Leaders of Tomorrow: Looking beyond today’s misperception of the ScrumMaster role

If best-selling management books and journals are anything to go by, progressive management ideas are increasingly creeping into mainstream thinking. Many authors advocate adaptive organisations, able to navigate an increasingly interconnected and volatile world. They suggest that this requires an environment of high trust, high engagement, high intrinsic motivation, high ownership teams with psychological safety and Adaptive Intelligence (AQ). Also that leaders create other leaders at all levels who are intimately involved with value creation. If we looked for a model for such a leader, there could be few closer to the mark than ScrumMaster.

At the same time, the ScrumMaster role faces a crisis of status, desirability and effectiveness in Australia; with an increasing proportion of organisations overly constraining the role to a small box, or abandoning it altogether. The same organisations typically resemble Water-Scrum-Fall “feature factories” and many problems that skilled ScrumMaster could have led the way to eliminating.

Survey results show that the ScrumMaster role is widely misunderstood in multiple dimensions. As a result, the role is overly restricted in scope of Agile frameworks served as well as scope influence and career path options. This has led to organisations and individuals under-investing in ScrumMaster professional development and many capable candidates are looking elsewhere to “Agile Coach” or middle management roles.

In this session we examine how organisations may be better off with more skilful ScrumMasters. We bust ScrumMaster-related myths and explore how ScrumMasters can be more impactful by dong less administration, and more interventions at a higher level of leverage. We outline how ScrumMaster is a blueprint for an organisational leaders in the high VUCA world of tomorrow. One that progressive, post-heroic leaders might aspire to.