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Should a Scrum Master participate in the Retrospective?

A common question that teams new to Scrum ask is who should be at the Sprint retrospective. This even is one of the five critical events in Scrum. So you need to do it right and have the correct people there. This article will thus answer the important question of should a Scrum master participate in the Retrospective. The answer might not surprise you but make sure to read and understand why!

What is the sprint retrospective?

Sprint Retrospective is one of the five events in the Scrum framework. (If you want advice on how to do good retros, make sure to check out this famous book). It happens at the end of the sprint, usually after the sprint review. (I really like to have the retrospective after the sprint review. That’s because there are sometimes things that come up in the sprint review that the team might want to discuss in the retrospective).

As you might know, the purpose of the sprint review is for the team (and stakeholders) to inspect the product they have built. And discuss what changes they might like to make. Well, the sprint retrospective is a chance for the team to inspect itself!

Should a Scrum Master participate in the retrospective?

Scrum Masters should surely participate in the Scrum team sprint retrospective!

The Scrum Guide (go read it here if you haven’t already) is very clear on this. The Sprint Retrospective is for the Scrum team. And the Scrum Team consists of the Developers, the Product Owner, and the Scrum Master!

So it is pretty clear that the Scrum Master should participate in the retrospective.

Just be sure not to get confused with the Scrum Team versus the Development Team. People used to get that mixed up a lot. So they got rid of that distinction in the 2021 update to the Scrum Guide.

There used to be this idea of a “sub-team” within the Scrum Team, the Development Team. Which just consisted of the Developers.

People would sometimes get mixed up between the teams. Which might have led them to believe that the Scrum Master wasn’t welcome at the Retrospective. If they thought the retro was just for the Development team.

So to get rid of this confusion, there is no more Development Team, just the Scrum Team. And that definitely includes the Scrum Master.

Why does the Scrum Master need to participate in the retrospective?

You might think it is a bit strange that the Scrum Master participates in the retrospective. Isn’t it for the developers to find better ways of working?

Well yes. But it’s not just about that. It’s about finding new ways to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the team.

The Scrum Master is accountable for the effectiveness of the team. They should really have a lot of experience, ideas and knowledge about Scrum. They should be good at facilitating a retrospective. They should be good at noticing and considering ideas for improvement.

Now of course, the retrospective shouldn’t just be the Scrum Master telling the team what to do. That’s not a proper retro. And that’s not building the confidence, courage and empowerement of the team.

But the Scrum Master should definitely be there. To help the retro happen and to result in real benefits and changes.

So make sure your Scrum Master is attending the retrospective. Or you could be missing out on some big advantages.


In summary, the Scrum Master should particpate in the retrospective. They are a core part of the Scrum team and have a big role to play in the retrospective. So make sure they are there and adding value.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this matter? Let me know in the comments! I would be happy to discuss further.

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