What is your definition of a Scrum Master?

agile, blog

We organize every month a Scrum Master guild meeting. This is a meeting where all the scrum master meet and discuss topics related to being a Scrum Master, agile, lean, etc. The topic of our last guild meeting was “What is our definition of a Scrum Master?”.

I did some research (=read googled) on the internet to find out what the common definition of a Scrum Master is.

I found the following scrum master definitions:

  • Wikipedia
    • The person responsible for the Scrum process, making sure it is used correctly and maximizing its benefits.
  • Scrum Alliance
    • The ScrumMaster is a facilitator for the team and product owner. Rather than manage the team, the ScrumMaster works to assist both the team and product owner in the following ways:
      • Remove the barriers between the development and the product owner so that the product owner directly drives development.
      • Teach the product owner how to maximize return on investment (ROI), and meet his/her objectives through Scrum.
      • Improve the lives of the development team by facilitating creativity and empowerment.
      • Improve the productivity of the development team in any way possible.
      • Improve the engineering practices and tools so that each increment of functionality is potentially shippable
      • Keep information about the team’s progress up to date and visible to all parties.
  • AgileForAll
    • A ScrumMaster removes impediments for the team. A ScrumMaster is a servant leader helping the team be accountable to themselves for the commitments they make.
  • TechTarget
    • A scrum master is a facilitator for a product development team that uses Scrum. The scrum master manages the process for how information is exchanged.
  • BrightHub
    • The ScrumMaster is responsible for empowering the team to control how they will perform their work. The team looks up to the ScrumMaster as a top athlete would look up to a sports coach. It is not only about knowing the SCRUM process, but also motivation and understanding the team’s psychology. The ScrumMaster’s role requires more than basic project management skills.
  • Techopedia
    • Scrum masters serve to facilitate both product owners and the team. They neither have management authority nor can they commit to working on the team’s behalf. A scrum master may also be referred to as a servant leader. The scrum master is accountable for removing disorders so as to produce sprint deliverables. The scrum master acts as a buffer between the product owner and team, ensuring that the Scrum process is used as intended. Scrum masters also enforce scrum rules within the scrum.
  • Mountain Goat Software
    • The ScrumMaster is responsible for making sure a Scrum team lives by the values and practices of Scrum. The ScrumMaster protects the team by making sure they do not over-commit themselves to what they can achieve during a sprint. The ScrumMaster facilitates the daily scrum and becomes responsible for removing any obstacles that are brought up by the team during those meetings. The ScrumMaster role is typically filled by a project manager or a technical team leader but can be anyone.
  • ScrumCrazy
    • Acts as a servant leader to the Scrum Team and Organization, helping them to adapt and get better at Scrum.
    • Ensures impediments to Scrum Team delivery of high-value software are removed.
    • Ensures that the Scrum Team adheres to the Scrum principles, values, roles, rules, and practices.
    • Helps Product Owners and Development Team members play their Scrum role, but otherwise does not in any way control or strongly influence how the software is developed and delivered.
  • ScrumMethodology
    • The ScrumMaster acts as a liaison between the Product Owner and the team. The ScrumMaster does not manage the team. Instead, he or she works to remove any impediments that are obstructing the team from achieving its sprint goals. In short, this role helps the team remain creative and productive while making sure its successes are visible to the Product Owner. The ScrumMaster also works to advise the Product Owner about how to maximize ROI for the team
And the list continues… I read a different kind of descriptions. Is the Scrum Alliance right or is ScrumCrazy right? Some definitions are even conflicting in my opinion. For example “the scrum master acts as a buffer between the product owner and team” and “Remove the barriers between the development and the product owner so that the product owner directly drives development.”. You could argue Techopedia has no knowledge of Scrum Masters. I believe they have a very good knowledge of Scrum Masters (I never met Mr. Techopedia). Their description of Scrum Master is perfect for their organization.
After reading all the definitions, discussing the definitions in our Scrum Guild Meeting, we came to the conclusion that the definition of Scrum Master depends on the organization where the Scrum Master operates.
In our case, RES Software, a Scrum Master is someone who:
  • creates awareness of the progress of the team in the team
  • makes sure the team is removing their own impediments
  • makes sure the team lives up by our Scrum values
  • guards the scrum/kanban/etc. process
  • facilitates the team in managing their own project
  • focuses on the process, not the tools or engineering/testing/requirement/technical writer practices
  • is an example to the team, be on time, follow the process
  • has a goal to make the team self-organizing.
What is your definition of a Scrum Master or do you believe the ScrumAlliance is always right?

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