The ScrumMaster's Discretionary Budget
by Joe Justice
During the daily standup meeting, the ScrumMaster records the blocking issues team members raise by writing them down as tasks on their impediment backlog (or placing them as impediments on the team backlog). That helps keep the standup on track by avoiding discussing the block until after standup is completed, and then letting team members opt in to that conversation.
What are the ScrumMaster's resources for bulldozing those road blocks so they can report back to the team during their standup the next day?
The ScrumMaster makes the waste generated by the block visible. If it is in their power to unblock it, they do -- typically they have a petty cash budget to buy tools (a WiFi router, a coffee maker, a set of screwdrivers) or small items when the team needs them. This is totally different than the operating budget, which the product owner wields. Tasks they do not have the resources to unblock, they make visible to those who can -- like the product owner, or stakeholders, or any organization above that. By showing the waste created by the block, the person with the resources to solve it can take that task into their backlog and prioritize it against the rest of their work.