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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Apr 16, 2021

This week, Dan Neumann is joined by a very special guest, Vasco Duarte, the host of the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast — a daily podcast for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches. Vasco interviews guests from all over the world to give his listeners actionable advice and daily doses of inspiring conversations to help improve their craft! Vasco himself is a Certified Scrum Master, an Agile Coach, and a Business Consultant. He was also one of the leaders and catalysts of Agile methods and Agile culture adoption at Avira, Nolia, and F-Secure.

Together, they’re exploring the concept of Scrum Masters as the CEOs of the future. As Rob highlights in this episode, there are a number of facets that well position Scrum Masters to be the CEOs of our future. He speaks about why this is, his vision for Scrum Masters in general, how you can position yourself as a Scrum Master to take on leadership positions, and some of the challenges you might face as a Scrum Master in a leadership position and how to overcome them.


Key Takeaways

  • Why might Scrum Masters be the next CEOS?

As a Scrum Master, you learn to lead without pushing people or being a command-and-control leader

The traits that are necessary of a Scrum Master would make for a well-rounded CEO (such as servant leadership)

  • Vasco’s vision for Scrum Masters:

Servant leadership (or, the leader that serves)

Transforming the world of work rather than making sure that events are on the calendar

Coaching the organization to actually transform to better use the scrum framework as opposed to simply surviving in the organization they are a part of

As a Scrum Master, you define your role in practice every single day

“A Scrum Master that can make a leadership team work cohesively and harmoniously toward the good of the company, the good of the customers, and the workers, is a Scrum Master that is at the top of their career.” — Vasco Duarte

“I’m asking all … Scrum Masters to take ownership of the role, continue to develop the role, and maybe even develop a full-fledged career path, first starting as a team member … mov[ing] on toward helping teams, helping other Scrum members, and even helping leadership teams to grow.” — Vasco Duarte

What makes Scrum Masters better aligned to be successful CEOs:

Scrum Masters are already suited to work in domains where they are not specialists in, to help the team succeed

The core of the Scrum Master’s role is collaboration (AKA trying to get the team to work better together for the success of the company, the customers, and the workers themselves) which embodies one of the key aspects of the CEO

The lack of technical knowledge in a particular area of the organization that a CEO needs to lead will never be an impediment to become a CEO (there is no CEO that knows everything)

Scrum Masters should excel in helping the team deliver value

A challenge that Scrum Masters should be aware of as their companies move forward in their agile journey:

Very often, companies tend to do “big bang agile transformations” by bringing in a bunch of agile coaches that do great work but are then let go (leaving Scrum Masters to pick up the pieces)

Solution: Rob encourages that, as a Scrum Master, you should collaborate with these agile coaches that are temporarily brought on and get involved with the transformation early on

Solution: Make sure that the teams are not left hanging by preparing the teams from a supported place


Mentioned in this Episode:

Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast

Software Development Today — Vasco Duarte’s Blog

Vasco Duarte’s Twitter: @duarte_vasco

Vasco Duarte’s LinkedIn

Lean Enterprise Institute’s Podcast (WLEI)

WLEI Ep: “Boeing Ex-Executive Alan Mulally Discusses a ‘Working Together Management System’”

Scrum Master Summit (Week of May 17th, 2021)


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