The Holistic Scrum Master

Leading the Scrum process is one of the prime roles of the SM- Scrum Master. Though bereft of authority and uninvolved in the decision-making process, the holistic role played by the SM is that of a beacon light to the lost when it comes to Scrum experience or expertise.

The Scrum Master responsibility
The SM during the process of transformation to Scrum in a team needs to synchronize and bring synergy between team members on the path to becoming a self-organized team. Without a holistic SM who is akin to the compass, even the most powerful ships can sink. The SM has to work holistically to bring all team members to the same unambiguous understanding of Scrum values, rules, theory and practice to help it succeed.

The SM needs to holistically take control of the team’s heading by promoting and facilitating comradeship, shared making of decisions and a sense of team-belonging.

Preaching Scrum is one aspect the SM must involve in. However, beware the pitfalls of getting authoritative, constantly harping on Scrum errors, and overdoing the involvement in team activities.

The SM in his holistic approach should evolve as a leader, not a team servant while being ever ready to serve. Being the neutralizing agent and buffer in conflict resolution his role is that of the compass ever re-orienting the team to the goal. Teach the team to fish and not be fed fish should be his holistic goal. Then he should back out and foster team progress.

Responsibility towards product owner:
A cent-per-cent clarity of scope, goals, timelines and product domain needs to be the primary goal of the SM in his responsibilities to the team. The SM helps the product owner with the product backlogs, needs of the project and communication to team members in a precise clear language that gives no room for misunderstandings, missed signals or hindrances to team performance. Being Agile is the best route to offer advice on effective aids for managing product backlogs, deadlines and goal setting.

Responsibility towards Scrum team:
The Scrum team needs an inspiring humble coach who can help promote better collaborations, communications and contribution while functioning as a cross-functional team. The SM needs to provide the Scrum environment and ensure that all distractions, disruptions and obstacles are removed even before they occur and defeat team functions. For example obsolete software, slow responses from coordinating departments, unnecessary processes and so on. He has to ensure the neutrality of opinion as he fosters team oneness. The team counts on him to ensure the track is prepared as they sprint on it to win.

Responsibility towards organisation:
The SM needs to be the effective buffer between the stakeholders and the Scrum team. Liaising, reporting progress, and fostering open face-to-face communications within the Scrum framework will positively impact productivity, ROI and profits.

Truly the holistic SM can be the best coach and guiding friend for all teams. If you wish to become an SM or improve your skills take the PSM course and head to the PSM certification on your way to being the holistic SM of tomorrow.

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