Do we need a Scrum Master forever?

Scrum Master moves to serve the overall organization and product owner

Does the role of the Scrum Master go away with time? For addressing the doubt, first, understand the role of a Scrum Master clearly. 

Suppose you go by the Scrum Guide, the person accountable for ensuring that everyone in the Organisation understands the purpose of the Scrum Framework. Thus, the Scrum Master serves not only the team but also the Product Owner and the Organisation.

The Scrum Master helps in the overall understanding of the Scrum theory and practice. The functioning area comprises both within the Scrum team and the concerned organisation.

In most cases, the Scrum master accomplishes the task by coaching, facilitating, and mentoring them. Thus, it enables the whole team to develop valuable product increments and delivers better. However, in the case of a new Scrum team in the organisation, who is also new to the concept, the task can be challenging and tedious. 

At the foundation level, the Scrum master can spend more time assisting the team in comprehending the overall Scrum Framework. In addition, Scrum Master coaches the team on self-management to help them hold a sustainable pace.

However, the job is not at all easy. It gets difficult for the Scrum Master to make the team understand a few aspects. For example, it is difficult to convince the concerned team that each Sprint can deliver to its optimal potential within a month. Sometimes, it is even more challenging if the team’s composition is not in favour of the type of work we have been doing. So, It is certainly an effortful job to achieve. But with growing time, things settle down. Finally, the team acquires sufficient knowledge and training to work according to the Scrum Framework.  

Altering the role with time

The role of a Scrum Master gets lesser complex with growing time. However, in practical circumstances, the team eventually improves a lot by acquiring better skills. They get mentored to learn better practices that support building increments and employing newer practices. It is during this phase when the team overcomes the shortcomings and comes to better terms.

After achieving so, the team does not require much support from the Scrum Master. Instead, the Scrum Master moves to serve the overall organization and product owner. Sometimes, they serve more than one Scrum team once they gain that bandwidth.

The concept can sound like a repetitive process. But in reality, someone else eventually gets replaced as the role player of the Scrum Master for the teams. 

Does it become unnecessary?

Now, addressing the vital question of elimination of the role, the answer is no. In my experience, the role stays, but the forms change.

Every team continues to get benefitted via coaching, mentoring, and advising from the Scrum Master. High-performing teams require lesser mentoring to achieve a better position, while other teams may need more help. The full-time job of the Scrum Master gets reduced.

The reasons that support the statement that even the best teams require Scrum Master assistance are the following:

  • For the dynamic aspect: Rotational process of new member and leaving members
  • For organizational complexity: The complex functioning often leads to certain situations when the assistance of a Scrum Master is inevitable for removing impediments which requires expanded influencing circle. 
  • Product Development, Technology and People are complex.

Your point of view

I have shared my perspective. According to your understanding, what do you think about the fate of the Scrum Master role with growing time? Do you affirm the statement that it takes lesser time as the Scrum Master with your teams once the team acquires more experience?

About Author

Venkatesh Rajamani has more than 17 years of experience delivering working software in short, feedback-driven cycles. He loves to humanise workplaces. He founded in 2018 to execute his mission of Humanizing Organizations.

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