I’ve often thought that a Scrum Master is like a Police Officer. A Police Officer first learns the law and then has the job of upholding the law. Most of what a Police Officer does is around the law but not necessarily just the law. Police officers are responsible for keeping the peace. Ensuring that event attendees, from sports to music, are kept safe and having a good time. They attend road traffic accidents and clear up the mess. They might deliver bad news to you if a loved has been hurt or injured and is in hospital. They might provide an escort through heavy traffic to safe guard a precious life giving transplant organ. They look for missing children. They attend schools to advise our children how to stay safe.
The list is endless and mostly not about the law. This is similar to a Scrum Master. In this case the law is the Scrum Guide. The Scrum Guide tells us that the role of the Scrum Master is “promoting and supporting Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide”. In other words upholding the rules of Scrum, much in the same way that Wikipedia defines a Police Officer as “empowered by a state to enforce the law”.
The Scrum Master’s job therefore is to make sure, primarily, that everyone in the Scrum Team is sticking to the Scrum rules (enforcing the law). This could be the role of a “Good Scrum Master” as suggested by Geoff Watts in “Scrum Mastery” but the same book might also describe a “Great Scrum Master” like a Police Officer that has duties wider than enforcing the law.
So what are the wider duties of a Scrum Master?
A “Great Scrum Master” should be responsible for
Like the Police Officer, the list of Scrum Master duties is endless, and mostly not about the Scrum Guide. So if you find that your Scrum Master is sticking only to the law, point them at this list or Geoff Watts book on “Scrum Mastery” and set them on the right path.