A detailed description of how the Scrum Master role embodies 6 stances, and why I (Barry Overeem) don't consider "servant leader" and "manager" valid stances anymore.
In this whitepaper
In 2010 I started my first assignment as a Scrum Master. From that moment on, I captured my struggles, failures, and successes in a series of blog posts. Mostly intended to help myself reflect on my role, receive feedback from other Scrum practitioners, and make improvements accordingly. Over the years, the sum of these blog posts resulted in the paper "The 8 Stances Of A Scrum Master". A paper I published in 2017 and which includes inspiration from other experienced Scrum practitioners, with Gunther Verheyen in particular.
Already at that point in time, my message & expectation wasn’t that you can only be a successful Scrum Master if you master all 8 stances. It’s good to be aware of them though. For example, I’ve always been “average” at coaching but excelled in facilitation. Luckily, other Scrum Masters I’ve worked with mastered different stances. So, together, we were able to help the organization work with Scrum.
In the years after I published the paper, my understanding of the Scrum Master role improved, refined, and changed. I never updated the original paper with my new insights. I did incorporate my new ideas into the Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master II class, which I created together with Christiaan Verwijs. The popularity of the original paper exceeded my wildest expectations. Even today, it’s considered useful reading material for many Scrum Masters.
I don't have the intention to completely rewrite the original paper. Instead, I wrote this additional paper. In this paper, I give an overview of the Scrum Master role, describe how the role embodies 6 stances, and explain why I don't consider servant leader and manager valid stances anymore.
I hope it helps you gain a better understanding of the role, and triggers you to fulfill it even more effectively. Always feel free to share your thoughts, questions, or experiences. Let's learn and grow, together!