Today I comment and give some tips about what we can do when Scrum Master (SM) is on vacation. Feel free to comment and contribute with news ideas and points of views.
Last year, Ester posted about some cares to take when accumulate roles in Scrum. In this other post she presents us some tips to the SM who is about to go on vacation. In today’s post we will see some tips from development team's point of view.
Scrum Master is a role, not a specific person. When SM goes on vacation it is a good opportunity to improve team's self-organization. If the vacation period is not too big (greater than two Sprints) I believe the SM role could be temporarily played by one or two different people from team.
My team recently passed by such situation. SM’s vacation period was only two Sprints, and during that time only one person took the role.
Other approach would be the development team invites a SM from outside of project. However, we noticed some possible failures at this approach. Let’s see.
Why not to call temporarily a SM from outside of project?
The new SM…
– … does not have project context nor present situation;
– … does not know problems and obstacles;
– … does not know team as well as the team itself.
Therefore, its actions would probably limit to become familiar with project status, be present at meetings, and solve some impediments, but with no project context.
In my opinion, when team is mature it is ideal that one team member takes the SM role in its absence. However stay tuned for role accumulation. Below are some tips.
Tips when accumulate Developer and Scrum Master roles
Here are some tips I believe may contribute:
A) Team and PO should be aware that, during these Sprints, team velocity will probably decrease. Of course, after all one of developers will also play the SM role.
B) During the planning poker, the team must be careful to not overestimate the points of backlog items for fear that Sprint will be "arduous" to have a person working less time in development. The items must continue to be estimated in the same way.
C) Scrum Master may need to solve some impediment, and because of that, it can end up leaving in progress for a long time a task it was developing. To prevent it, is necessary to inform the rest of team that the impediment may take longer than expected and then some other developer should continue the task where it stopped. That scenarios emphasizes the importance of daily meeting, once it is the moment the team know what each one is developing and can plan the strategy for the workday.
In my opinion, if SM went on vacation and your team is small/have experience with Scrum, give the team a chance to fill in this gap!!!
If team is in such conditions, its members will probably not need the SM role all the time. In this case, depending on the context, one person, or perhaps anyone, can meet the demands of SM as they arise.
Let us remember that Scrum is inspection and adaptation. Here is a great opportunity to put this into practice.
Till next post!