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How is the Role of a Scrum Master Changing with the New Version of SAFe 6.0?

If you are familiar with SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework), you might have heard about the new version SAFe 6.0, which brings some changes in the role of a Scrum Master.

In the earlier versions of SAFe, the role of a Scrum Master was many time limited to facilitating team events. However, with the new version of SAFe 6.0, the role of a Scrum Master has evolved and has been made more explicit to include more coaching and mentoring responsibilities. This change has been made to help Scrum Masters create high-performing teams that can take care of their delivery and add value to the organization.
One of the most significant changes in the role of a Scrum Master in SAFe 6.0 is the introduction of two possible titles – Scrum Master/Team Coach. This change allows teams not following Scrum and following Kanban to call their leader a Team Coach. Similarly, teams following Scrum can call their leader either a Scrum Master or a Team Coach. This change brings more openness to the role and shows that it is not solely attached to Scrum.

Another change in the role of a Scrum Master in SAFe 6.0 is the emphasis on coaching and mentoring. In the earlier versions of SAFe, the role of a Scrum Master was not explicitly linked to coaching and mentoring. However, in SAFe 6.0, coaching and mentoring are essential parts of the position. Scrum Masters are expected to create high-performing teams by coaching and mentoring team members, helping them to take ownership of their delivery and add value to the organization.

SAFe 6.0 also clarifies the role of a Scrum Master related to Agile Release Trains (ART). The SAFe Scrum Master is expected to facilitate the overall execution of the ART, ensuring that the whole train is moving towards the goals. In addition, the Scrum Master should work together with Release Engineers to ensure that the train is moving smoothly and apply system thinking to make sure that the ART is delivering value to the organization.

The new version of SAFe also makes the role of a Scrum Master more explicit in terms of preparing and facilitating PI Planning. In earlier versions of SAFe, the role of a Scrum Master in PI Planning was not explicitly stated. However, in SAFe 6.0, it is made clear that the Scrum Master should facilitate the preparation for PI Planning and facilitate the event itself.

To summarize, the core intent of the role of a Scrum Master remains the same between the previous versions and the new version of SAFe. However, SAFe 6.0 helps to understand the role of a Scrum Master in a better way by emphasizing coaching and mentoring, clarifying the role in ART, and making the role explicit in terms of preparing and facilitating PI Planning. These changes will help Scrum Masters to create high-performing teams and add more value to the organization. You may want to take our training program SAFe Advanced Scrum Master (SASM) to sharpen your SAFe Scrum Master skills.

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