How a Scrum Master is supposed to act with respect to decision making?

Last post 03:01 pm April 25, 2022
by Daniel Wilhite
4 replies
07:35 pm April 23, 2022

In case other people/team members have "different perspectives" ("anti-Scrum/anti-Agile", related to the Project Management previous way of working, for example during an Agile Transformation) than you (you are the Scrum Master), and you basically disagree, what should be right Scrum Master postures in the decision making process?        
- Should we facilitate the team decision (be neutral and detached)? 
- Should we act as a "coach" by asking some powerful open questions?
- Should we always give the "Scrum theory/guide perspective"? (I believe so, just trying not to act as a Preacher)
- Should we just let people learn/"fail" themselves (of course, I could actually also be proven wrong, for instance "even if that could be considered a bad practice, actually it just works well in our team/context") or trying to kindly insist on what the Scrum guide tell us about it?
- other?

The Scrum Guide says: "The Scrum Master is accountable for the Scrum Team’s effectiveness."
I assume that decisions should be taken collectively as a team, and when those decisions would impact the team's effectiveness, you might sometimes be responsible for something you were not supporting - again, of course, it is also possible that I will just be proven wrong about my initial suggestion!

I see that at the end of the day, this is not such a big deal, above all as far as continuous improvement will redirect us "to the right way/better way for us", but I feel that I need your precious point of view about it, I am very likely missing something important here :)


Thanks in advance!

10:33 pm April 23, 2022

All of the options that you present could be correct postures or stances for a Scrum Master to take. In real-world applications, the least useful is, in my experience, giving the Scrum Guide's perspective - although useful in theoretical or academic conversations, I don't think that most people care that much about Scrum but would rather find the best way of working regardless of where it comes from. Facilitation decisions, asking powerful and open questions, letting people fail, partnering or teaching people different techniques, and more are all valid techniques or stances that a Scrum Master could take on in order to maximize the team's effectiveness.

11:17 pm April 23, 2022

I suggest checking out this white paper on the topic as well:

12:56 am April 24, 2022

How a Scrum Master is supposed to act with respect to decision making?

A good Scrum Master will reveal rather than resolve. Shine a light, but not in a harsh way. Learn to wonder about the things you see and be the first one to be vulnerable.

03:01 pm April 25, 2022

A Scrum Master doesn't act at all.  They support the team in decisions that they make.  If the team needs help in making a decision, the Scrum Master will facilitate their efforts and make it possible for the team to learn.  

A Scrum Master is not the leader of a Scrum Team. They are someone who shares empirical learning and guides teams to be self-organized, self-managed.  A Scrum Master is not judged by their individual actions, but by the actions of the team for which they are a member.  Scrum Masters serve teams, not own teams.  

How a Scrum Master is supposed to act with respect to decision making?

With support and humility.