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I was asked to read the Scrum Guide, by my co-worker Martin Hinshelwood, and take the Open Scrum Guide to prepare myself for the Professional Scrum Master course that he is giving to me and a few other colleagues here at Northwest Cadence. I was happy to oblige and ready myself for a day with Martin and Scrum; however, during my assigned reading and test I found an ambiguity that was quite apparent, yet it was not alone as there were, in my mind, others like it.

First of all, I responded to Martin with a screenshot that I had completed what he asked, and got more than 75% on the Scrum Open Assessment.


Figure: 80% on Scrum Open Assessment

After seeing my passing grade, I quickly ran through the answers to see which ones I had gotten wrong. Question #9 caught my eye because I had thought for sure that the team was not supposed to be managed.

“[The Development Team] are self-organizing. No one (not even the Scrum Master) tells the Development Team how to turn Product Backlog into Increments of potentially releasable functionality”
Scrum Guide 2011

Figure: Marking me my answer, “False”, as wrong to the statement : Scrum Master is a “management” position?

Quickly, I realized that there were other management-type questions on the exam I did a simple “Ctrl+F” to search for the word “manage” (as you can see by the highlighted text in the figures). After scanning past a few questions I found question #20:

Figure: Clearly stating that Management has NO role in Scrum (Correct Answer)

A Scrum Master is on the Scrum team, and, therefore, part of “Scrum”. Yet, I was correct when I marked the answer “Management has no role in Scrum.” This ambiguity/contradiction was not alone during my initial lead-in to the Scrum world. Currently, the current issue has been made known, and, hopefully, we will be able to fix the double-entendre of the word “management.”

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  • Mark Noneman

    It seems odd but both answers are correct. The Scrum Master “manages” the Scrum process and must ensure that the roles, events and artifacts are properly developed. And, the Scrum Master does not “manage” people. Even if there are more traditional managers in the company, they work outside of the Scrum framework.
    Mark Noneman, PSM II