Lutz Mueller 

There is a sentence, which gets cited everywhere on the internet:

The Scrum Master’s job is to make themself obsolete.

Would you start a career where your job is to make yourself obsolete? I hope you wouldn’t, neither do I.

Reading this sentence over and over might scare you, as an aspiring Scrum Master, that you could be made redundant if you do a great job. 

If you are already working as a Scrum Master and you face the situation where your team has matured you feel that you are increasingly adding little value day-day. Your job gets boring because you run out of work. What could you do to continue adding value?

Change of Work

A lot of Scrum Master get boxed into Scrum Facilitator early because that’s what a team learning Scrum largely needs. When you work with an inexperienced team you facilitate every Scrum ceremony, despite the Scrum Guide says that a Scrum Master facilitates Scrum events as requested or needed. That’s ok. But what do you do, if your team advances and it does not need your facilitation as often as in early stages?

A Scrum Master serves the Development Team, the Product Owner, and the Organization. In the beginning, you mostly serve the Development Team and the Product Owner. You help them implementing Scrum to get the work done and achieve goals. The more your team advances, the more you identify organizational issues, holding your team back from achieving their goals. In this case, focus more on working within the organization and interfaces to your team. That could be working with other teams, managers, or even HR to help them find the right people with the right (agile) mindset.

The Fixed Mindset About Career Progression

As a Scrum Master, you mostly work at the team level, at least in the beginning. So what could be the next step in your career?

The reason you don’t know, what your next step could be, is a traditional fixed mindset about career progression. In most companies, a promotion is a kind of step-up in the company’s organigram.

Let’s have a look at a possible career path for a developer:

Developer – > Lead Developer-> Architect -> Development Team Lead -> Development Manager -> CTO

Starting as a developer seems to be a sustainable choice for a long career with a lot of opportunities to climb up in the company’s organigram.

Those traditional career options don’t apply to Scrum Masters. Why? Well, let’s be honest: A lot of people in a company do not understand Agile or Scrum:

Managers do not understand it. A lot of managers fear Agile and Scrum because they fear being made redundant as the responsibilities partly shift to the teams.

HR does not understand it. If you have a look at job descriptions for Scrum Masters you see a lot of requirements and responsibilities which do not fit the work of a Scrum Master. If they do not understand the role of a Scrum Master, how do they understand career options for a Scrum Master?

Things You Could Do Immediately Outside Your Team

What could you do, if your team does not need your help that much like in the beginning?

Support the Product Owner

The first option from my point of view is the support of the Product Owner. The job of a Product Owner is stressful. The Product Owner is the only person responsible for maximizing the value of the product. So very often this person has a lot of meetings with stakeholders and sponsors. Talk to your Product Owner about his/her pains. Identify ways to reduce the pain and help the Product Owner to gain additional methods and techniques like user story mapping, prioritization techniques, stakeholder management, etc.

Support Junior Scrum Masters

Remember the times when you started as a Scrum Master? A lot of beginners are overwhelmed with preparing Scrum ceremonies, removing impediments, and earning the trust of their team. By helping Junior Scrum Masters you not only help other Scrum Masters, but you also practice your skills as mentor and coach. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

Support HR

As mentioned above, mostly HR does not understand Agile and Scrum. Help HR understanding your daily job and the value you provide as a Scrum Master. For example, you could help them create a job description to attract great Scrum Masters and avoid hiring imposters. Besides, this is an opportunity to develop career options for your path. You can directly influence your next steps in your Agile Career. It’s a win-win!

Speaking at Events

This advice is more related to your personal development. Speaking at events in front of unknown people will expand your comfort zone. It will help you connect to other people in the Agile community. Getting known as an expert in the community will help you to expand personal career options outside your current employer.

Career Options as Scrum Master

There is no pre-defined, linear career path for Scrum Masters, but that’s to your advantage. Remember the career path of a developer?

Developer – > Lead Developer-> Architect -> Development Team Lead -> Development Manager -> CTO

The career path of a developer is quite linear. If a developer is stuck at a point there is no real opportunity to get to the next level except working for another company.

As a Scrum Master with all the knowledge, methods, and techniques it is much easier to hop on another role in the Agile environment:

You could

  • serve new or difficult teams
  • work in a scaled Scrum environment
  • support a team outside software development (marketing, sales, hr, etc.)
  • act as a mentor or coach
  • switch to a Product Owner role
  • switch to management roles 


Your job as a Scrum Master is not to make yourself obsolete. It might happen, that your team does not need that much assistance or guidance as in the early stages. As a Scrum Master, you serve the organization, too. That means you have a lot of opportunities and choices to advance in your career.

Try to break away from linear career paths and focus on career options which provide you a much wider range of opportunities in case you are stuck on your career progression. 

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