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Scrum Master Performance: 5 important KPIs for evaluation

Scrum masters are like soccer coaches. They make sure that the team successfully completes the right tasks at the right time. Most importantly, make sure that the team is satisfied during the process. This way, they ensure that the entire team - i.e. the department or the organization - achieves its goals. 

But how can Scrum Master performance be evaluated? As with soccer coaches, the question for Scrum Masters is what part they play in the success - or failure - of projects. So how can you measure how well a Scrum Master is leading their team? We take an in-depth look at how you can evaluate Scrum Master performance and which KPIs are relevant.

Isn't a single KPI enough for Scrum Master Performance Review?

The success of a company usually depends on the value of the product supplied and how satisfied customers are with it. These two factors are decisive for how often a product is purchased. Doesn't a Scrum Master therefore have to be measured exclusively on this basis?

Or couldn't you simply conduct Scrum Master performance appraisal by checking whether Scrum Masters are obsolete? After all, if they get the team to work in a self-organized way, evaluate themselves, and put out an excellent product, they have fulfilled their goal. They are then - at least in theory - obsolete.

If you want a quick and simplified solution, then the answer to both questions is "yes".

However, this only scratches the surface of a Scrum Master Performance Review. To find out where Scrum Masters are generating value, you need to look at KPIs that go beyond that. 

This way, you uncover where Scrum Masters are getting the most out of their work - and where they can still improve. This has an impact on the performance of the team and the value of the end product. In turn, this has an impact on customer satisfaction and thus on revenue for your company. Now, let's get into the details! 

Scrum Master Performance KPI #1: Sprint Goals Delivery

The KPI Sprint Goals Delivery reveals whether a team achieves its sprint goals on time. The decisive factor here is whether it can consistently meet the goals set by the development team (DEV) and product owner (PO). 

To measure Sprint Goals Delivery, you can use these metrics, for example:

Burn Down Charts: Burn down charts graphically represent how much work is left to do compared to the total work in the remaining time. Since the development team maintains the charts daily, you get insight into whether a sprint or project is on schedule. You can see how fast a team is working and how well they can estimate their tasks.

Burn Up Charts: Burn Up Charts show you how much work has been completed compared to the total work. They include changes to the scope or scale of a project. Like burn down charts, they provide insight into how quickly a project is progressing. They thus allow forecasts for further progress.

Predictability: Predictability measures the ratio of "planned" to "completed". In doing so, the metric documents how much work a team committed to at the beginning of the sprint and how much they completed at the end of the sprint.

Tools like Jira, Rally and Version One generate helpful diagrams like Burn Down Charts automatically.

 

Scrum Master Performance KPI #2: Continuous Improvement

"Continuous Improvement" stands for the goal of an agile team to continuously develop and improve. Pursuing this goal is one of the key responsibilities of the Scrum Master as the person who is conducting agile retrospectives - the key ceremony in agile. You can evaluate "continuous improvemeng" looking at some of the following metrics:

Team interaction

As a facilitator, coach and servant leader, the Scrum Master must ensure that team members interact with one another in healthy way. This metric is more subjective than others. However, it shows how things stand with team communication and thus with team success. For example, you can measure the interaction through observations and team feedback in retrospectives.

Velocity

Velocity measures how quickly a team is delivering results - based on subjective estimates. This makes the KPI a rough measure of productivity that should be used with caution. Because the measure is so subjective, few deductions can be made from it. It can still be handy in a retrospective if you combine it with other relevant data. For more information on this, find a comparison of 25 agile metrics and the best agile metric in the linked post.

Dealing with impediments

If obstacles and impediments arise in processes, Scrum Masters are responsible for removing them. You can measure how effectively Scrum Masters are solving them through using a "impediment log". You can create a simple Jira page for this, put down larger and smaller impediments there and take them with you to the retrospective on a regular basis. 

Customer satisfaction

Ultimately, a constant increase in the quality of your teamwork also has an impact on the final product and thus customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is therefore –, as already stated at the beginning –, also linked to the performance of the Scrum Master. I'll show you below how you can measure this (see "Delivering Value").

Scrum Master Performance KPI #3: Trust

Team members who trust each other work more efficiently. It is that easy. Trust is therefore one of the most important characteristics of a healthy team and thus also of the work of a Scrum Master. In order for trust to develop in teams, scrum masters must above all exemplify trust. To do this, they have to lead their team in a servant manner, again, “Servant Leadership” before.

One model you may know, that is correlated to "trust", is the 5 Scrum values: Courage, Respect, Focus, Openness and Commitment. They can be of great help when trying to improve trust. Measuring them - and trust itself - is not easy without tools. Because: Those metrics are often subjective. However, you can achieve a certain objectivity by continuously observing your team, writing down situations and observations and thus having indicators of trust that you can bring into the retrospective – in order to then work on the topics. 

By the way, that's exactly the goal of our Echometer software tool. It helps you to measure various Outputs & Outcomes of your Scrum Master performance, making them visible in our Echometer dashboards. And at the same time integrating them into your retrospective to facilitate the improvement process around them. 

5 examples of outputs & outcomes from retrospectives are in the linked post (in case you are interested).

You can have a brief look into our Scrum Master Performance tool Echometer in this 2 minute video by our Co-founder (Scrum Master & Psychologist) Christian. Check it out, I highly recommend to have a look! 🙂

As Christian is explaining in the video, you can start a health check retrospective following the button - finally beginning to get an indication of your Scrum Master performance 🙂

Have fun!

Health check radar in Echometer
What the Scrum Master Performance Radar looks like in Echometer.

 

Scrum Master Performance KPI #4: Team Happiness 

Like “Trust”, “Happiness” – aka team satisfaction – is a relevant metric to measure the Scrum Master performance. Because: Morale and happiness are important prerequisites for how high-performing teams. If Scrum Masters ensure that employees are satisfied, they tend to do better work.

To measure satisfaction, you can observe employees and regularly ask how they feel in the team and with their work. You can also put this into figures using the Echometer software tool. The results are discussed in retrospectives and action items are derived based on the psychological impulses of the tool. 

 

Scrum Master Performance KPI #5: Delivering Value

One of the most important Scrum Master performance goals - or actually the goal of the team and your organization - is to deliver as much value as possible to the customer with your product. You can use these metrics to determine if you've succeeded:

Customer reviews

Customer reviews give you an accurate insight into how satisfied buyers are with a product. This shows you what value a Scrum Master has created (indirectly) with his team. You can use tools such as SurveyMonkeys for doing so.

Usage statistics

Products typically have mechanisms that are measuring their usage. While increased product usage is no guarantee that customers are satisfied with a product, it is still an indicator of how good a product has become and thus how much value has been generated.

Support inquiries

If you evaluate the number and kind of support requests, you will get a picture of the problems and possibly bugs that a finished product or increment has. Based on this, you can also draw conclusions about the generated value and its quality. 

Product sales

Ultimately, a product should and must generate sales so that the team can be remunerated. High revenue, especially in comparison to the competition, could therefore also be an indicator of a high product value. If available, you can take into account sales figures. However, the relationship to Scrum Master performance is certainly less strong here than, for example, the relationship to trust in the team.  

 

Conclusion on Scrum Master Performance Evaluation

A Scrum Master Performance Review only seems difficult at first glance. In practice, however, you can fall back on numerous metrics with which you can draw conclusions about the Scrum Master performance.

These metrics are closely linked to the Scrum Master Performance Goals. Because: Even for Scrum Masters, the KPIs are an important indicator of how your project is progressing. It may sound obvious, but to be clear: Team Happiness, Customer Satisfaction and Delivering Value are therefore not just KPIs for evaluating Scrum Master performance, but are also examples of the core goals of a Scrum Master's work.

Many tools that you already use for an agile way of working (Jira & Co.) automatically provide you with a few relevant reports and analyzes in order to carry out a Scrum Master Performance Evaluation. That means: in the best case scenario, you have little effort to get a feeling for the performance. 

If you not only want to measure Scrum Master performance, but also develop your entire organization, you should take a look at our free eBook In the eBook we present 12 team workshops from a psychological perspective to help Scrum Masters grow their team in a smart and effective way.

Bonus: 7 KPIs for your agile coaching performance

It is not the core topic of this blog post, but as a bonus, I want to present you something we have been working on for quite a while. As you might know, there are many models out there that are trying to break down what high-performance teams do differently.

To name just a few of these models, we really like the “Scrum team effectiveness” study, the “Team flow model” of Dr. Jeff van den Hout or the self-determination theory that helps to foster intrinsic motivation - find more information below.

In the last months we went through these models looking for patterns - and we found quite a bit! 

The nice thing for you: You can now open a "health check retrospective" in our tool and reflect the result of our work 🙂

Have fun!

Health check radar in Echometer
What the Team Health Check Radar looks like in Echometer.

You can find more information and sources for the above-mentioned team models teams here.

If you want to learn even more before opening the health check retrospective, here are the 7 simple characteristics you will reflect on with your team. As you can see, these are very specific behavioral traits. In our experience, they trigger great discussions - and ultimately action items - in teams.

🚦Feedback: I regularly receive useful feedback on how good my performance is and how I can improve.

🛍 Customer focus: Wherever possible, we try to develop requirements and solutions in co-creative processes with our customers.

👮🏼‍♀️Roles: Team members, Product Owner and Scrum Master share the same understanding of their respective roles in the team.

🍀 Purpose: My contribution is a real added value for my team.

👔 StakeholdersWe ensure that all relevant stakeholders can participate regularly enough in our Sprint Reviews.

🧠 Growth Mindset: If I want to, I can develop profoundly in all areas.

📚 Culture of learning: I am not afraid to ask "stupid" questions in my team.

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