Radiant – One Way To Describe The Effective ScrumMaster

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effective scrummaster information radiator
Photo courtesy of cwbuecheler via Creative Commons

One of the most popular courses offered by Braintrust Consulting Group trains one to become an effective ScrumMaster. While there are many duties and tasks that the ScrumMaster is responsible for, none are as important as those related to communication. It is crucial that the ScrumMaster has information readily on display for his team, his product owner, his customers and stakeholders, and for other interested parties. In Scrum, we use the phrase “information radiator” for this type of artifact. For this reason, I chose the word “radiant” to describe the effective ScrumMaster in this post.

In the post “A ScrumMaster’s Checklist” by Michael James, he makes several references to the need for effective information radiators at all levels. An information radiator is nothing more than a prominently displayed collection of information. By prominently displayed, I mean that someone who passes by the display cannot help but receive the information contained on the display. Just like the radiator pictured above, if you get close to it you will feel its effects. Interested parties don’t have to dig for information when information radiators are used effectively. Information radiators generally become part of the project artifact collection in Scrum.

In Scrum, several of the information radiators in use are:

  • The Scrum, or Kanban board
  • Burndown/burnup charts
  • Sprint backlog
  • Product backlog
  • Task lists
  • Estimates
  • Impediments and roadblocks

For an information radiator to be trusted and referenced, it must remain up to date. The effective ScrumMaster ensures that all of the information radiators related to his project remain current and accurate. Otherwise, the ScrumMaster, or worse the Team Members, waste time by providing up-to-date information when an inaccurate or outdated data point is uncovered. If this task isn’t taken seriously, then the ScrumMaster may as well take down the information radiators because nobody will use them.

The list above certainly isn’t all-inclusive. As the ScrumMaster becomes more adept at running Agile projects, they will begin to develop information radiators that meet their organizational needs. One way to identify these is to simply pay attention to the information being requested over and over. Another is to reference project artifacts from past successful projects. Or, you can simply ask other ScrumMasters in the organization what has worked for them in the past.

So what information radiators do you use in your shop? Do you feel like you’re doing a good job with these, or are you consistently asked for information and data that isn’t readily on display? If you’d like to learn how to be more “radiant” as a ScrumMaster, then let Braintrust be your guide. With our experienced team of Scrum coaches, Braintrust can both train new ScrumMasters in the Agile methodology or help experience ScrumMasters get better in their own practices and methodologies. Click on the Contact page to hear from one of our product specialists. Or, head over to the Services tab to find out more about our offerings.