Is Scrum Master a full-time job?
I have heard this question many times. People ask it because they limit the Scrum Master’s role to how Scrum mechanics work, and in the best cases to building teams based on some models. If you think like them, continue reading this article. It might help you to understand better the role of the Scrum Master over time.
Scrum Basics with the team
It is right, when dealing with a team that is new to Scrum, that the Scrum Master will concentrate his efforts on the understanding of Scrum basics. They will make sure that the Scrum team understands well the Scrum basics: roles, events, artefacts and rules. They will train the team they serve on Scrum, coach and mentor them on the Scrum basics. They will answer questions like: what is the aim of the Daily Scrum? Is it different than a status meeting? How to conduct a retrospective?
The second area on which the Scrum Master will work is helping build the team.
Many models exist, for different situations. They can even be combined. The most well-known is the Tuckman model. It says that for a team, or a group of people, to face challenges and deliver good results together 4 stages are required: forming, storming, norming and performing. Two other models that can help the Scrum Master are: “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni and “Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose” by Dan Pink.
Engineering and technical excellence
Once the Scrum Master has made a good progress on the previous two areas, they can concentrate on the next ones. This doesn’t mean they will stop working on the aforementioned areas, just that they will spend less time on them.
Now they will try to help the team adopt technical excellence practices. It can be about testing, deploying, automating tasks and quality. Most of the time those practices are common in the company, or in the department. At this point, the Scrum Master will not only concentrate on the team, but also the interactions with other teams. The team will interact with other teams most of the time.
Outside the team’s borders
At this point, the Scrum Master works almost exclusively with the Scrum team. However, the product has a lifecycle that starts before arriving at the Product Owner. It can be a customer that has an idea, it can be a C-level executive that wants to launch some features. The Scrum Master will have to help optimise all the paths.
Now, that the product lifecycle, from the idea, to its execution, to delivering it to the customer is all optimised, the Scrum Master will still have to help inspect and adapt with the Scrum Team, but his focus will move to another level.
Remember, the Scrum guide says that the Scrum Master also serves the organisation to adopt Scrum and embrace agility. Other than helping it understanding Scrum, and adopting and implementing it, they serve it by provoking change that increases productivity. They can do this, for example, by helping adopt agile budgeting, by working with the HR department on trainings and the career paths of the teams, by helping the organisation to better understand the value path or even to re-organise itself to have the least possible bureaucracy.
Now that you know that the Scrum Master doesn’t always focus only on Scrum basics, do you still think that it is a part time job?
If you would like to learn about Scrum and its Values, try out one of our Scrum Master or Product Owner e-Learning courses.
Or go even further and join one of our Certified Scrum Master Classes.