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Don’t overload your Scrum Master!

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Aka "Absent Scrum Master Anti-Pattern" There is a question that keeps cropping up when talking to clients. It is  “How many teams can a Scrum Master lead?”.  My answer? Just the one.
Let’s take a closer look at why people persist in asking this question, and try to understand better why it is generally a Bad Idea™. 
When a team is running well, everyone is happy, and product is being delivered successfully iteration by iteration, feature by feature. There is comparatively little for the Scrum Master to do aside from day to day housekeeping. Everyone knows how the process works, everyone plays their part. The system chugs along and delivers. The SM appears to have a huge amount of slack, which most organisations believe is a Bad Thing - slack means they need to squeeze out more performance (read “profit”), in this case by giving the SM something else to do. I.e. another team. And maybe another. And another. Or other random responsibilities. Ignoring the bad consequences of su…