A Scrum Master is not a Manager
Often organisations new to Scrum and trying to implement it struggle with the Scrum Master role. It is 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 is – I always respond with the same word: facilitator.
The Scrum Master is there to facilitate for the team. They 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 them, it is not a very effective way off communicating. It 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. For example; helping to resolve personal issues between team members, so that they will help distributed teams keep in touch.
For this to happen, they needs to be aware all the time on whats going in within the team. They need 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. They should facilitate communication, I do not mean that they always needs to physically facilitate it. They should never say “Don’t talk to the Product Owner until I am also present”. 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.
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