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Lately we've been looking at growing our organisation, and I've been looking at the possibility of either getting a contract Scrum Master to help us grow, hiring a new full-time Scrum Master or training someone internally.

What I'm curious to know is when is it better to get a contract Scrum Master on board, and when is it best to try and train or hire a full time Scrum Master? Does anyone have experience with this? Is there a rule of thumb I should follow to decide when a contractor or internal Scrum Master would be better?

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I believe finding a ScrumMaster from outside is very beneficial, especially if you do not have any inside your organization at this time. It allows them some honeymoon period to ask some tough questions about why you do certain things or struggle with certain Agile aspects. Maybe they have an idea or experience of how to solve it from past company. I would also hope that they become a member of your team, not just a part time consultant that is considered temporary.

There are often misconceptions about the role of this person and so people often throw the role on someone internally (often after a 2 day class) and then do not get the full benefit of the ScrumMaster because that internal person has no mentors, unless you plan on complimenting the internal growth, with a Scrum Coach to mentor this new role.

As a ScrumMaster, this person would be committed not only to the meeting facilitations and impediment removal, but to help the team, product owner and stakeholders to continuously improve the agile process, especially if you are "in transition". They are an agile evangelist, always looking for new ideas on how to improve, not just support the basic scrum process. This is also why it is important to recognize that not only knowledge, but the personality of the person put in this role is very important, since much of the job is dealing with people, not the process.

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  • Thanks very much for your thoughtful answer, Erin. Very helpful. – Ciaocibai Jan 17 '12 at 9:32
  • I'm glad that I answered then! – Erin Beierwaltes Jan 26 '12 at 16:58
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My choise would be to train someone as a Scrum Master from within an organisation. And the reason for that is that a contract Scrum Muster would have to learn an organisation's culture, procedures, principals. He would have to be "introduced" to the organisation.

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All that depends on the team. If you feel there is sufficient bandwidth with the team, then you can well choose one of them as scrum master.

If you have a less numbered team than required, then in that case it is always suggestible to get the scrum master from external source as professionally he would be dedicated to this job.

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