master Job Description

  44. I love this list really. It really conveys the depth of the role unlike any description I know. Inspired by your example, I tried to write own up for the role of Agile Coach, a role which has been emerging in the market in the past couple of year: http://www.sprintzero.nl/2016/09/15/28-tasks-of-an-agile-coach/.

    Keep up the good work!

  45. Pingback: Scrum Master Role Everything What All Scrum Masters Need to Know

  46. Pingback: Tasks of an Agile Coach as poster – as promised in 2015 – OnTheAgilePath

  47. Pingback: Animated role overview Agile Coach/ScrumMaster (EN) – Whiteboard Animation Video – OnTheAgilePath

  48. Ranjith says:

    Hi Bernd,

    Thanks for a wonderful article on what all areas that SM could pitch in and bring value to the team. Unfortunately, it has become a trend nowadays in some companies to have a team member playing dual role – say a Business analyst playing a SM role. I really doubt if anyone could do justice to both the roles and as you have mentioned in one of your responses, there would definitely be Conflict of Interest. Moreover, the tasks that you mentioned in “Learning” area is truly a long-time and continuous mission that SM should undertake to provide value to the team. Scrum Master, in my work places, have been predominantly “ritualistic” without any learning and sharing of experiences with the team. This trend has to change.

  49. Really great post!!

  50. Canckaitis says:

    Awesome, thanks!! Love when you point out the 2 year best practice, need for the outside perspective, and the soft skill related tasks that you need time and skill for. FYI I’ve actually heard of the team rotating the role of SM, “this sprint you’ll act as SM.”

    Is it really usually the SM that’s the key person to communicate with Stakeholders or instead is the SM usually the key contact for the Product Owner then the PO is the key contact for the Stakeholders (updates, expectations, understanding, etc)?

    • In general, all three Scrum roles (SM, PO, Dev) should have contact with stakeholders. The whole Scrum team should have a very good understanding of the customer, and that requires direct contact. However, since the PO is responsible for the business success of the product, she has to be most aware of the customer’s needs and therefore is often the role with the most contact with the customer.

  51. Pingback: Dobre Ideje Četvrtkom #1 – Scrum, Kniberg o PO, Deming i još ponešto. – todo | doing | done

  52. Divya E says:

    Hi Bernd,

    I am HR recruiter, And i got Scrum master position to fulfilling.. It is really very useful to know what is Scrum master. After reading when i spoke with Scrum Master they though i am a technical panel. Greatful message.

  53. Tom says:

    hey! scrumamanifesto link is redirecting to some bad / virus website!

  54. Pingback: How Many Scrum Teams | Agile Folks

  55. Pingback: 42 Aufgaben für einen Scrum Master. Zweiundvierzig!! - Ich werde Coach in Köln ...

  56. Ahmed Soliman says:

    Well put

  57. Pingback: Wie wird man eigentlich Scrum Master? – HR Themen und mehr

  58. Pingback: Everything You Need To Know About What Is A Scrum Master

  59. TYRA says:

    nice artikel, thankyu for information

  60. Pingback: List of 42 task for a scrum Master – ThoughtArchive

  61. Nuno Dias says:

    I’m new on this field. I’m working on a big SW company. The company now have a new team regarding with Data Science projects. The oldest team are dealing with SW development. And I’m a person that like to observe and I studied for that. In the oldest team the Scrum Master is the most senior of the project and have development tasks too. But on the Data Science team the Scrum Master don’t do anything because the team started the project without a Scrum Master. So all members of the team are able to schedule meetings, do the maintenance of Jira, reserve meeting rooms, have meetings with the Product Owner (is a person in the client’s side) and directly with the Business Unit. The elements of the team are all Data Scientist and they define the strategies together with the PO and develop a methodology of the work. But the SC have a huge salary. It’s my dream, being SC and have a huge salary and do secretary tasks and psychology job as a coach. It is amazing being coach (without a coaching course) and a SC (without technical knowledge) but say for every one that without a SC the project don’t flow and for that I have a huge salary. It needs to be re-thinking.

  62. merry says:

    nice post, thank you

  63. Pingback: 42 tareas para un sm scrum master responsabilidades

  64. Pingback: Tareas de un Scrum Master – marcoviaweb

  65. Pingback: Cosas a realizar en el trabajo como Scrum Master – marcoviaweb

Leave a Reply to Sebastian Radics Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *