Project Management

Does the Scrum Master Role Have to Evolve?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

The role of the scrum master is complex. I won’t say that it’s misunderstood, but I will suggest that it can vary greatly from one organization to the next. There’ll be some common areas of responsibility (looking after the team, helping to remove obstacles to progress, etc.) and you may well hear some common terms (servant leader, for example). But it’s unlikely that you can take a scrum master from one organization, drop them into another and have them succeed without adapting what they do and how they operate.

That’s not a bad thing, it just means that scrum masters have to be able to adapt what they do and how they operate to meet the needs of the teams they are working with. But I do believe that the role is evolving—or perhaps needs to evolve—as the use of agile becomes more widespread and teams become more familiar with the skills they need to succeed.

Growing agile understanding
While there will always be businesses that are only just starting their agile journey, for most organizations agile has been in use for several years now. As a result, the level of appreciation for its benefits—and understanding of how it works—has grown to a point where most of the people involved in agile projects know enough to be able to perform their roles effectively.

For scrum masters, that may virtually eliminate the role of…

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