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I Am Torn: Should a Scrum Master Be Technical or Not?

April 8, 2024

TL; DR: The Technical Scrum Master

I am torn: Should a Scrum Master be technical or not? 

A Scrum Master's technical and domain knowledge of their team’s field of work has benefits. However, there are also disadvantages.

So, what should it be?

The Technical Scrum Master — Stefan Wolpers


Advantages of Technical Scrum Masters

There are benefits of a Scrum Master having technical and domain knowledge of their team’s field of work:

  • Effective Communication: Scrum Masters with technical knowledge bridge the gap between teams and stakeholders, translating complex concepts into understandable language for alignment.
  • Faster Problem Solving: Technical Scrum Masters understand team challenges, facilitating quicker solutions and guiding in overcoming obstacles.
  • Empowered Coaching: Domain-savvy Scrum Masters offer relevant coaching, aligning Agile principles with domain needs and aiding decision-making.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: Technical Scrum Masters promote collaboration, facilitating discussions, knowledge sharing, and cross-functional cooperation.
  • Adaptive Planning: Domain-aware Scrum Masters aid in practical Product Backlog refinement, leading to improved Sprint outcomes.

Disadvantages of Technical Scrum Masters

Moreover, there are also disadvantages:

  • Overemphasis on Technical Details: A technical Scrum Master might focus excessively on technical aspects, neglecting holistic team dynamics and Agile principles.
  • Limited Skill Set: Technical expertise can overshadow essential soft skills, hindering effective coaching, conflict resolution, and stakeholder interaction.
  • Narrow Perspective: A technical Scrum Master might struggle to grasp diverse domain intricacies, leading to biased decisions and incomplete problem-solving.
  • Role Confusion: Balancing technical contributions and Scrum Master responsibilities can create role confusion and compromise team facilitation.
  • Less Flexibility: A technical Scrum Master might rigidly enforce technical practices, hindering experimentation and adaptation to new methodologies or approaches.

What is your take? Please share your thoughts via the comments! 🙏

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