January 25, 2021


News for Agilists

Missing roles in the Scrum Guide? | by Maciej Jarosz | Serious Scrum | Nov, 2020

With news around the publishing of the new Scrum Guide, I’d like to revisit the roles and add some missing ones, as sometimes they can be seen here and there.

Scrum Roles, the original rooster:

  • Development Team — read as “employees”. You pay, they work, everyone is happy.
  • Product Owner — a business wolf, though sometimes, without fangs as how can one be called an “owner” without actually “owning” something without resorting to some hazy arguments like “well yeah, the Product Owner has so many maturity levels to cover that it’ll take years for him/her to get a budget”. Also, that’s a nice way to introduce some seniority levels in the whole company architecture because why not?
  • Scrum Master — the ultimate manservant leader, ready to execute any managerial order at any time, sometimes being pressured by the Catch 22 (Joseph Heller, anyone?) and the muddled down argumentation about being a leader without having any real influence and/or empowerment while at the same time being responsible and accountable for things that require that real influence and empowerment, yada yada. Also, it’s one of the most watered-down and yet overblown roles out there. Sounds familiar, eh?

So, let’s move on to those missing, unmapped roles in Scrum that often do have a bit too much of an influence on the things that they should not influence:

  • Agile Coach — the real deal, the almost ultimate spot that any manservant leader can aspire to. Agile Coaches deal with things on the organizational level, they’re way past the cheesy team level. They can be found outside of the company structures, free-roaming spirits free from any real responsibility that are hard to spot, and yet they are full of wisdom. So full, that they can even proclaim mutually exclusive rulings but hey, they are all correct in any given context. A paradox you say? Well, reality happens. Read on.
  • The god-manager — the maker and the breaker. One can have all the best ideas in the world, though how to argue with a person that has all the power to do anything, to cover up those actions and still come out riding on the white horse and take up all the credit? Also, god-managers do possess one thing that is coveted by many — a budget. So the question goes — in Scrum, who watches the watchmen? Scrum Masters? Product Owners? Who is serving who?
  • Higher Management — the Gods of Olympus, some people may gossip about them, not many people actually saw them. The rumor goes that only the Great Agile Coaches and god-managers have access to that source of unlimited wisdom and budget. Higher Management is an invisible hand that has an influence on anything it touches and not even the Product Owner has anything to say about that.
  • The Scrum Trainer — probably the most important role out there. Of course, the role needs to be fully accredited by a verified accreditation company as it adds credibility. The Scrum Trainer is the most important role, as it enables the whole Scrum, summoning the true spirit of Scrum in all of the training participants and guiding those lost sheep to the truest Scrum that is available at the time of undertaking the training (remember, Scrum Guide did have some changes throughout the years. Chicken and pigs, never forget, you’ll be always in our hearts, oink). Things that Scrum Trainers says are always and without any exception true, except when they are not, but we’re not nitpicking here. If a trainer says that an Agile Coach is better than a Scrum Master then it’s true. If a trainer says that an Agile Coach is the same as a Scrum Master then it’s true. If a trainer says that what other trainers say is not true then it’s like dividing by zero, and you don’t want to do that if you love this universe. One might have heard some rumors about some paradigm wars between trainers from different tribes but it’s not true. There is only one Scrum and if you’re not using that Scrum then it’s not Scrum.

Simple as that.

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