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Vincent Partington has more than 10 years of enterprise Java experience. He has written and presented on topics as diverse as performance, security, RIA, and persistence technologies. Vincent Partington is the Chief Technical Officer of XebiaLabs where he is responsible for their flagship deployment automation product Deployit. Vincent is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 25 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

ScrumMaster Types

04.07.2010
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As with many other roles, all kinds of people fill in the role of the ScrumMaster.

I see 5 types of ScrumMasters. These have nothing to do with the different responsibilities of the ScrumMaster, nor with the different functions that fulfill the SM role in different organizations. What I want to describe here are different types of people that like to be ScrumMaster and do a good job doing it.

The 5 types are

  • The Regulator
  • The Planner
  • The Chemist
  • The Director
  • The Adventurer

These 5 types of people seem to like the art of ScrumMastering for a different reason and get their satisfaction from different kinds of achievements
Different stakeholders can benefit from knowing what type of ScrumMaster you have at hand. More about that at the end.

Let’s have a look at who they are, what makes them happy, their blind spots and the essence of ScrumMastering for each of them.

The Regulator
The Regulator is the Type of ScrumMaster that loves impediments. Especially impediments of a technical or organizational kind. He knows his way in the organization and will go on a quest for each impediment, until it’s solved.
... becomes happy ... when the Team is in the position to do a good job without any impediments sitting in the way with a focus factor of 100%.
... pays minimal attention to ... the individuals in the Team and the interaction between them.
Being a ScrumMaster, for the Regulator, means “Fixing impediments so the Team can focus on building software as fast as possible”.

The Planner
The planner is the ScrumMaster who probably is or has been a project manager or a project lead. He has learned to make a plan, and to make the plan work. This approach has delivered him a lot of success in the past. The Planner understands Scrum and he likes to fill in the gaps in scrum with some of his successful planning techniques from the past.
... becomes happy ... when the Team delivers the committed Sprint Goal.
... pays minimal attention to ... the learning process. As long as the plan works fine and Goals are delivered at the end of each Sprint, everything is ok.
Being a ScrumMaster,for the Planner, means “Delivering the committed Sprint Goal, Sprint after Sprint”

The Chemist
The Chemist is the type of ScrumMaster that works with the Team and every Team member until the right chemistry is there. He puts all his energy in the individuals and in the interaction between them, to make them as close and as strong as possible.
... becomes happy ... when the Team operate as a true Team with laughter and joint effort and where impediments are fixed by the Team because the Team sees impediments as challenges.
... pays minimal attention to ... the environment of the Team. Politics are not the game of the Chemist. He will focus so hard on the Team that he pays no attention to managing the outside world. Organizational impediments are fixed by working harder with the Team.
Being a ScrumMaster, for the Chemist, means “Making the Team so Strong that nothing can stop them.”.

The Director
The Director is the type of ScrumMaster who sits on top of the process. He has a strong vision and leads the process from one improvement towards another with a strong charismatic leadership style.
... becomes happy ... when the process becomes more and more ‘complete’. He envisions the perfect process and gently leads the project and its organization towards this ideal world.
... pays minimal attention to ... the soft side of coaching, to the human aspect.
Being a ScrumMaster, for the Director, means “Improve the process and let it do its work.”.

The Adventurer
The Adventurer has so much energy that he jumps in every ‘adventure’ with maximal enthusiasm. Whether the ‘adventure’ is solving an impediment, fixing a political issue or coaching an individual Team member, the Adventurer gets it done. Most young ScrumMasters are Adventurers, learning on all terrains as fast as possible.
... becomes happy ... whenever there’s a small success.
... pays minimal attention to ... the long term vision. Complete focus on 1001 things today prevents him from taking time to sit down and oversee the big picture.
Being a ScrumMaster, for the Adventurer, means “To do whatever it takes.”.

Different stakeholders can benefit from knowing the type of ScrumMaster you have at hand. As a ProductOwner knowing your ScrumMaster can help you manage your own expectations regarding to how your ScrumMaster will manage the environment of the Team. It also might influence the level of detail in your product backlog.
As a Project Manager, knowing the different types of ScrumMasters can help you to select the right type of ScrumMaster for your specific project.
As a Team it can give you insight in the behavior of your ScrumMaster.
As a ScrumMaster, it is a definite advantage to understand your blind spot so you can delegate some of these tasks to your Project Manager or someone in your Team.
As a Coach it is helpful to determine the good coaching strategy fast.

References
Published at DZone with permission of Vincent Partington, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

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