A Scrum Master is not a Manager
Often organisations new to Scrum and trying to implement it struggle with the Scrum Master role. I mean; its a person who the team does not report too, yet they are responsible for the process and getting things done. Its not just the organisation, people new or transitioning into the role often have these problems too.
A good Scrum Master will not insist that all information goes through them, they are not a conduit or an approver and should not act like a filter or a funnel in an organisation. When anyone ever asks me what the main role of a Scrum Master is, I always respond with the same word: facilitator.
For me, the Scrum Master is there to facilitate for the team, and make things easier for them — one of which should be communication. The Scrum Master should be facilitating a good flow of communication for the team and people around the team. If everything had to go through the Scrum Master, it is not a very effective way off communicating and is likely to result in a bottle neck.
Some of the tasks of the Scrum Master might be as simple as organising a meeting room, to helping to resolve personal issues between team members so that they will actually communicate to helping distributed teams keep in touch.
For this to happen, the Scrum Master needs to be aware all the time on whats going in within the team and to be able to identify any issues and facilitate resolving them. If all communication had to go through the Scrum Master, they would have time to do what they are actually supposed to.
This is where the line can get a bit blurry. When I say the Scrum Master should facilitate communication, I do not mean that they always needs to physically facilitate it. A Scrum Master should never say “Don’t talk to the Product Owner until I am also present”, because this is pretty much circling back to my point that a role of the Scrum Master is not meant to be a filter.
Communication should not be restricted by a single person, the Scrum Master should facilitate by providing an environment, encouragement or motivation for the teams to communicate on their own.
Process hacker, optimizer and team motivator. Blogging my ideas, initiatives and innovations. Certified Scrum Master/ Product Owner & Agile Project Manager
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