I work as Scrum Master in a team which has developers and QAs. In the organization I work for we have a review cycle every six months. Directors do the evaluation of the Scrum team based on agile principals and team output and managers do the evaluation of individuals. But we do not have a formal feedback process from the Scrum team to managers for individual team member.

For example, what if a team member needs his\her working style changed and it's not happening even after multiple discussions? The reason why I think a formal process is necessary because it is my feeling that people do not think they belong to the Scrum team since in appraisals\reviews, the Scrum team is not involved and all of it is still in the hands of management.

I was wondering if you had dealt with something of the sort. What was your solution?


Little bit more information: we have mix goals - part of goals are team based which directors look at based on team's output and part of them are individual goals managers set based on their understanding of individual and expectations. There is no discussion between scrum team and managers while setting the individual goals. They can be about soft or hard skills. But the work is done in scrum team and scrum team is not aware of individual objectives. But they are evaluated at the end of six months nevertheless. If they were only team based goals I wouldn't worry. But if individual goals conflict with team goals, then employees would\do give preference to individual goals (or whatever manager says) because at the end of it all, it's their opinion that decides appraisals at least when it comes to individual goals.

About the example, I gave was a general example. It can be good thing as well (someone going out of the way). Problem I see is that there is no way to recognize that. All these needs a process to funnel into. I have tried in the past to send feedback to manager since manager decides individual goals' evaluation but it was met with passing consideration if any. All this complexity leads me to believe that there has to be feedback from scrum team to management.The 360 degree feedback suggestions seem okay to me. I don't want to be elevated to manager at all but I do not know how to protect the team if scrum team feedback is not part of the process of evaluation. Would it be ideal to have 360 degree feedback (do that in accordance with agile) or is it just somehow making agile work in mixture of traditional management with agile? Or would it ideal to have only team based goals or should scrum team have discussions with managers while deciding goals, individual or otherwise?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about line (people) management not project management.
    – RubberDuck
    Commented May 7, 2017 at 0:08

3 Answers 3


What's your interpretation of a ScrumMaster?

I am asking because doing an employee evaluation is not a classical task of a ScrumMaster. Regardless if the evaluation is somehow related to the agile process or not.

But we do not have a formal feedback process from the Scrum team to managers for individual team member.

I am not sure if this would be a fruitful process at all. Such process could raise some critical team issues. Despite that, it contradicts some principles of Scrum.

And keep in mind, in the first place the management is interested in the team performance not in individual performances.

For example, what if a team member needs his\her working style changed and it's not happening even after multiple discussions?

From a pure Scrum perspective the team has to handle the problem. That means the team has to find a way to integrate the teammate that he/she becomes valuable for the project regardless his/her own working style. As I wrote evaluating the performance of a team member is not the responsibility of a ScrumMaster.


As raised up by JDRodger the ScrumMaster is responsible to help in resolving such issues to improve the team productivity. It might be a bit off topic, but let's see what you can do.

[...] what if a team member needs his\her working style changed and it's not happening even after multiple discussions?

The word discussions (as you used it) has a negative connotation to me. Hence, the situation you described already suggests there is a conflict and my guess you are very likely in the middle of it.

Unfortunately, you are not describing important details like who is involved, how did you recognized the problem, what is in your opinion the cause of the problem etc. (please add more details).

Anyway, as rule of thumb, try to prevent such situations, don't get involved, don't take somebodies side, try to be always as neutral as possible. I know this is not easy but it's the best position you can have (to help to solve such conflicts).

For sure, you cannot always avoid conflicting situations as ScrumMaster. You have certain responsibilities which might lead to confrontations.

For example let's assume a team member don't show up to the Daily Scrum regular. Eventually you see the necessary that the whole development team joins the Daily (at least if it's possible).

The worst thing you can do is to confront the teammate directly and start a discussion like "Why are you not present at the dailies?", "You must participate like everybody else!"

Slightly better but also not perfect "It would be good for the project and also for your teammates if you could join the dailies. You are a important part of it."

So never try to confront someone by being bossy or by parenting and treat him as a child. The best you can do in such a situation take a deep breath and step back. See how the situation develops, see if this is really a problem for the team and the project success.

If it tends out to be a problem then you have to act. Raise up the problem during a Sprint Retrospective (if no other team member addresses that problem); and again, be neutral, don't take a side and listen.

At best the team members find a solution. If not, try to push them in the right direction; remember, don't be bossy, no parenting. Make a neutral statement, "Maybe you should discuss this at your dailies next time?".

So resolving conflicts it's not easy. And the right way how to resolve them depends on the concrete conflict. The ultima ratio is to escalate it, and go directly to the management (or indirectly by a feedback process). But such actions doesn't necessarily plays well for you or the team.


Individuals and interactions over processes and tools (1).

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    While you say "this is not the responsibility of a Scrum Master," it is the responsibility of the Scrum Master to coach the team and work with them (through retrospectives, workshops, etc.) to ensure that all team members are being as productive as possible and that the team is moving toward being high-functioning (or more high-functioning, as the case may be.) That is definitely an SM responsibility.
    – JDRoger
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 14:52
  • @JDRoger no it's not. The Scrum Master is responsible to help/coach the development team to be self-organized. Employee evaluation is a classical human resource management task and belongs to the responsibilities of the management. Commented May 8, 2017 at 20:29
  • That's exactly what I said in my comment -- I didn't use "Employee Evaluation" once. My point was, in this case the Scrum Master is a part of the team and will be a key player in working through these issues.
    – JDRoger
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 20:36
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    Okay, my bad. You are absolutely right, helping to solve the issue in cooperation with the whole development team is truly a Scrum Master task. I will update my answer to make that clear. Thanks for clarification. Commented May 8, 2017 at 20:40
  • I have added as much details as possible. Let me know if that helps. BTW, sorry was too busy to come back and do the edit for few days.
    – user28458
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 14:52

I have seen the following things work:

  • Scrum Master bi-weekly one-on-one coaching meetings: These might not have the mandate to really have an impact if the person does not want to change. This because the SM does not have any real power, but you could always advise management. Still this is the best start as you can find out what is really going on, maybe there is a good reason for the resistance. Coaching is key here, but reporting to management the normal review cycle.
  • Team 360 feedback: Each person has a manager in a different team, the manager has the same discipline/role as the person he manages, but only works 50%. This manager regularly collects 360 feedback from the team members. Together with (bi-weekly) coaching talks he/she takes this information and handles the performance review. Hopefully leading to a better performance. (I think this is similar to how Spotify is doing it)

Does Spotify have managers? “Spotify does have managers, its just a different perspective.”

This is another common misperception. We do have managers, it’s just a different perspective. Instead of having team managers, we have line managers, which we call Chapter Leads. They look after all those people with the same skillset across the squads. For example, I might be the Chapter Lead for all Android developers. The cool thing is Chapter Leads are part-time developers, they usually sit on one of the squads themselves.

read more ...

I would do both. Handle people as people and not resources. Coach them, but if the team think they are not performing and they resist change kick them off the team. Let management figure out what to-do with them. Teamwork is so important in Agile that it is more effective to work with less people than with someone who resists change. Find something to-do for them where they can be a loner :)


This has already been answered and suggested but I believe 360 feedback is the right solution, given that team is mature enough.

Give each scrum team member anonymous survey to rate other team members. Ask them top 5 questions that you think are the CORE values of your company and your expectations from that person. Try to keep questions objective and let people rate based on 1-10 scale. Give the last question as "share feedback about person X you have" and let people write what they want in this. (guide them to provide constructive criticism)

Problem#1. "Team member needs his\her working style changed and it's not happening even after multiple discussions?" - It's hard to convince people without data. If you will discuss with him/her with data like "4 out of 5 team members rate your contribution to the success of the team as 4/10 while team average for this question is 8/10". This would make other people believe that if everyone thinks so, he/she better work hard.

Problem#2. "People do not think they belong to the Scrum team since in appraisals\reviews, the Scrum team is not involved and all of it is still in the hands of management.": Use this data in appraisals as well, not completely but may be X% to start with. Now people will have the belief that appraisals/reviews are more scientific and not based on just single opinion which may be biased.

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