We started this Scrum foundation series explaining we see four underlying concepts of the Scrum framework. In the past series of mails we covered the three pillars of Empiricism, and we covered the Scrum Values.


Now that we understand that we need trust, which is built up by living the Scrum Values, to bring transparency and as such have a good basis to inspect and adapt, we can have a look at the self-managing aspect of the Scrum Team.


👉 Self-managing, meaning the team internally decides who does what, when, and how.


Allowing to take more decisions = more mandate = more autonomy = higher motivation =  higher effectivity.

Together the team is self-managing. Each of the Scrum Team members plays an important role.

Let’s take a look at the Scrum Master.


Being accountable for establishing Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide and, to me even more importantly, the Scrum Team’s effectiveness, s/he does need to take active part in making decisions together with the other team members.

Even though the Scrum Master does not work directly on the product it is expect s/he coaches/facilitates/guides the Scrum Team in Product Backlog management. How to collaborate better with stakeholders to understand their needs better? How to gain a better understanding about the market?
And so the Scrum Master supports deciding on what.
Again the Scrum Master is not expected to do the Product Backlog Management. Yet through facilitation or coaching the Product Backlog gets to be better ordered.
By raising the transparency on where the Scrum Team can raise its effectiveness, the Scrum Master can put improvement topics to the table and show which ones could bring improvements to the team – ordering these improvements.
And so the Scrum Master supports deciding on when.
Guiding and coaching the team in how they can be more effective using their Scrum Events and Artefacts, the Scrum Master can propose the team to improve on the team’s tools, processes, policies, working agreements, etc..
And so the Scrum Master supports deciding on how.

These are just a few examples how the Scrum Master plays a significant role in the self-management capabilities of the Scrum Team. While the Scrum Master is accountable for the team’s effectiveness, it is all team members together who will need to take up the improvements they feel will be most impactful.



Self-managing is about having a mandate to take decisions.

The Scrum Master certainly needs to take an active part when it comes to facilitating the team to become more effective. Which working practices could be improved? Which ones first? How will we address these? And as such s/he supports the Scrum Team when it comes to making decisions about what, when, and how.


Note: without a clear (Product, Sprint and Quality) goal, without clear accountabilities, and without a clear boundaries, self-management will not occur.



Together with your Scrum Team, evaluate how self-management can be improved through the accountability of the Scrum Master.

Also think about what additional insights or input the team would benefit from others outside the team about purpose and goals, the team’s accountabilities and the boundaries they have to work within.


Here we are, 55 – already 55!! – short reads further about underlying concepts in Scrum. We started with how each of the Scrum elements supports Transparency, Inspection, and Adaptation; the three pillars of empiricism. Followed by how the Scrum Values support these by raising the trust within the team and with its stakeholders. And now how each of the Scrum elements can be used to support self-management.

💡After this fifth part in the series – Transparency was the first, Inspection the second, Adaptation the third, fourth were the Scrum Values – I am curious to hear from you what your most important insight is so far.
What have you already changed in your way of working and what was the impact of these? How can we help you further in your agile adventures? Let us know!


We hope you will find value in these short messages and if you are looking for more clarifications, feel free to take contact.


PS. Next week we’ll kick off the part on a Cross-Functional Team. Watch out for these series.

If you want to take a deeper dive into the core concepts we are covering in this blog series, then surely check out our Professional Scrum MasterY workshop. We have some scheduled in the coming period.


Don’t want to miss any of these blog posts? Have the professional Scrum foundations series weekly in your mailbox.

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