What is a Scrum Master?

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Really to understand the Scrum Master (SM) is a exercise that for a lot people (including myself) demands a lot of mental energy.

How I am a Cartesian guy, by default, for all things that appear to be simple, I think about the complexity behind.

This my mindset find “shadown” in the Scrum definition, into the Scrum Guide:

“Scrum is ‘Simple to understand and Difficult to master'”

Almost a paradox, no?


In this post I want talk about the Scrum Master role, into the outcome oriented vision and also about the importance of this role in high performance teams.

In this post I want talk about the Scrum Master role, in a outcome oriented vision and also about the importance of this role in high performance teams.

Classic vision of a Scrum Master


There are hundreds source with defintions about the Scrum Master role (for example the Scrum Guide – INCLUIR LINK).

I believe that inside ~80% of this definitions we have gaps about what definitively a Scrum Master do, because there are subjectivity in this role.

Some assignments of Scrum Master that often we find in the most materiais about it:

– Servant Leader
– Process Authority
– Shield against interference
– Impediments Remover
– Change Agent
– Coach

Is a good summary, I think. But is a resume that need more reflexion, there are a lot in the subjectivity

I really like think about outcomes that we wait of a professional, for to understand and to define the roles that he must have to get it.

And so what expected outcomes of Scrum Master work?

Outcome oriented for a Scrum Master

Agile is other word with a subjectivity a lot, but how I am a cartesian guy, I need to classified the things to sistematiza my thought. 🙂

My idea about agile is something like:

“To produce continuous value for the company clients using as a driving force happy and energized people, that work in a sustentable rhythm and in the healthy environment.”

Deriving from the above thought, we can split the context in some parts, to understand the goal and expected outcomes, and to analyze the role and the Scrum Master importance for to influence in the realization.

Bellow I did a parallel in the deriving result above and associate the Scrum Master with each context, to be more easy we to understand the goals and how the Scrum Master help us to do it!


scrum master role and effectiveness

A agile team must be to delivery continuous value in short cycles, through product increments that are value lever in user hands.

Like examples of value deliver, we have: cost reduction, growth revenue, profit growth, clients retention etc.

How to measure effectiveness? KPIs (Key Process Indicators – INCLUIR LINK) or product, OKR (Objective and Key Results – INCLUIR LINK) to tactical and strategic goals.

Scrum Master and Effectiveness

The Product Owner (PO) must be to focus in the strategy and tatical vision about it, and the Scrum Master must be to support him with technical coach (about product vision), to remove organizacional impedments, with technical knowledge about product roadmap and product backlog, with help to priorize backlog with a outcome oriented vision etc.

The Scrum Master must be to support Dev Team to ensure that Developers have a good knowledge about the problem/oportunity bring from PO, to the Dev Team can think about the most effectiveness solution for it, influencie the team always to the outcome desired and using a sucess sprint for to do it.

The Scrum Master must be ensure the KPIs and OKRs make sense and this indicators be understood and sensitized for all Scrum Team, doing a work of often communication with all stakeholders around the chalenge.


scrum master role and efficiency

A agile team must to produce a value delivery with the lowest possible cost, in the lowest time and with the highest quality possible.

Like examples about the improvement in this process, we have: continuous waste elimination (from all types) and continuous elimination of time between the idea born and idea delivery in production.

How to measure it? Lead Time, Cycle Time, Flow Efficiency, % of Waste, Throughput.

Scrum Master and Efficiency

A processo exists only to search for (and bring) the best e effectiveness. To ensureits execution with the highest transparence for the organization, and to realize always its inspection and adaptation is law for a Scrum Master.

Efficiency is a game about eliminate waste. The Scrum Master must be reference in to growth the work that do not must be make, driving the Scrum Team for only to the goal business.

And we must talk about planning. POs are focused in the best effectiveness, Devs are focused in the best technical solution, so is obvious that they are not focused in the best planning.

In the Scrum Teams with biweekly iterations, for example, a simple planning erros will be a crash of sprint in the begin it.

IIn addition to a correct planning about effort x capacity, the Scrum Master need to developer in the team a sense of “begin and terminate”, define with all team members the best Dor (Definition of Ready) and DoD (Definition of Done) and ensure that this rules are being applied.

And all this data oriented. The Scrum Master must be a numbers friend and, like process responsible, to comunicate the metrics to the team until all understand so good it like the Scrum Master , or better than him.


scrum master role and people

An agile team must be formed by energized people, that produce the best outcome and output, and feel good doing it, in the safe environment and a sustentable rithm.

As examples of a enviroment with energized people, safe and in the sustentable rithm, we can quote: professional in the right positions, with all resource needed for to developer your job; enviroment where is allowed the transparency and maturity into relationships; and amout of work planned according to capacity of team.

How to measure it? NPS (Net Promoted Score) and Happiness Door.

Scrum Master and People

In the final, everything is about people, and inside this we have the biggest challenge, because we are all different.

To connect all people around a unique target is not easy, but is possible.

The Scrum Master must be work for do a safe team environment, working, day by day, with a neutral and impartial behavior the maturity evolution of all, forming an dialog and transparency environment.

He must to influence the team for all understand that agile is a collective and not individual game, where if the team win, all win, and if the team lose, all lose.

Yet, as a protective shield of the team, he must often to monitor health of team and fast to move change when problems arise, always using metrics that show satisfaction level e engagement and also to use of one a one sessions for to complement the metrics.


scrum master role and culture

I do not believe it is possible to build value around energized people, into the a safe environment and with sustainable rhythm without a culture that supports it all.

Although, thinking of cartesian way (always, hehe), culture is a abstract concept, because is literally imponderable. Anyway, we need to try to tangiblize it.

As a example of an agile culture, we can quote: horizontal enviroment for a good brainstorming around the targets, stakeholder’s encouragement for the team to they have empowerment of autonomy and responsibility by outbound and outcome; favorable enviroment for experimentation; respect by people and they differences; and focus always in the dialog, ethical and transparency.

How to measure it? Use all effectiveness, efficiency and people metrics and do analysis it together.

Scrum Master and Culture

Into the world with uncertaly a lot, we have a assurance: the things will to change! This is an axiom easy to prove! 🙂

As a Change Agent, a Scrum Master must to influence every time all people into the organization about values and principles agiles, with perserverance and patience to propagate the message of efficiency and effectiveness, and of fundamental value that people have in it all.


For a Scrum Master role there are not a exact classification, like a dictionary, of what we must to follow.

In the essency, I think that this post have a good message about the core of this role. However, each company has its peculiarities.

In the some companies, the Scrum Master is more focused in the result, delivery, in anothers, more focused in the coach, for example.

But one thing is a fact: with my experience with agile teams and management, is obvius for me that a good Scrum Master change all!

And to reforce one expression that I did used in the begin for this post, about the ambiguity of Scrum Master role, we can not to forget the principle goal of a Scrum Master: to developer your team until they do not need more of him! 🙂

Big hug!