The last few weeks have been a whirlwind! I began shadowing the existing Scrum Master on my new team about 6 weeks ago and have officially been in her shoes for 2 weeks. It was fantastic having those 4 weeks to slowly ramp into my new role and ramp out of my previous one – totally recommend this approach for anyone who has the opportunity! This buffer time also gave me the chance to sit on the sidelines and assess where I could start offering value – in due time! I definitely didn’t want to jump right in and start making changes. The rule of thumb I was recommended:

  • Observe the team for 4 weeks while previous Scrum Master is in place
  • Continue to observe for 2 weeks once I’m in the role
  • Work with the team to discuss and prioritize areas for improvement (remembering that the TEAM must drive all improvements – these are not MY improvements to force!)

So, how do you go about assessing a team? I did some research on this topic and had a few conversations with some peers. What I found that it really boils down to? The Agile Manifesto. If you’re a seasoned Scrum Master, you’re familiar enough with The Agile Manifesto to sense when something just isn’t jiving with it’s spirit. And if you’re not, you’ll get there. But the key tenet is that when you notice that thing that is out-of-whack, don’t sweep it under the rug – jot it down and digest it.

Need something a little more tangible? So did I 🙂 My mentor shared this handy checklist with me:

Scrum-checklist (Kniberg)[1]

Here’s how it might look once completed:


So, now you’ve got yourself a nice little list of potential improvement areas. Remember, these belong to the team – NOT YOU. In the next post about Retrospectives, we’ll chat about how to work (or not work) these items into a prioritized list of actionable items.

Happy Scrumming!