Is the scrum master a cleaning lady?
We are in the resource planning phase of an upcoming project and I asked one of the guys to be the scrum master. He’s a really nice person and didn’t say no, but he wasn’t too thrilled about it. I was a bit curious and after some talking about it, I understood that he didn’t like to be a cleaning lady. In previous projects were he was said to be the "scrum master" it meant that he was assigned the stuff no one else wanted. I begged to differ but I understand the point. It’s easy to mistake the responsibility for handling impediments with fixing all the stuff which people feel is in the way of what they perceive as "real work".
So, how does one avoid making the scrum master into a cleaning up job? Well, first it’s understanding as I mentioned that just because you’re responsible does not mean that you have to fix it yourself. A good scrum master should be able to see who is best fit to fix an impediment. It can be that the person reporting the impediment should fix it himself. For me as a product owner, I find impediments a good way to become an active member of the scrum team. By volunteering to take care of an impediment, I can do real and important work to my team. Many impediments are lack of information from outsiders and as a project manager and product owner, I can help get that information.