You might not need a Scrum Master next year

Door Patrick Verheij

Recently I facilitated a workshop for a Scrum team that had no Scrum Master. I thought that having no Scrum Master would be a great opportunity for the team.\r\n\r\nI told them: “having a Scrum Master is great because now you can master your Scrum yourselves without having some bloke do all the fun stuff for you!”\r\n\r\nTo follow up on that statement, we identified some impediments and had the team members volunteer to work in small groups which each would address and solve one impediment.\r\n\r\nHow cool was that! Now the team would collaborate on solving their first impediments, get really energized and then smash one impediment after another without depending on a darn Scrum Master!\r\n\r\nAlas, the team did not share my enthusiasm. At least not on that topic. After leaving the workshop with what I thought was a commitment, they put another impediment on top of their their fresh impediments list: “we need a Scrum Master” and let the damn list rot on Confluence for the next month.\r\n\r\nObviously something is impeding this team from using Scrum properly. And yes, that impediment needs to be solved by…someone who masters Scrum! And we call such a person…a Scrum Master!\r\n\r\nSo…the team is actually right: they lack Scrum skills and need somebody to teach and lead them.\r\n\r\nBUT!\r\n\r\nThat should only be temporary. Maybe a couple of months of perhaps a year. Not much more, though.\r\n\r\nThe most important aim of a Scrum Master is to make sure that he or she is not needed anymore because…the entire team masters the Scrum!\r\n\r\nWhen that state is reached, anyone in the team can act like a Scrum Master. Just like it was intended to be in the first place.\r\n\r\nPlease, dear Scrum Masters. Multiply yourselves by being awesome teachers and leaders. Stay with a team for a while and find out if they really want to master the Scrum.\r\n\r\nIf so, great! Turn them into Scrum Masters and move on to your next challenge.\r\n\r\nIf not…then either have them stop trying Scrum or teach them something else. But don’t pretend to be a Scrum Master anymore.\r\n\r\nNext year, in 2016, let’s stop needing Scrum Masters. Because…everyone in a Scrum team IS actually a Master of Scrum!

Patrick Verheij

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