Dear Scrum Master: The Scrum Events Are Theirs, Not Yours

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Dear Scrum Master: The Scrum Events Are Theirs, Not Yours

There's some confusion around the role of Scrum Master that needs to be cleared up, at least if you really want to be agile.

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The Scrum Master is often expected to facilitate and animate every Scrum event. But, according to the Scrum Guide, the role of the Scrum Master during these events is simply to ensure that the event takes place and that attendants understand its purpose. That's it. 

So why the confusion? It probably comes down to the fact that the Scrum Guide does indeed mention facilitation as part of the Scrum Master's duties, but only as requested or needed.  

True, the Scrum Master has to facilitate the very first events in order to help the product owner and development team understand their purpose. This is obviously important.

BUT -- and this is indeed a big one -- if the Scrum Master keeps on facilitating these events, he or she will actually reduce the self-organization of the Scrum team, since the team will never actually be empowered to come up with their own game plan.

The more you show, the more you influence, and the less you create the necessary space for emergence of self-organization.

As a Scrum Master, I try as quickly as possible not to facilitate the events myself. Rather, I try to mentor team members and provide resources (if asked). This way, the team is encouraged to facilitate their own events in their own way.

Then I can go further with some powerful coaching tools by introducing what ICF Master Certified Coach Alain Cardon coined as "delegated roles," which help develop important micro-competencies inside the Scrum team. 

Here are the major micro-competencies suggested by Alain Cardon:

  • The Facilitator/Animator: One person is responsible for the facilitation of the current event, assuring everybody participates, that the energy is flowing through the team, and that the energy level high.
  • The Scribe: One person is responsible for pushing the team to make a decision. 
  • The Timer: One person is responsible for helping the team use their time wisely. He or she could do this by cutting every sequence of the event into four parts, which helps the team check if they are on track (e.g. 1st quarter: the beginning; 2nd quarter: mid-way; 3rd quarter: start wrapping it up). It's important to remember, though, that the timer is not a time-keeper. If the team is early or late, it is a team decision to choose how to adapt.
  • The Observer: One person is responsible for helping the team improve by giving some actionable feedback at the end of the meeting.

Using the delegated roles, the Scrum Master can actually be "invisibly present," and thus support the Scrum team lightly from the back of the room.

agile, alain cardon, delegated roles, scrum master, sprint, team work

Published at DZone with permission of Olivier Ledru , DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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