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Scrum Master

The bigger the group, the harder it is to see the whole. A Scrum Master helps people to see beyond their individual perspective to the larger production system—the product group interactions, delays, causes, and potentials. He also reminds everyone of the whole-product focus. This is key because unintegrated individual team output won’t create customer value.

A LeSS Scrum Master will encounter complex large-scale problems and he’ll need to resist resolving them with complex large-scale solutions. Instead, he’ll need to leverage the spirit of Scrum and find simple ways to empower people to resolve their impediments. This approach leads to large-scale, yet simple, solutions.

Scrum Masters are guardians of transparency. But most large-scale product development has a persistent haze hovering over it. Clearing the haze, that is, creating transparency, is a hard and thankless job in an organization’s political jungle.

Misunderstood

The Scrum Master role is a new one and often not understood by teams and organizations who are adopting Scrum. A frequent response is to make the “leftover people” the Scrum Masters. They might be nice people but often lack the right skills, motivation, and Scrum knowledge to be effective Scrum Masters. They morph the role into something else which then becomes accepted within the organization as the way a Scrum Master should be. After all, the Scrum Master should know if they’re doing things correctly, right? Sometimes well-meaning Scrum Masters who are new to Scrum or not a good fit for the Scrum Master role cause things to happen that are actually counter to Scrum and detrimental to Scrum adoption, thereby transforming them into anti-Scrum Masters.

Dedicated full-time role

In LeSS, the Scrum Master role is vital. We’ve seen many organizations try part-time Scrum Masters, which usually leads to no Scrum Masters at all. This then affects the LeSS adoption enormously. In LeSS the Scrum Master is a dedicated, full-time role in the same way that being a Scrum Team member is a dedicated, full-time role. Having said that, it is possible for one full-time Scrum Master fill the role for up to three teams, depending on any number of factors.

Scrum Master as structure element

The Scrum Master role is a part of the LeSS framework and is also responsible for structure. Therefore, you will find more discussion related to the Scrum Master in the Structure—Scrum Master section