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9492Re: Can the scrummaster be a team member?

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  • Victor Szalvay
    Oct 6, 2005
      Hi Lori,

      Your alternative 1) is not attractive because you're further
      stretching the diversity of the tasks/roles that SM/team member would
      have to bounce between. The more diverse the tasks (different people,
      different work, different problem space), the longer it takes to get
      focused after a switch.

      I've tried alternative 2) before and have mixed feelings. For
      empirical forecasting or anything based on team velocity, it is
      important that the team composition be as stable as possible on an
      agile team. By rotating a role like SM, a role that does not
      participate in building product toward sprint goals, we are changing
      the team composition every sprint. I worked with an experienced team
      that was able to pull this off well because they had a keen intuitive
      sense for how the rotation would affect their velocity. In my case,
      the rotating SM still doubled as a team member.

      But my question to you is that if in alternative 2 you are willing to
      dedicate a rotating SM, why not dedicate a permanent SM and forget the
      rotation part? Perhaps no one wants to be a dedicated SM and would
      rather develop code?

      -- Victor Szalvay
      Danube Technologies Inc.
      http://www.danube.com

      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Lori Evans <evans025@m...>
      wrote:
      > Hmmm, we are currently operating in the discouraged mode (Scrum
      Master is
      > a developer too). What are your thoughts on mixing things up in
      the
      > following ways:
      >
      > 1, SM is a developer, but not an active developer on the team for
      whom
      > they are SM. For example, for Sprint 1 person A is SM and they are
      also
      > on Sprint 2 as a developer.
      >
      > 2. SM duties are rotated monthly (the length of our Sprints)
      amongst
      > developers such that the SM is not an active developer while they
      are SM.
      > For example, person A is SM for June on all 3 Sprints while persons
      B and
      > C develop. In July, person B is SM and persons A and C develop,
      etc.
      >
      > We are just getting going with using the formal SM role on our
      teams. Thus
      > far, we haven't encountered problems with mixing SM and developer
      > responsibilities on the same team and Sprint. I do, however, see
      where it
      > might lead to some sticky situations.
      >
      > Regards,
      > Lori Evans
      > Scrum Master/Developer
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Schiel James - SHS Malvern <james.schiel@s...>
      > Sent by: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      > 10/06/2005 10:28 AM
      > Please respond to scrumdevelopment
      >
      > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      > cc:
      > Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Can the
      scrummaster be
      > a team member?
      >
      >
      > 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@d...]
      > Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2005 12:19 PM
      > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Can the scrummaster be a team
      member?
      >
      > Keith,
      >
      > 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.
      > http://www.danube.com
      >
      > --- 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
      system
      > > guy) and one of those developers (me) took the CSM and is serving
      as
      > > the scrummaster. I'd say my role is about 15% SM and 85%
      developer.
      > >
      > > What other experieneces have people had with having the
      scrummaster be
      > > part of the working team?
      > >
      > > thanks,
      > > --
      > > Keith Sader
      > > ksader@g...
      > > http://www.saderfamily.org/roller/page/ksader
      > > http://www.jroller.com/page/certifieddanger
      >
      >
      >
      >
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