3 signs that your scrum master is failing the scrum team. Sign 1.

6 Signs Your Scrum Master Is Failing the Team: Sign #1 – Over-Managing the Daily Scrum

In the world of Agile and Scrum, the role of the Scrum Master is pivotal to facilitating team dynamics, ensuring processes are followed, and ultimately guiding the team towards self-organization and efficiency. However, not all Scrum Masters successfully fulfill these responsibilities. Identifying signs of a failing Scrum Master can help teams address issues early on and steer back towards a productive path. This series will explore six critical signs that indicate a Scrum Master may be falling short, starting with the first sign: over-managing the Daily Scrum.

Sign #1: The Scrum Master’s Presence and Facilitation in the Daily Scrum

Understanding the Daily Scrum

Contrary to common misconceptions, the Daily Scrum is not a status report meeting but a just-in-time planning session designed by and for developers. It serves as a platform for team members to synchronize their work and plan for the next 24 hours, akin to a “timeout” in volleyball, where players huddle to strategize their next move spontaneously.

The Role of the Scrum Master in the Daily Scrum

A common pitfall for some Scrum Masters is taking an overly active role in the Daily Scrum, potentially transforming it into a top-down status update rather than a collaborative planning exercise. The essence of this meeting is for the development team to drive the conversation, making decisions and adjustments to their work as needed, without unnecessary intervention.

Educating the Team on the Value of the Daily Scrum

A key responsibility of the Scrum Master is to educate the team on the purpose and benefits of the Daily Scrum, fostering an environment where the team sees the value in leading this meeting independently. The goal is to enhance situational awareness and promote self-management, enabling the team to address challenges and opportunities in real-time.

Indicators of Over-Management

  • The Scrum Master consistently leads the discussion, asking for updates from each team member.
  • Team members direct their updates to the Scrum Master rather than to each other.
  • The atmosphere of the meeting is more about reporting to an authority figure than collaborating as peers.

The Impact of Failing to Empower the Team

When the Scrum Master fails to empower the team to own the Daily Scrum, it can lead to several negative outcomes, including:

  • Reduced team autonomy and initiative.
  • Lower engagement and morale among team members.
  • A diminished sense of accountability and collective responsibility.


The Daily Scrum is a critical component of the Agile process, designed to empower developers to collaborate and make informed decisions about their work. A Scrum Master’s over-involvement in this meeting can stifle team autonomy and hinder the team’s ability to self-organize effectively. By stepping back and focusing on coaching the team to see the value and take ownership of the Daily Scrum, a Scrum Master can contribute to building a more resilient, proactive, and cohesive team. This approach not only aligns with Agile and Scrum principles but also sets the stage for a more dynamic and successful project execution.

About Effective Agile

Ralph Jocham is a Change Agent in Scrum // Agile // Coaching // Evidence Based Management and also a Professional Scrum Trainer based in Europe.

As one of the first Professional Scrum Trainers in the world, Ralph has worked directly with cocreator of #scrum, Ken Schwaber, and has played an integral part in the course development of the #PSPO (Professional Scrum Product Owner) as well as the delivery of all #scrum.org certified courses.

If you’re looking to invest in training that transforms and empowers teams to successfully adopt #scrum or #agile, and create high-performance #productdevelopment environments leveraging the agile values and principles, visit our Professional Scrum Training page.

If you would like to work with Ralph and company as an #agilecoach, #agileconsultant, or powerful change agent to get your team back on track and on the road to high-performance #agile #productdevelopment, connect with Ralph Jocham.

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