10 things to drive your ScrumMaster crazy


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Juni 14, 2010

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CrazyIn my life as ScrumMaster I faced many things which drove me nuts. So here is my top 10 of things that at least drives me crazy:

  1. Keep doing tasks that are not part of the sprint backlog.
  2. Hide your impediments. They will for sure vanish on their own.
  3. Don’t talk to the PO during the sprint. Never.
  4. Ignore the definition of DONE when finishing your tasks and backlog items.
  5. Stand in front of the sprint backlog and say “I’ve nothing to do” or “None of the tasks are for me” (even better if 90% of the tasks are still open).
  6. Prepare for the Sprint Review 5 minutes before it starts.
  7. Don’t split your tasks into smaller ones even if you know they will take the whole sprint.
  8. Be late, always.
  9. Ask the ScrumMaster continuously which task you should do next.
  10. Disturb any scrum meeting by starting multiple additional discussions on different topics.

Here are the slides if you like to present it to your team 😉
[slideshare id=3667445&doc=10thingstodriveyourscrummastercrazy-100408115111-phpapp01]

Finally here is the video of my first lightning talk ever at the Agile Central Europe in Krakow, Poland, where I talked about these things. Have fun 🙂

Lighting Talks 1 from Krakow Tech Conferences on Vimeo.

I know this list is incomplete and so I’m waiting eagerly for your comments what drives you crazy.

About the author 

Marc Löffler

Marc Löffler ist Keynote-Speaker, Autor und Mentor für passionierte Scrum Master. Er befasst sich schon seit 2005 leidenschaftlich mit agilen Methoden, wie z.B. Scrum, Kanban oder eXtreme Programming. Bevor er mit dem Thema Agilität in Berührung gekommen war, hat er als zertifizierter Projektmanager (IPMA) bei Firmen wie Volkswagen, Siemens und EADS erfolgreich multinationale Projekte geleitet. Mit Begeisterung hilft er Unternehmen dabei, agile Werte zu verstehen und genau die Form von Agilität zu finden, die zum jeweiligen Unternehmen passt. Dabei nutzt er sein PASSION Modell, um die jeweilige Situation zu analysieren und sinnvolle nächste Schritte hin zur passionierten, agilen Organisation zu definieren. Er liebt es, neue Einsichten zu generieren, und unterstützt Unternehmen dabei, Probleme aus kreativen, neuen Blickwinkeln zu betrachten. Seit September 2018 ist er zertifizierter Professional Speaker GSA (SHB) mit der besten Keynote seines Jahrgangs. Im Jahr 2014 erschien sein Buch „Retrospektiven in der Praxis“ beim dpunkt.verlag. Im Jahr 2018 folgte das Buch „Improving Agile Retrospectives“ bei Addison Wesley. Im Februar 2022 folgte dann das Buch "Die Scrum Master Journey" beim BusinessVillage Verlag.

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  1. Very nice! I’ve applied all of these in today’s meetings and, yes, our scrum master left the building crying. 🙂

    The first topic sounds interesting. We have indeed a pretty huge amount of „other“ tasks on our story board. Recently, a team member asked me for advice on this: after completing a story, he noticed that there is still a set of deprecated classes which need to be cleaned up. As we do not have „no deprecated classes present“ in our definition of done, the story has been set to done and he suggested to add a task on the story board for the next sprint to do clean this part of the code.

    What is the best way to deal with tasks which seem to be pretty important but which are not directly part of activities around stories in the sprint backlog?

    1. I’m always happy if my advice is working 😉

      Regarding your question: IMHO he shouldn’t set the story to done. Instead he should add a task to the story named „clean deprecated classes“ and after finishing this task move the story to the „Done“ column. In the next retro the team should discuss if they want to add „clean deprecated classes“ to their definition of done. From my point of view you should refactor your code as soon as you find something to refactor. Don’t wait for the next sprint, do it now.

  2. Bringing a chair to the standup (and sitting on it) is always a winner. At least where I work, the standup is right next to where we sit and our chairs have wheels so this takes little effort.

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  6. I LOVED your blog!!! It applies in so may areas (mine is executive facilitation) in which Agile principles, and workload management, are used. Forget any negative feedback! Your points are clear, concise and obvious to all those who lead these type of meetings. I really like the „I have nothing to do“ which is similar to our ever so hated „it’s not my job“ epitaph. Keep up the great work!

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