I do not work as a part-time Scrum Master. A part-time Scrum Master is a Scrum Master that serves more than one team or has more than one role in the Scrum Team. In this post I want to explore the first: serving more than one team.
Why not serve more than one team? Simply because I have learned that I am not able to deliver the quality of work I want to be known for to my team and my client when I’m not available as a Scrum Master to my team full-time. I work to have an impact and truly connect to the people I work with. I can not do that when I have to split myself into two people on a regular basis (occasionally I can, though).
When serving more than one Scrum Team, I inevitably will encounter situations where I would have to choose between teams. I don’t want to be put in that situation, as it implies I would cut one of my teams short. I can only focus my attention on one team at a time.
When serving two teams, I cannot be with my team whenever they need me to. Even when I would miraculously succeed in being there for both of my development teams at exactly the right times, there would be hardly any time left for me serve my Product Owner (let’s hope it’s a single Product Owner …), let alone the organization my team works in.
All of this does not mean that nobody can be a part-time Scrum Master, it only means that it can not be done by me personally, at the quality of service that I want to deliver.
You might be interested in exploring the following resources to further explore this subject:
- On the Scrum.org blog, Barry Overeem discusses another form of the part-time Scrum Master: a Scrum Master that is a developer at the same time. I have found that for me personally this is even a worse option, for exactly the reasons Barry mentions in his post.
- In this post Mike Cohn argues that it is always better to have a full-time Scrum Master, but that it is not always economically justifiable to have a full-time Scrum Master. This is a good point. However, I think a good, full-time Scrum Master will be worth its money many times over; especially for teams new to Scrum or Agile in general, new teams in their storming stage, teams operating within a not-so-agile organization.
- In this post, Luis Gonçalves lists 30 fantastic reasons why a part-time scrum master is not optimal.
- In this episode of the Scrum Master toolbox podcast, Gunther Verheyen tells us why we should not to limit the role of the Scrum Master to the team.