Manager as ScrumMaster

When you look at the responsibilities of a ScrumMaster and that of a manager, it is difficult not to notice that they are very similar. So, this begs the question… should a manager be a ScrumMaster?

Case against

No, it is a bad idea. Why? It is hard to get teams to manage themselves, and it is difficult for managers to change their behaviour. When having a team that isn’t used to being on a self-managing team and a manager who isn’t used to lean management then they are both likely to fail as they encourage each other to fall back to their old behavior.

Therefore, especially when the team is new to LeSS, it isn’t a good idea to have the manager as ScrumMaster

Case for

As the roles are similar, it makes sense for the same person to perform it. In LeSS we consider less roles to be a good idea. Also, the organizational authority of a manager might help a ScrumMaster in bringing changes in the organization (ironically, he wouldn’t use his authority towards the team).


An alternative is for a manager to be Scrum Master for a team that does not include any of their direct reports. That way, their authority won’t get in the way. We’ve experienced mixed success with this.