On scrum masters and secretaries

I work on a scrum/agile team. There's a lot that goes into it, but for now what you need to know is that I sit in a biggish room with 8 guys (and 1 other woman). There's a manager coder, an architect, a few coders, a couple testers, and a scrum master. The product owner, our priority-setter, sits across the hall.

The coders and manager and testers are all reasonably self-explanatory. The scrum master is the center of the team. The official job description includes running meetings, removing impediments, enforcing agile processes, and doing whatever the rest of us need to maintain productivity. In practice, this means that he buys snacks, wrangles the requisition to get us a projector for our video games, stocks our liquor cabinet, finds us power strips, mice, and monitors. When I wanted an easel and paper, he found it, and 4 different colored pens to go with. He goes to all our meetings and enforces the agenda, even if he knows almost nothing about the technology.

There are other things he does, too. He notices haircuts. He keeps track of who is out in a meeting. He helps us with paperwork, or at least knows who to ask. He found me hooks for the pictures of my family and always has tape for whatever we want to hang.

If a woman did all this, she might also be a scrum master. But she might be a secretary or an admin assistant or an office manager, none of which are titles which command the same salary/respect as scrum master.

The most interesting thing to me is noticing all the things that I'm not doing, which evidently I had been automatically doing for my mostly-male teams all this time. Because he is doing it, I don't have to keep track of whether there are snacks, or who's out sick, or ... I don't think I can even adequately describe it. When a team member's wife had a baby, I wasn't the one to go buy the card. It really makes me realize how much greasing and fidgeting I've been doing all this time, when someone else does it. I think I will not be in a hurry to do so again.

(For bonus weird gender moment, the scrum master is currently on a diet. I try not to be too blatant about my midafternoon candy break.)

Comments

How the H do I get to be a scrum master?
I've actually gone and googled this...iiiinteresting.
I do think it's an awesome role, and excellent for people who are better than I am at sitting through meetings, running teleconference equipment, and generally being organized.
I suspect I might be oddly good at this, if given the duties.

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