How Is Scrum Master Success Measured...

scrum-masterIn order to measure a scrum master's success, you need to start by defining success. Success is very subjective. Measuring scrum master success needs to start by defining what that should look like. Webster dictionary defines success as "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose". So what is a Scrum Master's purpose? Is is to simply facilitate events?


The Scrum Master's purpose according to the scrum guide is to ensure Scrum is understood and enacted. They do this by ensuring that the Scrum Team adheres to Scrum theory, practices, and rules. They help those outside the Scrum Team understand which of their interactions with the Scrum Team are helpful and which aren’t. The Scrum Master helps everyone change these interactions to maximize the value created by the Scrum Team. They are also responsible for:
  • Coaching the Development Team in self-organization and cross-functionality;
  • Helping the Development Team to create high-value products;
  • Removing impediments to the Development Team’s progress;
  • Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed;
  • Coaching the Development Team in organizational environments in which Scrum is not yet fully adopted and understood.
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Measuring Success....

So how is a scrum masters success measured? It's starts with you laying out success factors. You can't define your success with someone else's guide. With that said you could look into what others are doing and how they define it for themselves to come up with your own factors.   Jeff Kosciejew  lists three factors he outline for his own success.  They are:
  1. Did the team deliver production ready software this Sprint?
  2. Was everyone happy with, and proud of what they achieved?
  3. Did we improve our way of working (e.g. did we deliver more value than in the previous Sprint?)
Dominc Krimmer's success factors is measured in business impact, and has his own definition of what that impact should be. He believes as a scrum master, you should focus on the business, not just the team. [optin-monster-shortcode id="aidp9pziclmkfyaj"]

Success Factors

Here are some success factors I use and recommend when setting your success path. I am a big believer in how well my team looks and does, reflects on me so I am always asking myself these questions. Drum roll.... How well is my team communicating? Communication is important for the success of team and of the sprint.  The better the team communicates the better the chances the project has. How well do we as a team collaborate? Team collaboration is essential. If you have team members resistant to collaborating, will open the door to dysfunctional behavior. Is my team happy to be here? Is your team happy to be walking in and be part of the team? Or are they dragging in and doing the motions? Happiness is visible. Do you see your teams laughing and sharing? Do they play pranks on one another? How well is my team executing sprints? Is my team finishing all the work they said they do in a sprint? Occasionally they may slip, but are they slipping consistently? Are you seeing some more committed to completing work than others? How well am I removing impediments? How fast you're removing impediments is easy enough to determine. You should have a list by impediment date and resolved date.  If impediments are taking you too long to resolve, you need to get to the root cause of this. Are your relying on someone else to resolve them, if so are they the bottleneck? What is the quality of the increment at the end of each sprint? Another easy measurement. Look at your teams sprint backlog, do you see unit testing, peer reviews, or testing tasks? If so, how stable was the demonstration of the increment at the review? How many defects hindered the review? Does my team feel like they are being heard? Everyone needs to be heard to feel like they are part of something. Are you listening to your team? I like to have one on ones with the team members to make sure they feel they are heard. Is my team self organized? Is the team very dependent on you to facilitate all events? When teams are self organized it is extremely noticeable. They make independent decisions and seldom consult you. How well is the team solving its problems? What do you do when your team members say they have no need for the retrospective? If you agree with them, you're not challenging your team. I like to challenge my teams to follow best practices, such as peer reviews. I am always looking to take them one more level of improvement.

Why Measuring Scrum Master Success

Measuring your success as a Scrum Master is important because it helps you improve. If you don't know where you are, there is no way you can improve.

"I have been struck again and again by how important measurement is to improving the human condition."   Bill Gates

Continuous improvement is as Agile as it gets! This concept is not only for teams, it applies to the scrum master as well.

Test and Experiment

I use different techniques to get the answers to my questions above. I use a lot of testing to find out where my teams are at. For example to find out how self organized they are, I will skip a Daily Scrum  to see if they take ownership and move without me. To determine how well they are communicating I'll listen in on their conversations when they least expect it. I am constantly experimenting with different techniques. In the daily scrum I may just stay behind the team and wait for them to start. Or I may see who runs the retrospective. During a sprint I take note of specific impediments so I can see if the team brings them up during a retrospective. I wait to hear what solutions if  any the team has come up with and who will take ownership of it. If I don't see the team growing, or I see the team stuck in a polite stage of agreement (what is often times called the "forming" stage of a team) for too long, I look for ways to shake them up to quickly get them to "storming". Storming is the stage when they may be at each other's throats. This is the honeymoon over stage:) As a Scrum Master, you should never stop testing and experimenting to help your team grow, and more importantly to know how well you're doing. Ok, now it is your turn. How do you measure your success as a Scrum Master? Leave me a comment below.