How Many Scrum Teams

Apr 9, 2018 by

How Many Scrum Teams

How many teams could a Scrum Master Scrum If A Scrum Master Could Master Scrum?

This question has been around way before I ever started practicing Agile Scrum. It is not an easy question to answer as there’s a number of variables that need to be examined to come up with an answer…so, it’s one of those; “It Depends.”

How experienced is the Scrum Master? Obviously, a new Scrum Master has a ton of things to learn before they can truly “master scrum” ( I put that in quotes as there’s always more to learn). So, the more teams a new Scrum Master has, the less time they have to learn the skills required to really help the scrum teams. Beyond that, the more teams any Scrum Master has limits the amount of time for continuous improvement on a team and organizational level.

How experienced are the scrum teams?  When you go through my Agile Scrum training, or any Scrum training for that matter, you’ll learn the basic principles of Agile Scrum; however, you will not learn the “art” or the intricacies of Agile Scrum. The stuff that truly makes Agile Scrum work is not classroom taught. It is a continuous learning process where relationships are built or strengthened and processes are tested and then accepted, or rejected. Consequently, a new team needs a lot of coaching help. The more of these types of scrum teams a Scrum Master has the less opportunity there is for the Scrum Master to coach and the longer it will take for the team(s) to get to where they need to be.

How mature is the organization in Agile Scrum? One of the many hidden tasks of a “Good Scrum Master” is organizational coaching. Continuous improvement isn’t just for Scrum Teams. The amount of time required by a Scrum Master can vary from organization to organization depending on their “scrum maturtity level;” however, time is required at any level…hence continuous improvement. Obviously, the more teams a Scrum Master has the less time they have to devote to organizational continuous improvement. This involves working within the organization (Scrum Master Communities) and outside the organization where new ideas can be generated for the organization as a whole.

So, you’re saying, ok ok…so How many teams could a Scrum Master Scrum If A Scrum Master Could Master Scrum?

Well, here is Scrum Master Steve’s educated opinion:

New Scrum Master: One team period. There’s simply too much to learn if they’re ever going to be an effective Scrum Master.

  • Now the variables assuming organizational maturity is not low.
    • Experienced Scrum Master standing up new teams. One to Two teams max.
    • Experienced Scrum Master coaching seasoned teams. Three teams max.

Why three max you may ask? Well here is a link to some of the basic things a Scrum Master does (or should do). A lot of times, people and organizations truly think it’s all about facilitating meetings. But there’s a lot more a Scrum Master should do to develop “good scrum!” [link]

Also, the debate is alive and well on the internet on how many scrum teams one Scrum Master can manage. Here are a few interesting ones that I have found:

I like this one; first it uses a sports analogy, second it puts some numbers and dollars behind it:

https://www.infoq.com/articles/case-dedicated-scrum-master

I like this one because it is close to what I was saying above; however, I truly believe based on my experience that a seasoned Scrum Master working with seasoned teams can coach up to 3 teams.

http://www.velocitypartners.net/blog/2017/08/08/many-teams-can-scrum-master-handle/

A nice bulleted list of Scrum Master duties:

http://agiletrail.com/2011/11/14/42-tasks-for-a-scrum-masters-job/

There are other articles out there with arguments for one Scrum Master and One Team. I believe having one team is somewhat limiting based on many factors, so I’ve not included any of those. But, you can search and find them if you’re interested.

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