I heard a joke today, probably stolen, adapted, evolved and old. But it made me chuckle.
“What is the difference between and admin assistant and a Scrum Master?”
Answer – “about 50,000 a year”
It made me chuckle because I have spent the last month or so ‘discussing’ with HR why a Scrum Master should be a senior grade, but all of the objections were on the basis that a Scrum Master was merely a facilitator and admin assistant. Explaining was fun, and eventually they agreed to the higher grade.
But the reality is that a large part of the job is unglamorous, it is admin, it is chasing people, it is watching for anything that stops the team performing and often that can simply be making coffee, or booking meeting rooms.
I have come to the conclusion that a Scrum Master could be described as a team manager that has learned to supress their personal ego, and that it is about doing whatever it takes to enable the team to succeed and if the most useful thing you can do is make coffee then be proud you can be part of the team. It is about forming a good team, then trusting the team to deliver and getting out of their way, not forgetting of course keeping any obstacles out of their way.
The reality is that sometimes the Scrum Master challenges are trivial, but more often they are subtle and challenging and require a lot of skill, deep insight and a bucket load of experience to resolve. It is one of the toughest jobs to do well and deserves every penny when you get the right person.