Pragmatic Agile Weblog

Agile software development in real life

Yellow and Red Cards: teams like a referee with the Scrum Master

… another idea to improve the interaction between the Scrum Master and the teams…

One of the main goals of the Scrum Master is to help the teams, helping in:

  • applying Scrum and Agile methodologies
  • removing impediments
  • performing good and effective retrospectives
  • in other words… putting mirrors in the software development process

But what happens if the Scrum Master is not really a Master?
The teams:

  • don’t apply Scrum
  • don’t report impediments
  • don’t have good retrospectives with practical action items
  • in other words… don’t improve their way of working

So I had this idea that comes from Soccer rules:
each team has the following 2 cards (yellow and red) and, like the referee in a match, can book with the yellow card or even send off with the red card the Scrum Master.


One rule of Scrum is that the Scrum Master work as a servant leader so if he’s not performing well in this role, he should be fired.

Here are the rules:

  • if the Scrum Master doesn’t help the team for what he is in charge of then the team will show the yellow card
  • if the Scrum Master continues not helping the team after the first yellow card then the team can use the red card and fire the Scrum Master

I think that this approach will help us to work more proactively and better following the road of improvements day by day.

We’re just starting the game and I hope the teams will apply it as an english referee (tipically ignoring small faults but punishing the most serious ones 😉 )

I’ll keep you updated on how it works.

P.S.
After leaving Diego Maradona’s shirt ripped almost to shreds and his ankles lacerated, Claudio Gentile remarked that “football isn’t a game for ballerinas”…. we could say that “Scrum isn’t a game for ballerinas” 😉

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February 11, 2010 Posted by | Agile, Funambol, SCRUM | 1 Comment