10 things to drive your ScrumMaster crazy

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 ;)

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.

23 thoughts on “10 things to drive your ScrumMaster crazy”

  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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