Recently Rachel Davis, a very good and successful agile coach in the UK, wrote a short article about the difference between an agile coach and a ScrumMaster. She puts some very interesting questions in her post: “Yet what’s puzzling is that Scrum Alliance’s certification program includes Certified Scrum Coach, as an advanced level qualification on your “journey to mastery”. To qualify, you have to demonstrate significant coaching experience with client references. But how is a Scrum Coach different from a ScrumMaster?”  This is the 1.000.000 Dollar question if you start to reformulate the question.
Why do you need a Scrum Coach to help companies to do Scrum if the ScrumMaster has the job to run Scrum in companies? I do not have a simple answer to this question (that is the reason why it is the 1000000 Dollar question). One answer I do have, is that an experienced Scrum coach, like the consultants of the bor!sgloger team, are able to help companies and teams change the organization much faster than an inexperienced ScrumMaster. But this does not mean that a ScrumMaster who understands his job on all levels will not be able to do the same job if he has the right skills.
What distinguishes a ScrumMaster from an agile coach includes the points that Rachel puts online, as defined in her open space session:
|Agile is broader||Expert in Scrum|
|Is being a transient||Protection the team|
|Coach could guard the team, but not necessary||Team sees SM as part of the team|
|Much time is coaching||Team contact point|
|More likely to support the organizational changes||Solves project impediments|
But according to my experience about what a ScrumMaster is that list from Rachels’ open space session is far from being complete.
My list would look like this:
|Agile coach / Scrum Coach||ScrumMaster|
|Expert in agile = Scrum||Expert in Scrum|
|Is not part of the team||Protects the Scrum-Team|
|Does not work directly on organizational issues, but helps people and companies to see things different.||ScrumMaster is NOT part of the Team|
|Has a lot of experience in organizational development||ScrumMaster is NOT the contact point for the team|
|Is trained in coaching||ScrumMaster solves impediments|
|Knows how to coach people.||ScrumMaster leads the team on operational level, day to day boss. (E.g. makes sure that people have a vacation plan.)|
|Helps people to see their possibilities to improve.||ScrumMaster works on changing the organization.|
|ScrumMaster coaches the team members to improve their skill operational. He does not act as a people manager. He has not the right to promote people.|
|Leads people through change|
|Creates orientation for people|
|Creates security for people|
|Develops a sense for urgency so that people act|
Besides this I have a complete different opinion about what Scrum Coaches should do than most other people I have seen in the industry. A Scrum Coach should not pretend to coach, because they actually never coach. Most Scrum Coaches I have seen so far, especially in Germany do not have attended any certified Coaching training nor possess comparable knowledge. Scrum Coaches most of the time are also not doing what they should do, which is implementing Scrum the right way. That is, because they often do not take responsibility for the success of their recommendations.
In one of my next postings I will show you what I believe a Scrum consultant (not coach) needs to be able to do in an Enterprise Environment.