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Is the Scrum Master responsible for creating reporting on behalf of the development team to drive continuous improvement?

I currently do this, and use that as a basis to improve processes.

Other Scrum Masters however prefer to get the team to solutionize the problem at retrospectives and run work shops.

What is the right approach?

  • Can you shed a little light on this "reporting"? Who do you report to and how does that improve CI? – nvoigt Jun 3 at 11:38
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    reporting to articulate bottlenecks that the team cannot resolve with the view of driving organizational change. – bobo2000 Jun 3 at 12:49
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I would start by asking: What is the report and who is it for?

There's no singular right answer - I don't think it's safe to say that "the Scrum Master should create all reports on behalf of the development team" or "the Scrum Master should create no reports on behalf of the development team".

A Scrum Team contains three roles - Product Owner, Development Team, and the Scrum Master who provides services to these other roles. The Scrum Team also exists in the context of an organization, and the Scrum Master also provides services to the organization. These services tend to include ensuring common understanding, teaching or building methods and practices, teaching agility (and the Scrum framework), facilitation of events, removal of impediments to success, and improving the productivity of the teams and organizations. Producing reports isn't one of the defined services, but assisting in or removing impediments to creating reports does fall squarely into the realm of the Scrum Master.

However, depending on what the report is, the Scrum Master may be the best person to write it, based on their knowledge, experience, and insight. Generally, reports should be written by the person closest to the information and with the most knowledge. That may or may not be the Scrum Master.

  • If the Scrum Master is not required to do reporting then what is the point of the role? Just seems to be a glorified secretary making sure meetings are happening. – bobo2000 Jun 5 at 6:36
  • @bobo2000 A Scrum Master is not a secretary at all and should be doing far more than "making sure meetings are happening". Anyone in a coaching role should make sure that meetings are happening, but should also explain why the meetings are happening and teach the team a number of effective ways to run each of the various meetings so that the goals are met and that the team's time is respected. Coaching happens at an individual, team, and organizational level. This role is an expert and an adviser in the various methods and practices a team can use to achieve the work. – Thomas Owens Jun 5 at 9:14
  • An expert in setting up meetings, running workshops, coaching the team how to do this by teaching them how to follow an agenda? A PA/secretary can do that. What a secretary can't do is create meaningful statistical reporting to influence complex organizational change articulating pain points.This is what Senior management needs and often complains there is a lack of. – bobo2000 Jun 5 at 12:19
  • @bobo2000 This is getting off-topic, so perhaps you have more questions about the role of Scrum Master (or similar roles), but a secretary is not an expert in lean and agile methods, nor does one need the expertise in both the business domain and the technical disciplines used in the design and delivery of the product and/or services provided by the team and organization. If you think that coaching and facilitation is reporting, you are very mistaken and I believe you need a better understanding of the core lean and agile fundamentals. – Thomas Owens Jun 5 at 13:18
  • Why does a Scrum Master need to be an expert in business and technical disciplines when all they are doing is setting up meetings? Surely those attending and participating in these meetings are the one's who are the experts? Also core lean and agile is not hard to learn, one can learn it in an hour after reading the Scrum guide. – bobo2000 Jun 5 at 13:36
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Is the Scrum Master responsible for creating reporting on behalf of the development team to drive continuous improvement?

There is nothing in the Scrum Guide that says the Scrum Master is responsible for reporting. Reporting isn't mentioned under any of the other roles either.

This would suggest that reporting (if required) is owned by the whole Scrum team.

The Scrum Master as a member of the Scrum team may end up doing some reporting. However, it should be clear that this is not a responsibility of their role, just an agreement within the team as to who does the reporting.

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What is the right approach?

I don't think they are alternatives, they are logical, sequential steps of escalation.

First the team should try to find a solution in a retrospective or workshop. If it's clear a solution cannot be found inside the team, it becomes an impediment. At that point, it needs to be reported higher up the chain and I think the Scrum Master is well suited to make sure the team speaks "with one voice". The Scrum Master is also able to follow up without impeding the development work and able to ask for suggestions from the other team's Scrum Masters on how they solved that problem for their team in their own Guilds or Tribes or whatever you want to call it.

So it's not one or the other. It's both. Team first, reporting up second.

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1 of the 4 values of Agile is

Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation

Reporting of any kind - physical or electronic - is a form of project documentation. It was observed that enormous amounts of time were spent on documenting the product for development. The list of such documents for example Technical specifications, technical requirements, technical prospectus, interface design documents, test plans, documentation plans was extensive and was a cause for the long delays in development.

Hence Agile Manifesto values documentation, but it values working software more. Agile does not eliminate documentation, but it streamlines it in a form that gives the developer what is needed to do the work.

As stated by others there is nothing specified in scrum guide to clearly tell who is supposed to do project reporting & hence its very important to know the whole context behind the need of Reporting - following are some key questions to consider

  1. what exactly are you reporting?
  2. Who is asking for such reporting?
  3. Are they not part of SCRUM team?

During any of your scrum retrospective meeting - you as a SM can bring this topic to brainstorm above points, uncover the need of such reporting, see if any gaps in team collaboration & communication etc.

And then as a SCRUM team you should be able to define who is supposed to reporting if needed after retrospection.

  • Lol , how can you measure productivity or articulate pain points without statistical reporting? One of the biggest complaints I have heard from a lack of reporting is not understanding the above. – bobo2000 Jun 5 at 6:33
  • @bobo2000 for the productivity measurements there are tools such as burn down chart & team velocity - those can help how team is progressing. For pain points discussion - sprint review & retrospective events can be used. That is what I mentioned in my post as 1 of the options. – AADProjectManagement Jun 6 at 2:39
  • So who reports status of burn down chart to external stakeholders? – bobo2000 Jun 6 at 10:26
  • @bobo2000 at least in my team - no one. There is centralized dashboard created by the Scrum team, using IBM's RTC tool & 1 of the artifacts it shows is burn down chart. As team update their task in sprint, this dashboard gets updated with latest data. Any stakeholder who wants to see the current status of the sprint/release - they can visit this dashboard & see burn down chart along with other useful info. such as defect details, identified risks, impediments team is facing etc. – AADProjectManagement Jun 6 at 11:01

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