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A new Scrum Master has come on board to support transformation activities of my workflow and is running day-to-day. Team has warmed up to him, but this has all coincided with a very quiet period at work where they are not under pressure to deliver. Statistically, less work is being delivered overall since the new Scrum Master came on board than from when I was running it.

With an exception of a minority, the team are however now being openly critical of my abilities and treating me disrespectfully, not acknowledging the support I have given them during very heavy periods in terms of work load, this has been negatively affecting me, since I am finding them unappreciative and thankless. It has also started to make me feel depressed and resentful towards this team. I also find them to be short-sighted given current circumstances being favourable to new Scrum Master.

I have expressed my concerns to new Scrum Master, but generally find him to be unempathetic and very cocky given his recent success.

Short of escalating my line manager is there anything else I can do?

This team has a history of turning on other Scrum Masters before me following a period of stress.

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    What led to the change in Scrum Masters? What was their attitude toward you shortly after you had taken over? – John Spiegel Feb 18 at 18:40
  • Team were happy after I took over initially and were complaining about previous SM (like they are doing to me now). Management felt a new SM to work with me will freshen things up. – bobo2000 Feb 18 at 18:46
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    What is your role within the team? – UnhandledExcepSean Feb 18 at 18:48
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    What exactly are you trying to accomplish? – DaveG Feb 18 at 18:51
  • @DaveG a less contentious, respectful environment. – bobo2000 Feb 18 at 18:56
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Team has warmed up to [the new Scrum Master], but this has all coincided with a very quiet period at work where they are not under pressure to deliver. Statistically, less work is being delivered overall since the new Scrum Master came on board than from when I was running it.

You seem to be dismissing the success the new Scrum Master had with your team. What is the new Scrum Master doing differently? Perhaps the team is unhappy with you, because they were asked to work beyond their capacity? Or work wasn't lined up properly pressuring team members to work extra to meet deadlines? I would seek the answer to these questions and more.

With an exception of a minority, the team are however now being openly critical of my abilities and treating me disrespectfully, not acknowledging the support I have given them during very heavy periods in terms of work load, this has been negatively affecting me, since I am finding them unappreciative and thankless.

I may be a bit idealistic, but, with my team, we don't commit to work beyond our capacity and we leave a little slack to deal with unexpected work such as a critical customer issue, etc. We use that slack time to work on side projects such as reducing technical debt, researching new technologies or whatever the team wants to work on. If we had to be constantly fire fighting, that's just too stressful of a work environment to stay in.

The Scrum Master and other technical leaders are meant to be servant leaders caring about the growth of the people they work with. The fact you're maximizing output is likely the reason why your team is unhappy. Listen to the feedback they are giving you. People > Process. Make the process work for the people and not make people fit into the process.

There is a possibility that the team is "lazy" and they're not producing as much as they should be, but given that the management has opted to swap out Scrum Masters indicates to me that this is not the case.

  • He has had favourable conditions, as I said it remains to be seen how the team reacts once the workload becomes stressful due to the nature of the business. Historically, it’s at this point every scrum master gets thrown under the bus. This team has done this on 3 separate occasions so I know the problem isn’t me with it being a common theme. The guy was brought on board due to the dysfunctionality of the team. – bobo2000 Feb 19 at 8:59
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It may be difficult, but take the high road. Trying to petition support from people you feel have turned against you is likely to backfire. Pleading your case is like telling someone who doesn’t like mushrooms why they should—you’re not going to change their mind and will annoy them in the process. And be supportive of the new SM. Belittling him is just going to make you look petty. Take some time to reflect on their criticism. Ideally, there’s one or two you can engage with. If you do so absolutely do not defend what your position had been. You would effectively be telling them they’re wrong and escalating.

Instead, start in with the idea that you know they’ve mentioned a particular problem. You’re always trying to learn and you’d like to better understand what you could have done. For example, you could start with something fairly innocuous like,

“I had meant this to achieve A, but now I see it turned out to end up as B. If I had done ___ would that have helped?”

Even that statement starts off combative in the sense that it begins phrasing about your intentions. If you flip the first two phrases to,

“I see from what you said that we wound up in state B. I’m sorry, I had really intended for us to get to A, but my method fell short. If I had...”

Once you’ve built some goodwill on this, come up with a plan and take that to your manager. Again, your goal is not to show him he was wrong for switching SMs. Your goal is to show that you did accomplish things and you have learned more valuable lessons. This may put you in line once things get tough again and a “fresh” perspective is to be introduced.

As an aside, that changing ring master ever time challenges come up is a bit of a red flag. Fresh perspectives can have value, but not every storm should is best addressed by changing course.

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