What’s The One Question A Scrum Master Must Ask?

What’s The One Question A Scrum Master Must Ask?

When interviewing for a new Scrum Master or similar position, we can often intuit much about the position, the team and the company from those many little clues which offer themselves. But one thing often less obvious, and so, worth asking about is:

“How does the blockers’ pipeline work here?”

The key role of the Scrum Master is to facilitate the escalation (and to some extent, resolution) of blockers a.k.a. impediments – problems noted by the team but not actionable / fixable by them because the root cause lies outside their span of control.

Some organisations will already have a pipeline or process for escalating such “blockers”. Many more will not, not often understand the need for one and the role of non-team people in that process.

The prospective Scrum Master may want to see how the land lies before committing to a position in an organisation that is not ready or able to institute an effective blockers’ pipeline.

– Bob

  1. The beauty of a true cross-functional team with a Scrum Master is that blockers and root causes should be found with free wheeling brainstorming on a white board. If it’s out of their control, they have to find a way or person that controls the blocker.

  2. You’ve hit the nail on the head. The answer(s) that you get will tell you a lot about how capable the organization is in dealing with problems.

    Impediments matter (wrote about that inhttp://www.benlinders.com/2015/handling-impediments-why-it-matters/) and organizations that claim to be agile need to have things in place to deal with them. Although the Scrum masters plays a role in this, (s)he is very much depending on what’s there in the organization. So it’s good to know what to expect.

    I’ve seen organizations that would look at the Scrum master being puzzled, maybe even surprised like “that’s why we are hiring you” if they ask this question. If your ambition is to lift the whole organization to a higher level, by all means, take the job and go for it. But consider yourself warned, this is going to be a very tough if not impossible and unreasonable quest.

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