Top 32 Scrum Master Anti-Patterns That Should Be Avoided

Abhay Singh
7 Min Read
Top 32 Scrum Master Anti-Patterns That Should Be Avoided

A Scrum Master has a critical role in an organisation’s overall Agile or Scrum implementation success. There is a mastermind behind the successful implementation of Agile transformation on a large scale. It is often claimed that if the job of a Scrum Master is not clearly understood, then change as expected to be carried out is bound to fail.

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Nevertheless, many individuals are playing the role of Scrum Masters who don’t follow the principles of the Scrum framework. Scrum Guide should be followed in letters and spirit by the Scrum ® Master, and if there is any violation of the same (called Anti-patterns), it will negatively impact the set organisational goals. Anti-patterns result in hampering progress and slowing down the achievements of the company.

While the Scrum Anti Patterns Scrum Anti Patterns may seem to be a quick-fix solution to the challenge at hand, not following the principles of the Scrum ® framework, in the long run, will impair the teamwork, eventually causing the Scrum ® Master undue pressure and stress.

This article outlines the Top 32 Scrum ® Master Anti-Patterns that one should look out for a while carrying out Agile or Scrum transformation in the organisation. So, let us see the comprehensive list:

Top 32 Anti-Patterns That Should Be Avoided

  1. No sufficient ability to coach the Product Owner
  2. Scrum ® Master who follows a style of Command-and-Control Leadership
  3. Scrum ® Master who takes updates from the product development team at the time of Daily-Standup, contrary to the fundamental objective of a Daily-Standup
  4. When they allow spillover of the respective work to subsequent prints
  5. When they are always reluctant to take even partial credit for unfinished work in the current sprint by splitting story points
  6. Who allows for burnout of the Product Development Team
  7. Scrum ® Masters doing their job without actually believing or following the values and principles of Agile and Scrum
  8. When they tend to conduct Sprint retrospectives always in the same fashion
  9. Scrum ® Master when they play the role without having an idea about the behavioural aspects of their position that requires equal attention
  10. A scrum ® Master follows the wrong path if they solve the challenges for the team members without even giving them a chance to participate and do it by themselves
  11. Showcasing to stakeholders about the working software while in the Sprint Review
  12. When they don’t make any effort to create awareness of the Agile Engineering practices to be followed by the team
  13. When they don’t follow Timeboxing
  14. Allowing the managers of the company to attend Sprint Retrospectives review
  15. Assigning significant and extensive tasks directly to the Development team members
  16. When he abuses his position to influence team estimates
  17. Pushing the team to make unnecessary commitments for Sprint deliverables
  18. When a Scrum ® Master does the planning for the development team themselves instead of trying to guide the team on the plan
  19. Practice biasness among team members and is arbitrary in assigning tasks
  20. When they act authoritatively
  21. When they don’t possess the requisite knowledge on how to implement Agile/Scrum
  22. Provide solutions for the team without giving them the freehand to come up with their solution
  23. Allowing members to work on tasks other than those assigned during the Sprint Planning
  24. Hide relevant information from the team
  25. Starts playing the role of a manager
  26. Doesn’t listen to the issues of the team during Sprint Retro and only pushes their viewpoints
  27. When they start explaining each of the points raised in Sprint Retro
  28. micro-managing the team
  29. When they create poorly organised minutes of meeting for the daily standup
  30. Poorly managing the Triple Constraints, i.e., Scope, Cost, and Schedule
  31. Despite not possessing the bandwidth, it plays the SM role for multiple development teams.
  32. Plays their SM role without understanding the role of an Agile Coach on the team

The role of a Scrum ® Master requires them to wear many hats and take up multiple roles. In the daily life of their job as a Scrum ® Master, they need to play various functions like:

  • Servant-Leader
  • Facilitator
  • Coach
  • Conflict negotiator
  • Manager
  • Mentor
  • Teacher

But a great and successful Scrum ® Master knows and has the experience to play the proper role at the right time. When one understands the diversity of parts to be played by them in diverse situations of leading a team, they become capable of facilitating their team to apply Scrum principles effectively and efficiently. This is the true success of being a qualified Scrum Master.

Final Thoughts

It requires a lot of expertise and understanding to play the role of Scrum ® Master to achieve organisational goals. However, it is unfortunate that too many can quickly fail an individual as a Scrum ® Master in their role. The abovementioned are some of the Top 32 Anti-Patterns that scrum masters should read and comprehend where they are going wrong. When they understand their mistakes and avoid these Scrum ® Anti-Patterns, they will only be able to achieve success.

A Scrum ® Master has to face a range of challenges daily. Some additional challenges that add up to it are a lack of organisational support, inexperienced team members, and internal conflicts that are hard to resolve.

Thus, a Scrum Master role is difficult to execute at large-scale organisations. It is equally essential for the product development team to stand by the Scrum ® Master and offer their sincere support wherever necessary. After all Scrum ® framework is a group activity in the end.

We hope it was a helpful article for the readers. Don’t forget to share it with others if you like it.

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By Abhay Singh Journalist
Abhay has been with News Waker for over a few months and has covered various topics, from politics to business to sports. He is known for his engaging writing style and ability to explain complex issues in a way that's easy to understand.