What does a great Scrum Master?
Scrum Masters are the unsung heroes of Scrum and Agility in the battle front. They are devoted to the success of the group working in silence to supply what each team member needs. Natural servant leaders, they take pride in making the others shine. This is what great Scrum Masters do.
1.Scrum Masters are true believers and Agility champions
Scrum Masters are serious people, at least the good ones since you can't survive in this role for too long if your are not good. On average they are more mature team members, with a deep appreciation for the opportunity to self-manage their own work. They believe in the Agility values and have deep roots in the Agile principles. If you are not aware of these ideas, have a look at the Agile Manifesto. Scrum Masters champion Agile inside the organization.
2.Scrum Masters are natural givers and educators
At heat, Scrum Masters want to educate, to spread the vision of a better world in which we are accountable for the results of the work they do. More than teachers or instructors, the educator must be able to transmit values that explain why things should be done in a certain way while leaving each pupil free to find her own way. Scrum Masters are givers, not takers. They share what they know and learn from these experiences to improve continuously how they communicate. They understand the need to give first, they are generous.
3.Scrum Masters are facilitators
Acting as chair in meetings or as scout to find who can have the power and skills to help the team solve a problem, the Scrum Master finds ways to support the team work and prevent disruptions to the flow. Meetings with participants external to the team (Scrum Review) and with internal participants (Scrum Retrospective) require careful preparation and it's up to the experienced Scrum Master to foresee what may happen and prepare the team members. As in Politics, when a Scrum Master does her well her work no one notes, otherwise problems tend to lead to conflicts that could have been avoided.
4.Scrum Masters are impediment removers
The Scrum Master has to directly tackle and solve problems that the team members are not ready to face or cannot face due to stiff time restrictions. In an ideal world, the best way to coach is to show how to fish and not give the fish because people will soon get hungry again. Sometimes, when matters are delicate and time is short there is no substitute to a diplomatic, sleek and wise Scrum Master to pave the road to a solution and take the impediment out of the team's way.
5.Scrum Masters are natural influencers, never bosses
Of the many existing leadership styles, Scrum Masters usually present a clear pattern: they are servant leaders because they fundamentally trust others, they believe in their mission and in the team. They trust to make good choices when they are given the right tools to decide. A Scrum Master never forces a decision, but nurture team members towards the wise path. As Masters themselves they understand that their success happens through their fellow partners victories. They don't look to shine but they do when other rely on them and win.
I met some exceptional Scrum Masters in my life and these are the skills they all shared. Only knowing all the Scrum rules doesn't make you necessarily a good Scrum Master, this is only a necessary condition. The human skills to feel the winds and act before the tides change make outstanding Scrum Masters. Scrum Masters are a different kind of people.