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This Hands-on Agile mini-series addresses 12 familiar Scrum Master anti-patterns: from the agile manager to the team secretary to dogmatism.
Let us start with a short refresher from the Scrum Guide. According to it, the “Scrum Master is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. Scrum Masters do this by helping everyone understand the theory, practices, rules, and values of Scrum. The Scrum Master is a servant-leader for the Scrum Team.” Finally, the “Scrum Master helps those outside the Scrum Team understand which of their interactions with the Scrum Team are helpful and which aren’t. The Scrum Master helps everyone change these interactions to maximize the value created by the Scrum Team.”
(1) The first Scrum Master anti-pattern covers the agile manager. Self-organization does not mean the absence of management: why handle pay-role as a Scrum Team? Outsourcing of tasks to the management is hence common. However, Scrum is by all means not about exercising command & control; the Scrum master is not a supervisor.
(2) The second Scrum Master anti-pattern covers the Scrum team secretary and Scrum parents. The Scrum parent is generally shielding the team from the cold and cruel world, creating a safe & happy agile bubble.
(3) The third Scrum Master anti-pattern covers the imposter. Dolla, dolla, bill ya'll—the Scrum Master imposter believes that this agile/scrum thingy is a fad—how hard can it be, the Scrum Guide is just 17 pages.
(4) The fourth Scrum Master anti-pattern covers Scrum dogmatism. The Scrum Master enjoys teaching (and never leaves the Shu-phase).
(5) The fifth Scrum Master anti-pattern covers failing at the capacity game. The Scrum master does not address the necessity of slack time by fighting the push for 100% utilization.
(6) The sixth Scrum Master anti-pattern covers the flow undermining Scrum Master. The Scrum Master allows stakeholders to disrupt the flow of the development team during the sprint.
(7) The seventh Scrum Master anti-pattern covers the Scrum Master with a metrics fetish, pursuing flawed metrics. The Scrum Master keeps track of individual performance metrics such as story points per developer per sprint.
(8) The eighth Scrum Master anti-pattern covers the Scrum Master ignoring Scrum values.
(9) The ninth Scrum Master anti-pattern covers the skipped Retrospective. All Scrum events are essential for a team’s success—you cannot skip any event.
(10) The tenth Scrum Master anti-pattern covers the Groundhog-Day retrospective. The retrospective never changes in composition, venue, or length. In this case that the team will likely revisit the same issues over and over again—it’s groundhog day without the happy ending, though.
(SUMMARY) The last chapter summarizes my dirty dozen of Scrum Master anti-patterns: from ill-suited personal traits and the pursuit of individual agendas to frustration with the team itself.