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A Hidden Lesson of a Scrum Master

February 13, 2021

Just thought I'd share something....

A few years ago, I bumped into an ex-colleague of mine who was working with someone who I had also previously worked with - both of us were, or had been, a Scrum Master for this ex-colleague. I asked how the other Scrum Master was doing, what was their style and approach and the ex-colleague replied -

"He is similar but different to you" , "In what way?" I asked,  "He lets the team fail and you didn't. You did everything you could to make sure that the team didn't fail".

I went away from that conversation feeling good about myself thinking that I was the "better" Scrum Master.

A year or so later, whilst studying for a Scrum Master assessment, the conversation came back to me whilst searching for an example of helping a team to grow, and it was then I realised I hadn't been the better Scrum Master.The ex-colleague wasn't praising me. They were in fact giving me really valuable feedback on where to improve my practice as a Scrum Master. 


I felt like a stupid fool.

I felt like I had let the team down by being a safety net for them, by NOT treating the team as accountable empowered professionals. I wasn't there to mother & protect them, I was there to help them grow as a team.

I'd failed them

This is a lesson I keep close to me when helping teams; a lesson that I'm continually learning from. 

It reminds me of a  quote in "Coaching Agile Teams" ( by Lyssa Adkins) - Lyssa quotes Chris Corrigan 

"Everything you do for the group is one less thing they know they can do for themselves"

As a Scrum Master, as a teacher and as a coach, you're there to help the team not to mother them.


  • First
  • Act
  • In
  • Learning

That goes both ways - To the team and to you as an individual 

Thanks for reading....

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