Inevitably Agile

somethings are just inevitable …

The SHU Scrum Master

This post is part of a series on the Growth Path of a scrum master:

(1) The Growth Path of a Scrum Master

(2) The SHU scrum master

(3) The HA scrum master

(4) The RI scrum master

(5) Evaluate yourself : Scrum Master Shu Ha Ri Test

A fairly new scrum master – usually they have completed the 2 day CSM course and possibly done some reading. I recall some of the things I did whilst in SHU state and cringe. This scrum master thinks they know everything about scrum. They quote from books and make statements like “that’s not scrum”, “you’re wrong, this is how it works” and “the book says…”. Often these scrum masters think they are in Ri – and thus as they know everything they can break some rules or bend them quite a bit.

When under stress or pressure this scrum master often falls back to command and control – this might be in the tradional project management way or in a more mother hen way. This scrum master when time pressured will ensure everything “looks” right. The meetings will be scheduled, the task board looks perfect. They drop creating a self-organising team and other soft skills. Another common sign is dropping the retrospective and rather going straight into another sprint.

Some other signs – extending the sprint by a day or two to accommodate the team, business critical delivery etc. They struggle with allowing the team or individuals to fail in order to grow. They see the team failing a sprint as a sign that they are personally failing and thus do everything they can to get a successful sprint.

Do you agree with my description? How would you describe a scrum master in shu? What are other signs?

From Jeff Sutherlands post:

In the Shu state, the scrum master sets up the process, helps the team get to a sustainable pace with known velocity and uses the Retrospective to introduce change that improves velocity.

In my next post I will explain my thoughts about the scrum master in Ha.


8 responses to “The SHU Scrum Master

  1. Scrimmers January 24, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I love this.. I look at my first Scrum Team experience as an SM and shudder, I was a stand up NAZI!. You’re spot on about the personal responsibility aspect, I’d visibly show frustration and disappointment at lack of progress an failing sprints.

    Thankfully I’ve worked with some great people who showed amazing patience, learned from other Scrum Masters and the community what a Scrum Master ought to be.

    Great Post

  2. Austin Fagan (@austin_fagan) January 24, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Nice post. The first team I scrummastered was pretty self-organising, so a bit of milkrun. Then I did 12 iterations with a team who were the exact opposite in every sense. And I most definitely ticked all the SHU boxes on a daily basis.
    I would say another sign is using retrospectives to push through the actions you think are appropriate rather than listening to the team.

  3. Pingback: The HA Scrum Master « Inevitably Agile

  4. Pingback: The RI Scrum Master « Inevitably Agile

  5. Pingback: The Growth Path of a Scrum Master « Inevitably Agile

  6. Pingback: Evaluate yourself : Scrum Master Shu Ha Ri Test « Inevitably Agile

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