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How does the SM facilitate Development Team Decisions?

Last post 02:34 pm November 2, 2023 by Lance Vikaros
11 replies
09:28 pm December 10, 2016

On of the questions on the Open Assessment was :

What are the two primary ways a Scrum Master keeps a Development Team working at its highest level of productivity?

A)By facilitating Development Team decisions

B)By removing impediments that hinder the Development Team

C)By starting and ending the meetings at the proper time

D)By keeping high value features high in the Product Backlog

Answer is A & B.

Can the experts help me understand how does the SM facilitate Dev Team Decisions? In what ways?

My understanding is that the Dev team is Self Organising and Crossfunctional and can take its own decisions. So in what circumstances would the dev team not be able to take its own decisions and would need the SM to facilitate the decision for them?

02:27 pm December 12, 2016

The Scrum Master should be adept at generating discussion within the Development Team. Root-cause analysis, 5 why's, multiple solution discussions, etc. It is a lot like leading a horse to water, and hoping they will drink. Making observations around current team processes, technical debt, development practices, and helping guide the team both in understanding ways they can improve, and making decisions around such changes and possible improvement experiments.

It is extremely rare for a team to form and suddenly become self-organizing at the start. The Scrum Master should recognize where the team is on the Tuckman scale, and help them grow and mature.

09:56 am February 13, 2018


Please refer to the site :



The ScrumMaster role is unique, and some of its key expectations are:

  • The ScrumMaster is a facilitator.
  • The ScrumMaster is a coach.
  • The ScrumMaster helps the team remove impediments.
  • The ScrumMaster should follow the servant-leader style.
  • The ScrumMaster is the framework custodian.



A) By facilitating Development Team decisions

B) By removing impediments that hinder the Development Team

C) By starting and ending the meetings at the proper time

D) By keeping high value features high in the Product Backlog

Answer is A & B.

<Point 1> By removing impediments that hinder the Development Team - It is a one of the major activity of the Scrum Master. So B is one of the 2 ways.

<Point 2> By facilitating Development Team decisions.  [The Scrum Master is a facilitator] . So A is one of the 2 ways.

<Point 3> Project Backlog is totally managed by the Product Owner. So D is not correct.

<Point 4> By starting and ending the meetings at the proper time. It is not in the key expectation from the Scrum Master. So C is not correct.

11:45 am October 27, 2018

Do facilitating scrum events include organising scrum events for scrum team.. ? 

03:29 pm October 29, 2018

Tejas, I'd like to answer your question with another question: is there a difference between facilitating and organizing?

05:49 pm October 29, 2018

It's the scrum master's job to make sure those events take place.  They can facilitate or organize when needed, but their focus should be in making sure the events are held by the entire Scrum Team.


03:51 pm March 29, 2021

One question and answer in the assesment is: SM coaches Developers that Daily Scrum has 15minutes. By this optic looks answer "By starting and ending the meetings at the proper time" also right. ... hard to choose.

07:11 pm March 29, 2021

"How", is likely to differ from team to team and perhaps even situation to situation. But it all boils down to guiding the team to make their own decisions. Not answering the question for them, but lead them towards the answer by for instance asking them questions to get them thinking.

Instead of

-"We want to add an API, should we go with a binary one or a REST based one?"

-"Go with REST, it's easier to read" (or "Go with a binary one, it would yield better performance for large amounts of data")

you could have

-"We want to add an API, should we go with a binary one or a REST based one?"

-"Well, what do you feel are the requirements of the API to fill and what would be the benefit of the different approaches to reaching those requirements?"

To many people who feel they are in some kind of "leadership" position (which many mistake the Scrum Master role to be) feel an urge to "tell" people how to do something and many people working with/form someone like that often feel an urge to ask as soon as a problem/question pops up.

It takes dedication to refrain from answering (especially if you know the answer or think you know the best solution) and at the same time from the devs to refrain from always asking for a solution.

But navigating that and making the team successful at making their own decisions in these questions is part of what the facilitation of team decisions means.

10:38 pm March 29, 2021

@David - the role of the scrum master is only to coach, not to run the meeting.

Coach the developers with the observation: "your scrum went for 25 minutes today. Why do you think that is? What should change tomorrow to get it closer to 15 minutes?" 

rather than:


"OK team, that's 15 minutes. Back to your desk."

12:50 pm January 28, 2022

In the Scrum guide it is explicitly mentioned that Scrum Master ensures that all scrum events are kept within the timebox. So how is the answer "By starting and ending the meetings at the proper time" not correct? I find it quite contradictory.


Excerpt from the Scrum guide:

The Scrum Master serves the Scrum Team in several ways, including:

  • Coaching the team members in self-management and cross-functionality;

  • Helping the Scrum Team focus on creating high-value Increments that meet the Definition of Done;

  • Causing the removal of impediments to the Scrum Team’s progress; and,

  • Ensuring that all Scrum events take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox.


There is no implicit mention of facilitating Developer decision-making anywhere in the guide.

07:04 pm January 28, 2022

So how is the answer "By starting and ending the meetings at the proper time" not correct?

Because the Scrum Master would have to be at those meetings to start and end them.

A good Scrum Master would coach people to respect timeboxing themselves, and may be invisibly present. The Scrum Master does not need to be at the Daily Scrum for example, but ought to ensure it takes place, is positive, productive, and kept within the timebox of 15 minutes.

10:41 pm November 1, 2023

I agree with the objections here, and argue that this question is poorly designed/worded (as shown).

It sounds like the argument as to why answer A (facilitation of decisions) is considered correct is that it is being loosely interpreted to mean facilitation of decision-MAKING and not decisions.  Yet the wording shown literally means that scrum masters influence decisions, which violates how scrum masters are meant to facilitate/coach process and not outcomes. 

If answer A is to be considered correct shouldn't it be worded: "By coaching Developer decision-making." (with "coaching" allowing for facilitation of process outside of developer-only events...unlike "facilitating ... decisions" which suggests scrum masters be present during decision making in the same problematic way as the time management option).

And yes, scrum masters ensuring meetings start and end on time is also worded in a problematic way (suggesting a hierarchical management style and their presence even during developer only events), yet given a choice between violating decision making autonomy or mandating timeboxing, time management seems much more aligned with scrum master's accountability for ensuring Scrum event timeliness than impinging on teams "sole discretion" over developer decisions.

And I'd also argue against the Socratic method Daniel offers, as an indirect way of influencing decision making.  Facilitating effective decision making seems much more aligned with the 2nd alternative he suggests, ""Well, what do you feel are the requirements of the API to fill and what would be the benefit of the different approaches to reaching those requirements?"  While the 1st suggestion, "We want to add an API, should we go with a binary one or a REST based one?" implies the speaker has the developer expertise to know that there are only two possible options or might be trying to force the decision into a false constraint (which is violating the scrum masters impartiality either way....unless they were invited to act as a developer by the developers...which the scrum guide allows for).

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