Is the Scrum Master a disruptive role?

While talking to one of my team during our regular chats, the number of changes I’ve challenged the team with came up. I was glad when he said he could see the value in them, but was surprised when he said he initially saw them as a disruption.

The scrum master role is seen as someone “protecting the team”, i.e. prevent disruptive outside influences from causing internal disruption. So I was initially worried, as that’s the opposite of what I’m supposed to do!

Before I did anything, I was wise enough to check with the other members to get their take on it. My favourite answer was (emphasis mine):

“your job is to push the team and challenge them to do better”

I can see that could be taken as disruptive, so I did some digging. I couldn’t see much reference to the Scrum Master being a disruption, until I came across this http://www.scruminc.com/the-power-of-disruptive-leadership/. It’s quite hard to get the meaning of the presentation from just the slides, but I’m taking comfort in the title.

Personal Conclusion

After a fair bit of thinking, I’ve come to the conclusion that “disruption” is as another tool in my belt. As long as I limit it’s use to when I think the team are stagnating, treading water or could simply do something better, it could be a very useful way to ultimately increase velocity. Importantly, I think as long as I don’t expect all of my suggestions to be acted upon and I’m more than willing to be told I’m wrong, I see no problem with it.

That’s my conclusion, but I’d be really interested to hear other opinions in the comments below or catch me on twitter if you prefer.

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