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Can a Manager Perform the Role of a Scrum Master?

August 18, 2021

In a recent blog post, I addressed whether a Can Scrum Master and a Product Owner be the same person? You can remember the answer from the blog; Even though it is not outright in the Scrum Guide but not a recommended option. As a matter of fact, in the Scrum Guide, it is not very clear whether one person can or should play the two roles in a Scrum Team. In my opinion, one person should not play the role of two different kinds.

However, while discussing the same question related to Scrum master and manager, the answer gets blurred. There are accountabilities for Developers, Scrum Masters, and the product owner in a Scrum framework. But there is no role of a “manager” in Scrum. Thus, the Scrum framework does not throw any light on the risen question. So, from my experience, there is no straight answer to this question. To answer this question, I have to take you through the personalities of these two roles.

Characteristics of a Scrum Master

For your better understanding of how the roles have a link, let us first address the responsibilities. Among all the duties described for a Scrum Master, the most crucial one is the Serving Leadership qualities to the team. Servant Leadership is not a simple topic and has multiple dimensions. Some of the features of a Servant leader are that their power gets shared with the team, need to put other’s needs before themselves, dedicated assistance to those needing to grow professionally and personally. One of the significant traits of Serving leaders is that they believe that the associated team is not for serving them. Instead, they think that the role gets reversed. 

Qualities of a Manager

Coming back to the comparison of the serving approach of a Servant Leader and a traditional Manager. Some managers work similar to Servant leaders, but conventionally, managers have authority over the team.
One of the prime aspects is that managers can hire or terminate someone under their team. It differentiates the dynamics between the Scrum master and the associated group. Some managers look after the daily work of the team. For many organisations, it seems like a straightforward approach, but it contradicts the basics of self-
management. Scrum Masters try to unleash the power of self-organisation while the Managers are more "tellers". Read More>>

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