As more and more organizations are moving towards Agile and Scrum there is a lot of confusion on the ScrumMaster Role and responsibility. I am sure you would have heard the term Agile Scrum Project Manager or Scrum Manager. These are a symptom of lack of understanding of the process.
The waterfall hangover is the main culprit for this confusion on the role responsibilities, this happens because we are transcribing our understanding of waterfall roles and process on to the Scrum Framework implementation.
The key difference between a traditional project manager and the scrum master are listed below
|Part of a centralized decision-making process
|Works towards a de-centralized decision making process within the organization and team
|There is a defined hierarchy for information flow and decision making
|Works towards a flatter organization for more effecient information flow
|Rarely works with the Product Manager to gather the requirements
|Works constantly with the Product Owner to ensure that the Product Backlog is refined and the highest priority Items are ready to be planned
|Never works with the Product Manager to make sure they understand the process
|Works with the Product Owner to make sure that the P.O understand they process.
|Works directly with the stakeholders on the requirements of the project
|Coaches stakeholders to work directly with the Product Owner. Ensures that the Stakeholders are invited to the Sprint Review sessions and are active participants.
|Work with the managers of the various teams supporting the project i.e. Development Manager, Test Manager
|Work directly with the Development Team and ensure that they understand their responsibilities to deliver a high-quality product
Observations of how the ScrumMaster Role is misused in the Waterfall Hangover organization:
The ScrumMaster is the keeper of the tool and is tasked to update the tracking tool for whole team
They become a Scrum Mommy/Daddy for the team
Tells the team on what to work on a daily basis (Pseudo manager of the team)
Is a member of the development team while being a ScrumMaster as well
The functional manager (H.R Manager) is the ScrumMaster for the team
The technical lead is also the ScrumMaster and does all the planning and the refinement of the backlog and not involve the development team
ScrumMaster co-ordinates and delegates work to the development team
In conclusion the ScrumMaster role is more like a coach to the team and that organization. It has more to do with a personality type rather than the most technical person. The responsibilities of a ScrumMaster include:
Coach the team and the organization on the core principles and implementation of Scrum
Ensure that the team understands and takes on the responsibilities of being self-organizing and self-managing
Experiment with various ways and techniques to help the development team become better in self-organization and self-management.