Back when I was a project manager, I asked the question, “Are you done yet?” on a frequent basis. A person being done with his work meant the next action could happen—either the next person could do her work, or I could do my part and communicate something to a client. Managing a project meant seeing the entire Rube Goldberg process of getting work done: knowing what was in progress, what would happen next, and making sure the steps happened like they should.
Recently a developer told me that in his experience with Scrum, he has been asked this same question by Scrum Masters. I’m sure those Scrum Masters had good intentions, and I wish they’d asked a different question.
Becoming a Scrum Master is not easy. It means becoming a different kind of leader. And as difficult as it is to make the transition to being a Scrum Master, it is also difficult for others to see us in that new role. That is why the questions we ask matter so much. If we use the same language as we did before Scrum, the transition will be harder. I wonder what the Scrum Masters wanted to know when they asked, “Are you done yet?” I hope it was, “How can I help you?”
What other questions might a Scrum Master ask?