New ScrumMasters often try to direct the daily standup until someone explains that they are a servant leader, and it is the team, not the ScrumMaster who owns the daily standup.

The confused ScrumMaster then retreats into the background, not providing much value at all, other than recording blockers and updating burndowns.

Can a ScrumMaster play an active role while being a servant leader?


Active Role for ScrumMaster in Standup

I think a ScrumMaster can provide context to start the standup in a way that helps the team self manage.

Prior to the standup the ScrumMaster should collect relevant data about scheduling, progress (burndowns), work in process (e.g. how much), release progress, etc. Then, using 60 seconds or less, they can kickoff the standup, providing the context that helps the team understand how their efforts fit into the big picture, allowing them to make more effective decisions.

Example of ScrumMaster Providing Context

Here is example of one ScrumMaster providing context…

We have one more sprint prior to our release on October 28th and only five days left in this sprint.

Looking at our list of blockers, there are no open impediments, but looking at our stacked bar burndown and calendar, it appears that we have some trade-offs to make. We have lots of work in progress, and, as we have noted (since Sprint Planning) both Bob and Carly are on vacation next week.  Bob is out all week, and Carly is out Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.


I spoke to our PO Sue, who is offsite today, and she is fine with deferring either Story D or F, leaving it up to you, the team to decide.  Story D has two tasks for which Bob volunteered, so that may help us make a decision (note that the ScrumMaster is pointing out an important fact, not explicitly telling the team what to do).


As always, thank you for letting me kick off our standup, and remember to focus on tasks on the board when answering the three questions.

In Closing

As a servant leader, a ScrumMaster should provide an environment for the team to succeed.  One practical way to do this is to provide context that starts the standup.

Can you see a ScrumMaster providing value like this using 30 to 90 seconds of the teams time at the start of each standup?

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