Ten attributes of a good Scrum Master

Attributes of a good scrum master

Being a good scrum master and becoming a great agile leader takes discipline, patience and practice. It’s not a journey to be the master of servants, but rather a journey to master Human Whispering.





  • The willingness to step up and challenge teams to guide them onto the right direction
  • Courage to confront, don’t be afraid to challenge old paradigms or set high benchmarks
  • Scrum master position comes with power and a good scrum master knows when to leverage that power as the quality champion, team protector and ego power flouting
  • They have done the training course, not because that gives them a certification but because it gives them an agreed base for what scrum is, alliance and support
  • The ability to stick to your (scrum process) guns even when the going gets tough
  • Maintains good morale among the team, recognises poor morale and nips it in the but!
  • Creates momentum and has the ability to protect the momentum to be continuously sustained
  • Understand the balancing of when to step in and when to step out
  • Constantly learning and upon to mentoring and feedback
  • Patience for people to not just understand the process but to ‘be agile’

Change Management Agile Leaders Insights

Change, Change, Change. How change can be controlled, predictive and beneficial.

I live in such a dichotomy of time and space sometimes; for I love change and I love consistency.

Is that why I’m consistently changing?

Regardless of my self indulgent musings it’s important for today’s organizations to embrace change; plan for it, learn from it and create the environment for good change.

As a leader and scrum professional I am often charged with the responsibility of introducing change – or given targets that require a marked difference in the delivery.

One of the very first things I do before even mapping out the change, is understand the lay of the land as it is now.
This is such an important step because knowing what (especially who) the challenges are and where the quick good wins can be made will help to break down ‘historical inertia’.

Often action plans for change don’t include this very important step, which is unfortunate because I’ve seen enthusiastic people charge ahead with a new methodology or process without realizing they have actually swept away good people and good knowledge.

My steps for getting the big picture is built around being a Third Culture Kid and the study of what it means to be human – not industry processes, not fancy methodologies – just simple old fashioned understanding of people.

Every Third Culture Kid knows that when you move to a new land (country, culture, school, university, business, party…) you;

a) Identify the sub-cultures that drive the real procedures
b) Identify the ‘drivers’ of those sub-cultures
c) Work out an exit strategy in the case of clashing
d) Understand why the need to change – what’s the real pay offs?
e) Who wants what ‘they want’, who doesn’t want what ‘they want’
f) What style do ‘they respond to’
g) What is there ‘listening’ – are they individual, community orientated, gender orientated etc.
h) What’s the cost, the pain, the suffering and the willingness to sacrifice

and finally – where’s the tipping point for a culture to change?

Someone once said to me in response to me saying “I can’t stand politics”;

“yes, and you are actually very good at it”.

This isn’t a political agenda – it’s a proactive human practice to ensure the integrity of what happens is understood by all parties who need to be involved in changing their organisation. It is also more efficient to speak french to a french-person and English to an English-person, so why do we constantly try to force people to speak one language, or our own language.

What’s they lay of your land? Are you about to embark on a change management agile process? Would you travel from Rome to Moscow on the wrong side of the road, and never embrace the cultures along the way? Would you not sit back and look at a map, or would you just head east?

Transitioning Project Manager to Scrum Master

A Scrum Master can be born from any industry and any role.

The characteristics to be a Scrum Master don’t include the pre-requisite to be a dictating leader. However, as many software development departments are transitioning to Agile Delivery methodologies they are starting with the Project Management Office. Project managers are required to be organizers, strong leaders with an inherent level of logic to be able to direct the team and allocate out the tasks. In contrast Scrum Masters are servants to the outcomes and the scrum team is self-organising, so therefore collectively self-directing.
Everybody needs a little help
So what does this mean for project managers turned scrum master that are used to taking the bull by the horns?
Making the transition from wrangler to herder is actually a big personality and behavior shift for most project managers.

The project manager must relinquish control!

“Huh” you say.

The epiphany I had was that I needed to relinquish control to allow for the team take control themselves. The team needs the space to be able to become accountable, to take control of their own outcomes, quality and contribute to fluid productivity. Along the transition you will need to have your own epiphanies to become a great scrum master, here’s a few to be aware of.

1. It’s not solely up to you to design and deliver the solution. Present problems to the team, facilitate the team creating the solution.
2. Let go of some of your stronghold behaviors; detach from rigid outcome and allow the team to own their own results.
3. Be open to the learning journey, the time required to learn, to tackle through unknowns. Don’t judge to quickly. Iterative delivery allows for mistakes to be made early so they can be fixed earlier.
4. Embrace silence, don’t force responses. Give time for people to think, and time for people to speak through their thoughts
5. Challenge yourself and the team to go beyond reasonable expectation, nudge the boundaries!

Good luck and be open to becoming a calm assertive leader.

We have more Agile Project Manager Resources to help with the journey.

Flood Brisbane? Premier of Queensland Anna Bligh is ready and waiting.

The Premier of Queensland Anna Bligh has done an amazing job as mother nature takes on to flood Brisbane. In each of the news casts, updates and many of her quotes she projects an amazing calm assertive leader. She has the character of a great Scrum Master. There is an overwhelming number of requirements to be made, tasks to be done and in achievable chunks given the changing circumstances.

I’ve always reverted to scrum and agile practices in ’emergency situations’. Be that in server recovery jobs, personal threat situations – such as bomb threats, or even in life – like moving house!

Each ‘disaster’ of sorts is a complex project that needs to be resolved effectively as a united team for a greater ouctome.

Not only is scrum capable of facilitating a way through disaster it is a way for Community Organisations to literally “cut through red tape” and deliver their essential services. How often have you heard about community care organisations getting bogged down in the s**t of bureaucracy?

Part of our team has over 20 years in the Community Care field ranging from Quadriplegia, Elderly, Council, and response units. If you are interested in having us giving you a helping hand out of your flood waters to no longer just keep treading contact us for a chat.