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We recently started working with scrum on an new (large) project. I am a developer but do not take part in that project other than my role as scrum master.
I know about the software they use, but don't use most of their tools/languages myself.

When we made our first story point estimates we just raised fingers in an online session, then discussed the (high) estimates, and came to a consensus.

I 'accidentally' also gave an estimate.
Is this advisable?

The question Who should estimate user stories? is not specific about the part of the scrum master here.

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    I am a developer but do not take part in that project other than my role as scrum master. Do you want to act only as a Scrum Master, or do you want a piece of the development action, so to speak? :) In there lies your answer... – Bogdan Oct 25 at 19:37
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If you do development work in the sprint, you should estimate. If you don't, then it's better you skip on providing your own story points estimates.

You can help your team with information and advice, and support them to reach consensus, but you should let the people that do the work perform the estimates, otherwise you might be influencing them in one direction or another and then you won't have neck in the game when it comes to actually doing the work.

If the team appreciates your input and wants you to provide an estimate for user stories, that's fine, but it's better to focus more on your role as Scrum Master, and not create precedents that then can lead to you doing more in depth tech stuff and less Scrum Master"ing".

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  • What qualifies as "work"? Is facilitating scrum rituals work? Is taking care of blocks team is having work? Is helping Product Owner with back log work? – Andrew Savinykh Oct 26 at 19:32
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    @AndrewSavinykh: work as in development work, as in implementing the requirements of user stories. You estimate user stories. You do not estimate things like organizing the backlog, or facilitating scrum events, various meetings, etc., those take some time of the sprint but it's usually a fixed amount as many of them are time-boxed activities. – Bogdan Oct 26 at 20:23
  • @Bogdan Good explanation. If you're not writing code, you have no idea of the complexity or amount of work involved. A scrum master can hold up fingers, but unless they're coding it's not an estimate - it's a guess. – Don Branson Oct 26 at 20:49
  • If a scrum master who does no development work is asked this the best response is to point at the current teams past data about points and time. "Back in my day we'd have this knocked out in..." no. This isn't about what others can do. – candied_orange Oct 27 at 10:59
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The Scrum Guide says that the Development Team are responsible for all estimates. Where the SM isn't also a member of the dev team then it should be up to the team to what extent the SM participates. It's reasonable to contribute to estimation discussions if you have something useful to say but I would suggest you take a back seat so that the team feel that "the people who will perform the work make the final estimate".

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No, estimates should be done by whoever will be completing the work. The Scrum Master isn't necessarily a domain expert in all areas that the development team is working in, nor are they responsible for actually performing or completing the work.

The way that I've usually seen this done is to either have the dev team discuss it and vote on it, or to have whoever is assigned the work estimate it.

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Whether the Scrum Master should take part in the estimation process depends on whether s/he has valuable input. If s/he has the technical insight to take on tasks, s/he can go ahead. If not, then there is no point.

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