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How to handle requests coming to the scrum master directly

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

The Dilemma

Let’s say your team is working on user stories in an active sprint.

Another team, stakeholders or maybe even management, comes to you directly as a scrum master and asks for work to be done by your team as soon as possible.

They might even provide you with a specific user story.

What should you do in this scenario?

The short answer is don’t commit your scrum team without checking with them first.

Your reaction might be to just say yes to the incoming request, to be helpful.

However, as a scrum master, your role is to help your team stay focused on the active sprint and protect them from incoming requests that might put that focus at risk.

The Solution

Try to ask questions and understand the value this new request brings and what is the impact if it doesn’t get done.

Once you have a high-level understanding, let the requestor know that you will bring this to your Product Owner's attention. The PO should start refining the request right away.

Let them know your team will need to refine the work first, and that your PO and team might come back with questions.

Once the team refines the user story, you and the PO will be able to provide information on when this work can be done and how long it will take.

Also, let the requestor know for any future requests, they should reach out directly to the Product Owner, since they own the team’s backlog and prioritization.

Stay tuned for more scrum master tips!

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