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A Scrum Master (The Master of Scrum) is the Scrum Champion. He/She is a leader who ensures that Scrum is enacted by the Scrum Team and everyone understands what Scrum is and what Scrum is not.

Scrum Master is a True Leader of the team who Serves Them (A Servant Leader)

There are two types of leadership styles which are generally known

  • Command and Control Leadership style where the leader gets organizational power to take decisions
  • Servant Leadership Leadership where the power comes from influence that a Servant Leader creates due to knowledge and respect that he/she generates. This is more of a enabler style of leadership.

Scrum Master as a Facilitator

Facilitator as a word comes from english word “Facile” which means “Make it Easy”. Scrum Master makes it easy for the Scrum team to get to conclusions and decisions. Therefore unlike the generally understood term “Coordinator”, this is infact a way to get the teams to conclusions. “Coordination” may be a very small aspect of the Facilitator responsibilities. Scrum Master facilitates meetings and communications so that the teams come to conclusions.

Scrum Master as a Trainer and Mentor

Scrum Master’s job is to make sure that Scrum is enacted and used by the team properly. Scrum Master’s job is to make sure that Scrum is enacted and used by the team properly. For this to happen, the Scrum master takes up a stance of a mentor and trainer on Scrum. His/her job is to make sure that the team understands what is Scrum and what is not. Scrum Master is a subject matter expert on scrum and his/her job is to take up a mentoring or training stance sometimes.

Scrum Master as a Coach

In an industry which involves a lot of smart people, people often know the answers. Scrum Master’s job is to make sure that the smart people realize what the answers are. Therefore the coaching approach involves unlocking potential of the Scrum Team to help them realize the answers. There are various techniques that Scrum Master uses to help the team realize the answers. One of the technique is asking “Powerful Questions” to help the Scrum Team realize the answers to the questions. Coaching models may also be used to help the Scrum team go through a journey of realization. One of the powerful techniques using a GROW coaching model developed by Sir. John Whitmore. GROW is an acronym G=Goal Setting, R=Reality Checking, O=Option Finding, W=What needs to be done. The Scrum Master takes the people through a journey of realization through this path.

Scrum Master as a Change Agent

Agile or Scrum implementations often involve a lot of thought process change rather than just bringing about operational change. Scrum Master’s job is to make sure this change is brought about. This may involve the Scrum Team understand various aspects such as Self-organizing or Self Managing instead of waiting for someone to give orders to them, Help the Scrum team manage their own skills etc. The management may also be thinking in a traditional way and may be pushing people to do the work. Scrum Master brings about a change in the thought process of the leadership and management to think in a different way so as to get the complete benefit of Scrum. These changes are thought process level changes and therefore Scrum Master’s role in terms of convincing and mentoring various elements of organization is paramount.