The Misunderstood Stances of a Scrum Master by Barry Overeem @The Learning Facilitator

Barry Overeem


The role of a Scrum Master is one of many stances and great diversity. A great Scrum Master is aware of them and knows when and how to apply them, depending on situation and context. All with the purpose of helping people understand the spirit of Scrum.


However, the role of a Scrum Master isn’t always fulfilled the way it was intended. In this blog post I’ll describe the most common misunderstood stances. In upcoming articles I’ll share the preferred stances and the Scrum Master as a change leader. The combination of these 3 articles form a teaser for attending my presentation at the Agile Leadership Day on September 27th in Zurich. I hope to see you there!


Common Misunderstood Stances


The Scrum Master role is often misunderstood and considered as someone acting as a…

    • Scribe. Taking notes during every Scrum event. Writing down the entire sprint plan, daily plan, refinement discussions and Retrospective commitments. I’ve actually experienced a customer that expected the “Scrum Master” to act as a scribe for 4 hours per week…


    • Secretary. Planning all the Scrum events in everyone’s agenda. Responsible for keeping the teams schedule with holidays and days off up-to-date.


    • Scrum police officer. Rigorously following the rules of Scrum without any empathy for the team’s current situation and context. If you’re not acting according the Scrum Guide you’re doing it wrong. Period.


    • Team boss. The so-called “servant-leader”, but actually just the boss of the team. The boss who hires and fires. The boss who decides if someone deserves a salary-increase.


    • The tool administrator. If you need a change in JIRA, TFS or any other tool: the Scrum Master is you’re friend. He (or she) knows every workflow by heart.


    • The Scrum Board Owner. Hurray! The team uses a physical whiteboard for the Sprint Backlog and other team related information. Unfortunately, there’s only one person using and updating it: the Scrum Master… The other team members update their progress in a digital tool.


    • Chairman of the daily Scrum. Every morning the team provides a status update to the chairman of the daily Scrum. This offers the Scrum Master the necessary information to write the daily status-report to his/her superiors.


    • Hero. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s the Super Scrum Master!!! Solving all your impediments before it actually even was an impediment. The hero is addicted to the adrenaline of solving “problems” . It’s not about the team, is about increasing his status as a hero.


    • Coffee clerk. There’s nothing wrong with getting coffee for your team members. That’s even very collegial. But if you’re main purpose during the day is providing the team with coffee… than you’re missing the point of being a Scrum Master.


Although most of these stances are fulfilled with good intentions, you don’t maximize/utilize the possible value of the Scrum Master role. In the upcoming blog post I’ll share the preferred stances of a Scrum Master. If you want to learn more already, check out the white paper “the 8 stances of a Scrum Master”.

Find out more about this topic during the talk from Bary Overeem „The Scum Master as the Change Leader“ at the Agile Leadership Day 2017.

No Comments

Post a Comment