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Scrum Master Myths

Top 10 Myths of ScrumMaster Role

Introduction

The idea of implementing Scrum has been growing, not just in the software industry but also throughout all sectors. According to the Agile report of 2020, 78% of organizations responded that they have already implemented or have an interest in adopting Scrum. It is growing in popularity amongst organizations for its simplicity and ability to deliver a complex product.

As per Scrum Guide, the ScrumMaster 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.

However, there are several myths associated with what a ScrumMaster is supposed to do. As a ScrumMaster, one will see many people approaching with an improper request. This shows the lack of knowledge and understanding of the role of a ScrumMaster in a Scrum team. Moreover, the ScrumMaster role is often confused with a Project Manager.

The following are a few sorted out myths about the role of a ScrumMaster:

Popular Misleading Myths About the Role of a ScrumMaster

Myth #1 – The ScrumMaster is the Leader of a Scrum Team

A ScrumMaster is a servant leader of the team who has no higher role when compared to the rest of the members within the Scrum team. When we consider Development Teams, they operate independently, in that, they are primarily self-oriented and they manage themselves. They even establish all the rules and determine the aspects of their operations by themselves.

A ScrumMaster does not decide whom to hire and whom to fire. Although they are capable, it is not the role of a ScrumMaster. The ScrumMaster is simply a member of a Scrum team who guides the team throughout the process.

Myth #2 – The ScrumMaster is a Servant of the Team

Just like the previous myth, the ScrumMaster is also sometimes mistaken as an assistant to everyone in the team. People think that a ScrumMaster’s role is just about managing documents and keeping things organized.

While managing documents and scheduling events is one of the tasks of a ScrumMaster, a ScrumMaster is also the one who facilitates the Scrum values, highlights the functions, and guides the team towards improvement.

When the Scrum team takes the ScrumMaster as just an assistant, it may lead the team to not respect the ScrumMaster and eventually judge the decisions. The ScrumMaster might not be familiar with the job of different members of the Scrum team but is the one who helps the team to understand and follow the Scrum framework, using an evidence-based and collaborative approach.

Myth #3 – The ScrumMaster is not as Important as the Product Owner

A ScrumMaster makes sure that the Scrum team works correctly, whereas the Product Owner makes sure that the product meets the business needs. The Product Owner is generally responsible for making sure that the work is given adequate priority, they are also incharge for reviewing the work that is done within a Sprint and lastly also handles the stage where the work is supposed to be accepted.

The ScrumMaster is the person in the organization who makes sure that the team is not interfered with by any external source that would distract the team from getting the work done. Most importantly, the ScrumMaster coaches the Scrum team to properly adapt the Scrum framework. So, both roles have different responsibilities and functions and are important in their specific ways.

Myth #4 – A ScrumMaster Needs To Work Full-Time

It is important to note that the practical requirement of a ScrumMaster to work full-time is broadly based on the overall proficiency of the Scrum team and the maturity of the organization. A full-time ScrumMaster is necessary only when the Scrum team is new to the idea of Scrum and needs more attention to understand the Scrum framework and processes.

A mature Scrum team doesn’t require a ScrumMaster for all purposes since they are self-oriented and self-managed. They may reach out for a ScrumMaster only when they face hindrance in a process.

Myth #5 – Anybody Can Become A ScrumMaster

A ScrumMaster should be a person who does not involve personal emotions into a discussion and is transparent. Even a certified ScrumMaster could find it hard to get a ScrumMaster role without any Agile experience. In order to be considered as a ScrumMaster, one must have experience in the Scrum environment and see whether they can accept the challenges.

Scrum has a lot of rules and challenges. A ScrumMaster should be able to work according to the Scrum framework. So, anybody can become a ScrumMaster but that is true only if they are emotionally intelligent and have experience of the Scrum framework.

Myth #6 – Only People with Technical Background can Become ScrumMaster

Not having an IT exposure is never a limitation or a prerequisite to becoming a ScrumMaster, although it can be useful to have one. The position of ScrumMaster can be earned by a technical person as long as they can ensure that they will not let their technical impulses interfere with their duties.

However, the fact is that the role of a ScrumMaster has nothing to do with IT background. Hence, the ScrumMaster is a person who creates and maintains the flow of work irrespective of their field of work.

Myth #7 – The ScrumMaster’s Ideas Should Always be Accepted

The ScrumMaster always takes the opinion of their team before implementing any idea to work. A ScrumMaster is not the decision-maker in a Scrum team; they must guide the team and help them come up with new ideas. Every member of the Scrum team has the right to express their ideas.

The ScrumMaster can provide opinions and make others reflect their ideas among the individual members of the Scrum team and make sure that they are well-received. A ScrumMaster is a good listener and a good advisor.

Myth #8 – The ScrumMaster Only Should Help the Team Overcome Obstacles

As a fact, a ScrumMaster must remove blockers for the Development Team. But this does not mean that no one else in the team can do it. Every member of the Development Team has similar responsibilities when it comes to overcoming obstacles.

Depending on the situation, the ScrumMaster should let the Development Team deal with obstacles themselves. The ScrumMaster should look after the team and let them work on their own, and later on determine what went well and what should be done differently next time.

Myth #9 – The ScrumMaster Needs to Attend to Daily Scrum

The Daily Scrum has been created with the intention that the progress of the Development Team towards the Sprint goal may be inspected. If anything is hindering the progress of the Development Team from achieving the Sprint goal, the Development Team should be able to deal with it.

The Development Team is a self-organizing team, and they are the ones participating in Daily Scrum. What a ScrumMaster does is that they coach the Development Team to complete the Daily Scrum within a time box.

Myth #10 – The ScrumMaster and Project Manager are the same

ScrumMaster and Project Manager both contribute to the Projects. Though the ScrumMaster role somewhere overlaps to a certain extent to the role of a Project Manager in an Agile environment, they both are completely different. ScrumMaster contributes to the project based on the Scrum Agile project management whereas the Project Manager focuses on the traditional Project Management principles.

Summary

There are many popular myths about a ScrumMaster which have made the role ambiguous in an organization. Below is a list of the popular myths sorted out.

Conclusion

The common myths around the ScrumMaster role have emerged due to the willingness of ScrumMasters to take extra responsibility in the organization, including goals, and communicating with everyone at all levels. The world has also imposed many extra responsibilities and work since they can handle it. However, it is important to know the true role of a ScrumMaster instead of using them for odd jobs.

Reference links:

https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/myth-scrum-master-information-dispenser

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