Scrum Team

Skip the Scrum Master role?

One of the discussions we had at the Agile Lean Munich we had was whether the role of the Scrum Master should be internal, external or be skipped entirely?

Wait a minute, does Scrum not prescribe a mandatory Scrum Master?!

So why would the question of skipping the Scrum Master even pop up?

It pops up because the role has been reduced to get a team up and running, support multiple teams till they are up and running and then let the teams do their thing without the Scrum master. Sometime the Agile coach running around training multiple teams is roped in to play part time Scrum master.

Anyway we had a healthy Conversation Café with the classic discussion rounds:

  • Round 1
    • Each person talks of about their experience
      • One Scrum Master talked about how they were multitasking between Developer, moderator, organizational design
      • Another Scrum Master talked about how the entire team was taken to hut in the mountains for the weekend to learn an Agile framework. After the weekend getaway the team was expected to become “Agile”
      • One Scrum Master talked about how he got fired for insisting that the Scrum Master role was not negotiable
  • Round 2
    • Each person reflects on the experience of another person
      • Concentrating on being a Scrum Master and leaving the Developer role and Organizational Design to the Agile Coach or Strategy Consultant helped
      • How the Scrum Values and Agile mindset was always a work in progress. Every time a new member came in it Agile mindset had to be refreshed. Every time a new workflow was added it had to be refreshed or tweaked
      • Any company which fires the Scrum Master for insisting on keeping the role while practicing Scrum may consider other suitable Agile frameworks
  • Round 3
    • Everyone has a discussion based on the different ideas raised
      • Is a Scrum Master ever finished? Or does a Scrum Master create a Community of Practice that keeps the Agile mindset active and vibrant
      • We also talked about the Cognitive overload that many teams experience when trying to keep increasing throughput without consideration of the cognitive overload that team members experience
  • Round 4
    • Each person reflects on their takeaway
      • Role clarity of a Scrum Master in maintaining a community of practice
      • Career step as a Scrum Master is worth pursuing
      • Agile mindset if not only required for team members and teams but also the entire organization
      • For value recognition communication is key

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Scrum Team

Burndown and Valueup

Four teams in one department.

All four Sprints started and ended at the same time.

Four different burndowns.

Team B got up late in the Sprint and filled the Sprint backlog after the Sprint started.

Team A, C and D have the typical slow start for the Sprint getting their teeth into the stories.

Team A waited till the end to do a cliff jump and close most of the stories.

Team B did not manage to finish many of the stories that were planned for the Sprint.

Team C had a constant burndown throughout the Sprint.

Team D was slow till the middle of the Sprint and then picked up speed towards the end of the Sprint.

We tend to analyse Burndowns in teams. Are we analysing the Valueups?