The answer is yes, they can.
There is nothing in Scrum that speaks to line management but there is no reason why a Scrum Master could not also be a line manager. I would, however, recommend that the Scrum Master is not a line manager for anyone in the team that he or she works with.
Because it changes the conversation and the team dynamic.
People are unsure as to whether they are speaking to you as their Scrum Master or whether they are speaking to their boss?
In many ways, the development team and the Product Owner need to have the freedom to disagree with one another or to hold their ground on elements that are important to them.
If they have an annual appraisal or a monthly performance review in a couple of days, they are naturally going to avoid trying to upset their boss in any way.
Especially if that boss determines their salary and future career prospects.
You would need to be extremely good at creating psychological safety for your team and you would need to be incredibly good at segmenting your different roles if you choose to be both a Scrum Master as well as a line manager for your team.
I have held both roles in the past and I found it incredibly difficult so I would not recommend it.
Frequently Asked Scrum Master Questions
- What is Scrum?
- What is a Scrum Team?
- Do Scrum Masters work outside of Software environments?
- Do I need project management experience to become a Scrum Master?
- How does a Scrum Master differ from a Project Manager?
- Is the Scrum Master a member of the development team?
- What is the difference between a Scrum Master and a Product Owner?
- What is the Agile Manifesto?
- What are 3 traits of a good Scrum Master?
- Are there different levels of seniority amongst Scrum Masters?
- Can you create a Scrum environment in a company that isn’t Agile?
- Do I need to be a developer to be a Scrum Master for a software development team?
- How will I know if a Scrum Master role is a good fit for me?
- Must you be an expert in Scrum to become a Scrum Master?
- What are career opportunities for a Scrum Master?
- What do Scrum Masters do?
- What is a daily scrum and do Scrum Masters lead them?
Frequently asked Training and Certification questions
- Do you get course materials and textbooks on the CSM course?
- How well does a CSM course prepare you to be a Scrum Master?
- How well recognised and respected is the Certified Scrum Master course?
- What do I need to know before signing up on the CSM course?
- What is a Certified Scrum Master?
- What is a good certification path for a Scrum Master?
- What will you learn on a CSM course?
- Will I be able to lead a scrum team after doing a CSM course?
- Are there different Scrum Master certifications and how do they differ?
- Do companies invest in CSM courses or is it predominantly individuals?
- How long is the CSM course and how is it configured?
- Is the CSM course theoretical or practical?
- Is there an alumni group for CSM graduates?
- Is there an exam I need to pass to become a Certified Scrum Master?
- What can I do with a CSM credential?
- What is my earning potential as a Certified Scrum Master?
- Can a Scrum Master be a line Manager?
- I have experience as a Scrum Master, do I still need to do the CSM before the ACSM?
- How do you progress as a Scrum Master?
- I’m a project manager, is the CSM a good fit for me?
- Is there a recommended reading list for Scrum Masters?
- Should I do the CSM or the CSPO course?
- What are SEUs?