Scrum Master

Currently I’m consulting as a Scrum Master for a couple of Scrum teams. This morning I was running a couple minutes late to one of the daily Scrums. When I arrived, the team had already started going around giving their updates. Seeing that the team already initiated the daily Scrum was music to my ears. The team doesn’t need to wait for me to begin, the daily Scrum is for the team.

I was happy because the team is self-organizing. A lot of teams new to Scrum will treat the Scrum Master like a project manager. In that case, they wouldn’t start any meeting before the project manager arrived. Non-Agile teams look to project managers to run meetings and tell everyone what to do.

With my current teams, I’m not only happy about their daily scrums. I’m also pleased with how well they do in all the Scrum ceremonies. They were a team that was new to Agile, and most of them have non technical roles. Even though there was a steep learning curve, the team now delivers completed work at the end of each sprint. They have a stable velocity.

What my teams are doing is the opposite of advice I once received from a manager about Scrum. It was the worst advice I ever heard about Scrum. He said: “feel free to cancel or reschedule those Scrum meetings whenever you like“.

At the time I heard this, I was new to Scrum, but I sensed it was wrong. The Scrum Master should never cancel any of the Scrum ceremonies.  “Those Scrum meetings” he was referring to were the daily Scrum, the Sprint review, and the Sprint retrospective.

In Scrum, it’s important to have discipline. This means the ceremonies always take place, and the team stays committed. Committed not only to the work in the Sprint, but also to the practice of Scrum.

Remember that in Scrum it’s about the team delivering value. It’s not about a project manager controlling the team. The Scrum Master is only part of a self-organizing team.

My advice is to never cancel or reschedule any of the Scrum ceremonies. Even if the team feels they don’t have much to show in the Sprint review, have it anyway. Stay disciplined and true to the practice of Scrum. The Scrum teams I work with now are doing so well because they’ve stayed discipline to the guidelines of Scrum.

What’s the worst advice you have ever heard about Scrum?

About the Author: Mike MacIsaac is the owner and principal consultant for MacIsaac Consulting. Mike provides leadership as an IT Project and Program Manager as well as an Agile Scrum Master. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeMacIsaac or subscribe to Mike’s blog.