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The Evolution of the Scrum Master in SAFe 6.0

In the latest update to the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe 6.0), the introduction of responsibility wheels marks a significant enhancement in visualizing the various roles within the framework. These wheels provide a clear, visual representation of the core responsibilities associated with each role, simplifying the understanding of what is expected from each position and aiding individuals who are stepping into these roles for the first time. 


One of the pivotal roles within SAFe is that of the Scrum Master, traditionally seen as the guardian of Scrum practices within Agile teams. However, as the framework evolves to accommodate a wider array of Agile practices, so too has this role. In SAFe 6.0, the Scrum Master role has been rebranded to Scrum Master / Team Coach. This change reflects the broader spectrum of responsibilities and the adoption of inclusive language to encompass support for teams utilizing SAFe Team Kanban, in addition to Scrum. 


Organizations are now offered the flexibility to choose between the titles of Scrum Master or Team Coach, selecting the one that aligns best with their specific environment and the methodologies they follow. The responsibility wheel for the Scrum Master / Team Coach vividly outlines the key areas of focus for this role. It not only encapsulates the existing duties such as Facilitating Program Increment (PI) Planning, Supporting Iteration Execution, and Building High-Performing Teams but also emphasizes two advanced areas of expertise:  


Improving Flow and Enhancing ART Performance. 


  • Improving Flow involves helping teams visualize their work and manage it more efficiently using Kanban boards, optimizing workflow to reduce bottlenecks, and promoting continuous improvement in quality and process. 


  • Enhancing ART Performance includes fostering collaboration across teams, representing the team in ART events, and coordinating activities like system demos and the Inspect & Adapt events. This aspect of the role also involves coaching during the Innovation and Planning iteration and leading problem-solving workshops. 


This shift in the role's description and the accompanying visualization through the responsibility wheel is a testament to SAFe's commitment to evolve with the changing landscape of product development. It underscores the importance of clarity, continuous learning, and adaptability in roles to align with the practices that best serve the teams and the organization as a whole. 


By expanding the Scrum Master's purview to include team coaching and emphasizing the enhancement of flow and ART performance, SAFe 6.0 recognizes the dynamic capabilities of individuals in these roles and sets a precedent for a more versatile approach to Agile coaching within the framework. 



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