We have talked about Scrum and Agile.  However, some guidance helps us improve our odds or success.  That is an essential part of becoming a better developer.  In this episode, we look at scrum master anti-patterns and position the team for improvement and success.

No Retrospective

Everyone needs a plan to be productive in pursuit of a goal.  Our goal of improving with each sprint will be impossible to achieve without assessing how we are doing.  That is what a retrospective provides.  When we skip the retro, we are embracing the worst of the scrum master anti-patterns.  There are situations where we are pressed to skip over this “additional meeting.”  However, it is a key factor in our improvement and should be viewed as a requirement that cannot be removed.

Lack Of Support

The scrum master is tasked with clearing obstacles for the team members.  That responsibility is served by listening to team members, assessing issues, and getting those obstacles out of the way.  When a scrum master does not handle these jobs, then it falls to the team to get it done.  This disrupts the flow, pulls members away from their sprint tasks, and generally bogs down the team.  Productivity and velocity will be impacted and reduce the value of the process.

Flow Disruption

An important piece of the scrum puzzle is team focus.  This factor gives us the steady availability of resources for each sprint to compare apples to apples from sprint to sprint.  That is where positives and negatives are the most visible.  When we have a varied amount of time and resources for each sprint, it keeps us from comparing progress.  That also makes it impossible to provide valid estimates of target dates.  We must have a known level of resources to match our estimates and achieve a target date.  Otherwise, we are trying to hit a moving target.


The scrum master is the guardian of the development team.  This combines with flow disruption as two scrum master anti-patterns that are team obstacles.  Therefore, they go against the core reason for the role of a scrum master.  The more the dev team can be freed to focus on tasks, the more productive they are.  That is almost a direct definition of increasing sprint velocity.

Learn More About Scrum

Challenge of The Week: Which of these do you see in your team?  How will you fix it?

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a longtime student of technology as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is a founder and principle of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although a few have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax.

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