Scrum Rules: The Scrum Master Role

August 11, 2020
3 minute read

Everyone on a Scrum Team participates in the greater productivity and the fantastic work environment. The Scrum Master has a special duty to the team to maximize that second outcome of Scrum: the fantastic work environment.

The Scrum Master, as a servant leader, is focused on empowering the team in such a way that joy and pride returns to the work environment. The focus is still on delivering business value, but doing it in such a way that people care.

Every Scrum Master is different. One excellent Scrum Master I worked with near the beginning of my career was super-flexible with his team: he didn’t enforce time-boxes or many of the other rules of Scrum. Instead, at appropriate moments, he would simply and gently inform the team of what Scrum required of them. Over time, these gentle reminders percolated and the team got better and better at Scrum… and, more importantly, the team became happier and more productive.

Another Scrum Master I knew early in my career was a real disciplinarian with regards to the Scrum framework. He was a clock-watcher for the time-boxes. He would bluntly call out failures to follow Scrum. He would even sometimes raise his voice to get a team member to comply. He also used strong carrots, not just sticks… but he got compliance. And like the gentle Scrum Master, he was able to help his team become excellent at Scrum. His team was also happy and productive.

The variety of ways that a Scrum Master can perform their duties – the style, the emphasis – is diverse. But there are some foundations. There is a “true Scrum”. And this, too, is the responsibility of the Scrum Master. The Scrum Master must not change Scrum. Instead, the Scrum Master uses Scrum to change the organization and change the team. Doing Scrum properly is hard. The Scrum Master makes it possible.

NOTE: If you are interested in learning more about the role of the Scrum Master, consider taking a Certified ScrumMaster® course from the Scrum Alliance or a Professional Scrum Master course from These courses are offered around the world by trainers who have real-world hands-on experience with Scrum and this role.

Certified ScrumMaster® – Guaranteed to Run! ✅

Certified Scrum Product Owner® – Guaranteed to Run! ✅

All virtual learning events run from 9am to 4:30pm Toronto/New York time and are 100% virtual.  Both CSM and CSPO courses have approximately 2 hours of required pre-work through our e-learning portal, and require you to have high speed internet for Zoom video conferencing and Miro virtual white-boarding.

Maybe attending a virtual training session isn’t for you, but you would like to acknowledge that this article helped you out somehow…

Like what you’re reading?

Sign up for the BERTEIG Real Agility newsletter to have articles like this one delivered directly to your inbox twice a month!

Berteig Consulting

Empower Your Entire Organization with BERTEIG Consulting in Agile, Scrum, Kanban, SAFe and LEAN.

Bruce Power
Capital One
Equitable Life of Canada
We are a referral centric business. And as such, we stand ready, willing and passionately able to serve anybody important to you by giving them perspective, advice, recommendations, and treating them in a very special way.