The ScrumMaster Manifesto

Friday, 24 June, 2011

In homage to that original Agile Manifesto I thought about coming up with a similar manifesto for ScrumMasters. Something perhaps for those newly **qualified** ScrumMasters to fall back on when things get tough.

As a Scrum trainer I reference the Agile Manifesto in every course I run. It really sets the tone of the course and spells out the reason why those people should be sitting in that room.  In homage to that original manifesto I thought about coming up with a similar manifesto for ScrumMasters. Something perhaps for those newly **qualified** ScrumMasters to fall back on when things get tough (and they will get tough). And also something which established ScrumMasters could use to self-reflect on their own skills and goals.

I should also point out that this is not an attempt to supersede or plagiarise the existing manifesto, or demean any of the original twelve that published it. I regard this as a tribute to the original which still serves as a succinct artefact that has managed to catalyse a change in multiple industries.

I’m sure people will disagree with some of the language I have used, or maybe even some of the comparisons it makes. But I have tried to capture what I believe being a ScrumMaster is all about, from doing and coaching that role. As the original manifesto’s structure is so well-known I decided to stick with it…

Manifesto for a ScrumMaster

I am uncovering better ways of being a ScrumMaster by doing Scrum and coaching others to do it.

Through this work I have come to value: 

  • Coaching and facilitating over organising and leadership
  • Attention to results over comprehensive reporting
  • Team collaboration over individual cooperation
  • Continuous improvement over following a process

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, I value the items on the left more.

12 Principles of a ScrumMaster Manifesto

  1. Our highest priority is to empower the scrum team through early and continuous coaching of team members.
  2. Resist changing team members, even when projects end. Agile teams remain stable for their own competitive advantage. 
  3. Expand the definition of done frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a view to being ‘potentially deployable’ as early as possible. 
  4. The product owner and the scrum development team must collaborate daily throughout the project. 
  5. Discover what motivates the scrum team. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. 
  6. The most efficient and effective method of facilitating and coaching individuals within a development team is with regular interaction and face-to-face conversation. Do not underestimate the time and effort this involves. 
  7. The need for intervention is the primary measure of the team’s ability to self-organise. 
  8. A sprint promotes sustainable development. The scrum team should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to team dynamics and good facilitation makes a better ScrumMaster.
  10. Listening -- the art of maximising the amount of talking not done -- is essential.
  11. Better visions, product backlogs, and process improvements emerge from self-organising teams.
  12. At sprint retrospectives, help the team reflect on how to become more effective, and encourage them to make improvements in every sprint.