Scrum Teams Do Not Need a Scrum Master

We don’t have an official scrum master in our team anymore. We now have 7 ! A different team member assumes the full scrum master role at every sprint.

Why did we switch to Scrum Master round robin ?

It all started with our delegation poker (see previous post). We noticed that there were still quite some activities that I (the manager) was the only one to do. We hoped that by sharing these activities throughout the team, we would :

  • increase everyone’s motivation by showing a bigger picture
  • leave me more time for programming
  • learn new skills to everyone

How did we do it ?

Before our delegation board meeting, we had prepared all the activities we are regularly doing. We found quite a few recurrent non programming tasks that traditionally eschewed to the team lead (me in that case). The initial plan was to find ways to delegate these activities to the team during the meeting, but it would have took way too much time.

Having identified all these activities, I individually suggested at everyone in the team to do a round robin scrum master role, which would handle all these activities for a sprint. I was happily surprise by the quasi complete buy-in from all the team. Before I announced it to the team, I did 2 things :

List all the activities of the scrum master.

Here is a subset :

  • attend other teams meetings
  • make sure there are enough workable stories for the next planning session with the product owner
  • prepare and animate a retrospective
  • animate the demo

Make this more fun !

I bought totems for the scrum master. The team chose to keep Yoda in Paris and send Darth Vador in Ahmad suitcase back in Beirut.

What did we get ?

After a few sprints of this, the feedback I got is that people like the increased involvement in the big picture (Daniel Pink told us that already). On my part, it allowed to increase my programming time to nearly 7 uninterrupted days per sprint (10 days). I’m quite happy with this ! As for the third goal, learning new skills, I guess we’ll need a bit more time to figure this out.

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