Characteristics of a SAFe Scrum Master
The SAFe Scrum Master role has the primary responsibility to help the team achieve its goals. They do this by teaching and coaching SAFe ScrumXP and SAFe, implementing and supporting SAFe principles and practices, and identifying and eliminating bottlenecks to flow. SAFe Scrum Masters come from various backgrounds and roles and are in high demand. But who makes a good Scrum Master? Although they are not typically people managers, they are influential members of an Agile Team. So, it’s important to know what characteristics make a good Scrum Master. For example, they often possess the following attributes:
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Empathetic- Supports the team by displaying an authentic understanding and concern for a team member’s beliefs or feelings. In turn, the team is more likely to build relationships with others, resulting in higher levels of collaboration and performance. Empathy is a key ingredient of trust, which is essential for people to accept and welcome coaching.
Conflict Navigator-Supports team members in resolving interpersonal conflicts, problem-solving, and decision-making. Agile coach and author Lyssa Atkins opines, “Navigating conflict is our new mindset, in which we help teams move from conflict to constructive disagreement as a catapult to high performance.”
Servant Leader- Persuades, rather than use authority. As servant leaders, Scrum Masters focus on the needs of team members and those they serve with the goal of achieving results in line with the organization’s values, principles, and business objectives.
Mentor- Supports the personal development of team members, helping them gain a continuous learning mindset. They guide the team to find solutions to their problems independently instead of being given the answers.
Transparent-Transparency is a Core Value of SAFe and one of the pillars of Scrum empiricism. The Scrum Master is open and appreciates transparency in others. They help the team provide transparency by ensuring artifacts are inspected, identifying significant differences between expected and actual results, and detecting anti-patterns.
Coach-Understands and educates the team on methods beyond Scrum, such as SAFe, Team Kanban, Flow, Built-in Quality, and more. Helps build a high-performing team.
Responsibilities of the SAFe Scrum Master
The SAFe Scrum Master fulfills many critical responsibilities in performing the role, which is categorized in below Figure.. Each category is described in the sections that follow.
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