9485RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Can the scrummaster be a team member?
- Oct 6, 2005Keith, 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 SchielCSM TrainerKeith,
From: Victor Szalvay [mailto:victor@...]
Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2005 12:19 PM
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
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 email@example.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 servingas
> the scrummaster. I'd say my role is about 15% SM and 85%developer.
>the scrummaster be
> What other experieneces have people had with having
> part of the working team?thanks,
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