Category: ScrumMaster

Is ScrumMaster Really A Full-time Job?

| By David Hawks in ScrumMaster | 2 Comments

Let me ask you this: If you had a team of five would you rather have 20% annual gain without adding another developer, or go hire and integrate a new developer every year to get a 20% productivity gain YoY?

If it was up to me, I’d go with option one and make sure that I invest in ScrumMasters. Too often I see the ScrumMaster role diminished and undervalued in organizations. Many leaders believe that the ScrumMaster role is part-time (can be combined with another role such as manager) or that one ScrumMaster can cover five teams. Perhaps it’s because of the wrong ways the role is implemented that’s causing confusion and bad decision-making around staffing the team.

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Lessons Learned from an Ice Cream Social (A Retro On A Sprint Retrospective)

| By William Baxter in Agile, Scrum, ScrumMaster | 2 Comments



Sprint Retrospectives…the other bookend to Sprints. Retros mark the official end of the Sprint and serves to provide teams the opportunity to reflect so that the next Sprint is even more efficient.
Like all meetings, Sprint Retrospectives can be very useful or attendants can leave feeling confused and even angry if they feel like their time was wasted. They require planning from the ScrumMaster for teams to reap its full benefits. There are a lot of Retrospective activities out there; it helps to know what kind the team needs.

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21 Flavors Of ScrumMaster Role Combinations – Pros and Cons

| By David Hawks in Scrum, ScrumMaster | 1 Comment


In the perfect Agile world, a ScrumMaster is a ScrumMaster…and that’s it. There’s not a never-ending custody battle where a person goes back and forth between two roles. Unfortunately, we live in the real world. Often, people come to our CSM workshops with a divided workload and wearing different hats: Product Owner and Manager or Software Lead And ScrumMaster.

This post will discuss the pros and cons of various ScrumMaster combinations, beginning with the ideal combination, ScrumMaster – ScrumMaster (dedicated ScrumMaster).

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Scrum Events Are Necessary (And Not Evil)

| By David Hawks in Agile, Scrum, ScrumMaster | 0 Comments


Refs gather for a quick meeting


In Scrum, there exists a general confusion about the Scrum events, or meetings: when they happen, who attends and why they exist.

The last question comes up…a lot. There will be resistance to “all the overhead” of Scrum, meetings included. In order to convince others to participate in Scrum events you can’t just say, “those are the rules of Scrum.” Developers and managers need to be convinced, which means we Agilists need to make sure they understand the value. Here are the Scrum Events and a quick explanation of why they exist.

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ScrumMaster ≠ Manager

| By Reese Schmit in Scrum, ScrumMaster | 1 Comment



The role the ScrumMaster plays on the team is never static and takes on many forms. Their role is one of servant leadership; as the team needs, the ScrumMaster provides. When the team first adopts Scrum, the ScrumMaster plays the teacher: training the team on the mechanics of Scrum, guiding the Product Owner on how to build a backlog, educating stakeholders on the new ways they will be given transparency into the progress of the product.

As the team progresses the ScrumMaster transitions into more of a coach: creating space for the team to self-improve, mentoring Product Owners on increasing outcomes while reducing output, and helping stakeholders embrace team empowerment. In just the span of a day the ScrumMaster will oscillate from teacher to coach to mentor to mom to confidante to guru to barista and back again 30 times.

There is one role, though, the ScrumMaster should never slide into for the team, and that is the manager.

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Can You feel the Burn(down)? How to use burn down charts for good, not evil.

| By Valerie Santillo in Agile, Scrum, ScrumMaster | 0 Comments


Photo by Shan Sheehan

As a scrummaster, some of my teams resented the burndown and me for pestering them to update their time. Sometimes, teams feel the updating of hours and the burn down are ways to make make micro-managing easier. And, sometimes, that’s EXACTLY what it is used for. It’s sad but true.  So, what happens when this “evil” scenario is true?

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How To Get Started With Story Points Via Affinity Estimation (And Cheat Sheet)

| By Doc List in Agile, Process, Scrum, ScrumMaster | 1 Comment


tshirt sizing


Once upon a time, there was a Scrum team that was new to the methodology. It was their first backlog grooming session and they needed to prioritize their newly written user stories. One of the team members remembered story points during their Scrum training.

“Should we estimate?” she asked?

“Yes, but how do we get started? I mean, how do we know what a 1 or a 2 is?”

Sizing with story points is an important Agile practice because it informs the team of the complexity of each story. Estimating is a valuable tool because it enables Product Owners and the rest of the team to have a good idea of the number of stories that can fit in the upcoming Sprint in addition to having a method in which to describe the work to stakeholders.

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How to deal with Agile haters on the team

| By Doc List in Agile, Scrum, ScrumMaster | 0 Comments

Do you have a Debbie Downer on your Agile team?
Do you have a Debbie Downer on your Agile team?


Whether transient like sudden thunderstorms or constant like Eeyore’s rain cloud, negative attitudes can sap energy from those around them, particularly if it’s the latter. If there’s a Debbie Downer on your team, it’s important to have a plan to work with that person to find solutions before their negativity begins to affect team dynamics especially important during an Agile adoption.

Going back to the Satir model, any change causes productivity to decrease for a short amount of time. This is what Satir refers to as the chaos phase. This is normal. Eventually, productivity stabilizes and begins to improve if instigating the change was the right decision.


If the negative team member is vocal enough or in a leadership position, however, that team member can keep productivity low, or even cause the team to spiral deeper in the chaos phase. If this happens the adoption stalls, or leadership can abandon the transformation altogether.

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