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The Scrum Master Stances - 2nd Edition

May 14, 2017

The previous weeks I've taken some time to re-write the white paper "The 8 Stances of a Scrum Master". Given my sessions at Scrum Day London, Scrum Day Warsaw and Scrum Day Europe I wanted to offer the participants a paper with my latest insights and lessons learned. In this blog post I'll share the changes in this 2nd edition. I hope you enjoy the result!

In the first edition of the paper the main focus was describing the 8 preferred stances of a Scrum Master. These are not the ultimate truth, they're based on my personal experiences and how I prefer to fulfil the role. In the paper I describe the Scrum Master as a Servant Leader, Coach, Facilitator, Teacher, Mentor, Manager, Impediment Remover and Change Agent. Every chapter contains my lessons learned acting as a Scrum Master and my findings while studying books, articles and videos.

The three major changes in the second edition of the white paper are:

  • The most common misunderstandings about the Scrum Master
  • Why I've changed my title from Agile Coach to 100% Scrum Master
  • Visualizations to increase the readability

Change #1: Scrum Master Misunderstandings

After being a (not so successful) Project Manager for some time I started experimenting with the Scrum Master role. Although I thought the role wasn't that difficult to understand, I surely didn't gave it the desired follow-up. I was mostly acting as a Scribe, Secretary, Scrum Police Officer, Team Boss, Tooling Administrator, Chairman, Hero and Coffee Clerk. As a result the Scrum team wasn't self-organizing, didn't owned the process and seemed to get Zombie-Scrum characteristics. I had to change the way I fulfilled the Scrum Master role drastically. By following courses, reading books, watching videos and learning from other Scrum Masters I slowly improved myself. After a couple of years I became a Scrum Master who acted according the 8 preferred stances.

During these years I also learned I definitely wasn't the only Scrum Master fulfilling the role according to these misunderstandings. Therefore I decided to share my lessons learned and hopefully create a better understanding of the Scrum Master role.

Change #2: 100% Scrum Master

A couple of months ago I removed Agile Coach and replaced it with Scrum Master. 100% Scrum Master. Although it seems a small change, it raised quite some concern:

  • “You should stick with Agile Coach. As a freelancer, that’s a far more popular job title.”
  • “No, don’t change it to Scrum Master, you’ll get paid less!
  • All the cool stuff is done by Agile Coaches, as a Scrum Master you’re stuck within your Scrum Team.”

But really, don’t call yourself a Scrum Master, your freelance career will be doomed!

So why did I change my title from Agile Coach into Scrum Master? In the white paper I've added a chapter in which I explain this change by using the values of Scrum.

Change #3: Cool Visualizations

From a visual perspective, the first edition of the white paper was pretty boring. A lot of text, hardly any pictures. Especially for the upcoming workshops, trainings en presentations it was necessary to enrich my story visually. Luckily I've got a girlfriend with outstanding drawing skills. She created some awesome visualizations! These visuals alone are already a good reason the read the white paper!

Interested in Learning More?

Since I published the first edition of this white paper in 2016 it triggered quite some response in the Scrum community. I got asked as a trainer, workshop facilitator and public speaker. This encouraged me to improve the white paper into this new edition, create new training material and re-think what I wrote earlier. Together with the Scrum community, I want to share lessons learned and collaboratively create a better understanding of the Scrum Master role.

Opportunities for collaboration and learning are:

  • 1 on 1 conversations (simply contact me via email, LinkedInTwitter)
  • Presentations/talks that trigger you to re-imagine the Scrum Master by learning of the 8 different stances and increase the chance of successful Scrum Mastery.
  • 2 – 4 hour workshops in which you really experience the potential of the Scrum Master role in a unique way
  • The Professional Scrum Master training. A 2-day course where you’ll learn how to use Scrum to optimize value, productivity and the total cost of ownership of software products. Tools are provided to enable you to relate to behavioural shifts, work with people and teams, coaching and facilitation techniques, and addressing the organization.
  • The Scrum Master Advanced 2-day training that we’ve created to discuss the Scrum Master role in more detail. By using the 8 Stances of a Scrum Master as a foundation, we’ll explore the possibilities to optimize the potential of the Scrum Master role.

If you are interested in any of these opportunities for collaboration, contact me at Have a great day!

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