My name is Scott Dunn, Agile coach and trainer of Rocket Nine Solutions delivering agility here in the Southern California area. Today we will talk about implementing the ScrumMaster role or who should be the ScrumMaster. There are a couple of stories that I’d like to tell. Then we will circle back and break down what was happening in those situations.
So first of all let me tell you a good example of what we’d like to see. We had a team that was relatively new to Scrum and Agile. We were trying to determine who should be the ScrumMaster. The first choice of the team was that we should get the lead of the team to be the ScrumMaster. But actually the lead didn’t really want that role. In the end, the only volunteer we could find was the junior on the team. As it turned out, he was wonderful. The reason why? He was looking for how to deliver results and get things done. Asking “How can I help?” to every team member and in a very humble spirit. He was always there to help and to learn. That makes for a great Scrum Master. He really flourished in that role. It helped launch him far in his career and where he’s going now.
Let’s rewind to one of those situations where it was not so good. We were trying to get Scrum going in a more structured environment where the roles were pretty fixed. When we looked for volunteers again, someone said, ‘I’d be glad to do it.’ In fact, it might have been that they were a little too eager to do it. Unfortunately, I gave the OK on their request before meeting with them. As it turned out, the reason they wanted to do it was because they wanted the chance to tell people how they should be doing their work. They thought the role of Scrum Master would be the perfect opportunity to lord it over the team. In the end we had to rotate that person out because that’s not what being a ScrumMaster is about. Let the team self-manage and self-organize. Those principles were hard for this person to follow. In the end, for that team, the best person was one of the more quiet people who really did believe in the agile Scrum methodology, but wasn’t the first one to speak out.
So choosing the person who should be the ScrumMaster can be an opportunity to look around and see who are the ones who should be doing these things. What I’m looking for is servant leadership, and a quiet and humble spirit that says, ‘I’m here for the rest of the team and help them do the best that they can do.’
So I hope that these examples are helpful to you as you look at who should be the ScrumMaster. It is not necessarily a role like project manager or lead that is going to map into this. We are looking for those people who really act as the glue. Maybe there’s one of those people on your team right now.
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