Why is the person called by such a strange name like “ScrumMaster” for the person who facilitates Scrum projects? Why didn’t everyone continue to use the standard title “project manager”?
Maybe to highlight the extent to which the responsibilities of the ScrumMaster are different from those of a traditional project manager. This difference in terminology is symbolic of a drastic change managers must make to their approach if they are to effectively manage Scrum projects.
The authority of the ScrumMaster is largely indirect; it springs mainly from the ScrumMaster’s knowledge of Scrum rules and practices and his or her work to ensure that they are followed. The ScrumMaster is responsible for the success of the project, and he or she helps increase the probability of success by helping the Product Owner select the most valuable Product Backlog and by helping the Team turn that backlog into functionality. The ScrumMaster earns no awards or medals because the ScrumMaster is only a facilitator.
Learning basic ScrumMaster practices is easy for most, but some people have difficulty learning the art of being a ScrumMaster. There are examples of some misguided Scrum implementations that don’t have as much of an impact as they might have had because the ScrumMaster doesn’t understand the philosophy underlying the Scrum methodology.
Some ScrumMasters just don’t get it, no matter how much they’ve read about Scrum. Scrum is a simple, straightforward set of practices, rules, and roles. But the philosophy behind Scrum is somewhat less simple and can sometimes be difficult to understand. Learning Scrum is a little like learning to ride a bike: after a little bit of time, you just get it—and your muscles get it—and from then on, it’s as easy as pie. But until then, you’d better not go riding on major roads.