Rotating Scrum Master

I work with what is now a fairly mature and highly functional scrum team.     Back when we started, we were working with a consultant on a set of technical issues, and along the way he suggested we allow anyone in the team to serve as scrum master.

I initially had some concerns about this.  In my CSM training a few years back we talked about the development of the team – the forming, storming, norming, performing thing –  and how changes of any kind (additions to the team, removing people, etc) would impact the team dynamic and potentially push the team back into an earlier stage of development.  I also had past experience as scrum master for a couple of years, and we never even considered rotating at that point, so I just never really thought about it.

So when we started, we named a scrum master and proceeded.   Along the way, that scrum master started getting the itch to do ‘real’ work again, so we had someone else try it.   18 months later, almost everyone has rotated through the position, and it’s worked out very well.

Pros:

  • The scrum master doesn’t get bored.
  • Everyone gets a chance to try something new.
  • The team is reminded what it’s like to be the scrum master.
  • The scrum master is reminded what it’s like to be a delivery team member.
  • Rotating the role tends to create some good team bonding opportunities.

Cons:

  • The only real con I saw was some of the less tenured people didn’t really know who to go to – how to remove obstacles, so they needed some help.   For the most part though the team helped them with that, and it ended up providing good learning opportunities all around, so it was a good investment overall.

If you’re thinking about it, give it a try.  I wish I had tried it earlier.