Question from Andre L. Nelson
We have been having a big debate at my company about what is the role of the Scrum Master and the PM/Supervisor in Scrum. We are uncertain if they should be the same person or if they should be separate people. ... I'm kinda just throwing out a line and hoping for some insight from the community about either what they are doing with this or if there are any other posts or blogs I could read for insight.
From Skip Angel, SolutionsIQ Agile Coach:
Here's what I usually ask to determine if the person can be effective
as a ScrumMaster:
Will the team have autonomy so they can truly self-organize?
- Will the team be able to make their own commitments each sprint?
- Does the team trust the ScrumMaster to protect the team so they can have focus?
- Will the ScrumMaster allow the team to determine the best solution and approach to work that makes sense for them given their collective team skills, knowledge, experience?
- Will the ScrumMaster uphold the Scrum process when things get challenging?
- Is the ScrumMaster somebody the team feels comfortable bringing impediments and bad news to help resolve?
- Is the ScrumMaster a good facilitator that will help the team get through meetings but not be a participant in those discussions?
- Does the ScrumMaster have the authority to do whatever is needed to resolve or escalate impediments the team is having?
If there are more No's than Yes's above, I would seriously consider looking for another person that is better suited for the role.
For me, the scrum master is dedicated to a scrum team (or at most two).... the project manager may not be. Project managers should focus more on resources (hiring/firing/vacations), managing dates (setting expectations), and managing risk Scrum masters should focus on the team, process, and impediments. I can envision a person doing both roles if the project is supported by only one scrum team (or two).
Some people argue different viewpoints on this topic, but I believe the answer differs greatly based on the size of the company, the alignment of scrum teams to products, and the culture of the company.