ScrumMaster Checklist Digital - TEMPLATE
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An Example Checklist for ScrumMasters
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Michael James
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(mj4scrum@gmail.com)
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14 September 2007
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(Revised 2 Feb 2016)
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A Full Time Facilitator?
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An adequate ScrumMaster can handle two or three teams at a time. If you're content to limit your role to
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organizing meetings, enforcing timeboxes, and responding to the impediments people explicitly report, you can
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get by with part time attention to this role. The team will probably still exceed the baseline, pre-Scrum expectation
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at your organization, and probably nothing catastrophic will happen.
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But if you can envision a team that has a great time accomplishing things no one previously thought possible,
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within a transformed organization, consider being a great ScrumMaster.
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A great ScrumMaster can handle one team at a time.
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We recommend one dedicated ScrumMaster per team of about seven when starting out.
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If you haven't discovered all the work there is to do, tune in to your Product Owner, your team, your team's
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engineering practices, and the organization outside your team. While there's no single prescription for everyone,
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I've outlined typical things I've seen ScrumMasters overlook. Please mark each box with √, ∆, ?, or N/A, as
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described on the last page.
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Part I -- How Is My Product Owner Doing?
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ScrumMasters improve Product Owner effectiveness by helping them find ways to maintain the Product Backlog
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and release plan. (Note that the Product Owner is the one responsible for the prioritized backlog.)
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Is the Product Backlog prioritized according to his/her latest thinking?
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Are requirements and desirements from all stakeholders captured in the Product Backlog? Remember: the
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backlog is emergent.
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Is the Product Backlog a manageable size? To maintain a manageable number of items, keep things more
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granular towards the top, with general epics at the bottom. It's counterproductive to overanalyze too far past
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the top of the Product Backlog. Your requirements will change in an ongoing conversation between the
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developing product and the stakeholders/customers.
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Could any requirements (especially those near the top of the Product Backlog) be better expressed as
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independent, negotiable, valuable, estimable, small, and testable user stories¹?
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Have you educated your Product Owner about technical debt and how to avoid it? One piece of the puzzle
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may be to write automated test and refactoring into the definition of "done" for each backlog item.
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Is the backlog an information radiator, immediately visible to all stakeholders?
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If you're using an automated tool for backlog management, does everyone know how to use it easily?
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Automated management tools introduce the danger of becoming information refrigerators without active
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radiation from the ScrumMaster.
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¹ http://xp123.com/articles/invest-in-good-stories-and-smart-tasks/
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Can you help radiate information by showing everyone printouts?
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Can you help radiate information by creating big visible charts?
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Have you helped your Product Owner organize backlog items into appropriate releases or priority groups?
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Does everyone know whether the release plan still matches reality? You might try showing everyone Product/
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Release Burndown Charts² after the items have been acknowledged as “done” during every Sprint Review
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Meeting. Charts showing both the rate of PBIs actually completed and new ones added allow early discovery
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of scope/schedule drift.
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Did your Product Owner adjust the release plan after the last Sprint Review Meeting? The minority of Product
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Owners who ship adequately tested products on time re-plan the release every Sprint. This probably requires
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deferring some work for future releases as more important work is discovered.
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Part II -- How Is My Team Doing?
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While you are encouraged to lead by the example of collaborating with team members on their work, there is a
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risk you will get lost in technical tasks. Consider your primary responsibilities to the team:
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Is your team in the state of flow? Some characteristics of this state³:
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• Clear goals (expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable, aligning appropriately with
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one's skill set and abilities).
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• Concentration and focus, a high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention.
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• A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness, the merging of action and awareness.
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• Direct and immediate feedback (successes and failures in the course of the activity are apparent, so that
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behavior can be adjusted as needed).
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• Balance between ability level and challenge (the activity is neither too easy nor too difficult).
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• A sense of personal control over the situation or activity.
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• The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action.
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Do team members seem to like each other, goof off together, and celebrate each other's success?
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Do team members hold each other accountable to high standards, and challenge each other to grow?
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Are there issues/opportunities the team isn't discussing because they're too uncomfortable?⁴
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Have you tried a variety of formats and locations for Sprint Retrospective Meetings?⁵
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Has the team kept focus on Sprint goals? Perhaps you should conduct a mid-Sprint checkup to re-review the
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acceptance criteria of the Product Backlog Items committed for this Sprint.
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² Mike Cohn, Agile Estimation and Planning. (2005).
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³ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990).
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