What is a Scrum Master?

Another post kicked off by a conversation with @flowchainsensei:

FSC: “’scrum master’ – I don’t care what the zealots say, this essentially boils down to being a project manager” http://t.co/4msQf3j1

Me:@flowchainsensei Except when you work with a PM, then it becomes its essence. Best Scrummastering I did was that way. Will blog…

So here it is! As I’m blogging about in Agile Baby Steps, my first exposure to Scrum was 6 years ago, with my first implementation 5 years ago after doing a course. This first implementation was a “failure” from which myself, and I hope others, learnt a lot. The second was much better as I got out of the way and let the team “discover” Scrum.

My main background then was a Technical Architect and we had a PM, so I did what came naturally – let the PM do their thing while I facilitated the Scrum, highlighting issues as they came up (that wasn’t hard as she attended most of the dailys – sometimes I’d explain and work through things with her after). At the end of each sprint, I gathered up all the stickies and gave them to the PM who then did her thing – reconciling and reporting everything to keep “the organisation” happy. Overall, I only spent < 1h / day SM’ing and talking with the PM. The rest of my time was doing architecture and coding – everyone was happy! The project was a success and went from chaos under Waterfall to predictability with Scrum.

Why did this work? I think it was because I kept out out of the way, didn’t get too caught up in “Scrum rules and roles” and let the process do it’s thing, which was “inspect and adapt”. So I didn’t need to be a PM because I had one!

As a side note, they were still using Scrum years later because it was their process and not mine :-)

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