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9485RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Can the scrummaster be a team member?

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  • Schiel James - SHS Malvern
    Oct 6, 2005
      Keith, I'd have to agree with what my colleagues have said here. At the same time, I think you have to examine your organization and your needs. A Scrum Master who can be dedicated to being a Scrum Master, even for a few Scrum teams simultaneously, is much more productive than team members being Scrum Masters at the same time.
      So, for you, I'd suggest looking at your organization and it's capabilities. If you can create a dedicated Scrum Master for one or more teams, you should do it. If not, you have to make the best call that you can.
      Good luck!!
      Jim Schiel
      CSM Trainer

      From: Victor Szalvay [mailto:victor@...]
      Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2005 12:19 PM
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Can the scrummaster be a team member?


      I work with a group that insisted on going this route against my
      advise.  Although they aren't convinced it's a bad idea yet, my
      feeling is that they are on a dangerous path.

      My argument against:
      1) Knowledge workers aren't really fungible.  If individuals are
      "split" between tasks they become ineffective and unproductive (see
      "Slack" by Tom Demarco).

      DeMarco argues that task switching is a leading cause of productivity
      loss due to 1) the mechanics of switching tasks, 2) the need for
      knowledge workers to immerse themselves uninterrupted in tasks, and 3)
      the frustration that accompanies being interrupted too often (see
      Slack, pg. 16-21).  DeMarco refers to evidence generated in multiple
      empirical studies indicating that on average most workers who are
      multitasking lose at least one hour in every eight hour day to
      task-switching. Over the period of a project, these lost hours add up
      to significant amounts of money wasted on non-productive work.

      This "task-switching" problem also directly affects the productivity
      of the other team members on the team (ripple effect) who now lack a
      fully productive team member providing focused direction and technical
      decision making.

      2) There is also a logical conflict of interest when team members act
      as SM simultaneously. Scrum requires constant communication and
      relationship building between the product owner and the development
      team. Someone needs to act as a mediator between the product owner and
      development team when conflicts or discrepancies arise, and
      traditionally this is the SM.  However, if the SM is on the team the
      SM cannot be impartial arbiters of conflicts since they are at the
      same time team advocates.

      3) A major SM role is to take care of the administrivia overhead and
      impediments that affect the team.  If the SM is also a team member
      then there is no real net benefit to the team.  Consider why
      professionals often have secretaries; it would be ineffective for the
      professional to do administrative tasks when someone more capable in
      that area could handle it which would free up the pro to focus talent
      more specifically on their area of expertise.

      Practically, however, I know that often team members act as SM when
      there are a limited number of people available and lots of work to do.
      It's not a disaster but it is inefficient use of people's time, and I
      wouldn't encourage it if there was some other alternative.  I'm
      curious to hear what others think on this subject.

      -- Victor Szalvay
      Danube Technologies, Inc.

      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Keith Sader <ksader@g...> wrote:
      Maybe this question has been asked before, but I'll ask it again.
      > We've got a small shop, (2.25 developers, 1 QA, 1 DBA, 1 Legacy
      > guy) and one of those developers (me) took the CSM and is serving
      > the scrummaster.  I'd say my role is about 15% SM and 85%
      > What other experieneces have people had with having
      the scrummaster be
      > part of the working team?
      > --
      > Keith Sader
      > ksader@g...

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