Summary of how some major frameworks describe the Scrum Master Role

The sections below show the Scrum Master description from several sources.

https://scrumprimer.org/

The Scrum Primer v2.0

The Scrum Primer is a compendium written by Pete Deemer, Gabrielle Benefield, Craig Larman, and Bas Vodde. The guide refers to the Scrum Guide and wishes to be a lightweight guide or compendium.

“The ScrumMaster helps the product group learn and apply Scrum to achieve business value. The ScrumMaster does whatever is in their power to help the Team, Product Owner and organization be successful. The ScrumMaster is not the manager of the Team members, nor are they a project manager, team lead, or team representative. Instead, the ScrumMaster serves the Team; he or she helps to remove impediments, protects the Team from outside interference, and helps the Team to adopt modern development practices. He or she educates, coaches and guides the Product Owner, Team and the rest of the organization in the skillful use of Scrum. The ScrumMaster is a coach and teacher. The ScrumMaster makes sure everyone (including the Product Owner, and those in management) understands the principles and practices of Scrum, and they help lead the organization through the often difficult change required to achieve success with agile development. Since Scrum makes visible many impediments and threats to the Team’s and Product Owner’s effectiveness, it is important to have an engaged ScrumMaster working energetically to help resolve those issues, or the Team or Product Owner will find it difficult to succeed. There should be a dedicated full-time ScrumMaster, although a smaller Team might have a team member play this role (carrying a lighter load of regular work when they do so). Great ScrumMasters can come from any background or discipline: Engineering, Design, Testing, Product Management, Project Management, or Quality Management.

The ScrumMaster and the Product Owner cannot be the same individual as their focus is so different and combining them often leads to confusion and conflict. One common unfortunate result of combining these roles is a micro-managing Product Owner which is opposite to self-managing teams that Scrum requires. Unlike a traditional manager, the ScrumMaster does not tell people what to do or assign tasks — they facilitate the process, supporting the Team as it organizes and manages itself. If the ScrumMaster was previously in a position managing the Team, they will need to”
— Scrum Primer 2.0

LeSS

LeSS is a Scaling framework that is Scrum, according to the authors Craig Larman and Bos Vodde

“The bigger the group, the harder it is to see the whole. A Scrum Master helps people to see beyond their individual perspective to the larger production system — the product group interactions, delays, causes, and potentials. She also reminds everyone of the whole-product focus. This is key because unintegrated individual team output won’t create customer value.

A LeSS Scrum Master will encounter complex large-scale problems and she’ll need to resist resolving them with complex large-scale solutions. Instead, she’ll need to leverage the spirit of Scrum and find simple ways to empower people to resolve their impediments. This approach leads to large-scale, yet simple, solutions.

Scrum Masters are guardians of transparency. But most large-scale product development has a persistent haze hovering over it. Clearing the haze, that is, creating transparency, is a hard and thankless job in an organization’s political jungle.”
- LeSS

LeSS continues

“In LeSS, the Scrum Master role is vital. We’ve seen many organizations try part-time Scrum Masters, which usually leads to no Scrum Masters at all. This then affects the LeSS adoption enormously. In LeSS the Scrum Master is a dedicated, full-time role in the same way that being a Scrum Team member is a dedicated, full-time role. Having said that, it is possible for one full-time Scrum Master fill the role for up to three teams, depending on any number of factors.”

and further

“The Scrum Master teaches Scrum to the organization and coaches them in their never-ending adoption. She has mastered Scrum and uses this deep Scrum understanding to guide everybody to discover how they can best contribute to creating the most valuable product.

The Scrum Master role is often misunderstood and performed poorly because people attempt to map this new role to an existing one. It doesn’t map. It is not the master of the team, nor is it an ‘agile’ project manager or a team lead.

The Scrum Master role is one of two “meta-feedback-loops” in Scrum. It is a supporting role helping the organization to reflect and improve towards their perfection vision. She creates the environment for people to succeed.”
- LeSS Scrum Master

And more

“The Scrum Master Checklist by Michael James is an excellent Scrum Master tool. It identifies four areas of focus for a Scrum Master.

team

Product Owner

organization

development practices

These focus areas also expose a common Scrum Master problem: too much focus on the team.

The four focus areas help us in understanding the Scrum Master role in LeSS, especially when we plot the Scrum Master focus over time”
- LeSS Scrum Master

SAFe

One of the more popular Scaling Frameworks from Dean Leffingwell.

“Scrum Masters are servant leaders and coaches for an Agile Team. They help educate the team in Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), Kanban, and SAFe, ensuring that the agreed Agile process is being followed. They also help remove impediments and foster an environment for high-performing team dynamics, continuous flow, and relentless improvement. The Scrum Master role is taken by a team member whose primary responsibility is assisting the self-organizing, self-managing team to achieve its goals. Scrum Masters do this by teaching and coaching team practices, implementing and supporting SAFe principles and practices, identifying and eliminating impediments, and facilitating flow. They also work with the extended Scrum Master community, including Release Train Engineers and Solution Train Engineers, to increase the effectiveness of SAFe across the enterprise.”
- SAFe

Scrum.org

The Scrum Guide 2020

Written by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. The “bible” or main source for Scrum.

“The Scrum Master is accountable for establishing Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. They do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory and practice, both within the Scrum Team and the organization.

The Scrum Master is accountable for the Scrum Team’s effectiveness. They do this by enabling the Scrum Team to improve its practices, within the Scrum framework.

Scrum Masters are true leaders who serve the Scrum Team and the larger organization.

The Scrum Master serves the Scrum Team in several ways, including:

Coaching the team members in self-management and cross-functionality;

Helping the Scrum Team focus on creating high-value Increments that meet the Definition of Done;

Causing the removal of impediments to the Scrum Team’s progress; and,

Ensuring that all Scrum events take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox.

The Scrum Master serves the Product Owner in several ways, including:

Helping find techniques for effective Product Goal definition and Product Backlog management;

Helping the Scrum Team understand the need for clear and concise Product Backlog items;

Helping establish empirical product planning for a complex environment; and,

Facilitating stakeholder collaboration as requested or needed.

The Scrum Master serves the organization in several ways, including:

Leading, training, and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption;

Planning and advising Scrum implementations within the organization;

Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact an empirical approach for complex work; and,

Removing barriers between stakeholders and Scrum Teams.“

— Scrum Guide 2020

The Scrum Guide 2017

Written by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. The “bible” or main source for Scrum.

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

The Scrum Master is a servant-leader for the Scrum Team. The Scrum Master helps those outside the Scrum Team understand which of their interactions with the Scrum Team are helpful and which aren’t. The Scrum Master helps everyone change these interactions to maximize the value created by the Scrum Team.

Scrum Master Service to the Product Owner

The Scrum Master serves the Product Owner in several ways, including:

Ensuring that goals, scope, and product domain are understood by everyone on the Scrum Team as well as possible;

Finding techniques for effective Product Backlog management;

Helping the Scrum Team understand the need for clear and concise Product Backlog items;

Understanding product planning in an empirical environment;

Ensuring the Product Owner knows how to arrange the Product Backlog to maximize value;

Understanding and practicing agility; and,

Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed.

Scrum Master Service to the Development Team

The Scrum Master serves the Development Team in several ways, including:

Coaching the Development Team in self-organization and cross-functionality;

Helping the Development Team to create high-value products;

Removing impediments to the Development Team’s progress;

Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed; and,

Coaching the Development Team in organizational environments in which Scrum is not yet fully adopted and understood.

Scrum Master Service to the Organization

The Scrum Master serves the organization in several ways, including:

Leading and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption;

Planning Scrum implementations within the organization;

Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact Scrum and empirical product development;

Causing change that increases the productivity of the Scrum Team; and,

Working with other Scrum Masters to increase the effectiveness of the application of Scrum in the organization.”

- Scrum Guide 2017

Nexus

Nexus and Scaled Professional Scrum were collaboratively developed by Ken Schwaber, David Dame, Richard Hundhausen, Patricia Kong, Rob Maher, Steve Porter, Christina Schwaber, and Gunther Verheyen.

“A Scrum Master: The Scrum Master in the Nexus Integration Team is accountable for ensuring the Nexus framework is understood and enacted as described in the Nexus Guide. This Scrum Master may also be a Scrum Master in one or more of the Scrum Teams in the Nexus.”

-Nexus

https://www.scrum

Scrum@Scale

Dr. Jeff Sutherland developed Scrum@Scale based on the fundamental principles of Scrum, Complex Adaptive Systems theory, game theory, and object-oriented technology.

“The scaled versions of the Daily Scrum and Retrospective are facilitated by a Scrum Master for the group, called the Scrum of Scrums Master (SoSM)”

and further described with

“The Scrum Master of the Scrum of Scrums is called the Scrum of Scrums Master (SoSM). The Scrum of Scrums Master is accountable for ensuring the Scaled events take place, are productive, positive, and kept within the time-box. The Scrum of Scrums Master may be one of the team’s Scrum Masters or a person specifically dedicated to this role. They are accountable for the release of the joint teams’ efforts and continuously improving the effectiveness of the Scrum of Scrums. This includes greater team throughput, lower cost, and higher quality. In order to achieve these goals, they must:

Work closely with the Chief Product Owner to deliver a potentially releasable product increment at least every Sprint

Coordinate the teams’ delivery with the Product Owners Team’s release plans

Make impediments, process improvements, and progress visible to the organization

Facilitate the prioritization and removal of impediments, paying particular attention to cross-team dependencies

The Scrum of Scrums Master is a true leader who serves the teams and the organization by understanding cross-team dependencies, including those outside of the Scrum of Scrums and enabling cross-team coordination and communication. They are accountable for keeping the Chief Product Owner, stakeholders, and larger organization informed by radiating information about product development progress, impediments removal status, and other metrics. The Scrum of Scrums Master leads by example, mentoring others to increase the effectiveness and adoption of Scrum throughout the organization.

In the case where multiple Scrum of Scrums are grouped into a Scrum of Scrum of Scrums, then a Scrum of Scrum of Scrums Master (SoSoSM) is needed to coordinate from that wider perspective.”

Twenty years plus of continuous professional expertise in the information technology sector working in the private sector and United Nations in Europe and Asia.

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