Should you rotate the Scrum Master Role?

I have heard a couple of point of views on this topic. Some think the role of scrum master needs to be consistently with one person and one person only. This is much like the role of a Project Manager in the non-scrum based models.

Others tend to think, that since Scrum master is just a facilitator , the role should be rotated among the team members, so more people get to be the “servant leader” of the team. 

I am more in the middle of Mike Cohen’s school of thought. I think that in my house we can rotate who can clean the table after dinner, or who washes the dishes. However i would not dare rotating who cooks the dinner.  i know that if we as a family need to eat good food, i’d let my wife cook. The only exception is when she is sick, or when i’d like to cook just on a sunday to let her relax for a while.

I think the same analogy could be used for the Rotation of Scrum master role. You should only do it, for a short period of time, for a specific purpose only.

Some good reasons to rotate it could be.

  • With time the team can begin to treat this position as their manager. This can lead to the Scrum master acting more like a manager, and this can result into the Team members losing their self management discipline. By rotating the responsibility at the start of each sprint, we can restore the balance of power.
  • if team members are struggling to understand the duties of the ScrumMaster, they may want to consider rotating each team member through the role. This may allow each to develop an understanding of what it means to be a ScrumMaster.

There are too many problems with a constant rotation policy of Scrum masters, and should only be done to achieve a specific purpose and never for too long.

Also don’t fall into the trap of giving someone the role of ScrumMaster who is not really for scrum, this will not “convert” them. It could rather be counter productive.

One thought on “Should you rotate the Scrum Master Role?

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