I saw an interesting discussion on a Linked In group about how to measure the effectiveness of a Scrum Master.  Someone suggested velocity should increase.  I violently disagree with that one for a whole bunch of reasons but that’s not the point of this point.

Firstly, I don’t like metrics and measurements as it relates to “productivity” or “measurement” of people.  I don’t know how to measure those and I haven’t heard any valid arguments for doing such.

For argument’s sake, let’s say you need some non-sensical measurement to rate the effectiveness of a Scrum Master because you don’t trust them you want to reward high productivity.

I introduce to you, the Impediment Resolution Metric.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Team has an “impediment”
  2. Put the impediment on a visible impediment wall using a sticky note.
  3. for each hour/day/week/month/year that passes, put a tick on the sticky note.
  4. Have the team define what “done” means for that impediment
  5. Track number of impediment resolutions per hour/day/week/month/year
  6. If the average time-to-resolution of impediments increases, shame the Scrum Master publicly
  7. If the average time-to-resolution of impediments decreases, give the Scrum Master a cookie

Seriously though, how would you know if your Scrum Master is doing Scrum Mastering stuff?  Well, you can start by asking these questions:

  1. Do your team meetings still suck?
  2. Are your retrospectives the same old boring “well, not well, try” that rarely have actionable items attached to them?
  3. Is the team constantly over committing?
  4. Under-committing?
  5. Are you still using a stand-up token like a ball or beanbag?

What do you think?  Can you measure the effectiveness of any employee in knowledge work?