Dear ScrumMaster, Are you the one tracking (managing) the progress of your team's work on a daily basis? Should you be?
Here is the result of a survey conducted on LinkedIn (concluded on Jan 4, 2023). According to the 168 people who voted, it seems that most people believe that the Scrum Master is responsible for tracking the progress of the team's work.
The Scrum Guide does not clearly say who should be responsible for this task. But there are some indications. Here are some quotes from The 2020 Scrum Guide ™¹
Under the Scrum Team Section
"Scrum Team is structured and empowered by the organization to manage their own work." It also says "The entire Scrum Team is accountable for creating a valuable, useful increment every sprint."
Under the Developers Section
The Developers are always accountable for:
Under the ScrumMaster Section
The Scrum Master serves the Scrum Team in several ways, including:
Under Daily Scrum Section
The Daily Scrum is not the only time Developers are allowed to adjust their plan. They often meet throughout the day for more detailed discussions about adapting or re-planning the rest of the Sprint’s work.
Given these responsibilities outlined in the Scrum Guide, it seems that we could go with either Scrum Team or Developers. There is no indication that the ScrumMaster or Product Owner be responsible for tracking the progress during the sprint.
Do you see this differently? Apparently 45% of you do. I would love to hear about your reasoning. Please comment or send me a message.
My personal take is that, the developers should be primarily responsible for tracking the progress of their work. However, the ScrumMaster can certainly offer assistance and support in this task. The problem arises when the ScrumMaster is the only person concerned about whether the team will meet the Sprint goal, while the team members themselves do not seem to care. To me this means that ScrumMaster is not effective in coaching which the real responsibility. Instead of coaching the team, they are choosing to manage it themselves. Note that the Scrum Guide explicitly says that the ScrumMaster is responsible for coaching the developers in self management.
It’s like my parenting. I have tried so many ways to get my kids to clean up the mess that is left in the kitchen after they cook the simplest of meals. But they don’t, and I end up cleaning it up myself. Should I keep cleaning up after them? As a parent, I have some easy tools that I can use as in money, privileges, etc. But as a ScrumMaster, I don’t have any of that. So it is difficult to do. What have I seen? More often than not, it is an organizational problem. Based on the conditions that the Developers are working in, it is not always possible to care about the team’s progress at large even if they care. They are not empowered to do so or there is no incentive to do so. In some cases, individuals may be working on 5 other projects and they barely get time to do the work that they are an expert on; let alone looking at what the team at large needs to meet the Sprint goal. A ScrumMaster’s Job is do the investigation in the organization and try changing the conditions in said organization.
Have you encountered a situation where team members were not concerned about meeting the Sprint goal? If so, what did you do to address this issue?
I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this topic.