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9490Re: Can the scrummaster be a team member?

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  • Victor Szalvay
    Oct 6, 2005

      Contrary is more fun. :) But I think we're on the same page. If you
      had 5 teams of 7-9 devs, you would probably request a dedicated SM,

      I think you're right in saying that for a small single team scrum org
      with a limited budget it's impractical to have a separate dedicated
      SM/facilitator, and in fact the effectiveness lost due to task
      switching may not outweigh the burden of a new hire. But there is a
      tipping point where economically it will save the organization money
      to dedicate a scrummaster (say, as the size of the team gets to 6,7,8,
      etc. or as the number of teams increases).

      My point was that some organizations act on a false efficiency:
      spreading people across separate teams (e.g., 20%/30%/50%) or having
      people play two or more roles that are more effectively done by
      separate people. What they forget is the effectiveness lost due to
      what DeMarco calls "task switching".

      One more clarifier:
      Pete Behrens blogged on my post and made an important distinction:

      His point about organizational patterns/"architect also implements"
      relates to cross functionality. I believe the team should do whatever
      it takes to complete committed work inside the iteration, and most
      times that is best done by overlapping roles (cross functionality) to
      increase communication bandwidth, share knowledge, etc..
      DeMarco is referring to "task splitting". But "task" for agilists has
      a specialized meaning. The way I read DeMarco's meaning is splitting
      someone's time between totally unrelated tasks, like separate projects
      or in this case sharing two distinct and independent roles.

      -- Victor Szalvay
      Danube Technologies, Inc.

      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, David A Barrett wrote:
      > Victor,
      > I must be in a contrary mood this week. :)
      > As someone who lives the Team Member/Scrum Master role every day, I
      can see
      > your point. But...
      > Think about this though:
      > Unless the organization is large enough to have several teams
      running at
      > the same time, there's really no way that SM is going to be a full
      time job
      > for anyone. That means that the SM is going to have to task switch.
      > question is then - what's he doing when he's not SMing? Clearly, if
      > not on the team, then the project isn't going to suffer because he's
      not as
      > effecient at his other tasks. If he's on the team, however, he
      won't be
      > able to function as efficiently on the team as he would as a full
      > member.
      > If the SM is a team member, however, he is plugged into the Sprint
      > activities 100% of the time, and will probably have a better (and
      > hand) knowledge of the what's going on. This is probably an
      > We discarded some time ago any thought that I would be able to
      > anything close to 1 full team member. As a matter of fact, we've
      come to
      > realize that SM activities are a whole lot more important than for
      me to do
      > than development tasks as a team member. For this reason, we've
      > back how much of my time we schedule as available for development
      > our Sprint planning.
      > What is much, much harder for me to manage in the Scrum Master/Team
      > dual role is balancing the Team Leader/Manager aspects of the SM
      role with
      > being a Team Member. For instance, my biggest job in team meetings
      > than Scrums) is to shut up. I don't vote, or if I do, I vote last
      and vote
      > with the majority. That kind of thing.
      > Dave Barrett,
      > Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company
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