This article is dedicated to helping a reader of Scrum Master. This Is The Way and Misunderstood Stances of a Scrum Master. Advanced Model articles understand the difference between these models of Stances and Misunderstood Stances of a Scrum Master and those originally described by Barry Overeem in The 8 Stances of a Scrum Master whitepaper.
Types of Stances
This is one of the key changes introduced in Scrum Master. This Is The Way. It was not offered by the original model of stances in The 8 Stances of a Scrum Master whitepaper. Reading the latter, it was tough to understand why, for instance, Impediment Remover is just another stance, while it actually requires other stances to cause impediment removal. The same was a major difficulty with respect to Change Agent.
The major difference between these two stances was in their longer-term focus and more background position compared to other stances, which were shorter-term and actually acting. This is why the Focusing and Acting types of stances were offered in Scrum Master. This Is The Way.
Stances of a Scrum Master
This stance was a logical consequence of introducing the Focusing type of Stances. This one is dedicated to cover all focuses of a Scrum Master except for those addressed by Impediment Remover and Change Agent.
“Observer” and “Mirror Holder”
For these stances, it is hardly possible to find something similar in the original model.
“Professional Coach” versus “Coach”
In the “8 Stances of a Scrum Master”, there is a stance called “Coach,” which has a broader definition than “Professional Coach” proposed here.
In some parts of the description of “Coach,” it looks more like “Mentor,” “Teacher,” or “Facilitator.” We do not include these parts of the description to prevent overlapping of this stance with others.
Sometimes, it looks more like something about a leader in general (e.g., “leading by example”). Of course, a Scrum Master should always stay a leader, which implies (among other things) leading by example. However, it is important to notice that it should be a permanent state of a Scrum Master, while stances may change. Stances of a Scrum Master should help Scrum Masters be good leaders yet fulfilling their ultimate goal in Scrum. This is why we do not include respective parts from the “Coach” stance.
In the remaining parts, the description of “Coach” looks very similar to “Professional Coach.” And it is exactly what I include in the Advanced Model.
There’s a stance described in the “8 Stances of a Scrum Master”, which is called “Facilitator” but defined wider than we do here. As it is described there, facilitation was really meant within Scrum as the following:
- Facilitate relationships, collaboration, and communication both within the team and the team’s environment
- Facilitate the Scrum process and the continuous improvement of the process
- Facilitate the integration of the Scrum Team into the entire organization
- Facilitate the Scrum events to be purposeful and effective
- Facilitate the team in achieving their (personal) objectives
These are great examples clarifying those services that Scrum Master provides to Developers, the Product Owner, and Organization. In other words, these bullet points describe WHAT is expected from a Scrum Master. However, to fulfill these responsibilities, a Scrum Master should act in a particular way, and (as explained at the beginning of this article) we describe HOW this could be achieved through a thorough understanding of Scrum Master’s stances.
It means that fulfilling the responsibilities described in each of these bullet points may require a Scrum Master to shift between many stances, and “Facilitator” (as we will describe it later here) is just one of many, which might not always be necessary to use.
As one of many possible scenarios, most of the responsibilities described as bullet points above may require a Scrum Master to start as “Observer” till the moment when it makes sense to become “Mirror Holder” or “Facilitator.” If necessary, the stances may change to “Teacher,” “Mentor,” or “Coach.” Sometimes this may even lead to a Scrum Master taking such stances as “Impediment Remover” or “Change Agent.”
“Teacher,” “Mentor,” and “Impediment Remover”
These stances are very well explained in the original model
Other stances in “The 8 Stances of a Scrum Master.”
The stances “Manager” and “Servant Leader” were excluded from the stances listed in the official PSM II course by scrum.org. The explanation is available here. This is absolutely reasonable. Thus these stances are not included in the Complete Model either.
3. Misunderstood Stances of a Scrum Master
The table below provides a mapping for Misunderstood Stances described in Misunderstood Stances of a Scrum Master. Advanced Model articles, and in The 8 Stances of a Scrum Master whiteper.
Approximately half of the most common behavioral anti-patterns can not be associated with stances in the latter model. Some comments are provided after the table.
For the behavioral patterns, which are attributable to such misunderstood stances as “Tool Manager,” “Coordinator,” and “Team Extension” in the Complete Model, it is very difficult (or even impossible) to find relevant misunderstood stances in the model “The 8 Misunderstood Stances”.
The same applies to “Intermediary” with one exception — only the anti-pattern “information re-translation from the Development Team / PO to management or stakeholders” represented in the Complete Model can be attributed to the misunderstood stance “The Chairman” introduced in “The 8 Misunderstood Stances” model.
Similarly, for “Policeman,” there’s the only match — the anti-pattern regarding Scrum rules can be attributed to the misunderstood stance “The Scrum Police.” Though “Policeman” covers a much wider range of cases, and this is why it is called differently.
For “Tool Manager,” only the case of technical administration of tools is represented by “The Admin.” Though “Tool Manager” also covers another case of the decision-making about tools, which is not covered by the model “The 8 Misunderstood Stances”.