Part Time vs Full Time Scrum Master - Understand the Role


Part Time vs Full Time Scrum Master - Understand the Role

The role of a Scrum Master is often co-opted by individuals holding other job responsibilities as well. These people are developers and product owners who double up as Scrum Masters because of their firm’s requirements to have one. The Scrum Guide doesn’t have anything that could stop anyone from being a Scrum Master as a part-time resource, however, this often is not efficient for the individual and there are often big pitfalls that make the person’s performance drop on either front its handling.

Individuals often don’t understand the fact that being a developer and a scrum master are two full-time responsibilities and if they are juggling between the two, chances are that they won’t be able to produce the kind of results they are required to in either of these two roles.

Agile Scrum Masters are there to ensure that the team manages the sprint well and meets its targets, however, often this role is just reduced to being a facilitator during scrum meetups. This scenario is definitely not ideal and there are some substantial reasons behind it.

Lets’ go through an overview between a Part-Time and Full-Time Scrum Master and why its not recommended that you don’t opt for it as a part-time role:

Is Being A Part-Time Scrum Master A Possibility?

­Theoretically, the Scrum Guide doesn’t put a bar on whether you can be a part-time Scrum Master. Individuals who have knowledge of Scrums and are currently actively engaged in other job responsibilities like being a product owner often opt for this possibility.

It isn’t that you won’t achieve any sort of success by being a part-time Scrum Master, as you definitely will. But this success is often not optimal and the best teams that manage their sprints with efficiency are quite often led by Scrum Masters who are holding this position full time.

So why is that so? There are three specific disadvantages that accrue from being a part-time scrum master and they are the reason why it’s not recommended to be one.

Scrum Masters Don’t Get The Full Picture When They Themselves Are Part Of Teams

In most organizations where scrums are held, they occur on a daily basis. In these daily scrums, the main focus is on monitoring the progress of the team. If the team is going good and is headed towards the Sprint Goal, then it’s fine, but if it’s not, then the Scrum master will have to impede the process, check for problems, develop a new plan and ensure the team’s alignment with it. The Development team is there to be guided towards its goal and the Scrum Master is the person who facilitates this task.

However, this can only be done if the Scrum Master is on an observer status, operating at a distance and viewing the developments and discussions being made among the development team during the Scrum. If the Scrum Master is there every single time and is the one everyone is reporting to, the actual aim behind the Scrum becomes redundant and that meeting converts to a reporting event.

The Scrum Master has to just see what the problems are that the team is facing, but this task becomes really difficult if the person is itself an active member of the development team. As a member, it will have to contribute towards the Scrum in the role of a developer, thereby putting it at the active end rather than as an observer, which is the actual task of a Scrum Master.

A Scrum Master Is A Wide Ended Job

When the Scrum Master is there in an organization, it’s the person who is in charge of providing different kinds of services to different teams involved in the Scrums. The Developers or Product Owners all rely on the Scrum Master for guidance and direction. Scrum masters are responsible for providing coaching and training services, finding ways to improve work processes and facilitate the adoption of Scrums in other areas of the organization as well.

Scrums can only work to achieve what they set out to if the members have the necessary skills, guidance, and understanding of how Scrums help them. Part-Time Scrum Masters cannot dedicate so much time to their Scrum requirements because they pre-occupied with completing products as developers or ensuring lower costs during production as product owners.

When There Is Pressure, It’s Double-Ended

Let’s assume that a development team needs to get a certain product ready by a certain pre-defined team but they are lagging behind significantly on their targets and it doesn’t seem like they’ll turnaround things unless the Scrum Master is there to assist them.

The part-time Scrum master will find itself in a conflict situation during this because as a developer, it’s in pressure to work harder and put in more time in order to get the product ready, but as a Scrum Master, it also has to put in a lot of effort to ensure that the team gets the guidance required to address the issues its facing.

This will leave you in a position where you won’t be able to pull off the desired results in either of these two roles.

Wrapping Things Up

Through these apparent disadvantages, it’s quite clear that although there is nothing stopping you from being a Part-Time Scrum Master, you most definitely shouldn’t opt for it.

Being a Scrum Master might sound an easy thing to manage but this is a misconception that has harmed organizations more than it has managed to benefit them, so if you really want to be one, ensure that you don’t have any other responsibilities to occupy your efforts.

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