The Impact Of The Scrum Master’s Personality On Team Success

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31st May, 2022
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21st May, 2018
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The Impact Of The Scrum Master’s Personality On Team Success

The personality of a person is a combination of characteristics of a person including behaviors, habits, thoughts, emotions, feelings perceptions, etc. which helps identify him or her distinctively. These characteristics spring up, develop and evolve from factors within the person as well as factors from the environment or context in which the individual operates. Personality comes from within a person and it will determine how the person thinks, feels and behaves. Personality normally remains similar throughout the lifetime of the individual but can be trained to make certain changes in personality.

The Scrum Master plays an important role directly impacting the success of an Agile Scrum project. The Agile Alliance defines a Scrum Master as ‘the team role responsible for ensuring that the Scrum team lives Agile values and principles and follows the processes and practices that the team agreed to use in the project’. The scrum master is the owner of the scrum process where he or she is responsible for defining the process to be adopted by the team. He is expected to protect the team from internal and external influences and dependencies and be able to facilitate negotiation sessions in situations of conflict. The scrum master is not a manager but a ‘servant leader’ of the team working with the team to achieve the goals and objectives of the project. The scrum master is also responsible for facilitating the scrum ceremonies driving the project forward by overcoming impediments encountered on a day-to-day basis.


Personality of the Scrum Master

The scrum master’s personality plays a pivotal role when achieving the responsibilities listed above. The following is an attempt to discuss the impact of scrum master’s personality on team success based on the ‘Big 5 personality traits’. These personality traits are as listed below.

Personality of the Scrum Master

Watch the video from the link below to learn more about the 5 personality traits.

Having a scrum master who is outgoing and energetic or in other words, an extrovert will be beneficial for the project as opposed to having a reserved, socially aloof scrum master. The scrum master is expected to build positive relationships with both internal and external stakeholders and be able to create a positive vibe when the going gets tough. A scrum master who is an extrovert would walk the extra mile with the team for the betterment of the team by collaborating and communicating with stakeholders.

The scrum master must be friendly and compassionate as opposed to being detached from his or her team members. In other words, it is good for a scrum master to have the personality trait of agreeableness. The scrum master must be able to listen to stakeholders with empathy, understand the real context, and be trustworthy and helpful without getting into arguments or preconceptions. This personality trait of a scrum master would also ensure that team members are well protected from external threats and will ensure the interests of team members and other project stakeholders are met.

Agile teams are expected to be innovative and think out of the box. It is beneficial for a team to have a scrum master who is curious and open to an experience. Scrum teams learn from mistakes and are often open to try out new things. A good scrum master would be able to facilitate this process by encouraging the team members to try out new things both in the project as well as in the solution being developed.

Scrum teams are expected to be self-organised and efficient. A scrum master with these characteristics will be organised in executing the scrum process applicable to the project in an efficient manner. A conscientious scrum master will ensure that scrum meetings are well organised, properly facilitated, outcome-oriented and purposeful. Meeting invites, agendas will be clearly defined with each stakeholder kept true to the agenda. An organised scrum master will also make sure that enough documentation is done in an organised manner may it be with regards to requirements, project management, design, quality assurance etc.

Scrum masters must be emotionally stable and capable of controlling sudden anger or stress. A good scrum master must be able to conceptualize and think logically while considering the bigger picture rather than being overwhelmed by emotions. In a team environment, the scrum master will need to deal with people with different personalities that can have a positive or negative impact on the project. A secure and confident scrum master will be confident about his/her own capabilities as well as the capabilities of the team members and be able to motivate the team members to overcome any situation.

Finally…

Personality plays an important role in a team environment. The personality of the scrum master or the leader of the team is essential to make sure of the resources and to mold the team into a victorious team. What type of a scrum master are you? Do you have the aforementioned personalities within you?

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Rumesh Wijetunge

Chief Innovation Officer - Zaizi Limited, Chief Operating Officer - LearntIn (Pvt) Ltd., Director /

Rumesh is an IT business leader with over 12 years of industry experience as a business analyst and project manager. He is currently the CIO of Zaizi Limited, a UK based data management company heading the operations in Sri Lanka, the COO of LearntIn, a global training institute based in Sri Lanka and is also a lecturer / trainer at multiple private universities on management, IT, business analysis and project management subjects. He is the current president of the IIBA Sri Lanka chapter and is one of the most qualified and sought after trainers in Sri Lanka. Refer his LinkedIn profile for more details and to see more articles he has written on linkedin