A system of Scrum Master purposes

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How would you describe with just *one* sentence the *main* purpose of the Scrum Master based on your current experience on the ground in the role?

The official Scrum guide, as well as good books on Scrum, can help with the theory.
The next step is to apply that theory to your specific and unique context and circumstances.
I used many times this question “what’s the main purpose of a Scrum Master in your team/department/organisation?” to start the conversation and explore the role in the context of an organisation. For example during a Community of Practice meeting. And it proved to be quite an effective starting point.

This week I made an experiment and I asked the Scrum Masters in my Linked-In network exactly that question.
From their initial answers, I noticed some trends:

  • Some answers focus the SM attention on Scrum, some others focus broadly on Agile, Lean, etc. The former seems to be predominant.
  • Some answers focus the SM purpose on inspiring people, some on improving the way of working, and some of the delivery. Focus on people and way of working seems to be predominant among the answers.
  • Some answers focus the SM area of intervention at team(s) level, some at individuals, and some at the whole organisation. Focus on team level seems to be predominant.

Join the conversation here.

Below you find some of the answers collected so far.
Here you can also find a radar with competency areas for the Scrum Master. It is just an example! Based on the conversations that emerge in your company, you probably want to create a personalised one.
Download it and start from here: Scrum Master self-assessment radar.

Thanks for their comments to Arian Shehu, Bankole A Dada, Christoffer Westberg, Deon Louw, Gabriele Mancini, Gangadhar Vasanthapuram, Glenn Bowering, Govind Hari, Ilker Işler, Jack Reed, James Willis, Jem D’jelal, Julian Bayer, Karim Harbott, Luca Vettor, Marijn van der Zee, Michael Küsters, PiyushRahate, Ram Srinivasan, Sam A. Kishaish, Shaaron A Alvares, Shadreck Mudziwepasi, SolangeLalji, Sven Ihnken, Syed Amanulla Hussaini, Thoralf J. Klatt, Todd Adams, Venkatesh Rajamani,
Wanja Krah.

People – Way of Working – Delivery
– Helping people to deliver valuable products and grow great teams.
– To help the team and the organisation get better at delivering value.
– Helping others achieve new heights.
– As a craftsman applying the empirical framework and helping others to apply it.
– The scrum master makes the process more fluid, facilitating teamwork.

Scrum / Agile, Lean, etc.
– The main purpose is to ensure the team follows the Scrum process.
– Enabling teams and Organisation to naturally live with the values of Scrum.
– To coach/guide the team on the progression of their Agile journey.

Team/Teams/Individuals/Whole organisation
– Help the team no longer need you to help them.
– helping teams in their journey to become more collaborative and self-organised.
– Servant Leader to the team.
– A mirror to reflect back what the system is doing…or isn’t.
– over time, make themselves redundant to the team, to the PO and ultimately to the organisation.

Thanks to Ryan Behrman for the image of the different levels of intervention.

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