Where Do Scrum Masters Report?

Len Lagestee

Len Lagestee is an agile coach and consultant based in Chicago. He runs illustratedagile.com.

When organizations adopt Agile practices and their project managers transition to Scrum Masters, should the reporting structure change and, if so, how? Here is a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of four possible reporting scenarios for the Scrum Master role.

As larger companies begin to implement Agile, more project managers are transitioning to the role of Scrum Master. Eventually, this question will come up: Who should the Scrum Masters report to in an organizational hierarchy — who will be responsible for goal-setting, feedback and salary administration for the Scrum Master?

From my experience leading Scrum Masters, and from what I have observed while coaching many large organizations, here are my opinions on four possible scenarios.

1. The Scrum Master reports to a leader within IT

This approach typically has the traditional IT roles (developer, testers, analysts) of an Agile team reporting to one manager and the Scrum Master would be included with the other roles. This is my least favorite scenario as the IT leader often has a technical background and may not know how to coach and mentor the Scrum Master or provide feedback on how well the Scrum Master is serving the team and organization. The expectations of a Scrum Master are different from that of a project manager, and the measure of success is often subjective (i.e. team health, team …

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