Formal Succession Planning



Stage 4

Agile IQ® Level

Sprint Planning



The work force is a dynamic group of people. Staff can enter and leave the organisation, enter and leave teams, and be unavailable for work duties. The natural fluctuations in staff availability should be managed by teams such that there is little to no impact on delivery.

Self-Managing Teams

Scrum teams are self-managing. [1] Whether the word “manager” is in your job title or not, everybody manages something in their work. [2] Self-managing implies that we strive for teams to decide internally who does what, when and how. Teams should be responsible for their own organisation.

Pragmatic Delivery

Teams need to manage their own affairs considering such factors as:

  • Planed and unplanned leave from work
  • Work rosters (where applicable)
  • Work hours, where there is permissible flexibility
  • Who is working on which work items

People being absent from work is a constant consideration when teams manage their work. Given the roles of Product Owner and Scrum Master perform specific roles within the team, it is important that their responsibilities are carried with people normally performing these roles are absent.

Team members should be explicit in their expectations when the Product Owner or Scrum Master is unavailable. Another member of the team, or a seconded team member should perform these roles where required.

Things to watch out for

  • Don’t wait until somebody is missing to train up team members in other roles.
  • Identify team members who are more suited or motivated to perform Product Owner or Scrum Master roles rather than delegating responsibilities.
  • Absent team members does not only mean absent from work. Team members can be occupied with other activities at work such that they are unable to commit to team work items and Scrum events.
  • Absent team members can impact team velocity and related metrics.

Actions to try

  • Log who will perform backfill duties in the same location as the team leave register.
  • Rotate facilitation of Scrum events between team members so they have the skills and confidence to perform other roles.


1. Sutherland, J. & Schwaber, K. (2020) The 2020 Scrum Guide (TM).

2. Visotcky, R. (2020) The Scrum Team is Self-Managing.

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