High turnover in the team means I am now the only Scrum Master.

  • Senior Management are hesitant to let me take annual leave, which is understandable.

The trouble is, I am seriously starting to burn out to the point that I am now thinking about changing jobs.

What is the best way to handle this situation?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Dan Pichelman, Erik, IDrinkandIKnowThings, Mister Positive, Dukeling Sep 18 '18 at 16:29

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  • 1
    what is A/l? Annual Leave? btw it's not understandable – rath Sep 18 '18 at 14:18
  • Did your team have more than one Scrum Master in the past? What exactly is burning you out? "One Scrum Master" per team is the normal amount, and being Scrum Master for multiple teams mostly just means each team gets less attention, it should not be causing you stress. – Erik Sep 18 '18 at 14:23
  • Yes, Annual leave. – bobo2000 Sep 18 '18 at 14:23
  • @Erik when I joined we had 3, 1 left, another is leaving a month from now. I have not had leave for 5 months now, and the work stream I am Scrum Mastering is very fast paced and intense! – bobo2000 Sep 18 '18 at 14:24
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    3 in a single team? Can you add some context to the question about what it is you actually do as a Scrum Master? This sounds like it deviates very far from what's generally a Scrum Master's responsibility, so making it clear to readers what it is you do will probably help generate more relevant answers. – Erik Sep 18 '18 at 14:25

Senior Management are hesitant to let me take annual leave, which is understandable.

No, this is not understandable. Senior management have engineered (or at the very least, failed to respond to) a situation which has resulted in you having a bus factor of 1. This is their fault, not yours - it is the job of management to be proactive in dealing with this kind of thing.

Therefore what I'd suggest would be:

  • Walk into your manager's office and request some leave.
  • If your manager says "no", explain how you've been under lots of pressure and are starting to feel burned out.
  • If your manager still says "no", start looking for a new job. You can't afford to compromise your health for a job.

If you do end up leaving, hopefully your senior management will learn why treating employees like this is a really bad idea.

  • My colleague suddenly resigned without warning, leaving me. But yes, they should have hired more Scrum Masters in the event that happened. They didn't. – bobo2000 Sep 19 '18 at 19:57

You'll have to talk to your senior management and tell them that they have a choice, do without you for a week or two where you recover, or do without you.

If you think that your job is too stressful, then there are two things you can do: Reduce the stress, or find a job with less stress. That's something you need to talk about; either your management finds ways to reduce the stress, or they'll get into a lot more trouble by losing you altogether.

Remember that working over 40 hours a week is not only bad for you, it is also inefficient because your productivity drops.

One thing that can reduce your stress is just to mentally accept that you will be leaving, maybe not right now, but you will be leaving, and if there is politics going on and people are highly opinionated you just don't give a ****. You know you can leave and leave it all behind you. You know you don't have to care. Do a decent job, and don't care about what people want.

  • working over 40 hours a week is not only bad for you, it is also inefficient because your productivity drops. - a Citation for this statement would greatly impropve this answer.. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Sep 18 '18 at 14:56
  • Funny that you mention about leaving, I am strongly thinking along those lines now. Seriously fed up. I am 1 year into the job, will start searching in 6 months time. – bobo2000 Sep 19 '18 at 19:48

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