Imagine a scenario where numerous development teams exist. Each has a rotating Scrum Master every few sprints. Apparently the team members enjoy this as well. Obviously this is good for business too as you cut costs.

Have you experienced such a scenario? Would you argue for or against such a setup? Why?

If you are for it, how would you facilitate such teams and coach them?


Well, the standard answer would be, "It depends." :)

Several questions I would lead with if I were coaching are, Is the team new to Scrum or have they been doing this a while? How stable is the team? What's the relationship with the product owner?

At a basic level, I'd steer young teams away from this model. Being a Scrum Master is a lot of effort and when a team is younger it takes a lot more to protect the team and help them through the flow. For an advanced team, it is a natural evolution.

I have a rough model for Scrum Master evolution. One SM for a new team. One SM for two teams with an average level of competency (one new, one experienced, two mid-journey, etc). SM with three teams moves from Scrum Master to Scrum Coach and steps back from day to day effort. The team then steps up more. After four teams you move into full Agile Coach realm.

How I would coach a team like this is to set up good overlap. Halfway through a Scrum Master cycle, the next SM is already identified. If they are brand new to the role, the coach will work closely with them and walk them through a concept of "See one, Do one, Lead one." Where the watch how it's done, then they help do and then they do and get feedback after.

Other than that, pretty much the same coaching I'd give any team.


Yes I have heard this. Spotify has much success with this approach. They have a pool of Agile Coaches which are assigned to one team, a 'group of teams' or even virtual cross-cutting teams.

They move around based on where they are needed. Teams change over time and their need for a scrum master or agile coach changes over time and these coaches move where they are needed.

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