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Is it OK for the scrum master to be remote when the rest of the team is co-located? I.e. the team is located at one office but the scrum master lives in another city and serves the team remotely? (I ask because we are hiring a scrum master.)

Pros/Cons?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Brian Carlton, Iain9688, Todd A. Jacobs, Alex Leonov, Aziz Shaikh Dec 15 '14 at 5:18

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • these answers might be useful to you: pm.stackexchange.com/questions/4310/… , pm.stackexchange.com/questions/12343/… – Zsolt Dec 5 '14 at 22:36
  • This is a pretty broad question. Can you define "OK" a bit more. It really depends on the expectations of the scrum master for that team. Are you just looking for a basic facilitator? Or will the scrum master be leading significant process change on the team or doing a ton of coaching? Depending on how you answer it may be OK to have a remote scrum master or it may be very very challenging. – WBW Dec 6 '14 at 0:59
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    Having a remote Scrum Master with co-located team is like babysitting on Skype. – Bartek Kobyłecki Dec 10 '14 at 11:18
  • This paper may be useful since it highlights numerous potential problems with such approach: msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj620910.aspx . However, since Scrum Guide does not require all members of a Scrum Team or even members of a Development Team to work in the same room, building, city, or time zone, the answers to your question will be opinion based. – Alex Leonov Dec 15 '14 at 0:24
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It is advised to have the Scrum Master to be along with the team. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of having a Scrum Master. The ScrumMaster is a "servant leader", helping the Dev Team and Product Owner use Scrum to achieve the best possible results today, and improve their results in the future. To perform his/her duties effectively, Scrum Master's presence along with team is very essential for the project success. I have had distributed team for my project. But I chose to have the SM sitting with the team/location where maximum number of team members were based. This allowed the team to address their issues to SM quickly, feel connected, get moral support etc

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Try to avoid hiring remote SM

It's significantly harder for a Scrum Master to work with remote team.

Scrum Master deals with non tangible things like the team perception of Scrum activities and artifacts, motivation, cooperation, focus etc. These are very hard to manage through the Skype calls. The complexity nearly triples if your team is starting a new project and SM has to set all things up.

You can try your luck and hire a great Scrum Master, who will arrange reasonable business trips schedule and get things running well. But chances are that you will hire a Scrum Master, who is used to work with co-located team and will shortly become clueless on internal team/process issues.

It's significantly harder for you to manage your remote Scrum Master.

The another side of the coin is that it won't be clear for you to control your SM as a resourse. Again, SM does not provide tangible results and usually does not have tasks in task tracker.

Is your SM loaded with work? What does he/she do in between of the meetings? Can you assign him/her another project? Can SM contribute to the rest of the company agility? You never know.

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Its not OK. This defies the basic principles of agile working. If the servant-leader is co-located......

Agile manifesto

The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

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