Recently I have attended a seminar which made me think of some important qualities that every scrum master should have. I would like to point out 4 important values that I think are essential characteristics of a scrum master. Why 4? Because 4 is an even number, less than 5 but greater than 3 (sorry JB is speaking). So here is the list:
Being a person who sees a glass half full does have its share of benefits. Even when things go wrong you should still find a way to motivate the team and lead them in the right direction. Having a positive attitude doesn’t mean that you are totally satisfied with the way things are going, you should always aim for better, and use positive constructive criticism along the way.
Everyone should be aware what on earth is going on. As a scrum master you are not a manager who secretly decides with the rest of the management and then forces down the decisions. Even though the scrum master can lead, the decisions should be taken as a team.
As is highlighted in several agile books the team leader or scrum master is there to be a servant for the team and facilitate any issues. The modern project leaders, or scrum master should aim to control rather than enforce rules. A scrum master’s role is there to remove any impediments and come up with solutions for the problems the team face. If developers don’t have a good sense of what each other are doing, the Scrum Master sets up a physical taskboard and shows the team how to use it. In essence the scrum master is there to solve issues and help out the team.
Aim to become redundant
Your aim should always be to find people who can do your job better than you, so that you can move on to other things. The minute you get stuck, is the moment you stop improving which will lead you to boredom and eventually death – actually you are going to die anyway so it’s not a good example. But the point is that you should aim to not be a single point of failure, the team should operate without you.
The only value required
I really like this ad from apple produced back in 1997 when Steve Jobs rejoined the company. This video probably sums up what a scrum master should be all about, basically it is about being a good leader. To be honest a leader has all the values which I mentioned above. Which makes my previous 4 values of scrum masters pretty much useless and defeats the whole purpose of this blog post.
Basically what I’m trying to say is, that as a scrum master you should be a leader. What I would like to point out is that there is a great difference between leaders and managers. Managers enforce processes while leaders always try to improve and are never happy with the status quo. They are the square pegs in the round holes or rather the round pegs in the square holes.