Types of Scrum Masters

August 8, 2017

The Scrum Master is the “servant leader” of the Scrum Team who moderates and facilitates team interactions as team coach and motivator. The Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring that the team has a productive work environment by guarding the team against external influences, removing any obstacles, and enforcing Scrum principles, aspects, and processes. Different Scrum projects have different requirements, hence the need for different levels of Scrum Masters. Here are three such roles:

Chief Scrum Master

Large projects require multiple Scrum Teams to work in parallel. Information gathered from one team may need to be appropriately communicated to other teams—the Chief Scrum Master is responsible for this activity. The role of a Chief Scrum Master is necessary to ensure proper collaboration among the Scrum Teams. Coordination across various Scrum Teams working on a project is typically done through the Scrum of Scrums (SoS) Meeting. There is no hierarchy between the Scrum Masters: they are all peers. The Chief Scrum Master just works on a multi-team level, whereas the Scrum Masters work on a single team level. Typically, any inter-team issues are addressed by the interested parties in a session immediately following the Scrum of Scrums Meeting. The Chief Scrum Master facilitates this session. The Chief Scrum Master can be chosen from the Scrum Masters of the large project or can be somebody else. For very large projects, it is recommended to have a Chief Scrum Master who is not also a Scrum Master because the effort required for the Chief Scrum Master role will prevent the Chief Scrum Master from also being able to dedicate enough time to the work with his/her Scrum Team. In either case, the Chief Scrum Master should have enough Scrum expertise to be able to foster collaboration and to help and coach others with the implementation of Scrum for a smooth delivery of the project’s products. Apart from clearing impediments and ensuring a conducive project environment for the Scrum Teams, the Chief Scrum Master also collaborates with the Chief Product Owner, other Scrum Masters, and Product Owners in activities such as developing the list of components and resources needed in common for all teams throughout the project. He/she facilitates everything that goes beyond the realm of a single Scrum Team. The Chief Scrum Master also interfaces with the Program Scrum Master to ensure alignment of the large project with the goals and objectives of the program.

Program Scrum Master

The Program Scrum Master is a facilitator who ensures that all project teams in the program are provided with an environment conducive to completing their projects successfully. The Program Scrum Master guides, facilitates, and teaches Scrum practices to everyone involved in the program; provides guidance to Scrum Masters of individual projects; clears impediments for the different project teams; coordinates with the Scrum Guidance Body to define objectives related to quality, government regulations, security, and other key organizational parameters; and, ensures that Scrum processes are being effectively followed throughout the program. The Program Scrum Master interfaces with the Portfolio Scrum Master to ensure alignment of the program with the goals and objectives of the portfolio. He or she is also involved with appointing Scrum Masters for individual projects and ensuring that the vision, objectives, outcomes, and releases of individual projects in the program align with that of the program. This role is similar to that of the Scrum Master except it meets the needs of the program or business unit rather than of a single Scrum Team.

Portfolio Scrum Master

This role is similar to that of the Scrum Master except it meets the needs of the portfolio or business unit rather than of a single Scrum Team.


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