Scrum methodology is widely used in the information technology (IT) industry for the purposes of team-based iterative software development. However, limited studies have been conducted to explore the nature of interactions between a Scrum Master and other team members and the effect of these interactions on team effectiveness. The aim of this study is to understand the interactions between the Scrum Master and other team members in an educational setting and propose and demonstrate an application of cooperative game theory for the same. Cooperative game theory can model scenarios where other team members can benefit from cooperating. Through the lens of the cooperative game-theoretic model, we investigated the strategies employed by the Scrum Master and other team members when involved in a semi-capstone IT project. Specifically, the study explored the team interaction between a Scrum Master and other team members at three different levels of team effectiveness: least effective, partially effective, and most effective. Our results indicate that a Scrum Master should be active to maximize their payoff as well as the teams’ overall payoff. Contrary to this, other team members should be active
in the most and partially effective teams, while being passive
in the least effective teams at higher costs of interpersonal relations and the processes. The results of the study represent a novel application of game-theoretic modeling for understanding the Scrum Master and other team member interactions. These results are applicable not just in an educational setting but also to the wider area of software development by identifying the right set of strategies by the Scrum Master, and other team members in order to help IT professionals to maximize their payoff.
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