Top 6 Things You Should Never Do as a Scrum Master

Modern project management styles are taking the industry by storm. Scrum is a natural choice of the best framework for Agile adoption. A Scrum Master makes sure that the practices and processes that he mastered through a CSM certification are applied correctly in the organization.

There are certain common mistakes that a Scrum Master should make sure to avoid.

1. Behaving Like a Project Manager

Scrum Masters often have to keep an eagle eye on the team members. But their role should not be confused with that of a project manager. They need to be actively involved in daily stand-ups and retrospectives and ensure that each member has done their part well. It is also the responsibility of the Scrum Master to ensure that quality shippable solutions can be delivered after each sprint.

Although the Scrum Master has to lead the team in many ways, he should never have a commanding mentality as Scrum is never about control. He need not dictate efforts and assign tasks. He is a leader to self-organizing Scrum teams. They become better by making mistakes and learning from them.

The team members’ opinions should be taken into consideration during daily stand-ups and retrospectives without dominating them. The Scrum Master should also take suggestions from them for the next task without directly assigning them to work so that they can make use of their full potential.

2. Checking Up Too Frequently

Checking up on team members too frequently can make a Scrum Master appear as a bad leader. This can lead to anger among members and ruin relations creating a bad image of the Scrum Master in the eyes of the members.

A Scrum Master should definitely avoid it as analyzing their work frequently can be comprehended as a situation of distrust among the Scrum team. Follow-ups should be on a timely basis as described by Scrum.

Scrum Masters should have trust in their team and consider the team members as their partners and not as their workers. Giving them more space will help them be free and represent themselves better in their field. They are responsible for their own work which leads to better productivity. Scrum Masters should chat with them informally about the project and guide them to success.

3. Not Accommodating Changes

Agile and Scrum are known for supporting changes and implementing them. But if these changes are not recognized on time it can lead to a lot of trouble with stakeholders, the product owners, and the organization. Getting regular updates is necessary to track these changes and implement them.

A daily stand up should never cross fifteen minutes. Generally, the time allotted exceeds when the team members start discussing the technical difficulties. Scrum Masters should make themselves at home with recurring changes and stay up to date with the project.

4. Solitary Decision Making

A unilateral solution for a team project may make the team members furious and lose focus on the project as such decisions have a misguided impact. Instead of going for these self-made decisions it is important to consider the opinions of every member to arrive at the best possible decision.

The scrum team should input their suggestions and feedback to the scrum master during every scrum ceremony. It is the scrum master’s responsibility to make sure that every member’s voice is heard. Their opinions matter the most and this is what sets Agile apart.

5. Overcomplicating or Oversimplifying

Adaptability is the key in Scrum. It is important to start small, think big and aim high. The concept of Sprints in Scrum is to start simple and add mature practices and complexity as the project progresses. In short, complexity matures when the team matures.

Even if Scrum is flexible, it is not possible for the Scrum Master to loosen up or oversimplify processes too much. Complexities can be managed by setting up practices and following them. These can be modified but not ignored when they become restrictive.

6. Being The Sole Point of Contact

The Scrum Master is often used as the sole point of contact between the product owner and the development team, and this is a very common mistake. This affects the quality of communication and the terms between the stakeholders and the development team. A product owner should also be actively involved rather than passing information through to the Scrum Master to make sure that the project is the best suited to user requirements.

A Scrum Master should facilitate but not resolve processes, and if the product owner conveys the user stories to the development team, a Scrum Master does not have to get the answers himself to help the team to resolve this issue.

Kickstart Your Career With a CSM Course

A Scrum Master’s role is irreplaceable in a Scrum Team. Make sure that you stay away from these mistakes to have a smooth Sprint. Along with that, a CSM course will also help boost your credibility and enhance your skills as a Scrum Master.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan