Last summer, there was a re-organization and along with several ideas, a controversial idea was tried out where in scrum master will handle multiple teams. My manager came to me and told me that our organization needs strong scrum masters and they should be able to handle multiple teams.
I mentioned that the idea was controversial for some reason:
1. Most in the community didn’t go ahead with this idea. In the all hands, the popular feedback on the idea was that "A good scrum master manages multiple teams. However, the best scrum master manages only one". Perhaps, this is a blogging point for another time but for now let me focus on what i wanted to communicate.
2. Scrum is about team dynamics, empowering people to highlight the issues, pull the chain and stop the production until the issues get resolved. For this to happen, its very much required that pigs stay pigs and chickens stay chicken.
One of the best people managers that I know of told me on his first day : hey Jagan, in your day to day affairs, you will come across several people issues and its important that you, as a scrum master, don’t try to solve them and just bring it to the people managers for resolution. Also, he gave me an image of scrum master which till day has been my guidance. The scrum master’s ideal role is an image of a person with a sword in one hand and a broom stick in another hand. Broom is for cleaning after the team and the sword is for protecting the team from external disturbances. At any point of time, role of the tools shouldn’t change - the sword is not against the team and the broom stick for external use.
A strong scrum master should still be a slave leader for scrum to be effective and the team to take ownership. If the purpose of the tools change, then its very much likely that the scrum team doesn’t realize its full potential.