Scrum Master as Agile Leader

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Agile development methodology has been around for a number of years now and has become the norm for many tech companies. How can it be that some organizations really succeed in Agile, while others struggle? Furthermore, how can it be that there are teams that think they are Agile because they practice agile concepts like daily stand-ups and retrospectives, yet as a general rule, are far from being Agile.

The difference lies in the leaders, be it the ScrumMaster, Delivery Manager or the CTO who have the authority to lay the foundations of an Agile working culture in the organization. The Scrum Master’s’ role has become one of the most important and challenging roles in modern organizations since they go about as the main interface between top management and the teams that really produce and deliver the organizations products to the customer. Because of the position as an interface between top management and the teams, the Scrum Master’s professionalism has an actual impact on the team’s performance and on the real value the organization can deliver.

The 3 main aspects of the Scrum Master’s jobs are:

  • The ScrumMaster’s service to the teams
  • The ScrumMaster’s service to the Product Owner (PO)
  • The ScrumMaster’s service to the company

The ScrumMaster’s service of the teams

There are a few products in “ScrumMaster service to the Product Owner” that should belong in “ScrumMaster service to the Scrum Team”.

  • Helping the Scrum Team understand the need for clear and concise Product Backlog products;
  • Understanding and practicing agility; and,
  • Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed.
  • Ensuring that goals, scope, and product domain are concise and possible

The ScrumMaster’s service to the Product Owner (PO)

The ScrumMaster’s responsibilities towards the PO are as follows:

  • Clearly communicating vision, goals, and Product Backlog products to the Development Team.” The Product Owner is often a non- technical person, at times without even a background in the project the management. That is fine – his or her roles is to define what needs be done and to determine what business value each item will generate. However, this means that sometimes the Product will need to be done to the Development Team, in a such a way that the Team can understand it and create to be done to the Development Team, in a such a way that the Team can understand it a value for how long it will take, in a such a way, that the Team can comprehend it and make a gauge for to what extent it will take. The Scrum Master, therefore, helps the Product Owner communicate his or her needs to the Development Team.
  • “Teaching the Scrum Team to create clear and concise Product Backlog products items.” This is related to the main product above. The Product Owner and even the Development Team might struggle to articulate the functionality represented by the Product Backlog product in a way that is clear and concise. In this way, the Scrum Master can help the Team with write the Product Backlog products.

The ScrumMaster’s support of the organization

The ScrumMaster supports the organization in many ways:

  • The ScrumMaster as a Change Agent is accountable for ensuring that everyone understands Scrum and Scrum values. Understanding and adopting the 5 Scrum Values will help the Scrum Master’s to adopt their mission and lead the change in the whole organization.
  • Understanding the SM role and all the aspect of the services they are required to provide will help improve the SM positioning and leadership in the organization.


The Team Leader role isn’t necessarily needed in Scrum. For teams that currently have this role and are transitioning to Scrum, the ScrumMaster should utilize different techniques to get everyone involved. Some informal technical leaders are expected to emerge, however. What about you? What is your experience with Team Leaders and Scrum Masters?

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