Scrum master – a sad story

Shu: I want to become a Scrum Master.

Ri: Why?

Shu: Because it’s easy, look at them, at their daily work: organize some meetings, make some reports and that’s it. Oh I forgot about motivation, pardon, pseudo-motivation.

Ri: Do you think that’s what a Scrum Master has to do ?

Shu: I’m not saying that this is what they should be doing, but what I have seen them doing, in the companies that I worked for.

Ri: No Shu, if you want to be a Scrum Master, you need to be a good one. Why would you want to be like that?

Shu: Because it’s easier, and because this is what most companies want, good reports. You have to have good Excel skills(or other similar tools), to present the stats of the project, and you will be the best Scrum Master for that company.

Ri: It’s not like that…

Shu: I saw Scrum Masters who encourage the team members to put working hours on tasks, which look good on reports, no matter if those hours tell the truth about the work to be done. It’s all about a nice burndown graphic.

Ri: Really?

Shu: Yes. I can give you an example, something that happened to me once: in a daily meeting the Scrum Master asked me how long it takes to finish that user story. I told him that I need 16 hours to finish. Can you imagine what the answer was?

Ri: No…

Shu: He puts 8 hours down and told me: there are 8 hours until the sprint is done, you have to manage with that.

Ri: That’s strange.

Shu: Yes, it is, but they want to send nice reports to management. But in some cases the management is surprised to see that the project fails, even if they received good reports all along. Unfortunately, this kind of situations, don’t raise a flag and, that in my opinion is sad.

Ri : I understand what you are saying, but if you see this and don’t like it, and don’t agree with it, why do you want to be like them?

Shu: Anger

Ri: Hey… You said that you don’t agree with the image that those Scrum Masters have, about their work, right?

Shu: Yes….

Ri: So….?

Shu: I know…I don’t have to act like them, and this applies no matter the position you have in the team: scrum master, developer, tester…

Ri: And…?

Shu: If I want to be a Scrum Master, I’ll have to act based on what I know a great Scrum Master should do. I don’t have to do things that I don’t agree with, only to have that position. But this would also mean that, maybe, for that company, I am not a good Scrum Master.

Ri:….<<a sigh>>…

Shu: hmm…, to be a good Scrum Master is hard as hell. So, actually, the fact that a Scrum Master is acting as they should, might be the reason why she/he might not be a good fit for the company.

Ri: When you want to solve problems, things get messy, really messy. It’s not about fluffy bunnies. I hope you’ll not be that kind of Scrum Master who in retrospectives, or in talks with their managers, does not have the gut to call things by their name, and instead be full of platitudes.

Shu: ….<<a sigh>>…