Scrum Master is the servant leadership, he is the guy who is available all day long to help every team member including the Product Owner. However, he has no special powers or authority so many times he has to deal with bureaucracy that at least in South America is present in the majority of big companies.
How to deal with this usual challenge?
The best approach to figure it this issue it is to empower the Scrum Master with some powers such as: permission to buy everything related to small items (post it, sharpies, etc) to build (and maintain) a physical board (and other materials to conduct Sprint Plannings and Retrospectives as well).
Secondly, if every time that any of team members has an issue with their email account (believe that is usual problem in many Chilean companies) Scrum Master has to be able to talk with Help Desk in order to solve this issue as soon as possible without raising a ticket to enter in a queue (with a lot of similar issues). Thirdly, when the company has many layers of managers the simple thing as buy new chairs (they only have to be comfortable) demands one (at least) month of getting the approval of a couple of managers and other couple of weeks to have them at the office.
Thirdly, as Scrum Master you have to help developers to improve their performance but what about if they have to work with old equipment (I have to deal with all of this with my last two clients) that delays their work. Furthermore, I read similar issues that another Agile Coach mentions in Linkedin about buying hardware is a big deal even for huge companies that are able to afford the purchase without hesitate.
Everybody likes to get a good feedback for his work so to send email of congratulations is free but every company needs to invest a little on team buildings such as: free breakfast after a tough Sprint or buying some candies and soda to share during a Retrospective. I am talking about allowing Scrum Master to have the decision to do all the things that mention before without “raise” several tickets or discussing with several managers to obtain useful things for the team!!!
If you want to discuss this (or other topics) reach me at twitter (@metlucero), Skype (metlucero) or gmail (metlucero [at] gmail [dot] com)