The Rules of Scrum: All people outside the team know that it is the ScrumMaster’s job to shield the team from interruptions

A ScrumMaster is an individual who both guides and protects the Scrum Team. One of the ways that the ScrumMaster protects the Scrum Team is by shielding it from interruptions. The interruptions that the ScrumMaster cares about stopping are those that are from outside the team when they are in a Sprint. Most interruptions are not related to the team’s current work and need to be blocked by the ScrumMaster so that the team will be able to focus on its current goal: the Sprint and its Product Backlog Items. All of the stakeholders of the team need to be aware that the ScrumMaster is responsible for blocking these interruptions. This awareness creates a freedom for the ScrumMaster to do this very difficult part of the job in a way that is transparent and effective. If the stakeholders are not aware of this part of the job, then they may become upset when interruptions are blocked or find ways around the ScrumMaster to get interruptions to specific team members. If the team is not aware that this is the ScrumMaster’s job, they may feel trapped, may lose hope in the Scrum process, may take on the work themselves (which will be too much for them since they are responsible for the execution of the Sprint goal), feel unsafe which could lead to hiding obstacles (which causes waste and delays), and it may even cause Team Members to accept interruptions as normal which will create an environment where interruptions and unrelated requests become widespread. All of these negatives effects and many more can be solved by the organization knowing that the ScrumMaster’s job is to shield the team from interruptions.

To learn more about a ScrumMasters duties, visit the Scrum team Assessment.

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