What is a Scrum Master?
Scrum Master is accountable for promoting and supporting Scrum. Scrum Masters do this by aiding everyone understand Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values.
The Scrum Master is a servant-leader for the Scrum Team. The Scrum Master helps those outside the Scrum Team understand which of their interactions with the Scrum Team are helpful and which aren’t. The Scrum Master helps everyone change these interactions to maximize the value created by the Scrum Team.
Roles a Scrum Master Plays
1.Service to the Product Owner
The Scrum Master helps the Product Owner in several ways, including:
• Ensuring that goals, scope, and product domain are unstated by everyone on the Scrum Team.
• Finding techniques for operative Product Backlog management.
• Helping the Scrum Team comprehend the need for clear and brief Product Backlog items.
• Understanding product planning in a pragmatic environment.
• Ensuring the Product Owner knows how to organize the Product Backlog to maximize value.
• Understanding and working agility.
• Facilitating Scrum events as entreated or needed.
2. Scrum Master Service to the Development Team
The Scrum Master serves the Development Team in several ways, including:
• Training the Development Team in self-organization and cross-functionality.
• Serving the Development Team to create high-value products.
• Eradicating impediments to the Development Team’s progress.
• Enabling Scrum events as requested or needed.
• Coaching the Development Team in organizational environments in which Scrum is not yet fully assumed and understood.
3. Scrum Master Service to the Organization
The Scrum Master serves the organization in numerous ways, including:
• Foremost , coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption;
• Planning Scrum implementations within the organization;
• Helping employees and stakeholders understand and endorse Scrum and empirical product development;
• Instigating change that increases the productivity of the Scrum Team; and,
• Working with other Scrum Masters to increase the efficiency of the application of Scrum in the organization.
Confessions of a Scrum Master – Being Transparent with “No Offense Taken”
One of the values that are closely embraced when working in an agile environment is transparency. What does transparency really mean?
We can start by taking a look at what it is NOT’. Transparency is not scrambled.
Well, that pretty much clears that up (pun intended). If we are not transparent then we may give incomprehensible answers to questions or act with muddied behavior that is not clearly understood by anyone. If any member of a Scrum Team has the luxury of “hiding” – the team will fail. Period. That member will be the weak link.
Staying in Your Lane
Being transparent to a fault. A Product Owner for over 5 years in his previous organization was told by his Scrum Master that he stepped out of his lane. For example, asking the team if they were happy and felt if they were progressing and maturing; made the coach felt as if the manager was stepping on his toes and made him go transparent and slightly irritated; Transparency is a beautiful thing; but, it can feel uncomfortable for so many people. This has been seen in travels along the agile highway especially.
Life is boring and confusing when people put a barrier between themselves and others, not speaking of boundaries that are healthy.
Building Transparency as a New Scrum Master
As a “new to the role” Scrum Master tasked with spinning up two new teams in a large corporation, transparency is difficult to say the least.
Let’s take some time to think about how to be transparent, when caught off guard. In order to deliver the truth, it’s important to be always positive. Determination to find something positive to communicate back to both sides of the situation is must. Let’s put some light on this with an example. ‘The coach spoke to the two developers who actually wrote the cards and needed something positive to say. An ego reared its head that morning and he had to make the designer feel good. One of the developers said that he is great at what he does and always delivers in the end. The other said he puts the bells and whistles on things; but, brings last-minute changes and if they cannot be accommodated, he will ping them disrespectfully. Now the coach had something with which to work.
He was transparent, told him the good stuff and delivered the truth. This took away offense. He was grateful for the clarification on the situation because he was confused and had been given unclear communication.
Creating a Safe Space
In both the retrospective and the conversation with the teams, the Scrum master always creates a safe space, making them feel comfortable being emotional.
Honestly it is stressful because he had to play therapist and stays neutral.
By creating a safe space and speaking to each of them as people (not resources) – the teams opens up. Again, personal and professional transparency can work! I believe in it. I don’t think its feebleness. It takes strength to confess the truth. Every scrum event is crucial to the maturity of the team. I think the retroactive is the ultimate time for transparency. If during that event people hold back, it is a waste of time.
Be open. Be honest. Speak up. You’ll find yourself on a happier, healthier agile journey. I double-dog dare you to be always be transparent!
Don’t lose hope! You’re definitely not the first Scrum Master to meet these barriers, and you’re not unaided. Learning to overcome these problems will make you a better Scrum Master and will help lead the team to the high recital levels you know it’s capable of.
1. Start slowly
Trying to contrivance everything at once can sometimes work, but only if you have the right squad. If you’re at an organization where you can handpick your team, great. But if you’re like the rest of us, you get a team handed to you, and Scrum adoption can be hit or miss. So start slowly, address team distresses, build trust, and . . .
2. Be patient
The team will not self-organize the first day, nor likely not even the first iteration. Agile tools likely won’t be updated daily by everyone to begin with. Stand-ups may go over 15 minutes or stray off the three-question format. Try to remain patient and coach your team by gradually reminding them of Scrum principles.
3. Stick to Scrum
When the team is allowed (or urged, perhaps by management) to wandering from Scrum practices, you’ll see an addition of unnecessary difficulty. Your job is to coach the team in the essentials of Scrum, which has been proven to be successful, and protect the team from outside encouragements.
4. Ask, “Why?”
This simple word can yield big realizations about how things are done.
When you let the team know the reasons you’re doing things, or the reasons they’re being asked to do things (note: I say asked, not told), they’re much more likely to do them for you.
6. Empower the team and yourself
By empowering the team, you’re giving them the power to authorize themselves. This is the first step to self-organization.
7. Ask for help
Don’t try to manage everything on your own. By waiting too long to ask for help, you can put the team in jeopardy — the reverse of what a Scrum Master is supposed to do.
8. Ask for and give feedback
This goes back to the “inspect and adapt” principle. Feedback doesn’t need to be saved for the retrospective at the end of each iteration. If you see something that can be improved, bring it up in a constructive way so you can help correct it early.
9. Trust the team
I’ve talked about trust a few times already, but it’s so important that it needs to be discussed separately as well. Trust is one of the most important elements, if not the most important element, that the team needs. Team members need to trust you, know you trust them, and trust one another. A team that has trust can deliver great things even while dealing with some of the obstacles discussed above.
10. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Scrum is going to be bumpy at first. Things aren’t going to be perfect right away: Team velocity will be muddled, team dynamics will take a while to develop, and executive support won’t always be there. As a Scrum Master, you’ll run into a lot of unknowns, and it’s normal to feel perturbed.
Trust yourself, Scrum practices, and the club to continue in the right direction: striving for extraordinary performance and delivering business value