Jester’s dance

When you first glance through the ScrumOne guide, you might not even see it. But look closer and you’ll notice that the little icon representing Scrum Master in the graphic is a portrayal of a jester. Why is that? How does the Scrum Master role relate to that of a jester?

Let’s get historical

The role of the jester goes farther back in history than you might think. Jesters were present in the times of ancient Egypt and they also entertained ancient Romans. Some mentions can be even found within the Aztec civilization. These were the fools that were paid to entertain the rich and noble.

The jester’s role evolved even more in medieval Europe. Specifically, in Tudor England, you would find jesters telling jokes and pulling pranks, not only in noble families, but even in royal courts and at the side of the king’s throne. This is the moment when the jester starts to be very influential. He is now in a position where he not only knows what’s really going on in the kingdom, but is also able to provide the unspoken truth that others are scared or unwilling to say. The jester dances on the edge of what’s acceptable and reveals what isn’t visible on first glance. Does this ring a bell?

Scrum Master as a Jester

When we apply all this to the role of Scrum Master, the similarities start flooding in. The Product Owner is the king, developers are noblemen, customers are royals. They all have their position, rights and duties very much as you do.

Being a Scrum Master means you do a dance similar to the jester’s. You bounce between Product Owner, developers, customers and stakeholders. Up and down, left and right, until it seems silly even to you. But especially in this role and with this approach, you are able to pinpoint things that the rest of the team might have missed or doesn’t want to talk about. You could say the Jester/Scrum Master is the hidden disruptor. And that’s worth wearing a silly hat from time to time.