Thursday, January 21, 2010

Your ScrumMaster is a project manager in disguise

In 6 attributes of a good ScrumMaster Mike Cohn repeats the common line that the ScrumMaster role does not always require a full-time, eight-hour-a-day commitment. Often the 'orchestra conductor' role of ScrumMaster is an unofficial one within your organisation even though it clearly has well defined functions and responsibilities. So many people do ask the question Is a ScrumMaster a full time position? As Boris points out, it is, and he explains why it is a 100% fulltime job.

The ScrumMaster has internal and external responsibilities. Even if the team is well disciplined with following the process, and they address most of their own impediments there is still the challenge of being a gatekeeper between the management and the team. This is being recognised in many organisations now and you can even see ScrumMaster as a recruitment position. It's interesting to note that many of these positions have Project Manager / ScrumMaster as the title.

What does a Project Manager do that a ScrumMaster does not (or vice versa)? A project manager is the person who has the overall responsibility for the successful planning and execution of a project. This title is used in the construction industry, architecture, information technology and many different occupations that are based on production of a product or service. While strictly speaking, the team, rather than the ScrumMaster has responsibility for the success of the project, a ScrumMaster does assume responsibility for the team’s adoption of Scrum and practice of it. A ScrumMaster takes on this responsibility without assuming any of the power that might be useful in achieving in it.

To boil it all down to it's essence, a ScrumMaster is a Project Manager who has realised that they don't really have the power to successfully deliver a project, and has adopted a framework to take advantage of that humbling position.