Can Scrum Masters hold other positions within an organization?

Last post 03:34 pm February 22, 2019
by Daniel Wilhite
4 replies
Author
Messages
04:11 pm February 19, 2019

Good morning, 

I am currently transitioning into another career and see many postings to include the need for a Scrum Master. Is a Scrum Master allowed to only had that one position in the workplace or can he/she hold other positions such as managers or directors, simultaneously? Would doing so potentially threaten the values of Scrum?

10:48 pm February 19, 2019

Is it possible that those other positions might need to undergo change, so that the values of Scrum are not threatened?

08:06 am February 20, 2019

Is it possible that those other positions might need to undergo change, so that the values of Scrum are not threatened?

Ian, I've already learned so much about the way how you constanly counter questions with other questions. It's briliant!

 

Travis, which of the Scrum Values might be breached here? 

06:01 pm February 21, 2019

I can how values such as Courage, Focus, Openness, and commitment risk being compromised by place senior manager or directors in the Scrum Master role because the person may feel confirm to the executive leadership in the event leadership becomes impatient with the process. 

Then it goes back to Ian's counter question. I personally see it as an opportunity to promote that change and getting leadership to understand Scrum and product value. Are there any other insight that can be added to this?

03:34 pm February 22, 2019

Going to be very blunt and honest. And as always I provide the disclaimer that this is my opinion and may not reflect others.

In my experience the hardest part of transforming to Scrum, or any agile processes for that matter, has been with executive management being on board.  Often they are the ones that say "we are going to start doing Scrum" because they read an article that said Scrum/Agile makes you deliver faster.  But what they don't understand is that the "faster" part is incremental and requires complete change to how the organization works.  They think that making Development do sprints and daily stand ups is all that has to happen.  They do not read the articles that describe how the rest of the organization will have to change.  How the management pyramid flips in an agile model.  And when it starts to become apparent that their control is slipping away they will start to force changes so that they can maintain control. This is when "we don't need Scrum Masters because our Managers/Directors can do it instead" starts to be heard. 

If you are experiencing that your organizations commitment to Scrum is for the developers to do it but no one else, you will have to understand that you are not going to be very successful.  Make the most of what you can as a Scrum Master.  Help the developers learn and appreciate the benefits. Do what you can to help the product management in the same way.  But resign yourself that it won't be a perfect Scrum implementation. 

Now having said all of that, to answer this question.

Is a Scrum Master allowed to only had that one position in the workplace or can he/she hold other positions such as managers or directors, simultaneously? Would doing so potentially threaten the values of Scrum?

If you are qualified for a Manager or Director level job and truly embrace the Scrum benefits to the point that you are considering Scrum Master, I have an alternate suggestion.  Take the Manager or Director job and use your influence to help drive Scrum. Take advantage of the ability to influence change, to allow change and use your organization as an example of what Scrum and agile principles can do to benefit the organization.   Again, my opinion.