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The ScrumMaster Personalities

7 December 2017

Duarte Segurado
MEO (ALTICE/PT)


The ScrumMaster role is a complex one. When personalities are at stake, there’s no right or wrong personality generally — but there can be a right or wrong one for the situation. Sometimes a personality rises to better help the team. But be careful: Too many different personalities originating from the same person may confuse the team. Tricky, isn’t it?

Let’s examine some personalities that we may find mastering Scrum Teams.
 

Emperor/Dictator

This type of ScrumMaster would say, “Do as I say, because I know this!” This ScrumMaster thinks that he or she knows it all, and the other people don’t have a clue, so this individual must be careful to not remove the team’s decision-making capabilities.

Sometimes, to be honest, we need a dictator to ensure that the right values and principles are in place. The ScrumMaster knows how a team should behave and work together to build a good product. To that end, there are some rules to be followed and, most important, to be understood. So although this ScrumMaster issues directives, he or she must also give enough information to the team so that it can understand the rationale behind the directives.
 

Best friend forever

This ScrumMaster is a good friend to everyone, always available to listen and help. Everyone needs a good shoulder to cry on or a good listener to hear our problems. So it’s a good thing to have this individual on the team.

However, this personality tends to be a personal one and may forget the team as a whole. Know that even if the team doesn’t have decision-making authority, it must agree with the decisions. By being a nice person, this ScrumMaster must be cognizant of the things that aren’t acceptable and must be changed within the team, even it’s not cool in the eyes of others. Sometimes this individual must express different views and perspectives that may go against members’ ideas.
 

Proactive

This ScrumMaster says, “Let’s do it — it’s done!” These individuals can’t wait for something important to be done by someone else, so they use their position to do it, removing the team impediment as fast as they can.

With this ScrumMaster, the project may run smoothly, because this individual is quickly removing impediments, and the team can keep its focus on the product’s new features. The downside to this behavior is that the team should own its own product and deal with its own problems, not rely on one person to remove the team problems. This ScrumMaster must also let the team “eat their own dog food.”
 

Missing in action

This ScrumMaster seems to be caught by surprise when something changes within the team. “What happened here? Why are you doing this?” Maybe this person had other things to do instead of being the team’s available ScrumMaster. Maybe this ScrumMaster’s purpose is to force the team to deal with its own problems and then check whether the team is evolving and following the Agile principles and values.
 

Maestro

The maestro ScrumMaster gives instructions so that the team follows a particular pace. The team knows what to do and how to do it. This ScrumMaster helps synchronize the team by organizing the team members to do the necessary tasks based on needs, resources, and dependencies. This individual must let the team decide on its own and give everyone the opportunity to express themselves on what and how things must be done.

Independent of their personalities, sometimes ScrumMasters can and should adapt their behavior to better suit the team’s needs, raising their alter and super egos to be the best ScrumMasters that they can be.
 

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.



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