The Scrum master is there to protect the team and to facilitate them where needed. Let’s think about this. First why do they need protection? For what I have seen over the last couple of years is that developers and designers are in most cases, adult people. They left school. Know how to commute to the office, which means that they know how to dress themselves and travel in the big wide world. They also know how to talk and listen, how to write and read, and to think for them selves. After all, how did they get the job in the first place. So why do they need protection. Is it because as soon as they are in a team environment they forgot how to think and act for themselves? That they assume that there is someone who tells them what to do en when. Strange, as there is a Scrum master this means there is also something that known as Scrum. And Scrum dictated that it is a very good idea to have self-managing teams. Someone within the company has given the approval to do so. So where is the protection for. Often it is said that they need to be shielded from the product owner and the stakeholders. Why, those are the ones that have all the information about what they would like. And because there is a prioritized backlog it shouldn’t be so hard to get the most needed to be done first. What would happen if they do not have protection? Do they get pushed by someone to do things they should not do. That would be strange as there is scrum and nothing else within the company. There isn’t a rogue project-manager with his or her own hidden agenda. And if there is, why do the product owner and stakeholders’ allow him or her to proceed. Protection is this case is only needed if scrum in it self is not working or implemented as it is intended.
And then the facilitation part, in what does the team need facilitation. In drawing the burnsdown? Why should he, it the thing that tells the team how much work they can master and gives an insight in to how much work they can commit to. There is no excuse that they can’t do this by themselves. If they are intelligent enough to write elaborate and extensive code a simple graph should not be the problem. So what else is there? Appointments with various stakeholders or the product owner. Why? Don’t they know how to use the phone or email? Ok they might encounter members of the company who are outside of the team and Scrum. But if scrum is setup the right way, there shouldn’t be any external factors within the company.
Now I’m not telling that there should not be a Scrum master. But a Scrum master is just that, someone who masters Scrum. A walking scrum guide and in this he or she facilitates and protects. As soon as there is something that needs more information, or when there are questions, the Scrum master facilitates with knowledge. As soon as things popup that have nothing to do with Scrum, he or she tries to get it to work within the agile model or get rid of it. That’s the protection. But a Scrum master is not an overprotective watchdog with a band aid and a lot of fresh coffee. The Scrum master assists the team to become self managing and the rest they can do themselves. They are not little kids at kindergarten.