Don’t be this Scrum Master!

I am currently working as a Project Manager/Scrum Master and I thought this will be a great fun post to write about the Scrum Master you don’t want to be like!
And if you are new to Scrum Master role this might help you on what not to do.

4 Things you don’t want to do if you’re a Scrum Master

1. Being Manager instead of Facilitator

Basic role of Scrum Master is to facilitate the whole project and not to manage team!

Have you heard this before -“Hey I see that you have 4 hours window on Friday can you finish this story instead of anything else?” or “Your priority is to complete this story no matter what!

You are not their Manager to tell them what they need to do. Your job is to help facilitate the whole project – making sure all the team members are getting help they need, the communication is solid, etc.

You should help team facilitate the problems instead of avoiding them

Here’s what not to do – “I see that you are blocked on login Story – let’s skip it and move it to next sprint instead

Here’s what to do – “I see that you are blocked on login story – Do you need me to talk to Product owner to explain your blocker? or How can I help you resolve this problem?”

2. Asking team to increase velocity

I get that you want to impress stakeholders – but that doesn’t mean you should ask the team
– To work more hours
– Increase the speed
– or skip important parts of stories, so that it can be done! (Unit tests, documentation, etc)

Few examples what you should not do as Scrum Master!

  1. Hey Eric you need to work more hours today so that we can increase the velocity of sprint
  2. Don’t worry about unit test, documenting the code – just finish the story without all that
  3. Look at other team – their velocity is 100 and ours is 80. You all need to work harder

3. Adding stories after sprint has already began

Stakeholders and Executives/Clients don’t know what’s in the sprint most of the time – so if they ask you to add a story after sprint has begun – Just Say No or consult it with Product Owner/Team for the priorities of stories in current sprint.

Once the scope is decided for the sprint don’t change it just because stakeholders wants to see something else in sprint review.

Here’s some examples –

  1. Stakeholder – “Hey Yudi (Scrum Master), can we ask team to add this story in current sprint – because next week I will be on PTO.”
    Yudi – “Sure, we can do that! right team?” 
  2. Team I know that we have two more days to complete the sprint, let’s try to squeeze one more story in the sprint, Yeah?

4. Ignoring Retrospective Meeting

Don’t skip this meeting – because this is the chance where your team can express how the project and team can perform better!

Alright this is very important part of the scrum – because Agile/Scrum focus on learning and adapting the change. In this meeting you might want to listen to the team instead of just ignoring everything!

Try not to do this –

  • Team member – “Can we move our daily scrum to 9am instead of 8.30am because I have another meeting right before the scrum and sometimes it takes longer
    Scrum Master – “Well you can skip the scrum sometimes and just catch up later
  • Team member – “From past couple sprints our velocity is 80 points, so for next sprint we should not include anything more than 80 story points
    Scrum Master  – “I am sure you can do better than this – and adding more story will help in growing velocity
  • Team member -“Can we stick to 15 min daily scrum? and do the technical discussion outside scrum?
    Scrum Master – “It is important to talk about all the details in the scrum, even though it is not applied to your role” (Honestly – you should be only asking three questions in your daily scrum – 1. What did you complete? 2. What are you working on? 3. Are there any blockers?)

Hope this was fun to read. If you are new to scrum master role – this will help you on what you shouldn’t be doing.

Please share/like/comment and let me know what you think

Let’s help each other.



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