Writing in the front

  • This article is translated from The 8 Stances of a Scrum Master V2 \_0, original English address: https://scrumorg-website-prod… ;
  • For some special words in the original text, I have shown the English words in the style of “English” in the translation, so that you can understand them by comparison.
  • Involved in the translation of the values, principles, part of agile development, I directly use the Chinese translation (values: the club’s official website http://agilemanifesto.org/iso… Principle: http://agilemanifesto.org/iso.) ;
  • Directly involved in the translation of the Scrum guide part, I use the Scrum guide translation Chinese version of the club’s official website (https://www.scrumguides.org/d)… ;
  • Some words in the translation, in order to keep the reading experience consistent, I try to keep the Agile values, principles and the Scrum guide translation, such as “Servant Leader”, because the Scrum guide translation is “service Leader”, so I still use this term. But I think it’s also possible to translate as servant leadership.

Here is the translation:

The eight positions of the Scrum Master

The Scrum Master is defined in the Scrum Guide as:

The Scrum Master is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. The Scrum Master does this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values.

The Scrum Master is the service leader of the team. The Scrum Master helps people outside the Scrum team understand how they interact with the Scrum team and maximizes the value created by the Scrum team by changing the way they interact with the Scrum team.

The role of the Scrum Master has many positions and great diversity. A good Scrum Master is aware of these and knows when and how to use them, depending on the context and context. All of these positions are intended to help people understand the spirit of Scrum.

8 Scrum Master Stances

The role of the Scrum Master is:

  • Servant Leader, who focuses on the needs of team members and the needs of the people (customers) they provide value to. The goal is to achieve results that are in line with the values, principles and business goals of the organization.
  • The Facilitator sets the stage and provides clear boundaries that enable teams to work together.
  • The Coach guides the thinking and behavior of individuals, the continuous improvement of the team, and the true cooperation between the organization and the Scrum team.
  • The Manager, responsible for managing barriers, eliminating waste, managing processes, managing team health, managing self-organizing boundaries, managing culture.
  • Mentor, who imparts Agile knowledge and experience to the team.
  • The Teacher who ensures that Scrum and other related methods are understood and practiced.
  • Impediment removers solve problems that hinder development teams’ progress in thinking about their ability to self-organize.
  • Change agents that enable the Scrum team culture to flourish.

This white paper contains my personal experience as a Scrum Master. In addition to these experiences, I’ve added what I’ve discovered while studying books, articles, and videos. I also included the most common misconceptions about the role of the Scrum Master and why I changed my title from Agile Coach to 100% Scrum Master. The reasons behind this change describe my motivation for writing this white paper. Hope you like the results!

8 Scrum Master Stances

8 misconceptions about the Scrum Master

While the eight positions of the Scrum Master mentioned above may seem like common sense, they are certainly not common practice. Too often, the role of the Scrum Master is misinterpreted as:

  • A Scribe. Take notes during Scrum events. Record the entire Sprint plan, daily plan, requirements review discussions, and retrospective commitments. I actually experienced this with a client who wanted the Scrum Master to be a clerical clerk for four hours a week.
  • Secretary. Plan all Scrum events on everyone’s calendar. Responsible for keeping the team’s schedule up to date with holidays and rest days.
  • Scrum Police. Stick to the rules of Scrum, regardless of the status and background of the team. If you are not following the Scrum guidelines, you are doing something wrong. There’s nothing more to say.
  • Team Boss. The service-oriented leader is simply the boss of the team. The boss who decides to hire and fire someone. The boss who decides whether someone deserves a raise.
  • Administrator (Admin). If you need to make changes in JIRA, TFS, or any other tool: The Scrum Master is your friend. He/She knows every workflow inside and out.
  • Chairman. Every morning, the team provides a status update to the Daily Scrum Master. This provides the Scrum Master with the necessary information to write a daily status report to his/her supervisor.
  • Super Hero. This is a bird. It’s a plane. It is the Super Scrum Master!! Get rid of all your obstacles before they really become obstacles. The hero is addicted to the thrill of solving the “problem”. He/she does this not for the team, but to enhance his hero status.
  • The Coffee Clerk. There’s nothing wrong with buying coffee for your team members. This will make you sociable. But if the main purpose of your day is to bring coffee to the team… Then you lose the meaning of being a Scrum Master.

8 misconceptions about the Scrum Master

As mentioned earlier, this white paper contains my personal experience as a Scrum Master. The misunderstood position is a good example. Over a long period of time, I’ve fulfilled the role of Scrum Master as Scrum Cop, Team Boss, Superhero, etc. It was not my greatest period of success. While I professed to promote self-organization, I didn’t give the team any chance to actually implement it. I was just acting as a project manager and team boss, but I called myself “Scrum Master.”

By asking for feedback, learning from other Scrum masters, and reading roughly “all” books on Scrum, I slowly improved. Writing blog posts about the eight positions mentioned above is part of this journey. My personal mission is to better understand the role of the Scrum Master. I do not condemn the misunderstanding described. I just want to offer a different perspective and invite people to reimagine the role of the Scrum Master.

8 misconceptions about the Scrum Master

From 50% Agile Coach to 100% Scrum Master

Considering my personal mission, I needed to make an important change. If I want the role of the Scrum Master to be better understood, I need to lead by example. So I decided to remove the Agile Coach from my social media profile and replace it with the Scrum Master. 100% Scrum Master. While this may seem like a small change, it got some attention when I suggested it:

You should stick with an agile coach. As a freelancer, this is a much more desirable title.

No, don’t change to Scrum Master, your salary will be lower!

Why don’t you call yourself a Scrum Guru? Agile Transformation Coach? Enterprise Change Agent?

At least call yourself Senior Scrum Master or Chief Scrum Master.

All the cool things are done by Agile coaches, and as a Scrum Master, you get stuck on a Scrum team.

Scrum is a hype and it will all be over in a year!

But seriously, don’t call yourself a Scrum Master or your freelancing career will be doomed to failure!

To be honest, these concerns did give me something to think about. Except for the last one. If Scrum is hype, it is hype that is only 21 years old recently. It’s an old hype. It should last another 21 years. At that time, Scrum will be 42 years old, and it will officially be the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. : -)

At best, Gunther Verheyen’s prediction will come true:

The future state of Scrum will no longer be called “Scrum”; what we now call Scrum will become the norm, as the new paradigm of the software industry has taken hold and organizations have reshaped themselves around it.

So why did I change my title from Agile Coach to Scrum Master? Let me try to explain this in terms of Scrum values.

(Scrum values)

3.1 commitment

I wanted to address my personal frustration, which I mentioned in the previous chapter, stemming from my misunderstanding of the Scrum Master’s role. I want to focus on helping individuals, teams and organizations improve their ability to deliver valuable products. I want to work on creating an environment where teamwork, collaboration and fun can flourish. I believe the Scrum Master is a key player in creating this environment. I hope not only to offer the Scrum Master course, but also to fulfill this responsibility myself: Lead by example, Practice what you preach instead of keeping things up for adoption, Eat your own dog food (an English slang term often used to describe the Practice of companies (especially software companies) using products they make instead of keeping them up for adoption), and so on. It’s a promise I try to live up to.

3.2 focus

I believe in focus. Create a compelling vision for yourself, turn it into tangible goals, and focus on achieving them. That’s the most effective thing for me. Positioning myself as an agile coach made me feel less focused. The title feels like an empty shell, and every organization seems to be full of agile coaches. I’m certainly not against Agile coaches, I just don’t consider myself an Agile coach. An agile coach should have good knowledge and experience with Kanban, Extreme Programming (XP), Lean, and all the different scaling methods and frameworks.

Although I can pretend to be an agile coach, I am not. I am a Scrum Master. I want to be part of the Scrum team. As a Scrum Master, I am interested in other frameworks and approaches. As the Scrum Master, I can provide my input to the organization in these areas. But if there’s a different approach that works better for an organization, I’d put them in touch with someone who’s more experienced in the field.

My focus is on fulfilling the responsibilities of the Scrum Master. As the Scrum Master, I provide guidance to development teams, product owners, and organizations. As a freelance Scrum Master, I try to free myself up so that I can mentor other Scrum Masters to ensure sustainable use of the Scrum framework.

As the Scrum Master, I will try to be a servant leader, facilitator, coach, conflict navigator Navigator, manager, mentor, teacher, impediment remover and change agents. The purpose of everything is to help people understand the spirit of Scrum. I believe that with true focus, it is possible to achieve all the different positions of the Scrum Master role.

3.3 the courage

True commitment and focus are only possible through showing courage. Show the courage to say “no.” You need the courage to really choose. I choose to position myself as the Scrum Master. Therefore, I say “no” to the role of Agile Coach. The common denominator of everything I do is Scrum. I mainly write articles on Scrum, speak at Scrum events, and provide Scrum training. I will also be an active contributor to the Scrum community. Of course, I look for inspiration from other agile events, such as XP Days, but the goal is to better fulfill the Scrum Master role.

3.4 respect

By being true to myself, I try to respect everyone I interact with. Treat people with respect and show them who you really are. Be open, honest and honest. As Geoff Watts puts it:

An important element of respect comes from honesty. Integrity includes honesty, consistency, reliability and a strong moral code.

While working at Prowareness (an Agile consulting firm in the Netherlands), I was awarded the Employee With the Highest Integrity. Considering this description of my integrity, it is a matter of pride. But my goal wasn’t to win any Integrity Awards. My goal was to be my true self. True from beginning to end.

This is what led me to change my role description from Agile Coach to Scrum Master. As a Scrum Master, I feel like I’m real. While the distinction between these two roles may seem vague to some, Agile Coach is not an appropriate term for me.

Choosing to be a Scrum Master is also a way of honoring your customers. I can provide them with either a normal Agile coaching service or a good Scrum Master service. I chose the latter.

3.5 open

To me, having openness and transparency is self-evident. I’m very transparent: what you see is what you get. I’m also transparent about what I do: I publicly share all of my insights, mistakes, and lessons learned as a Scrum Master. I share not only the things that went well, but also the things I did wrong. These experiences are shared through writing, speaking, and training.


So from now on, I’m going to position myself as a Scrum Master. A 100% committed Scrum Master. I will fulfill that role as long as it allows me to be true to myself. The least I can do is to provide others with a true, high integrity of their own……

Explore the 8 positions of the Scrum Master

4.1 The Scrum Master as a Service Leader

Serving leadership is in line with the values of Scrum: courage, openness, respect, focus, and commitment. It is the backbone of the Scrum Master role and therefore the first position to be introduced. In this part, I will introduce what servant leadership is, how it relates to the Agile Manifesto, and how the Scrum Master serves as a servant leader.

(Service-oriented leader)

4.1.1 What is Servant-Leadership?

Serving leadership is a philosophy and a set of practices that can enrich the lives of individuals, build better organizations, and ultimately create a more just and caring world. It is a way of changing life and work that has the potential to create positive change for the whole society. Service-oriented leadership emphasizes collaboration, trust, empathy, and the ethical use of power. Service-oriented leadership includes:

  • Serve others, not yourself
  • Don’t lead by position
  • Proven leadership
  • Helping people grow and perform as efficiently as possible
  • Unselfish management of team members
  • Promote true team autonomy
  • Give play to the collective strength of the team

4.1.2 What is a Servant-Leader?

Robert, founder of Servant-Leadership. Robert K. Greenleaf describes the servant leader as:

Service-oriented leadership is first and foremost about service. It starts with one’s natural feeling of wanting to serve, and then conscious choice makes one aspire to lead. The best test is: do the people being served grow: do they become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous when they are served, and more likely to be servers themselves? And what would be the impact on the most vulnerable in society: would they benefit, or at least not be further deprived 1? [1] Greenleaf, Robert K. Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness

The goal of service-oriented leadership is to strengthen and improve teamwork and individual involvement. They create a participatory environment that empowers employees through sharing power and decision-making 2. [2] http://adaptagility.co.uk/scr…

A service-oriented leader:

  • Focus on building the foundation of trust
  • Promote empowerment and transparency
  • Encourage cooperative participation
  • Be good at channelling, empathizing, and really listening
  • Demonstrate ethical and caring behavior and put the needs of others first
  • Modest, knowledgeable, positive, sociable and sensitive to changes in the surrounding situation

4.1.3 The Agile Manifesto and Servant-Leadership

The characteristics of service-oriented leadership can also be found in the Agile Manifesto 3. The values of “individuals and interactions over processes and tools” and “customer collaboration over contract negotiations” clearly emphasize a focus on collaborative engagement, serving others (team members) rather than oneself, and enhancing team performance by supporting personal growth. [3] http://www.agilemanifesto.org/

The characteristics of service-oriented leadership in the Agile Manifesto principles are:

  • Business people and developers must work together, every day on a project.
  • Inspire individuals and build projects around them. Provide the environment, support, and trust you need to achieve your goals.

4.1.4 Serve as a Scrum Master as a Servant Leader

The Scrum Guide describes the Scrum Master as the service-oriented leader of the Scrum team. The Scrum Master is not the Master of the team, but the Master who encourages, supports and motivates people to come together as a team and achieve their full potential. [4] Watts, Geoff. Scrum Mastery: From Good to Great Servant Leadership

A Scrum Master is a service-oriented leader whose focus is on the needs of team members and the customers they serve. His goal is to achieve results that are consistent with the values, principles and business goals of the organization 5. [5] http://www.infoq.com/articles…

The Scrum Master leads by example, with respect, and guides the Scrum team and its effectiveness with the ability to influence the organization. The Scrum Master should also lead through values, courage, and commitment, but also through tenacity (stubbornness). Tenacity depends on strong convictions and the intention to change the organization.

As a service leader, the Scrum Master is responsible for:

  • [6] Verheyen, Gunther. Scrum: A Pocket Guide
  • Guide the development team to self-organization
  • Lead the team through healthy conflict and discussion
  • Teach, coach, and coach organizations and teams to embrace and use Scrum
  • Protect the team from distractions and external threats
  • Help the team identify, remove and prevent obstacles
  • Encourage, support and empower teams to achieve their full potential and capabilities
  • Disseminate information through product backlogs and sprint backlogs, daily Scrum, reviews, and visible workspaces to create transparency
  • Ensure a culture of collaboration exists within the team


Servant-leadership has proven to be the backbone of the Scrum Master role. Its ideas and practices enhance teamwork and create an environment conducive to personal growth. As a servant leader, the Scrum Master helps the team live up to the values of Scrum (Courage, Openness, Respect, Focus, and Commitment) and realize the team’s full potential.

4.2 The Scrum Master as the Coach

This chapter introduces the Scrum Master as a coach. The Scrum Master is often thought of as the team coach, helping the team to maximize their Sprint goals. In this chapter, I will describe what a coach is and share three perspectives that a Scrum Master can use as a coach.


4.2.1 What is Coaching?

There are many good definitions that can be used to describe a coach. My final definition is:

Coaching is about unleashing one’s potential and maximizing one’s performance. Coaching is about helping people learn rather than teaching them directly.

[7] Sir John Whitmore

Other good definitions are:

The ultimate goal of a coach is to help clients understand themselves better so that they can find ways to reach their full potential. [8] Watts, Geoff, and Kim Morgan. The Coach’s Casebook: Mastering the Twelve Traits That Trap Us

An effective coach guides the way rather than prescribing solutions. [9] http://www.agile42.com/en/blo…

The art of enabling others to perform, learn, and grow. [10] Downey, Myles. Effective Coaching

The coach closes the gap between thinking about doing and actually doing. [11] Martin, Curly. The Life Coaching Handbook

4.2.2 What is Effective Coaching?

Using Portia Tung’s website Selfish Programming, I stumbled upon The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Coaches 12. The Scrum Master can use these habits to check whether his or her approach to coaching has the highest chance of success. She described the habit is: [12] http://www.selfishprogramming…

  • Lead by example. This means that coaches live according to the values and principles they espouse and apply the tools and techniques they know to themselves and their work.
  • Begin with the end in mind. The coach works backwards from the goal to figure out the most effective and efficient way to get from A to B.
  • Set a sustainable pace. The coach stays calm when others around him are losing their heads.
  • Think with your head and feel with your heart. The coach has to balance thinking and feeling. They use both logic and empathy when solving problems. Pull, not push. The coach is waiting and ready for help. Coaches create and provide opportunities for learning, rather than imposing their own ideas, suggestions and opinions on others.
  • Talk less, listen more. The coach puts off judging what he or she is hearing and listens to what others are saying.
  • To inculcate (Flow like a stream). Coaches are patient, practical and live in the moment.

4.2.3 Scrum Master as Coach

Three different perspectives can be used to describe a Scrum Master as a coach: individual, team, and organization. The individual coach’s focus is on mindset and behavior, the coaching team’s focus is on continuous improvement, and the coaching organization’s focus is on actually working with the Scrum team. Refer to this quote from Lyssa Adkins:

Instead of giving advice, coaches support people to come up with their own solutions. If you ask the right questions, they will always find the right answers.

1) Individual coaches
  • Explain ideal thought patterns and behaviors and help the individual see new perspectives and possibilities.
  • Influence the individual team members to use Scrum well.
  • Help everyone take the next step in their agile journey 13. [13] Adkins, Lisa. Coaching Agile Teams
2) Coaching team
  • Stimulate the thinking mode of continuous improvement and create a learning culture
  • Support the team to resolve problems and conflicts
  • Guide the team to grow until members learn how best to learn from each other
  • Change the attitudes, thinking patterns, and behaviors that limit a team’s ability to do Scrum well
  • The mentoring team gives each other open and honest feedback
3) Coaching organization
  • Helps organizations achieve amazing results by providing high quality, valuable products
  • Directs product management throughout the organization with a focus on continuously adding business value to products
  • Support and encourage collaboration and collaboration with the Scrum team


After doing some research, I gave a brief introduction to the Scrum Master as a coach. In addition to sharing the most common definitions of coaching, this chapter includes three perspectives that can be used to describe the Scrum Master as a coach. The coach personally focuses on thought patterns and behaviors; The coaching team focuses on continuous improvement; The coaching organization really works with the Scrum team.

4.3 The Scrum Master as the Facilitator

This chapter introduces the Scrum Master as the facilitator. The Scrum Master guides both the product owner and the development team. I’ll discuss the definitions, misconceptions, and characteristics of a good facilitator.


4.3.1 What is a facilitator?

Someone who helps a group of people understand their common goals and helps them plan how to achieve them; In doing so, the facilitator remains’ neutral ‘, meaning that he/she does not take a particular position in the discussion 14. [14]

The key elements of this definition (and other available definitions) are as follows:

  • Helping and enabling others to achieve their goals
  • We should be content neutral and not take sides
  • Support everyone to do the best thinking and practice
  • Promote cooperation and strive to achieve synergies
  • Providing charismatic authority

Charisma authority is a kind of authority theory, which was put forward by German social scientist Weber. He divided the ruling forms of human society into three types: Krisma/Charisma/Superman, traditional and legal-rational ruling forms. Charismatic authority is based on the charisma of a hero, someone who seems to have divine genius. The governed obey because they are convinced of their rulers’ extraordinary abilities and thus become their followers and adherents. And the ruler must maintain his legitimacy by constantly proving the existence of his supernatural powers. Typical of charismatic rule can be seen in organizations established by prophets, saints, and religious leaders.

4.3.2 misunderstanding

Many times, when I ask people what they mean by describing the Scrum Master as a facilitator, the only answer I get is that the Scrum Master leads Scrum Events. Of course, the Scrum Master is responsible for the Scrum process and should support the team in optimizing the process.

Scrum events are an important part of the Scrum process, and while the Scrum Master is not obligated to attend all Scrum events personally, he should ensure that:

  • Think of the Sprint as a timebox in which to build a done, available, releasable increment
  • Daily Scrum is used to check the team’s progress towards the Sprint goals
  • The Sprint Planning Meeting is an event where the team discusses, plans, and agrees on a forecast of the Product Backlog Items that they are confident they can accomplish in support of the Product Owner’s goals and strategy
  • Sprint reviews are used to demonstrate and review the increments being developed, and to adjust the product backlog if necessary
  • Think of the Sprint Review as an event during which the team examines and adjusts its practices and processes to address critical issues that are holding back the team’s progress

The biggest misconception here is that as a Scrum Master, leading Scrum events is the only thing you should do. However, a good Scrum Master understands that facilitation can play a bigger role……

4.3.3 Facilitation: What is the true meaning of Scrum

As described in the definition of facilitator, facilitator is a person who helps a group of people understand and achieve their goals by facilitating collaboration, optimizing processes, and creating synergy within a team. Based on this definition, the facilitator is asked to do much more than just host Scrum events.

Geoff Watts, in his book Scrum Mastery, describes guidance as a basic skill and behavior of the Scrum Master:

At all times, the Scrum Master serves the goals of the team, the Product Owner, and the organization. And if those goals collide, they consider the long-term implications, as well as the message of any compromise.

A Scrum Master should:

  • Lead relationships, collaboration, and communication within the team and within the team environment
  • Lead the Scrum process and make continuous improvement
  • Lead the integration of the Scrum team with the entire organization
  • Guide Scrum events to be purposeful and efficient
  • Lead the team to achieve collective and individual goals

Lyssa Adkins, in her book Coaching Agile Teams, provides a good illustration:

The Scrum Master should guide the team in creating a ‘container’ to hold their ideas and ideas. This container, usually a set of questions about the agenda or some other lightweight (and flexible) structure, will provide enough framework for the team to stick to their goals and create a richer environment for interaction, a place to hear fantastic ideas. The coach creates the container and the team creates the content.

4.3.4 Characteristics of excellent facilitators

Therefore, the Scrum Master should guide the team to collaborate and discuss their ideas by setting the stage and providing clear boundaries.

Other characteristics of a good facilitator are:

  • Design and lead the meeting, to help team to achieve the goals and objectives of 15 [15] http://nomad8.com/training/sc…
  • Ask powerful questions to generate new insights and perspectives
  • Listen to understand, rather than listening action 16 [16] https://tcagley.wordpress.com…
  • Build strong teams, not strong individuals
  • Make things happen, not make things happen
  • Know how to use a low-touch guidance method

4.3.5 What is a good guidance method for Scrum events

Each Scrum event has a specific purpose to answer the question “Why are we having this meeting?” A good facilitator should ensure that the goals of each event are clear and provide a lightweight structure to help the team achieve the goals of the event. The goals of the Scrum events mentioned earlier are still useful, but with good guidance, the Scrum Master can succeed in getting more value out of each event.

The characteristics of a good way to conduct Scrum events are:

  • Daily Scrum embraces a healthy atmosphere of peer pressure that is enveloped in delivering quality, commitment, and resolving obstacles.
  • The Sprint program is all about collaboration between the product owner and the development team, and they are very focused on delivering business value. All team members understand the work and agree to achieve the Sprint goals.
  • The Sprint Review is an energetic event where the Scrum team, sponsors, and stakeholders come together to review product increments and backlog lists. They also review their collaboration and how it can be improved. They all work as a team with the same goal, and there is no barrier between client and supplier.
  • The Sprint Retrospect was conducted in a safe atmosphere, and in this process, the elephant in the room. The elephant in the room is a social phenomenon of collective silence about some obvious fact that is identified, discussed, and translated into actionable improvements that the team members agree on for the next Sprint.


To sum up, good guidance is:

  • Serving the team, but not Serving their servants.
  • Help the team make decisions and reach consensus
  • Identifying difficult attitudes, dysfunctional Behaviours and unproductive attitudes that have hindered the outcome of the meeting 17 [17] http://www.agilecoachinginsti…
  • Be a keen observer
  • As long as you can support their continued self-organization, back off
  • Know when to interrupt the group
  • Helps the team achieve high quality interactions
  • Ask questions and challenges

Mastering these guiding skills takes time, practice, and constant reflection and improvement. But given what good guidance can do, it’s worth the effort!

4.4 Scrum Master as Teacher

This chapter introduces the Scrum Master as a teacher. I will present the teacher’s definitions, theoretical perspectives, and some practical examples of what the Scrum Master should teach.


4.4.1 What is a Teacher?

The simplest definition I’ve found is:

Someone who helps others learn new things.

To teach, “Teaching,” means to impart knowledge or skills, or to instruct others how to do something.

Some good quotes about Teaching:

The art of teaching is the art of facilitating discovery. – Mark van Doren

I never teach my students, I just try to provide the conditions under which they can learn. – Albert Einstein

A good teacher inspires hope, ignites imagination, and instills a love of learning. – Brad Henry

4.4.2 Scrum Master as Teacher

According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring that Scrum is understood and implemented. The Scrum Master achieves this goal by ensuring that the Scrum team adheres to Scrum theory, practices, and rules. When the team deviates from agile practices and principles, they guide the team back on track. In terms of teaching, the Scrum Master’s primary focus is on the development team and the product owner. But the Scrum Master should also ensure that Scrum is understood by everyone else involved in the Scrum team.

4.4.3 What can the Scrum Master teach?

  • Teach agility at team startup. In the first week of a new team, I always bring the team back to the heart of Agile and Scrum: I teach them the whies and whats of agile thinking, the Scrum framework, XP and Kanban. While some team members may have extensive experience with Agile, doing so keeps everyone’s understanding of Agile consistent. Explain the Agile Manifesto and emphasize the assumptions that traditional product development is based on: the customer knows what he wants, the developer knows how to build it, and nothing changes in the process. But in reality, the customer needs to figure out what he wants, the developer needs to figure out how to build it, and things change along the way.
  • Teach the core of Scrum. Using Scrum can be compared to playing chess. You either play by the rules or you don’t play by the rules. There is no failure or success in Scrum or Chess. You cannot say “failed at chess”, you can only say “failed at ‘playing’ chess”. They either play or they don’t. Those who play both games and practice them are likely to become very good at them. In chess, they might become masters. If it had been Scrum, they would have been a great development organization, cherished by their customers, loved by their users, and feared by their competitors 18. Some teams overlook certain parts of the framework when they start using Scrum. For example, do the Daily Standup twice a week, mix different characters, and skip retrospectives. If the team thinks it’s smart to do so, that’s fine, but the Scrum Master should teach them the consequences and emphasize that they’re not doing Scrum. [18] https://kenschwaber.wordpress…
  • Teach the difference between Scrum and Good Practices. Today, many good practices are tightly integrated into the core of Scrum. It is useful to teach the difference to the team. Examples of good practice are using story points, standing up to perform daily Scrum, or using a burn down chart to track the progress of a visualization. These are good practices, but given the heart of Scrum, they are not mandatory.
  • Teach the team about creating a shared identity. Teams should be aware of the prerequisites for teamwork: What does it take to be a team? What does it mean to be a team? I sometimes ask teams to share some of their personal experiences on the teams they are on: What is the worst team and why? What is the best team and why? A powerful exercise in building a shared identity is a team manifesto.
  • Teach the team about the importance of product vision. This is where the product owner comes in. Perhaps the team is created for a purpose, such as building a new product. It is critical that the team know and understand the Product Owner’s vision for his/her product. Only when the team understands the goal of the product can it make the right decision. A clear vision can basically serve as a beacon for the development team and is essential in difficult times.
  • The professor team is self-organizing. As the Agile Manifesto says, “The best architecture, requirements, and designs come from self-organizing teams.” . A self-organizing team is a group of motivated people who work together toward a goal, have the ability and authority to make decisions, and adapt to changing needs at any time. The Scrum Master, as an enabler of Scrum and self-organization, should consider how to motivate the team to solve their problems on their own, and provide as many tools, training, and insights as possible on how best to do this 19. [19] Verheyen, Gunther. Scrum: A Pocket Guide
  • Teach the role of the Scrum team. Require teams to expect people around them to fully perform their duties. Anything less is a handicap. They are shown how the three roles complement and interact. The Product Owner wants to build the right thing, the development team wants to build the right thing, and the Scrum Master wants to build fast. A good team knows how to balance these different interests. [20] Adkins, Lisa. Coaching Agile Teams
  • Teach the team about obstacles. In Scrum, an obstacle is anything that hinders a team’s productivity. The Scrum Master’s job is to ensure that barriers are removed. The Scrum Master only removes barriers that exceed the development team’s ability to self-organize. Otherwise it’s not really an obstacle, it’s just a problem for the team to solve.
  • Teach the team how to visualize progress. Transparency is one of the three pillars of Scrum. It is critical for inspection, adaptation and self-organization. Therefore, the need for progress visualization is also obvious, and without it, self-correction is hard to achieve. It is up to the development team to choose what and how to visualize. Visualizing the product backlog and the Sprint backlog is a good practice that I definitely encourage. Other practices that can be used to visualize progress or improve collaboration are burn down charts, having a board of obstacles and improvements, showing utilization of team members, or creating a Sprint calendar that shows all events and meetings.
  • Teach the Product Owner about managing the backlog. The Scrum Master should teach the Product Owner how to create a product backlog, how to prioritize by priority, value, risk, and dependency, and how to involve the entire team in managing the backlog.
  • Teach the organization about Scrum. The Scrum framework can be quite disruptive to some organizations. Some people may find it difficult to cope with the changes it brings. It is important to explain the purpose of Scrum and the need for some change to build mutual understanding and lay the foundation for ensuring that the change is truly sustainable.
  • Teach the team some fun! Don’t take it too seriously. Having fun helps you cope with difficult situations, increases collaboration, and builds a healthy team spirit. Therefore, make sure that happiness is part of the team’s daily routine.


This chapter contains some examples of how Scrum Master can be taught to development teams, product owners, and organizations. The most important lesson I learned was this: Don’t try to teach the team everything up front, give them opportunities to fail, and let them learn from their mistakes. Remember: Mistakes are the portals of discovery 21. [21] James Joyce

4.5 Scrum Master as Mentor

This chapter is about the Scrum Master as a mentor. I will introduce the definition of mentoring, the relationship between coaching and mentoring, and the Shu-ha-ri way of thinking.


4.5.1 What is Mentor?

The most straightforward definition I’ve found is:

A mentor is a wise and trustworthy counselor or teacher.

Some good quotes about mentors:

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. – Winston Churchill

The most you get out of life is not how much you keep for yourself, but how much you give to others. , David!

Be the mentor you want to be.

4.5.2 Coaching and Mentoring

“Coaching is about unlocking a person’s potential and maximising their own performance. It promotes people to learn, not to teach them “22. It helps someone see new perspectives and possibilities. For coaches, being subject matter expert is not necessary, and it can even be a trap. However, for mentoring, it is very important to have very professional knowledge. [22] Sir John Whitmore

Mentoring agile teams requires a combination of coaching and mentoring. When you coach, you are helping others reach their next goal in life. When you’re mentoring, you’re sharing your Agile experience and ideas and coaching them to use Agile well. In this way, coaching and mentoring are intertwined. Used in combination, they provide a powerful combination.

“Mentoring transfers your Agile knowledge and experience to the team because that specific knowledge is relevant to what they encounter. Coaching and mentoring are both useful and can be powerful in isolation. Taken together, they are a successful combination that helps people adopt Agile and use it well. An agile background makes you a mentor; Focusing on team performance makes you a coach. These two parts come together to keep Agile alive and within their control 23.” [23] Adkins, Lisa. Coaching Agile Teams

4.5.3 Defending, breaking and leaving (Shu-ha-ri)

In the context of mentoring, the concept of Shu-ha-ri is also worth mentioning. Shu-ha-ri is a way of thinking about how to learn technology. It describes the progress of training or learning. The name comes from the Japanese martial arts, introduced by Alistair Cockburn as a way of thinking about learning techniques and software development methodologies. Everyone goes through these three stages when learning something new. In the end, the result should be that students surpass their mentors in knowledge and skills. [24] http://martinfowler.com/bliki…

  • Shou – To follow the rules

In the first stage, students strictly follow the master’s instructions. Follow the rules until you really understand them. In this stage, the Scrum Master is primarily a teacher. As a teacher, he shares knowledge or skills and instructs others how to do something. For example, teaching the core of Scrum, explaining the purpose of different roles, artifacts, and events.

  • Break (Ha) – to break the rules

At this stage, students begin to reflect on the rule, look for exceptions and break the rule 25. He understands and can use the basic practices, and now begins to learn the underlying principles. He also began to learn from other masters and incorporated that learning into his practice. As a coach, the Scrum Master opens students’ eyes to new perspectives and possibilities. They guide the team to the next step in the agile journey. [25] https://www.scrumalliance.org…

  • Off (RI) – becomes the rule

At this stage, the rules are forgotten because the student has become proficient in Agile and has mastered its essence and basic principles. Students no longer learn from others, but learn from their own practice, he has become the new rule. In an agile environment, students really understand all the principles and know what practices to use when and in what situations. As advisor or mentor, the Scrum Master can be a counselor and counsellor if the student asks for it.

As a Scrum Master, it is useful to know the Shu-ha-ri phase. Each team member may be at a different level and is constantly changing. Therefore, it is time for a Scrum Master to change his or her style from teaching to coaching to post-secondary advising to accompany the team’s Shu-ha-ri phase.


Of course, the Scrum Master is not necessarily the mentor for every team member. As mentioned earlier, the tutor has specialized knowledge and experience on a subject. It may be that another team member or someone outside the team happens to be the ideal mentor. Good Scrum Masters have a keen insight into potential student-mentor relationships and know how to build them. The goal of all of these practices is to build great teams that help people thrive in their personal growth.

4.6 Scrum Master as Manager

This chapter introduces the Scrum Master as a manager. I’m going to introduce the difference between management and manager, horizontal management and vertical management, And the responsibilities of the Scrum Master as the Manager.


4.6.1 What is a Manager?

The simplest definition I’ve found is:

A manager is a person responsible for a group of tasks or a subset of the company.

Some good quotes about managers:

A manager is someone who looks for people who can get things done by others. For a good manager, the most important thing is to make the people in the team feel that he or she has integrity. – Sam Wyly

A manager is an assistant to his subordinate. – Thoman j. Watson

Everyone should be responsible for management, whether there is a manager or not. – Jurgen Appelo

To do well in management is to serve and support everyone’s innately wonderful behavior. – Woody Zuill

4.6.2 Management and Manager

There is a difference between Management and Manager. Management is an activity, and management is a role. Management, as an activity, will always exist within the organization. In addition, the organization will always have managers to carry out these activities. The difference between an agile organization and a traditional organization is the way it is managed. In agile organizations, management as an activity is carried out in a horizontal manner, rather than in a vertical manner used by traditional organizations to set up specific management positions.

Organizations that apply vertical management let individuals compete for advancement. The manager assigns tasks and the manager evaluates performance. Communication comes from the top down. The purpose of vertical management is to make money for shareholders. Horizontal management exists to satisfy customers. Making money is the result, not the goal of the activity. It supports empowerment over control, stimulates innovation, and emphasizes horizontal communication. [26] http://www.forbes.com/sites/s…

4.6.3 Horizontal Management with nimble embrace

Organizations that embrace agile adopt horizontal management. In these organizations, the team manages itself. They decide on their own work and manage its execution. Team members are highly motivated to collaborate, and they know that the success of the whole depends on the individuals: unless everyone succeeds in their own part, no one will succeed in the whole. The team agreed on the release goals, Sprint goals, and team goals. The key words are trust, transparency, open communication, collaboration, ownership, learning and collective commitment 27 commitment). [27] Moreira, Mario. Being Agile

When you compare horizontal management to a Scrum team, they can be seen as a team full of managers. The development team manages their work. The Product Owner manages the product vision, roadmap, and return on investment (ROI). The Scrum Master manages processes and obstacles that exceed the team’s ability to self-organize.

4.6.4 Scrum Master as Manager

So, yes, in an agile environment, the Scrum Master is also a manager. As a manager, the Scrum Master’s responsibilities are:

  • Manage barriers and eliminate waste. Remove barriers that limit team efficiency and schedule in areas that exceed the development team’s ability to self-organize.
  • Manage the process. Support the team to optimize the process; Promote team development; Maintain the purpose and effectiveness of Scrum activities; Ensure that people, teams, and organizations use Scrum for maximum benefit.
  • Manage the health of the team. Create an environment of trust through high quality interaction between team members that supports the team in achieving collective and individual goals.
  • Manage self-organizing boundaries. The Scrum Master manages the boundaries provided by Scrum to enhance self-organizing capabilities: time box limiting risk, focus, cross-functional collaboration, releasable results, confirmative learning 28. [28] http://guntherverheyen.com/20…
  • Management culture. Leave room for failure. Manage the necessary cultural changes to give the team the opportunity to thrive.


Management is still an important activity of the organization, and the role of managers is still effective and valuable. However, an important indicator of management in an agile organization is that it is horizontal rather than vertical as in a traditional organization. In a horizontal organization, teams manage themselves. In this context, the Scrum Master can be regarded as a wise leader who engages people through organizational goals and vision. He optimizes the value of management to the organization by identifying wasteful activities, eliminating waste, removing barriers, and finding ways to maximize the benefits of Scrum.

And as Jurgen Appelo says:

Management is too important to be left to managers. Management is everyone’s job. [29] Appelo, Jurgen. #Workout

By the way, Gunther Verheyen does a good job of describing the Scrum Master as a Manager 30. To be sure, this was the inspiration for this chapter. [30] http://guntherverheyen.com/20…

4.7 Scrum masters to be Impediment removers

This chapter introduces the Scrum Master as an obstacle remover. I’ll show you the most common definitions and examples of impediments, the Scrum Master who is an Impediment Remover, and strategies for dealing with impediments.

(Obstacle Remover)

What impediments are they?

After doing some research, I came up with some good definitions:

In Scrum, a barrier is a factor that prevents a development team from creating valuable software during a Sprint or that limits the team from achieving its inherent level of progress 31. [31] Verheyen, Gunther. Scrum: A Pocket Guide

Problems that exceed the ability of the development team to self-organize.

Event 32 that prevents any developer from working with the expected Sprint capability. [32] Goldstein, Ilan. Scrum Shortcuts without Cutting Corners: Agile Tactics, Tools & Tips

Some good quotes about impediments:

A good Scrum Master creates an environment where obstacles can be raised. A good Scrum Master creates an environment that encourages creativity 33. [33] Watts, Geoff. Scrum Mastery: From Good to Great Servant Leadership

A good Scrum Master seeks permission to remove barriers to team productivity. A good Scrum Master is prepared to ask for forgiveness.

4.7.2 Examples of possible obstacles

Now that you’ve read the definitions of the most common disorders, you might want some concrete examples. Therefore, you will find some examples of possible obstacles below:

  • Team member gets sick
  • Unforeseen and undesirable changes in team composition occur
  • Tools for the development team
  • low-skilled
  • A lot of technical debt
  • Supplier problems
  • The product owner can’t use it
  • Pressure from management
  • Conflict between team members
  • The development team has to attend a lot of non-essential meetings
  • Limitations of the team environment
  • The indecisive product owner

Scrum masters who are Impediment removers

According to the Scrum Guide, one of the services that the Scrum Master provides to the development team is to remove barriers that prevent the development team from progressing. As a service leader, the Scrum Master guides the development team to be self-organizing and cross-functional. The Scrum Master encourages, supports, and empowers the team to achieve its full potential and capabilities.

To achieve this, the Scrum Master should make a conscious decision to remove obstacles. The Scrum Master needs to consider the following issues:

  • Is it really a roadblock or is it something the development team can fix on its own?
  • Do we really need to remove this barrier?
  • What’s the real problem here?

It is important to realize that the examples of possible obstacles given above are not necessarily real obstacles. It is only when something is beyond the team’s ability to self-organize that it becomes a barrier.

Lack of skills can be a hindrance, but trust the self-organization of the development team and they will come up with other solutions. Perhaps a team member is eager to learn a needed skill and sees this as a great opportunity. Moreover, conflict between team members is not necessarily a hindrance. Let them have a heated discussion with each other. The Scrum Master leads the team in healthy conflict and debate. Ultimately this will lead to a stronger team.

The Scrum Master should create an environment where the development team feels safe to raise obstacles. Respecting the team’s ability to self-organize, the Scrum Master should encourage the team to try to solve the problem themselves. Better yet, the team can prevent something from getting in the way in the first place.

4.7.4 Barrier removal strategies

Removing obstacles is a challenge. Below I share some strategies and ideas for the Scrum Master to consider when facing obstacles:

  • Don’t wait for daily Scrum to raise obstacles! Of course, one of the questions suggested by Daily Scrum is “Are there any obstacles that are preventing me or the development team from achieving the Sprint goals?” However, this does not mean that the development team should only discuss obstacles during the daily Scrum session.
  • Use the Sprint target. A clear Sprint goal is a useful tool to determine if something is really a roadblock. If something is preventing the team from achieving the Sprint goal, then it is definitely a barrier.
  • Understand the difference between blocks and impediments. Blocks affect only a single task, and obstacles act like parachutes, slowing down the overall process. Usually, the development team can resolve the blockage itself, while the obstacles need to be resolved by the Scrum Master 34. [34] Goldstein, Ilan. Scrum Shortcuts without Cutting Corners: Agile Tactics, Tools & Tips
  • To improve transparency by using Impediment boards. This can be a simple flip board where obstacles are visualized. Add lanes such as To Do, In Progress, Done, and the status is transparent to everyone. Of course, you can also add barriers to an existing Scrum Board. It doesn’t matter how you do it. Visualizing the state and increasing transparency is what matters.
  • Keep track of identified obstacles. This will provide important input for the Sprint Review and the Sprint Review.
  • Understand the organization. The Scrum Master should understand the culture of the organization. He should know how to get things done in the organization. By choosing the right approach, difficult obstacles can be more easily resolved.
  • Be brave and creative in removing obstacles. When you need to make bold decisions to ensure the productivity of your development team, be prepared to ask for forgiveness afterwards.
  • Work with the Product Owner. Many times, the barriers are related to product management and working with stakeholders and suppliers. The product owner is the key person in this area. So make sure you have a healthy relationship with the product owner. Don’t spend your time and energy solving the wrong problem. With obstacles, the Scrum Master needs to suppress the desire to fix it, solve it, and provide a solution. They should focus on the real problem, not the first one. Ask questions to find out. Check to see if it’s really a roadblock or a learning opportunity for the development team.


Through my own research and reflection, I have provided a brief introduction to the Scrum Master as an obstacle remover. Given the amount of material available, this is clearly an important part of the Scrum Master’s responsibility. The main lesson I learned was to respect the development team’s ability to self-organize. Treating every small problem as an obstacle that needs to be solved by the Scrum Master does not help the development team grow as a whole. The Scrum Master is constantly finding the right balance between nip in the bud and fighting fire.

4.8 Scrum Master as Change Agent

This chapter introduces the Scrum Master as an agent of change. I’ll cover the most common definitions, the characteristics of a Scrum-friendly culture, and the Scrum Master as a Change Agent.

(Change agents)

4.8.1 What is a Change Agent?

A good definition of change agents is:

People who help organizations transform themselves by focusing on organizational efficiency, improvement and development. [35] http://study.com/academy/less…

A catalyst for change. [36] http://georgecouros.ca/blog/a…

In the context of Scrum, Geoff Watts describes the Scrum Master’s role as a change agent as follows: “A good Scrum Master helps a Scrum team survive in the organizational culture. Good Scrum Masters help change the culture so that Scrum teams can thrive 37. [37] Watts, Geoff. Scrum Mastery: From Good to Great Servant Leadership

4.8.2 Characteristics of Scrum-Friendly Culture

For a brief description of the characteristics of a Scrum-friendly culture, refer to the Agile Manifesto. While I recognize that these values and principles are valid characteristics, I also consider a Scrum friendly culture to be an environment in which:

  • Focus on team success rather than individual success
  • Inspire team members to hold themselves and others accountable
  • Promote continuous improvement and experimentation
  • Appreciate each person’s unique talents and skills
  • Focus on action rather than achievement
  • Customer – centered business philosophy
  • Thinking that planning is more useful than actual planning
  • Support long-term stable team structure to improve performance
  • Invite and motivate employees to achieve their maximum potential
  • Give trust and ownership to employees and thrive in their self-discipline
  • Help employees succeed by supporting, trusting, and mentoring them
  • Replace AD hoc, comprehensive documents with face-to-face communication
  • Focus on the product, not the project
  • Deliver business value through small, co-located, cross-functional, and self-organizing teams

4.8.3 Scrum Master as Change Agent

In order for the Scrum team culture to flourish, the Scrum Master should act as a Change Agent. The Scrum Master helps create an environment that allows the spirit of Scrum to flourish. The Scrum Guide defines this part of the Scrum Master’s role as “serving the organization” :

  • Lead and coach the organization in adopting Scrum
  • Plan the implementation of Scrum across the organization
  • Help employees and stakeholders understand and implement Scrum and experience-oriented product development
  • Initiate changes that will improve the productivity of the Scrum team
  • Work with other Scrum Masters to enhance the effectiveness of Scrum adoption in the organization 38. [38] http://www.scrumguides.org


As change agents, really good Scrum Masters come to the forefront. These Scrum Masters know how to change the status quo and help create a more appropriate environment. They know when to subvert and when to be careful. They understand that organizational change can take a long time. However, their willingness to change acts as a catalyst that propels the organization forward. The advantage of Scrum is that it brings bottlenecks and problems to the surface, and a good Scrum Master seeks support within the organization to actually address these dysfunction. The ultimate goal is to create a culture in which the Scrum team can thrive!


As mentioned earlier, my personal mission is to better understand the role of the Scrum Master. In writing this white paper, I would like to share my thoughts on this formidable position. The Scrum Master has the potential to be a valuable asset to every organization. To optimize their contribution, the Scrum Master should play the following roles:

  • Servant Leader, who focuses on the needs of team members and the needs of the people (customers) they provide value to. The goal is to achieve results that are in line with the values, principles and business goals of the organization.
  • The Facilitator sets the stage and provides clear boundaries that enable teams to work together.
  • The Coach guides the thinking and behavior of individuals, the continuous improvement of the team, and the true cooperation between the organization and the Scrum team.
  • The Manager, responsible for managing barriers, eliminating waste, managing processes, managing team health, managing self-organizing boundaries, managing culture.
  • Mentor, who imparts Agile knowledge and experience to the team.
  • The Teacher who ensures that Scrum and other related methods are understood and practiced.
  • Impediment removers solve problems that hinder development teams’ progress in thinking about their ability to self-organize.
  • Change agents that enable the Scrum team culture to flourish.

In this white paper, I share my personal experience as a Scrum Master. I also added the most common misconceptions about the role of the Scrum Master and why I changed my title from Agile Coach to 100% Scrum Master. I hope you enjoyed reading this white paper as it helped you better understand the role of the Scrum Master.

The little boat brother is quick

Author: adoudou

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