Scrum Master joining existing teams - any tips?

Last post 02:16 pm April 18, 2017
by Melissa Ritts
6 replies
07:43 am August 28, 2015

I will shortly be joining an existing Scrum team as a maternity cover for a few months. Does anyone have any tips or personal experience for the approach I should take?

02:40 am August 29, 2015

A Scrum Master is a servant-leader.
To join a group is hard.
To lead a group is harder.
To lead a group with authority is the hardest.
Especially, this is a short term cover.

Have you collaborated with the team before?
Do the team member trust you?
Is there a ongoing or an upcoming projects?
Is the team a mature Scrum Team?

I have a experience of short term cover to join a scaled Scrum teams when their Scrum Master was fired.

From the experience, I must say "Servant over leading" is the most important to keep in mind.

Show your professional knowledge through the servant activities to earn their trust and respect before you teach, lead them.

02:44 am August 29, 2015

Posted By Ching-Pei Li on 29 Aug 2015 02:40 AM

To lead a group with authority is the hardest.


What I want to say is:
To lead a group without authority is the hardest.

11:03 pm August 29, 2015

I'd get to know everyone on the team, their likes/dislikes particularly at lunch outside the office and let them know you're there to collaborate and facilitate to make them better.

It would also behoove you to

1. Review any retrospective notes/wiki/blog the last SM left and talk to her for advice about this team as all teams are different.

2. Get familiar very familiar with their artifacts and their visual workspace.

3. Don't try to influence them to change too immediately unless you sense something is really out of place and in that case I'd ask the previous SM if she can provide insight on a dysfunction that needs to be adapted.

03:47 pm February 11, 2016

I would also recommend to gather team expectation - how they see role of scrum master, what they need, what they do not need. I would also explain your plan of activities with them. What areas will you try to cover etc. after some while

09:25 am February 12, 2016

In my experience the first few weeks should really only be about observing the teams rituals, artifacts, etc. You should also be getting to know the team, and their expectations. Ensure that you spend some time with the Product Owner and Team individually to get a feel for their expectations, and share your vision. After a few weeks you can start gradually teaching/coaching/serving the team as you normally would as a SM. This can be a tricky situation, so I wish you good luck!

03:13 pm April 17, 2017

This is where I am now. Today is my first day as SM of a new team, and I have no idea where to begin! I feel very overwhelmed!