It’s an objection I’ve heard time and again during CSM courses:
“Wait! If I understood you right, Scrum Masters help teams become self-organized. So at some point our team isn’t going to need a Scrum Master, right?!”
I always wonder where it’s coming from. Hope of reaching the ultimate goal? Fear of becoming ubiquitous? Suspicion of my motives for teaching Scrum Master courses?
Either way, I tell them they’ve clocked onto a truth. Because they have. The goal of Scrum is a team that has learned how to organize themselves in the face of a changing reality, to choreograph new dances together to an ever-changing rhythm.
But that is only half the truth. A scrum team – even a coordinated, well-oiled scrum team – will never stay long without a Scrum Master.
Because in a hurricane of chaos, you need to be able to look out for the eye of the storm.
On the natural, societal, and organizational levels, there will always come the disruption of the unexpected, the forces of chaos.
In nature, in regular chemical reactions, electrons do all the combining and recombining to produce new substances. But they only have the ability and stability because of the nucleus of the atom keeping them focused in place. Otherwise the least bit of force would send them flying out into oblivion.
Even as a successful team learns to function in the day-to-day without as much help from its Scrum Master, they still need him. They need him as the attractor – the force that pulls the whole team out of the chaos, the eye of the storm upon which to focus.
And the beauty is: in the absence of a Scrum Master, a successful scrum team will create one on their own. The need for a focal point, a nucleus, is so strong, that the team will naturally gravitate to one of their members for leadership. He will begin to nurture the Agile spirit of the team, remove obstacles, and most importantly: empower the team members to direct themselves inward and upward.
Successful, self-organized teams don’t need an external appointment of a Scrum Master. In a supreme act of self-organization, they will create their own eye of the storm, their own nucleus – a Scrum Master from within!