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Ask anyone within an organization that does not have a good understanding of Scrum about the Scrum Master role and I would bet the majority would even question why a Scrum Master is needed. The misconceptions go from being responsible for extremely simple tasks to actually owning the teams. You may get questions such as “Why do we need someone to just schedule meetings and babysit the team?”, or “Can’t someone else on the team handle the meeting facilitation?”, or “Couldn’t an admin do what the Scrum Master does?”, or even “Why are we paying someone a 6-figure income just to organize meetings?”.
So, if Scrum Masters are not the things mentioned above, what are they?
Scrum Masters should focus on 4 competencies as they perform their duties every day. They should wear 4 hats, if you will:
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There are a different set of skills, a different stance, and a different approach to each of these competencies and, as a Scrum Master, the hardest part will probably be knowing when to switch hats and which to wear at different occasions.
Biased vs. Unbiased Stances
When Scrum Masters wear the Coach or Facilitator hat, they must act as an unbiased and neutral party with no skin in the game.
When wearing the Trainer or Mentor hat, however, Scrum Masters can be biased and have an agenda.
Exploring the Competencies
As a Facilitator, the Scrum Master does not participate, but simply ensures that meetings are successfully held.
As a Trainer, the Scrum Master helps others understand the Scrum Framework.
As a Coach, the Scrum Master helps others figure things out for themselves.
As a Mentor, the Scrum Master transfers knowledge to others and provides advice.