The Scrum development framework assigns an entire series of very specific tasks and responsibilities to the Scrum Master within a team. However, in many companies the Scrum Masters do something quite different. That is also the case with us.
Because of this, our colleagues always ask the following questions:
What do Scum Masters actually do all day? Where can I find the Scrum Master when I’m looking for him or her? What responsibilities does the Scrum Master actually have?
To provide a little more transparency and to answer these questions, I have posted a series of blog posts internally. But I believe that some of our customers and blog visitors would also find this interesting.
From Scrum Masters to Agile Coaches
Firstly: We see ourselves primarily as Agile Coaches, and our Scrum Master team has been renamed to reflect this. Many of our activities today are either not (directly) visible (crises, individual development discussions, external marketing), or the effects of what we do often only become visible after weeks or months, and not always linked one-to-one to any specific issue.
These topics have little to do with the tasks that would typically be assigned to a Scrum Master in the classical sense. This is one of the reasons why we now call ourselves Agile Coaches, and we want our positions to be understood as such.
Our quickly growing company forced us into a balancing act. Our team has currently three and a half people. (An extra colleague will join us in summer, thankfully!) Such a small team can not personally look after the 17 teams we currently have, at least not the tasks that a ‘classical’ Scrum Master might perform, according to the Scrum Guide.
We can’t and don’t want to be available only to a small circle of colleagues: We want to use our skills and knowledge to have a maximum positive impact on the entire company, and be of value to all of our teams.
From a team to a company level
We are moving further and further away from our specific tasks and responsibilities in teams, and instead we are trying to reach a large number of employees at the higher meta-level with our improvement measures. Our goal is to support the teams and the individuals to the extent that they, themselves, are able to deal with any problems that arise, and to always follow the maxim “Inspect & Adapt”.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that we no longer work with the teams, and are no longer interested in retrospectives or individual discussions. No, these things are still very rewarding! Only that this is not our overarching focus. We are always there for teams or colleagues when they need our support – be it at a procedural or interpersonal level, dealing with customers, or even when private problems impact employees, preventing them working happily and productively.
Things at //SEIBERT/MEDIA are always in a state of change. This means that the status quo doesn’t last long – and that the current situation will change. We also want to grow our capacity in the future so that our team support factor is no longer in the range of 1 to 6, but 1 to 2 or 1 to 3. This doesn’t happen overnight, and we continue to look very closely when employing new personnel, to see whether the person fits us and the overall situation at //SEIBERT/MEDIA.
As Agile Coaches, we are trying to use our currently somewhat limited resources optimally to benefit the company. I will explain further in four future posts, covering the topics education & training, recruiting & external marketing, enterprise development and working with and between both teams and individuals.