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I've been working as a developer in a small company for 4 years now. I joined a scrum team a year and a half ago. Everything is going pretty smoothly so far.

This scrum team is located in two different locations, in two different countries. Therefore, the company decided to split the team into 2, so that each team contains only local (to make communication smoother between people).

A few days back, my manager offered me the position of Scrum Master for my team. But when I went to discuss the matter with him, the subject of a raise came up. He answered that he had not thought about offering a raise.

He then explained, that he thought of giving people a raise when they perform at a job, as opposed to when they get new responsibilities.

If I don't disagree with getting a raise when performing a job, I wonder if I should accept this offer without any raise? I mean, the task seems interesting, but it involves more responsibility and potentially more stress. This makes me unsure if it is worth taking the risk, as there is no guarantee of a raise later (either because I don't perform well enough or because my manager will then say that I should have negotiated from the beginning or whatever).

For the people with some scrum knowledge, I know that a Scrum Master is part of a DEV team and not the boss of the team. However in this company, Scrum Master positions usually look like bosses without the hierarchical privilege. This again doesn't bothers me. But again, do you think it's worth taking the risk ? Shouldn't the company also "take the risk" of believing in its employees it offers position to, by giving them a raise ? :)

Any advice in this situation ?

  • Sounds like you don't trust you manger. Has your manager lied to you in the past? – paparazzo Nov 10 '15 at 6:04
  • @Socrates If you want to help new users with defining the scope of their question please do so with a modicum of respect. There's no need to be so dismissive of the OP and risk scaring him off the site. The post could use some cleanup but the core questions "Should I accept a promotion without a raise" and "How should I negotiate a raise when I'm offered a promotion out of the blue" are both useful and on-topic. – Lilienthal Nov 10 '15 at 10:16
  • Anyway, welcome to the site OP. I want to point out that we generally encourage you not to accept an answer too quickly. You may want to give other people a chance to submit an answer as well and accepting early tends to discourage other people from replying. You are free to change or remove the mark-as-answered tick at any time and you may want to do so and wait one or two days before evaluating the answers you received and accepting the one that you found the most helpful. – Lilienthal Nov 10 '15 at 10:18
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    @Lilienthal Thanks for the tips. I'm coming from SO where questions are more likely to be accepted quickly. But you're right, WSE addresses more debatable subjects, worth waiting a bit more. – xla Nov 10 '15 at 10:25
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    I might add an answer later but in the meantime have a look at these external articles (they're what I'd base an answer on): my company is promoting me without discussing salary and refusing more work unless you get a raise or promotion – Lilienthal Nov 10 '15 at 10:46
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I feel like I'm qualified to answer this question, because this was exactly what happened to me a few months ago, except that my title became SCRUM MASTER/team lead. From the last paragraph of your question, it sounds like you're in the same position.

The short answer is yes. Go for it.

Although no pay raise, it shows that the company trusts in your ability to be able to do this higher position. And that tells a lot when you look for your next job. And certainly make you look better on your CV.

By accepting this offer, you get to do work beyond development. And this will make you qualified to apply for a higher position job - normally with more pay - later in your career.

So do and do well in the new role, the money will come later - not necessary in the same company.

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    And I would also add that if you perform good in the new position, you can expect a larger pay rise than just performing well in the old position. – dyesdyes Nov 10 '15 at 3:20
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    Just to add to this answer and specifically the final paragraph, when your boss says he hasn't thought about a raise, most companies now need to realise that if they train or assign additional duties/responsibilties to staff, they need to realise they become far more employable and therefore some element of retaining must be considered, be it monetary or other benefits. Don't reject the offer if there is no raise, use it as a learning experience and if no raise comes, look elsewhere – Mike Nov 10 '15 at 11:31
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    So do and do well in the new role, the money will come later - not necessary in the same company. Well put, and spot on. Never turn down a chance to develop your skill set, especially if it lets you break out of a purely technical role into a tech/management capacity, provided that's what you want. – DevNull Nov 10 '15 at 14:16
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    My experience is the money doesn't come later if you accept the promotion without it. At least not without a lot of pushing for it. I usually accept a temporary assignment and if it is working after a month or so, push to either be promoted with a salary increase or reassigned back to my old duties. – HLGEM Nov 10 '15 at 15:49
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The answer entirely depends on your career goals. If you are actually interested in being a Scrum master (and later possibly a manager) go for it even if there is no immediate pay raise. It will be a door-opener for you.

On the other hand if you prefer to stick with technical work, decline it - raise or no raise.

  • I would agree. Go for it, even without the raise. If boss says he gives raises based on performance, now is the chance. Plus would look good on resume – Dan Shaffer Nov 11 '15 at 16:34
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As noted elsewhere, you can develop new skills. These will make you attractive (at a higher rate of pay) to a different organization.

Additionally, your current employer is likely to realize that you are now more valuable. As such, future raises with them may be larger. This happened to me several years back: After a couple years on the job, some technical lead duties were assigned to me (I didn't even ask for them ... or really want them, but was told I'd be doing the work whether I took the title or not). When my manager told me I was being given these extra duties, he also said there was no raise attached - before I even had a chance to ask. However, the size of my future pay increases was roughly double the percentage it had been before I took on the extra work. Also, the employer provided an "out-of-cycle" (six month review and raise, instead of annual) raise after I had taken on the new role.

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A better skill to learn would be to be able to ask for more money when you can justify the benefit to the company. Your boss did sort of open the door that you may be up for a raise at the end of this project when you show you can do the job. Have that discussion and get some level of commitment on how you will be evaluated and when a decision could be made to offer a raise later one.

I think this also depends on whether or not this is an additional responsibility or just a different one. If you're asked to be the Scrum Master and perform as a programmer as much as before, you could be setting yourself up for failure or a disproportionate amount of work. You could blame a SM for a failed project, but the person who fell behind is more likely to be blamed.

Like others said, it is good if this is a career path you want and makes your CV look better, but it comes with a price.

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