The Death of a ScrumMaster

death of a scrummaster

What happens when the ScrumMaster becomes so overzealous that their message is rejected? Over the past couple years, I have seen this situation play out in several companies that I have worked with in depth. The situation is such that a person who has the role of ScrumMaster gives the “woe is me” response to how well things are going with the team or teams they are working with. Nothing seems to be going right when you talk to them. However, when looking at the team, they consistently deliver working solutions. They collaborate and make consistent changes. They are learning and growing, albeit not in a perfect fashion. The person that is designated as ScrumMaster has a response that can only be compared to that of Chicken Little. Yes, The Agile Sky is Falling!!! The reality is usually far from what that ScrumMaster is saying.

Continuous improvement with a team is a very important thing. When a team starts to stagnate, it can be frustrating to determine what to do next with a team or members of a team to help them be reignited by the transformative power of an agile mindset. For a ScrumMaster specifically, It becomes important to have balance among all things. They don’t always have to be right about things going right or wrong within the team. Sometimes failure and success need to be experienced first-hand for a team to be motivated to move along the path towards agility. Theory needs to be coupled with a pragmatic approach to help make a message palatable. Sometimes the correct approach is not what the theory teaches but it is more about adapting to become more agile in your approach. If the ScrumMaster is constantly pushing a message that is being rejected, regardless of whether they are right or not, the message falling on deaf ears will make the ScrumMaster viewed as ineffective. That’s right, even in being correct they can be viewed as ineffective. Perhaps more so than anyone else in the organization, the ScrumMaster needs to have the agile mindset to adapt with the team incrementally and to challenge them to the next steps going forward.

Take a couple situations for example: