Is scrum master a 100% position?

I would like to share my thoughts on this topic. I got inspired after I read the book “The great Scrum Master by Zuzana Sochova and my own personal experience.

My feeling is that many organizations do not utilize the full potential of what the scrum master role entitles. Many organizations have different expectations, demands on what the scrum master should do.

The scrum master is a role that evolves over time:

Team level:
In the first transformation stage, the scrum master would find himself/herself teaching and be explaining scrum, removing impediments and facilitating scrum events. The more the team becomes self-organize, the need of the scrum master is less and less but not neglected. At this stage, the scrum master is ready to move to the next level.

Relationship level:
The scrum master focuses on the creation of a self-confident team where there is a good level of interaction and communication between the development team and the product owner. The scrum master also focuses on other relationships that interact with the development team such as stakeholders, product management, marketing, line managers and so on. The scrum master applies self-organization to everyone who works with the development team. Promote an agile culture, philosophy, and mindset. At this state, the scrum master can focus as well on other aspects such as scale scrum for example.

Company level:
At this level, the focus is on the organization. The scrum master focuses on transforming the organization. Bringing the agile mindset and scrum values to the company level.

The fact is that not all scrum masters are ready to perform at all these levels. It takes experience and time to develop the skills needed to coach and perform at the company level.

Many organizations today have agile coaches for example. This type of position usually performs at a relationship level and company level. However, in my personal opinion, I see an agile coach as a natural evolution of the scrum master role.

I think that many organizations have scrum masters performing at the team level. Meaning that if you have a mature and self-organized team, I would say that it is the time for the scrum master to occupy his/her idle time in coaching at the relationship level or company level.

In many cases, the scrum master cannot perform at the relationship or company level. This might be due to many factors, the experience just to mention one; if this is the case then I think that the scrum master role is not a 100% position.


// Ricardo Morales