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A Systemic View on the Role of the Scrum Master

September 23, 2017

In this article, I suggest that you take a look at the role of a Scrum Master with a help of causal loop diagrams. They help to see a bigger picture of what is happening over time. Quite often, we observe the cause-and-effect relationships on a short-time horizon period, and do not notice when the links are spaced in time.


Hiring Scrum Masters – Temporary Drop in ROI

If you hire Scrum Masters for full time positions, you need to pay them a salary, hence you get an initial drop in ROI. That’s a situation where you start spending money, but the results of what the Scrum Masters do are not noticeable yet. This situation is normal. It can take weeks and months before you start noticing improvements.


Service to the Development Team – First tangible results

A Scrum Master is serving Development Team(s), which gradually leads to an increase in their effectiveness. Over time, the results of what Scrum Masters accomplish become noticeable in the organization and the emergence of effective Scrum Teams directly affects ROI.



Service to the Product Owner – Increase in ROI

A Scrum Master helps the Product Owner effectively manage the Product Backlog and optimize business value, teaches how to plan in an empirical environment and explains how to achieve agility. So the money spent on the salary of a Scrum Master is returned in the form of an increase in profits.



Service to the Organization – Scaling Agility

Another focus area of the Scrum Master is organizational coaching. A Scrum Master has a systemic view, can spot problems not only inside a team, but also at the organizational level, and knows how to fix these problems.

A Scrum Master initiates the process of organizational changes together with his colleagues; other Scrum Masters. He plans and implements Scrum throughout the entire organization. Over time, the number of Scrum Teams increases and their productivity continues to grow.



  • Scrum Master is a servant leadership role that focuses on the three main areas: serving the Development Team, the Product Owner and Organization.

  • The results of Scrum Masters become noticeable only after some time has passed.

  • The likelihood that a Scrum Master will take part in all three areas while working part-time tends to be zero.

  • Companies that do not hire a Scrum Master for the full time position may never see and understand all the advantages of this role and Scrum in general, because they prefer to make a choice in favor of short-term goals.

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