#23 – The 9th Scrum Master Stance

Authors’ comments:

In Barry Overeem’s excellent Scrum.org whitepaper, The 8 Stances of a Scrum Master, Barry describes how the Scrum Master, in reality, has eight different traits to fulfill; a Servant Leader whose focus is serving the team members (and customers), a Facilitator that helps the team’s collaboration efforts, a Coach in order to focus the mindset of the team and the organization on the agile principles and value-orientation, a Manager for eliminating waste and ensuring the team health and culture, a Mentor that passes their experience on agile on to the team, a Teacher that educates the team and stakeholders in Scrum and agile, an Impediment Remover that helps the team remove blocking issues, and a Change Agent who ensures that the surrounding organizational environment supports the agile ways of working, Scrum can flourish.

No matter the stances, of course, there needs to be a balance between being pragmatic and being agile-idealistic. Unfortunately, many organisations, maybe because they are slightly scared of real, drastic change, expect the Scrum Master/Agile Coach to be more of a problem-solver than a change maker, so they might expect the “pragmatist” aspect to dominate inconveniently much of the Scrum Master’s traits.

An approach could be win some trust by showing that you CAN actually create results by solving problems and building happy teams, and THEN gradually infusing small increments of change and idealism into the way you do it. Remember that, as a Scrum Master, you’re the mirror to the Scrum Team, showing them their shortcomings and their potential for improvement – and you help them by giving them a fishing rod and not the fish.