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How to organise a ScrumMaster Team in a large-scale environment?!

Late in the evening at the XP2013 in Vienna, I hosted an open space session under this title and am still surprised at how many participants actually joined me in discussion. It seems that I was not the only one faced with this question. While the session did not provide me with the sought-after perfect solution, it did give me an insight into how other companies structure the collaboration between individual ScrumMasters in order to act as a singular, strong force of change agents.

 

Here are some of the options that came up in conversation and that I can relate to due to having experienced them myself. Of course, these options may vary accordingly.

 

  • Meet on a weekly basis to talk about lessons learned when solving impediments and best practices in Scrum.
  • Meet on a daily basis in front of a ScrumMaster Taskboard (Impediment Backlog) to talk about current impediments and their progress.
  • Form a Scrum-Team and work in Sprints. If necessary, appoint your own ScrumMaster and Product Owner. Hold Backlog Groomings for identifying and prioritising general organisational impediments, Sprint Planning meetings for discussing the ‘What‘ followed by the ‘How‘, and Daily Scrums for synchronising your work. Make sure to finish each Sprint with a public Review and a Retrospective. Hint: Facilitating these meetings in a rotating manner can offer the ScrumMasters a chance to practice and learn new facilitation methods in a safe environment (i.e. different Sprint Retrospective styles).

 

In the end, however, I do not think that there is a right or a wrong answer. The only question that really matters is whether the Scrum-Teams are delivering valuable features or not. And if they aren‘t, the impediments hindering their productivity must be addressed and solved as quickly as possible. I do believe that a Team of like-minded persons with the same mission can achieve more than singular change agents. Once the ScrumMasters understand this for themselves, I am convinced that the right ‘how to‘ will come automatically. And this will probably differ depending on the persons involved and their specific system.