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5 Things to Do Before the Scrum Master Goes on Vacation

“I need a break!” This is something almost every one of us has felt or said, particularly when we are suffering from overly stress, workload, or boredom. These are the times when people plan vacations. Same goes to your team’s scrum master. May s/he has been planning a trip too; if so, then what are you going to do? Are you going to find a temporary substitute? How are you going to assure work progresses impeccably when the scrum master is taking his time off?

The solution varies; it depends on the time period your Scrum Master will be on break. If your scrum master is going to take a week or so for the vacations, you can manage things without him or her, but things get serious when your scrum master is demanding a month-long holiday.

Whichever is the case, there are things you need to do for making sure that your business processes and projects work smoothly in the absence of your scrum master.

Administrative Minutiae

First of all, you need to take care of the administrative detail to make it certain that your scrum master is entitled to the vacation leaves and is actually paid for it. New enterprises, though, can get caught unawares by the request of their employees for vacation and vacation pay.  There are things that can considerably demoralize an employee, such as expecting vacation pay prior to departure and not getting it eventually.

Find a Replacement

Don’t make your present scrum master get panicked by this news. Enlighten him that this will just be a temporary replacement. Also, ask your scrum master to suggest someone, recommending a known professional will reduce the fear of being permanently replaced.

If your team consists of senior resources who are well-versed with Scrum, not having a Scrum Master for some time will be manageable, provided that the vacation duration should short as up to one week or so. You can also try taking help from a Scrum Master from another team, if possible, or if s/he has an idea about the role that is required to be played and perhaps wants to give this a try in a low-key way.

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Moreover, it’s better to see it more of an opportunity than a problem. This is a great time to shift the role of other team members who are experienced in or appropriately skilled in the role. The role might shift every day or once in a week depending on the duration of vacations.

Keep Transparency

Besides finding a replacement for your present Scrum Master, make sure that your Scrum Master discusses all the expectations with the team before the departure in order to keep cent percent transparency in the project.

Many scrum masters expect their team to use Scrum. Whereas it is a myth that some of the Scrum meetings are conducted just for the Scrum Master. If your people believe that the daily scrums are aimed at providing status updates to the Scrum Master, they will more likely consider it as an “unnecessary” meeting as the Scrum Master is not there.

Therefore, the scrum master before leaving should try to unknot all the issues and misperceptions to have a better coordination before, during and after the vacation.

The Scrum Master also needs to set up some expectations that not all glitches and bugs can be solved normally. Even though a replacement Scrum Master is about to occur, the replacement may not get enough time, skills, or network to resolve an issue as quickly as the Scrum Master on vacations.

Readjust the length of sprints

Another thing to consider is to readjust your team’s sprint length. Changing a team’s sprint length is quite risky as most of the times, the team considers the alterations to be permanent. If your Scrum Master plans for vacation when your team will usually carry out its review, retrospective and following planning meeting, you can postpone the ending part of the sprint by one week.

Remember that the readjustments of sprint-length would be a good option if your team is new to Scrum, and you need your vacating Scrum Master to participate in the sprint events. In contrast, if your team is experienced in the scrum meeting management and can handle things in the absence of its regular Scrum Master; keep the scrum length as they are.

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Ask For Emergency Contact Details

Emergencies occur, out of nowhere. So ask your vacating scrum master to provide his or her emergency contact information. Many of you think that one should be completely disconnected when on vacations, yet it is actually important to be a hero in the eleventh hour, then approaching with your cape when the damage has been done. Moreover, there is a fine line between being unavailable and disconnected.

Scrum Masters are considered as the problem solvers, therefore greater chances are that someone in the team may need to connect with the Scrum Master. It should occur very infrequently but is required to happen occasionally.


Furthermore, giving your Scrum Master an idea that s/he will be contacted at times of emergency, you are saving him or her with the anxiety related to work while on vacation. Most importantly, you should make sure that the emergency contacts are used for emergencies only.

Wrapping It Up

Everybody needs vacations. This is when employees can take relief from all the office workload and worries, and relax with their family, friends, or whomever. Vacations are reported to be a booster in creativity, wellness, and overall well-being. They allow the fatigued employees to recharge their batteries, rejuvenate and recover from the stress and pressures of the office. After enjoying a good vacation, the employee gets back to work with full energy and put his or her best efforts to compensate the absence during vacations, and stays ready to put 150 percent by the next time off.

Considered from this perspective, it’s obvious that assuring that nobody needs to call vacationing employees is only as essential as ensuring that the company runs smoothly without them.

Author Bio: Julia Morison is a headhunter and a research specialist at US-Based Digital Agency. She loves to help people and is the mastermind behind asa citation generator. She is a traveller, a blogger, a techie and a social activist. When she not in her office, she spends her time writing and educating the masses. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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