Have you ever seen the term “process authority” used to describe the role of a Scrum Master? You don’t have to look too hard to find this description. In my experience, it has caused a lot of confusion and misunderstanding on project teams. So why is it even used? And should it?

I worked on a new Scrum project where management informed the project teams that the Scrum Master role was given process authority over the team. There was a lot of confusion and unease about this. Questions started popping up such as “I already have a manager – is the Scrum Master now my boss,” “What does process authority mean,” and “Do we really have to do what she says?” As a result, the teams were becoming hostile to the Scrum Master role, untrusting of the Scrum Master’s responsibility, and concerned Scrum Masters had authority to tell the teams what to do. I was the project’s agile coach and needed to diffuse the confusion and better the working environment as quickly as possible. This did not happen overnight, but our journey started with this interactive discussion which we used as a foundation for the project moving forward.

In this interactive presentation, we explore the concept of “process authority” and consider the various directions it takes us. To do that, this discussion goes far beyond a typical “the role of a Scrum Master” presentation; It explores…

  • What it should (and should not) mean when/if “process authority” is used to describe the Scrum Master role
  • How the responsibility and expectations of a Scrum Master are different than that of team members
  • How different leadership styles play into understanding the role of the Scrum Master
  • The importance of trust in a Scrum Master/team relationship

The presentation uses real-time audience feedback to further explore these topics. Audience members will provide answers to questions given throughout the presentation, so we can explore members’ thoughts, opinions, and experiences they have had with the Scrum Master role.

 
 

Outline/Structure of the Talk

The session is divided into four overarching sections:

  • Process Authority. Many debates swirl around the idea of the Scrum Master as the “process authority.” What does authority mean anyway? This presentation examines the notion of “process authority” and provides a perspective to help put this in a better light.
  • Leadership Styles. Servant leadership is, of course, important. But Scrum Masters can come from many leadership styles. As we keep servant leadership in mind, which leadership style should a Scrum Master consider?
  • Scrum Master Expectations. The expectations from the Scrum Master should be viewed differently than that of the development team. This section takes an interesting and perhaps surprising view of how we should think about these expectations.
  • Trust. Perhaps more than anything else, trust is a must between the Scrum Master and the team. How is it gained?

This presentation is interactive and uses real-time polling to engage audience members to participate in the presentation discussion. Particularly, audience members will provide feedback concerning experiences they have had with leadership styles and the ideas around process authority. This feedback will be incorporated into the presentation and used to enhance the ideas discussed.

Learning Outcome

You will walk away from this presentation having learned…

  • How to describe the concept of process authority to diffuse concerns – especially helpful to those teams who are confused, unsure, and untrusting of the Scrum Master role.
  • How different leadership styles play an important part toward servant leadership and team dynamics.
  • The importance of Trust in a Scrum Master / team relationship.
  • Helpful examples, metaphors, and illustrations to better explain the role of the Scrum Master, the importance of the role, and the expectations a team should have of the Scrum Master.
  • Helpful characteristics and traits a Scrum Master possess.
  • Other participants’ experiences of the topics above (using real time interactive polling).

Target Audience

Scrum Masters, team members, and anyone curious

Prerequisites for Attendees

None

schedule Submitted 5 months ago

Public Feedback

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