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first sad experience as Scrum Master. Or not.

Last post 02:05 pm February 14, 2022 by Jaya Agnihotri
4 replies
04:32 pm January 13, 2022

5 years ago I had little training in Agile/Scrum (5 days) and I passed easily the SCRUM certification. I tried to implement SCRUM in a small IT startup (7 people team) for 5 years, and while I learned a lot, I don't consider that a real experience.

Now since one year, I've got a new job in a big company that claims to use Agile methodology or at least it's trying to transform to implement it.

My role it's not super clear, it's considered between traditional PM, proxy of Product Owner and Scrum Master. Anyway, it's like I have to define myself.

My first project is a development of an application that uses "services" developed by other 2 projects. Actually at the beginning my team was working inside the other 2 projects, so I started attending dailies in these projects and interacting with the Project Manager of these 2 projects as my project is not at full speed yet, depending on these 2 other services.

All the projects are outsourced, only the PM and me are internal.

After few months, I started to give some feedback on the project and discuss with team thing like this:

- there wasn't sprint review nor internal nor with stakeholder, I urged to show periodically the work released

- the backlog was not very clear, a mix of technical activities, reminders for tasks, user stories without persona or with lengthy business requirements

- wiki difficult to navigate and to find information, I started restructuring a little and align among the 3 projects

- no sprint goals, I organized regular meeting among product owners of 3 projects to agree on roadmap and priorities

- dailies was lasting 1 hour, with long status report from 15+ people, I asked to reduce team, split stories in to visible task to understand the progress


The project manager and the team were happy to implement most of these suggestion. Now we have a sprint review, almost a roadmap and progress seems more visible.


Then I asked to have also a sprint retrospective.

We did. 

As outcome, the outsourcing company, probably after internal discussion (?) and some feedback from my team, decided to appoint a Scrum Master to my project. The reason is along the line "write better stories" or organize better the process.

I feel very very confused. Like, I thought I was the Scrum Master...but maybe not. 

Did I fail in my first assignement as Scrum Master?



06:41 pm January 13, 2022

Did I fail in my first assignement as Scrum Master?

When the team succeeds you succeed, when the team fails you fail.

Your core accountability is therefore to manage the Scrum framework and people's understanding of it.

09:17 pm January 13, 2022


I feel very very confused. Like, I thought I was the Scrum Master...but maybe not

As a Scrum Master you are also a coach. Focus on the solution rather than the problem by finding positive way forward than examining barriers. What is the small step you can take next?

12:12 pm February 9, 2022

yes! but the first outcome of the first sprint retrospective organized by is that the team want to hire a scrum master!!! I've been played by the outsourcing company?

02:05 pm February 14, 2022

 "The reason is along the line "write better stories" or organize better the process." 

write better stories is not scrum masters responsibility, as per Scrum Gide 2021, and PO is accountable person for

  • Creating and clearly communicating Product Backlog items;

PO can take help from scrum team and define user stories.

As you mentioned only you and PM were from your organization, and others are from outsourcing company(including PO), so you did a great job by organizing them , however they need a scrum coach, to understand Scrum and clear responsibilities of PO, scrum master and PM.

Agile or Scrum emphasises on people and interaction over processes and tools, so here we can assume that outsourcing company is well versed with waterfall and they tend to follow processes, however in above mentioned scenario they need to follow scrum guide as its in initial stage, with the help of coach and scrum master.

You already took initiative to come along with scrum guide, so things were shaping better, now they might want their team representation as SM.