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Scrum Master is a full-time Role

Scrum Master is a full-time Role

2016 05 01 head

I am very happy we discuss in depth the role, responsibilities and activities of a good Scrum Master. I fully agree with Scrum advocates that Scrum Master is a dedicated full-time job.

I am also convinced a Scrum Master can support multiple experienced Scrum teams. The Large Scale Scrum framework LeSS states a full-time Scrum Master supports 1 to 3 teams.

I worked with quite a few Scrum Masters, Product Owners, and Scrum teams. My experience shows it is more productive and effective when the Scrum Master works full-time as (see white paper of Barry Overeem)

  1. a servant leader
  2. a coach
  3. a facilitator
  4. a teacher
  5. a mentor
  6. an impediment remover
  7. a change agent
  8. a manager (please restrain yourself)

He should not implement stories. A Scrum Master is under huge stress being a development team member and having to balance their Scrum Master responsibilities against the commitment of the sprint goals.

So you shall have full-time Scrum Masters. More important is that you have real Scrum Masters, and not only Scrum administrators who organize meetings and manage the Scrum board and burn-down charts. Scrum has always been a hands-on approach, to be successful in this you need to have a passion for getting your hands dirty.

Find out if you are a real professional Scrum master. Do you perform each sprint the top things a Scrum Master usually forgets to focus on?

  1. Do Gemba. Redefine career paths, incentives, organization to be more Scrum focused,
  2. Identify with the product owner and the development team missing product backlog items,
  3. State team issues not being discussed because they are too uncomfortable,
  4. Find out appropriate balance between end-to-end system tests and unit tests,
  5. Play back the team’s progress against the proposed release plan,
  6. Integrate all tests into the continuous integration, delivery and deployment,
  7. Coach team members to understand the benefits of refactoring, removing waste and focus on quality,
  8. Teach Kaizen. Coach team to peer review and continuously improve towards perfection,
  9. Teach pair programming on a daily basis,
  10. Expand with the team and the organization the definition of done. Beware it can trigger an organizational change.

I hope the discussion what a successful Scrum master does stay active. Avoid agile coaches not being Scrum masters, they are not doing Gemba and loose contact with the knowledge workers.

Read our what you do not need to do.

It is a huge gain for the Agile community that people and organizations understand that a Scrum master is a professional coach, teacher, mentor, and change catalyst.