4 things - ScrumMaster

In 1993, the first Scrum team introduced a new role — the ScrumMaster. This person was explicitly “not a manager — more of a servant-leader, something between a team captain and a coach.”¹ Instead of managing the team or the team’s process, the ScrumMaster:

  1. Facilitates the team’s meetings, fostering collaboration and enabling focus.
  2. Ensures that the process and its effects are visible to everyone.
  3. Helps the team figure out what is in their way of being an better, more effective team at delivering what their customers actually need.
  4. Champions improvements that the team is unable to make for themselves, influencing those with the power to enact change.

Fundamentally, the ScrumMaster role is about developing people... and the teams they form, helping both individuals and teams realize their potential. A good ScrumMaster accelerates the rate of improvement while enriching the experience for all involved.

¹Jeff Sutherland, Scrum, (New York, NY: Crown Business, 2014) p. 62

5 Hints to Being a Better ScrumMaster

Great ScrumMasters, like their teams, never stop getting better. How do they do it? Here are 5 things great ScrumMasters do:

  1. Listen - Great ScrumMasters listen and watch what is going on. Through observation, they are better informed to help their team. They "go to the gemba" to learn what their team needs.
  2. Container Hierarchy
  3. Focus - Great ScrumMasters use focus to create containers for action. The hierarchy of containers starts with vision, followed by strategy, and finally execution. Each level of container further constrains action. Containers serve to focus action on what matters most. It is within these containers that creativity thrives.
  4. Intersection of Vision and Acceptance
  5. Practice Pragmatism - Great ScrumMasters understand the intersection between vision and acceptance.  Through patience and persistence, they grow the intersection.
  6. Look Beyond the Team - Great ScrumMasters strive to optimize globally rather than locally. The team is only part of the value stream. Improving the team doesn't matter if the customer doesn't see a difference.
  7. Grow - Great ScrumMasters never stop growing and learning. They read, network and continuously build their skills.