17 December 2020

7 Problems in IT Projects a Scrum Master Can Help You With (Case Study)


One of the basic tasks of Scrum Master is to support the team and stakeholders in project development. Unfortunately, stakeholders usually underestimate this responsibility. Support, what does it even mean?

Written code is tangible. Support: not so much. That’s why I would like to describe some problems that the team and you, as an owner, may face and how Scrum Master can help you solve them. I’ll also present you with some challenges I managed to meet in one of my projects.

Hopefully, it will help you decide whether you need a Scrum Master in yours.

Problem 1 – Lack of Decision-making

The first important element is decision-making. It’s you who should describe your requirements, and it’s your team’s responsibility to shape them into ready-made software.

Unfortunately, many clients find decision making intimidating. How to make decisions when you don’t know their consequences? How to ask your team about the consequences and remain a respected partner in the conversation? And how to optimally manage resources in the project if you don’t know a lot about software development?

The Scrum Master is there to find answers to these questions and support you in your decision making.

What happens if you don’t adequately address this problem? The consequences may be as follows:

From your point of view:From the team’s point of view:
- implementation delay
- disappointment and discouragement

Problem 2 – Lack of Collaboration

Speaking from my experience, your responsiveness is the key to keeping the budget and deadline in check. It should be a part of your day-to-day activities.

Even if your team is focused, a lack of answers to the questions arising during the development process can cause, in the long run, discouragement and a decline in productivity.

On the other hand, you also have your own responsibilities, and the never-ending fusillade of questions is annoying, isn’t it?

The truth is that progress and your good relation depend on both of you. That is why you need someone who can take care of the pace of work, constantly and systematically, but not obsessively, inform you about the needs of your team, and set up the boundaries.

What happens if you ignore this problem?

From your point of view:From the team’s point of view:
- no trust in your team
- no engagement
- tense relationship
- feeling of being left-alone

Problem 3 – Unclear Goals

Do you remember what you ate for breakfast four days ago? Probably not. So how can your team remember every detail of their work?

Even if your cooperation is going well, clearly defined and written-down objectives are the basis for achieving success. On the other hand, the programmer deals with the code, and you have your own responsibilities, so can you leave the task list alone? I would advise against such an attitude.

That’s why you need someone who ensures clear distribution of duties.

What happens if you brush aside this issue?

From your point of view:From the team’s point of view:
- waste of time
- no transparent task assignment
- lack of commitment to work
- unclear distribution of duties

Problem 4 – Lack of Scrum Events Leading

There are three rules for project implementation: plan, check, and improve work. Without Scrum Master, they can’t be fully completed.

How so? Without Scrum Events leading, there’s no clear vision of work, and sprint goal remains undefined. Also, without Scrum Master’s support, the Sprint Plan is simply non-existent, and there’s no way to follow or check the progress, meet deadlines, and find issues that can be improved.

What happens if you don’t solve this problem?

From your point of view:From the team’s point of view:
- disorder
- lack of stabilization
- work not finished
- undefined pace of work

Problem 5 – Time-Boxing

Time-boxing is not just a suggestion, but an important element influencing the pace of work. Keeping the Scrum activities under a defined time limit is a difficult task. No one likes it, trust me on that. However, it’s crucial to reduce hold-ups to a bare minimum.

What happens if you decide to disregard time-boxing?

From your point of view:From the team’s point of view:
- distraction
- excessive procrastination

Problem 6 – Inefficient Communication Tool

I can’t stress enough how important it is to establish fruitful communication between you and the team. That’s why you should pay special attention to providing effective and seamless means of communication.

Inefficient communication tools can inhibit cooperation between you and the team, and result in confusion and misunderstandings.

What happens if you don’t choose the right communication tools?

From your point of view:From the team’s point of view:
- a vicious circle
- fatigue and irritability
- lack of sufficient results
- feeling of a busy but unproductive day

Problem 7 – Weak Backlog Management

I have to be honest with you: if you are busy and no one else is responsible for the Backlog, it’s a nightmare for the development team. When Product Backlog is a mess, it gives no work transparency.

Why do you need it? Product backlog registers and prioritises task registration according to your guidelines to ensure that the work is finished. It also assigns team members to the tasks, so everyone knows what to do. It also gives an update on the progress and links to any necessary documents describing requirements and your needs.

What happens if you neglect backlog management?

From your point of view:From the team’s point of view:
- no work transparency
- confusion
- no visible information radiator

Choose The Right Software House and Don’t Worry

There are many other problems, most often related to the internal organization or obsolete tools, which affect the quality and efficiency of developers. However, when choosing a good software house with established internal organizational processes, you do not have to worry about them and focus on your product development.

Read more about how we manage IT projects

Agnieszka Topczewska-Pińczuk
Scrum Master | Project Manager

I believe that anything I do, I do for the end-user. I maximise value by:

- setting a path to the product's goal, helping developers do what they need to do

- frequently inspecting the result of their work to confront assumptions with reality

- adapting to the changing needs of Stakeholders based on feedback and measurable data.

I manage IT products agilely and know how to make your vision a reality. Would you like to work with me?