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How to rotate Scrum Master role?

Scrum-master

Sometimes it may happen that your team finds itself without a dedicated Scrum Master, so very few things are done to improve process of work, which leads to productivity stagnation and decline. Typically some members spontaneously take over some parts of the work. However, this can prove as ill turn since assignee and obligations are not clearly defined. It can represent an additional burden to the person or even a misuse of this role for the promotion of personal objectives.

For these reasons, and after consultation with our long-term Scrum Master, we decided to take the thing into our own hands and try rotating this role on ALL team members (by principle - each sprint another member).

​Here is a list of activities our Scrum Master Rotators did:

Backlog Grooming


  • Brings together team members in agreed time
  • Reminds Product Owner to prioritize product backlog items, write user stories and define acceptance criteria (INVEST guideline: Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimable, Short and Testable)
  • Maintains focus during the meeting and length up to 2h (with external stakeholders + only the team)

Sprint Planning


  • Brings together team members in agreed time
  • Checks previous development speed (in JIRA Agile: Reports > Velocity Chart) and member availability
  • After forming spring backlog, checks once again feasibility of the dynamics and opens the sprint
  • Reminds team members to break sprint backlog items into necessary tasks
  • Maintains focus during the meeting and length up to 2h (user stories + tasks)


Daily Meeting


  • Brings together team members in agreed time
  • Removes internal and external impediments and distractions
  • Reminds on development dynamics and priorities (in JIRA Agile: Board and Reports > Burndown Chart)
  • Picks up orders and makes lunch reservations (This is team specific :) )
  • Maintains focus during the meeting and length up to 30m


 

Sprint Review


  • Checks status of stories and closes the sprint
  • Brings together team members in agreed time
  • Reminds in what measure is sprint successful (in JIRA Agile: Reports > Sprint Report)
  • Writes down and later opens improvements (in Confluence Ideas if long-term or in JIRA Backlog if short-term)
  • Maintains focus during the meeting and length up to 1h


 

Sprint Retrospective


  • Brings together team members in agreed time
  • Reminds in what measure we completed action steps from previous sprint
  • Collects what we did good and bad, writes down actions steps and shares them with team members
  • Maintains focus during the meeting and length up to 1h


 

Other Activities


  • Nurtures good atmosphere and communication necessary for learning and harmonious functioning of the team
  • Escalates eventual problems and personal disputes to management
  • Collects funds and purchases presents for colleagues birthday (This is team specific :) )
  • Consults Internet and external Scrum Master, if needed
  • Answers to other teams' and companies' requests


After each member completed his/hers mandate, naturally we've made a separate Scrum Master retrospective and came up with the following conclusions: 

​GOOD ​BAD ACTION STEPS
​We value Scrum Master contributions more ​We were not all trained to do it well ​Follow and subscribe to Scrum Master courses
​We've all been there and understand it better​Not all team members are well suited to this role​Team members should support Scrum Master to do its activities better
​We practice more motivating other and creative joint effort​We did not follow obligations 100%​Read once again and improve activities we agreed Scrum Master would do
​Not only one person is overloaded (no single-point-of-failure)​Individual styles and energies were changing each sprint​Inform on chat which member is Scrum Master for the sprint
​Quality and form of all our meeting is better followed​Not sure if we did it right or wrong​Conduct a mini-retro to provide feedback to individual Scrum Master
​More action steps were done​Ad hoc Scrum Master does not have build authority with Product Owner​Team members should support Scrum Master with Product Owner in things that were decided
BONUS: We were able to write a blog post​Not enough time for training and workshops​Look once more on the internet for useful Scrum Master resources and shares or teaches something new to the team

So this is our newest experience with Scrum process. Hopefully it will help you if you are experiencing similar situations in your team organisation. We encourage you to take a shot and get us feedback on how it went.

Here are some useful resources for you to check out, as well:

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Scrum Training Series: Free Scrum Master Training from Seattle

There's no Scrum methodology or Agile methodology. Online tutorials from Seattle teach the Scrum framework, Agile principles, and Lean principles to help you create a learning organization and get Scrum Master certification.
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