One of the most valuable and important responsibilities of the Scrum Master is to remove obstacles that impede the Scrum Team’s work. This is necessary so that the team can become more productive. This, in turn, means the team provides greater value to the company.
If the Scrum Master does not work diligently on removing these organizational obstacles, the team will get bogged down and become demotivated. This is the core of empowerment and engagement. A team with lingering organizational obstacles will cease to make progress, and their morale will drop. Team members will become apathetic to the work and to Scrum itself. The benefit of removing these large obstacles is that it speeds up the cycle time of the work by the team. This is essential so the Team Members can focus their energies on delivering working software.
If you are managing Scrum Masters, it is important to provide them with three things to ensure they will work a long-term roadmap of obstacle removal. First, Scrum Masters need education on their role and it’s central importance. Consider the books “Agile Project Management with Scrum” (Schwaber) and “More Fearless Change” (Rising and Manns). Also consider Certified Scrum Master training through the Scrum Alliance. Second, both the leaders of an organization and the direct managers of the Scrum Master must give clear, explicit and ongoing permission to the Scrum Master to work on resolving these long-term organizational impediments. Finally, leaders and managers must provide a clear and effective escalation path for Scrum Masters that actually results in action more often than not. Organizational change is hard work, and the Scrum Master cannot “do it all”. Nevertheless, the Scrum Master is the focal point of tracking organizational change efforts to support their own Scrum Team.
The Scrum Master serves the organization in several ways, including:
Leading and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption;
Planning Scrum implementations within the organization;
Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact Scrum and empirical product development;
Causing change that increases the productivity of the Scrum Team; and,
Working with other Scrum Masters to increase the effectiveness of the application of Scrum in the organization.
— The Scrum Guide
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