Scrum Master is a "management" position?

Last post 03:29 pm October 19, 2019
by William Beglen
16 replies
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01:41 pm September 11, 2014

I had this question in the open assessment. I am not sure what this answer is. The correct answer seems to say Scrum Master is a "management" position = True. Then in the feedback section it seems to say the Scrum Master does not manage a team. Can someone explain the difference for me? I thought the Scrum Master need NOT be a management position.

Scrum Master is a "management" position?

Correct answer: A)
You chose: B)

Missed correct answer A)True
Incorrect answer B)False
Points: 0 out of 1
Feedback:

The Scrum Master manages the Scrum process. If the Scrum Master is not a management position, he or she may not have the influence to remove impediments. The Scrum Master does not manage the team.

09:18 pm September 13, 2014

The Scrum Master is a mgmt level position, but it is not a "manager" position. In other words, the SM doesn't "manage the team" or have HR responsibility (perf reviews etc.) over the team. Also, they are not there to "drive results" or "drive the team."

However, for them to be effective, they need to be at least at the "management" level of an org. Think of it as someone who is viewed as part of the mgmt team, without being someone who has direct reports.

10:35 am September 15, 2014

Thanks Charles. That is true!

04:20 am January 27, 2015

In my opinion, the Scrum Master is a management position.

The fact is that it does not manage the teams, but manages the scrum framework adoption (perhaps using a improvement backlog, as Mike Cohn suggests in 'Suceeding with Agile').

Hope it helps.

Àlex Ballarin - PSM I, PMP, DAD Yellow Belt
Agile Coach @ www.itnove.com

05:15 pm July 27, 2017

It makes sense. But the problem is when we read "Scrum Master is a management position" we immediately think of managing the team not the Scrum framework adoption. I have got this question wrong as I thought of a position similar to the PM in PRINCE2 and I rejected the answer

09:01 pm July 27, 2017

That's the thing with the PSM assessments, word play at it's finest. It is a management position, but it's a Process management position instead of a People management position. You'll see more questions like this on the assessment that really make you think.

08:28 pm August 12, 2019

The Scrum master role is not a process management, people management or technical management role.

Its a LEADERSHIP role; more precisely SERVANT LEADERSHIP role.

 

 

08:44 pm August 12, 2019

The Scrum Master is a Servant Leader role, but it is also definitely a management position.

Manjunatha, the question for you is what does the Scrum Master manage?   What are they responsible for?

09:01 pm August 12, 2019

The Scrum master role is not a process management, people management or technical management role.

Its a LEADERSHIP role; more precisely SERVANT LEADERSHIP role.

All due respect, my friend, I suggest you take a read through the Scrum Guide again in it's entirety. Here is a little excerpt from the Sprint Retrospective section:

"The Scrum Master participates as a peer team member in the meeting from the accountability over the Scrum process." 

If the SM participates in the Retro from the accountability over the Scrum process, that would correlate to a SM being a process manager. Call it a Framework manager or whatever you want. Regardless, if the SM is responsible for ensuring the team follow the Scrum Framework; they are managing the process. 

 

01:13 pm October 8, 2019

I am not sure whether SM is practically treated as a "management" position. But it should be a management position if it is not, because he is the person who can influence the management decisions on Scrum adoption, implementation and increasing the effectiveness of the application of Scrum in the organization. He is also accountable for coaching and mentoring the leadership if required support on the implementation of Scrum principles and values is missing. Undoubtedly, he is not responsible for managing the Development team but serving them by removing their impediments and ensuring that Scrum is followed properly in its entirety. A PM is required outside the Scrum framework for supporting and developing SM and Development Team's roles and their decisions to ensure successful delivery of the project.

03:34 pm October 8, 2019

Look at the definition of "management" in Merriam-Webster dictionary.  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/management

Definition of management

 

1the act or art of managing the conducting or supervising of something (such as a business)

2judicious use of means to accomplish an end

3the collective body of those who manage or direct an enterprise

Notice how it never once says anything about directing people.  I really like the second definition.  

Is Scrum Master a management position?  In my opinion definitions #1 and #2 are exactly what a Scrum Master does when it comes to helping others understand and appreciate the Scrum framework.

05:56 pm October 8, 2019

There is a reason the role is called Scrum Master and not Scrum Manager. I would also be careful with calling Scrum a process instead of a framework. 

07:12 pm October 8, 2019

 I would also be careful with calling Scrum a process instead of a framework. 

I think there is indeed ambiguity in the Scrum Guide around whether Scrum is a process or a framework.   Right off the bat, the Scrum Guide calls Scrum a "process framework", and then in the very next sentence it states that Scrum is not a "process"   

Also, at times in the Scrum Guide, Scrum is referred to as the "Scrum Process", the "Scrum Framework", and the "Scrum Process Framework".   

I personally believe that Scrum is a Framework, and the Scrum Master is a Manager of the Scrum Process.   Perhaps this would be a good discussion in a separate thread?

 

08:50 pm October 8, 2019

I love talking about this stuff, personally.

It's called a process framework because it's a framework for anyone's processes. It's process agnostic in that way. Work and do what you need to do but apply it in the framework of Scrum. Here are the required Roles, here are the Events that need to be run, and here are the Artifacts of the framework. But this is just one process framework, the Scrum Process Framework...Kanban is another process framework with different Artifacts and the like.

As a Scrum Master, I avoid being called a Manager at all times. I don't manage people, projects, processes, or the level of success of the Scrum Team. I'm in a Leadership role.

As a servant-leader, I focus primarily on the growth and well-being of people (not resources) and the communities to which they belong. I share power and put the needs of others first and help people develop and perform as highly as possible.

By coaching Agile Values and Principles into the execution of Scrum, the whole team can identify what makes themselves successful and what doesn't. I work to remove those impediments so they have the opportunity to maintain their success. If they are, that's a win for us all.

Hardly any credit comes back to the Scrum Master. I can only be successful when the rest of the team is, and they can only be successful when they own their working processes. For example with the Dev Team, they own and write the DoD, Working Agreement, and the level of detail they need in their Sprint Goals but I help coach to them the intent of each item so they best reap the benefits of them. 

It's through servant-leadership that any change is possible. It's what gives me the credibility to be taken seriously when speaking with others in Management and Leadership about the needs of my Team. 

I believe IF I were Scrum's Manager, everything would be different and none for the better.

  • I'd end up making the Retrospective pointless cause I would just tell everyone what to do and fix, and the accountability of their success would fall to me.
  • Pardon the dev-talk but I'd end up becoming the API for the team in which all communication would be sent to me and I'd be translating and delivering progress updates and the like, to everyone else.
  • I'd be ensuring the backlog was in-line so that I can do the brunt of Sprint Planning and Dev Team would just approve my plan.

What would the benefits of managing Scrum even be?

08:56 pm October 8, 2019

Oh jeez. I just realized the OP was in 2014. I hope the content for that assessment has been updated.

08:21 pm October 15, 2019

Hi All,

Scrum Master, it is management positions you are not, as a SM, the manager of the teams, that's for sure as she/he is not a project manager but a SM is accountable for Scrum framework implementations for the team/s AND organization, the Scrum framework performance ownership belongs to SM so she/he needs to manage that actually

I recommend to re-read Scrum Guide, and go for https://www.scrum.org/resources/scrum-pulse-webinar-becoming-agile-leader for further understanding of Agile leadership its just great :)

Good luck!

12:43 am October 19, 2019

Lol.

A Scrum Master is a manager because they manage a process? How about the developer who manages code, the BA who manages business requirements, or the QA analyst who manages tests?

Give me a Scrum Master who thinks it's important to be called a "manager" and I'll give you an ineffective Scrum Master who just believes they can direct people to say how effective they are.

In my opinion a Scrum Master is a servant leader member of the team. They are not and should not be considered a manager in any normal sense of the word. The singular term "manager" carries connotations of managing people in everyday usage, and this is the opposite of what Agile teams are supposed to practice.

So now I will "manage" this post because I am a "post manager". Lol.