I have been pondering lately what the purpose of a Scrum Master or Iteration Manager is.
Many believe that it is a 100% full time role. Some are even concerned that there are formal positions springing up for this role.
Here is my stance (and work in progress model) on the role:
The purpose of the Scrum Master role is to create a self autonomous team through the usage of Agile.
- It should never be considered a 100% full time role.
- It is a transitory role – there to enable a change in the team.
- The change is a change from an environment of Command and Control to an environment of autonomy and empowerment.
- The goal is to deliver value to customers frequently and regularly through creation of this environment. The goal is not to have a Scrum Master job for life.
- They do this through a series of steps.
- These steps are based on Situation Leadership with some tweaking:
- Directive – The Scrum Master is telling the team what to do and how to do it. This is sometimes common when the team is new to Scrum/Agile and are still learning the rulebook.
- Facilitative and Advisory – The Scrum Master facilitates cadence activities and advises the team on possible options but is not the final say.
- Cross Facilitative – The Scrum Master engenders an environment where other team members are starting to facilitate the cadence activities. At this stage the Scrum Master is no longer rounding up everyone for the Daily Standups, instead the team self form and remind each other.
- Coaching and support – The Scrum Master is only there to course correct and even then only does it through team reflection. They don’t advise on options, instead they engender an atmosphere where the team can come up with their own solutions.
- Double loop learning – The Scrum Master is ready to hand over the team to itself. The team reflect not only on how they are working together but why they are doing practices in a particular way. It is creating an atmosphere of learning transcendence.
So what, you may ask, does a Scrum Master do as their time with the team whittles down? They do what any good team member in a Scrum team should do – they deliver User Stories!