Dont stand tall – just S T A N D – U P!

Too little involved & reserved? Then you’re disengaged, uninterested. Over involved and intense? Now you’re coming across as bossy.

This is the challenge for the ScrumMaster.

How do you, as a facilitator find the right balance of getting a SCRUM team to adhere to SCRUM principles without coming across as a ‘Command & Controller’.

Let’s be very clear here just on that point, the ScrumMaster is not the boss of anyone – he/she is the servant/leader who is there to facilitate the teams productivity &  make sure the team stick to the rules of SCRUM.

As a Scrum Master, you will be involved in all SCRUM events (Stand ups, sprint planning meetings, retrospectives) and you need to have that right level of human intelligence, assertiveness (humour helps!) to facilitate without coming across as ‘the boss’ to the team.

I’m talking specifically about the Stand Ups in this article.

For those less familiar with the term ‘Stand Ups’ – this is an event in a SCRUM team which is there to increase transparency, collaboration and the exchange of information across the team.

Each team member will tell ONE ANOTHER – 3 things.

1.what they’re doing, 2.what they aim to get done & 3.Highlight any impediments

The reason I highlight ‘ONE ANOTHER’ is because the Stand up is NOT  a reporting tool from the team players to the ScrumMaster.


IT IS a forum where team players relay information to one another. The purpose of the stand up is not to micromanage or apply pressure to team players, but to understand what we’re all doing, share knowledge, to see if we’re on course to deliver the stories we’ve committed to and for the ScrumMaster to make sure they’re are no impediments or pains effecting the teams productivity

So how do you get that balance as ScrumMaster without coming across as the ‘manager’?

First of all – accept that this is not something you can master over night.

In the 3 years I’ve been doing this I’ve realised that the key to getting it close to ‘right’ is to learn to take a step back. Allow the team to self-manage and simply observe – only involving yourself when you need to.  Here are some useful points which have helped me as a ScrumMaster be the facilitator and not the manager.

1: Step back & trust your team – allow them to exchange information, speak when necessary.

2: Show the right body language – dont stand in front of the SCRUM this can give off the ‘I’m the manager’ persona. Instead blend in.

3: The right tone & attitude – when something is not working right, approach it with an objective & positive attitude to exude the right intention.

4: Pro actively seek feedback from your team – This is where you have the opportunity to learn about what you need to get right.

5:Show complete humility – There is nothing wrong with being wrong. Take on critique and feedback without taking it personally.

6: Keep deepening your understanding of the SCRUM principles – The better your understanding of the SCRUM framework, the more skilled you will be in applying yourself to get the best out of the SCRUM team.

7: Patience – Like SCRUM itself, it is easy to understand but very challenging to master. The ScrumMaster role is no exception, so keep patient and keep going!

Remember, ScrumMaster’s don’t need to stand tall, they just need to stand up.

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