Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Mythical Scrum Master

I´m seeing many job posts requesting for Scrum Masters for all type of companies. Seems like more and more Scrum Masters are on high demand as they´re perceived as the ultimate professionals in our field. Still perceptions can be misleading, so let me take you back to the very definition of what an Scrum Master is (or should be).

• A Scrum Master is somebody from the team, not an outsider.
• A Scrum Master does engineering work; this is not a management position.
• As a result a Scrum Master is only assigned to one team. Actually is not assigned, is more like somebody from the team that bubble up as a potential Scrum Master.
• Scrum Masters are Scrum champions and enthusiasts, not “master” in the sense that they have the more in deep knowledge of Scrum. They know Scrum well enough to make it work for a team and guide others to learn and practice good Scrum.
The Scrum Master title is nothing more like a role that an engineer in the team takes. Is not a position per se, is more like a role that can and should rotate among team members.
Scrum Masters are not responsible for team´s success or failure; at the most they are responsible for the team making good or bad use of Scrum principles.
• Scrum Masters are not necessarily technology masters, they don´t have all the answers, but they can help their teams to find the right answers via collaborative work.
• Scrum Masters in reality are masters in finding ways for keeping their teams aligned and pushing in the same direction.
• Scrum Masters are like “buffer men”, they keep outsiders at the bay but are wise enough to allow the team to open for not becoming a silo.
Good Scrum Masters are individuals that volunteer for taking the challenge to learn and help their teams to practice good Scrum.

A quick note here, what is good Scrum? Is short, this is a simple set of principles that works for your team but that still fall inside the Scrum framework. Scrum Master are not there for reinventing Scrum, just for digesting it and being humble enough to serve their teams in the journey of learning and practicing Scrum.

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