The Scrum Master role can be a mysterious job for those who are used to traditional/Waterfall approach to managing project work. After working with different organizations to help them establish Scrum teams, I have seen a variety of skilled professional succeed at making the transition into a Scrum Master role. That said, I have also observed occasions where people make the decision to take on this role for the wrong reasons. How do you know if you truly want to be a Scrum Master? Here are a few things to consider before you decide.
Question #1 – Are you used to getting things done through formal authority?
If your answer to this question is “YES”, then I strongly encourage you to reconsider taking on the Scrum Master role, not because I don’t think you can succeed, but because you will likely need to invest a lot of time and energy to learn to motivate your team through indirect influence rather than direct delegation.
Question #2 – Do you enjoy mentoring others?
If your answer to this question is “NO”, then you may find the Scrum Master role to be tedious and unsatisfying because your team will rely on you to guide them through coaching and mentoring; this is often challenging for many seasoned professionals who have not had the opportunity to teach others.
Question #3 – Do you enjoy helping others succeed more than claiming personal victories?
If you prefer to be the “hero” that saves the day, and get the sole recognition for your individual performance, the Scrum Master role is probably not a good fit for you. This role demands that you put the needs of your team before your own so that you can achieve success for the entire team, not just for any single individual.
The bottom line here is that in order to be a truly great Scrum Master, you must have the right attitude and be willing to sacrifice your own needs for the greater good of the team. Even if this sounds impossible for you, I encourage you to explore the role and try it out, because you may be a better fit than you expect!