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12 Common Mistakes Of The Scrum Master And The Remedies 

Today, companies are becoming a part of the massive technological leapfrogging through some of the popular Agile methodologies. When we talk about Agile, people think of “Scrum” naturally. Scrum is the most widely used framework among the popular organizations. These organizations leverage Agile and Scrum methods for a disciplined project management practice, as Agile encourages continual feedback, iterative development, rapid and high-quality delivery and iterative development.                                         “Life of the Scrum Master is full of challenges, Scrum problems, and Scrum pitfalls.” According to the “11th Annual State of Agile Report” by Version One, the following figure states the top reasons for adopting Agile and Scrum methodologies in organizations. The concept is simple but difficult to implement. Being a Scrum Master can be a tough task, if unaware of the Scrum Master’s skills. Here are the most common mistakes of the Scrum Master and the solutions while implementing a Scrum framework: Look out for these 10 common #scrum mistakes with some simple tips: https://t.co/asOR8ZVj00 #agile #lean #scrummaster #devops pic.twitter.com/WUxQHtKhW5 — TO THE NEW (@TOTHENEW) 29 November 2017 1.Scrum Master acting as a Project Manager- In the Agile methodology, companies follow the “Daily Scrums”. Before starting the day’s work, teams gather around the board to discuss the current and the preceding days’ tasks. Usually, team members report on ‘what they did yesterday’, and wait for the Scrum Master’s reply on ‘which task to do today’, instead of self-organizing within the team. This is where the Scrum Master makes a mistake. He is acting as a Manager, not as a Scrum Master. A Scrum Master should ideally make team members ask ‘what should be finished next?’  2.Scrum Master making decisions for the Team- In most of the organizations, Scrum Masters are recruited by practical experience (generally senior developers and the project leads are given priority) and by personality in terms of communication skills and the sound mind to carry out decisions to keep the project processes on track. Due to this, team members rely on the Scrum Master for each and every decision, which is totally wrong.  Most of the times, teams consist of a variety of different personalities and letting them express their opinions can help to deliver the best. Avoid dictatorship, as it affects the team spirit, stifles progress and results in a lack of communication among the team members. This is one of the common Scrum pitfalls a Scrum Master typically faces during work. 3.Scrum Master holding sole responsibility for the delivery- This is the common Scrum problem usually found in traditional companies, that have recently entered in the world of Agile development. In traditional companies, people were so far following the leadership style viz. ‘Command-and-control’, in which a single person used to be accountable for all the project tasks, making management impediments-free, simple, and more comforting.  Normally, Scrum Master ensures that the developers are inclined to all the project requirements. But when it comes to the responsibility of the Scrum Master to deliver the product, he/she just concentrates on the product delivery, ignoring the quality. To avoid this, stop planning projects individually. Planning is collectively done by the team members. It needs each and every team member to adhere to the commitments, to understand the target and the way to achieve that. 4.Scrum Master acting as a mediator between the Team and the Product Owner- Suppose the team has finished with the daily Scrum and started to construct a functionality which was recently planned for the meeting. But the team is facing some difficulties and needs to discuss with the Product Owner to get an information. At this point, the Scrum Master communicates with the Product Owner to remove communication barriers and furnishes the needs of the team members. After asking the relevant queries to the Product Owner, the Scrum Master relays the same to the team.   In this way, Scrum Master acts as a mediator between the team members and the Product Owner and forms a Scrum solution to overcome communication impediments. 5. Not conducting Retrospectives after every Sprint- One of the principles from the Agile Manifesto states that- “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly”. Sprint Retrospective is often considered as an add-on, and implemented only in free time. Agile is all about the adjustments, fine-tuning and versatility. It is really very difficult to fine tune if you seek for the adjustments every time. 6. Not removing obstacles at an initial stage- One of the main roles of the Scrum Master is to remove the impediments. The daily stand-ups is the best way to communicate the obstacles to get the task done. But in case these barriers (more correctly, the issues or constraints) are not escalated by the team members, Scrum Master will fail to remove them. Scrum Master should remind the team at the very beginning to present the potential blockades which might delay their work. So, at the end, you can have several SMs for a team if your combination allows to get the team focused on delivering value and not wasting time on who is the Scrum Master that can help them on removing impediments or facilitating events. — Israel López (@israelagile) 27 November 2017   7. Less/ No daily stand-ups- The daily scrum is pivotal from several aspects. It allows open communication (face-to-face), collaboration, yields visibility and transparency into the project. So, for every team member, attendance should be mandatory. During meeting, each team member should stick to the following 3 questions-  What did I accomplish yesterday? What will I work on today? What impediments are blocking me in achieving the project goals? It should, however, be noted that the teams do not have to restrict themselves to the above three questions. As per the tenets presented in the latest Scrum guide, discussion-based stand-ups are equally effective and provide insights into the latest happenings in the Scrum team. Scrum Master Daily stand-ups https://t.co/vlORxTcJoV — Kevin Ackerman (@ackwdw123) 15 June 2017 8. Not strictly adhering to the Agile Manifesto principles- Try to keep Agile startups uncomplicated. According to Agile Manifesto- Agile gives higher value on  ‘individuals and interactions than on processes and tools’. So, Agile projects can be successful without the use of the tools. You can use stickers on the wall, spreadsheets, and manual burndown charts to keep the process simple. 12 #Principles of the Agile #Manifesto by the @AgileAlliance People matters. We are in the ages of uncertainty at work. We need our minds to boost the best of us and businesses #ProjectManagement #teamwork #SustainableDevelopment pic.twitter.com/4yFAOitEYC — Anca Fajardo (@KathiFajardo) 20 January 2018 9. Wrongly assuming an easy transition to Agile- Agile transformation takes time to set up in the organization. It always starts with mess-ups. Transformation includes dealing with the existing corporate and cultural problems like- poor communication, lack of accountability, skeptics, time management, etc. Effective Agile transformation can be a total cultural change. Be patient and ready to embrace the cultural changes. A company's transition to an Agile environment is a welcome and positive experience. But when reality sets in, some resist the change, particularly those in management. https://t.co/kxpyWqBcUB — Joe Little (@jhlittle) 21 January 2018   10. An ill-formed/non-prioritized product backlog- The most common reason behind Sprint failure is a product backlog with status “not ready”. It is also a cause for delivering low value. Making a backlog ready before the ‘next sprint’ is good. Do not let the team run out of the tasks and keep in mind that every task should be prioritized by the Product Owner.Always heed the point that being a Product Owner or a Scrum Master can be time consuming.So set the goals and provide the necessary training on product backlog to the team members.  What's in a Product Backlog? The most critical part of any Scrum project is a well-defined product backlog. How do we effectively define an efficient and productive backlog?https://t.co/QqMyGe9MBm — Dan Tousignant (@ScrumDan) 19 January 2018 11. Not handing over the ownership of daily scrums to the team-  Sometimes, Scrum team keeps some of the product backlog items undone. This results in spilling over of the undone tasks and simply shifting to the next sprint. This happens when a team fails to finish the high-priority tasks. However, Scrum Master and the team should not take it lightly. When they do this, Sprint planning become meaningless. Therefore it is mandatory on the part of a Scrum Master to support his/her team in planning of its next sprint so that they can finish everything on time. Equally essential is to make them feel accountable if they do meet the targets and the stipulated deadlines. Do Scrum Teams Meet Too Much? One of the most frequent criticisms I hear of Scrum when teaching Certified Scrum Master courses is “Scrum teams have too many meetings.” With daily scrums, sprint planning meetings, sprint reviews, retrospectives and https://t.co/O9t2EUsq5y — Dan Tousignant (@ScrumDan) 19 January 2018   12. Overburdening the Scrum team-  Scrum team works in Sprints. Only when one sprint ends, the next one begins. Under no circumstances should two consecutive sprints overlap. In simpler words, teams should avoid working in the upcoming sprint while the current sprint is still on. To maintain consistency, the team should work at a sustainable pace. A Scrum Master should safeguard the team from going beyond this sustainable pace and tackle any situation that might overburden the members. Concluding Thoughts- Scrum, as you already know, is one of the largest and promising frameworks in Agile methodology. One can in fact strongly say, a paradigm shift has occurred with the advent of Scrum. It is therefore important for the companies to practise Agile in a correct way to build the products and deploy them faster to the market. Therefore, being a Scrum Master, it is pivotal to avoid the above mentioned Scrum problems to successfully launch the product in the market.

12 Common Mistakes Of The Scrum Master And The Remedies 

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12 Common Mistakes Of The Scrum Master And The Remedies 

Today, companies are becoming a part of the massive technological leapfrogging through some of the popular Agile methodologies. When we talk about Agile, people think of “Scrum” naturally. Scrum is the most widely used framework among the popular organizations. These organizations leverage Agile and Scrum methods for a disciplined project management practice, as Agile encourages continual feedback, iterative development, rapid and high-quality delivery and iterative development.

                                        “Life of the Scrum Master is full of challenges, Scrum problems, and Scrum pitfalls.”

According to the “11th Annual State of Agile Report” by Version One, the following figure states the top reasons for adopting Agile and Scrum methodologies in organizations.

The concept is simple but difficult to implement. Being a Scrum Master can be a tough task, if unaware of the Scrum Master’s skills. Here are the most common mistakes of the Scrum Master and the solutions while implementing a Scrum framework:

1.Scrum Master acting as a Project Manager-

In the Agile methodology, companies follow the “Daily Scrums”. Before starting the day’s work, teams gather around the board to discuss the current and the preceding days’ tasks. Usually, team members report on ‘what they did yesterday’, and wait for the Scrum Master’s reply on ‘which task to do today’, instead of self-organizing within the team.

This is where the Scrum Master makes a mistake. He is acting as a Manager, not as a Scrum Master. A Scrum Master should ideally make team members ask ‘what should be finished next?’ 

2.Scrum Master making decisions for the Team-

In most of the organizations, Scrum Masters are recruited by practical experience (generally senior developers and the project leads are given priority) and by personality in terms of communication skills and the sound mind to carry out decisions to keep the project processes on track. Due to this, team members rely on the Scrum Master for each and every decision, which is totally wrong. 

Most of the times, teams consist of a variety of different personalities and letting them express their opinions can help to deliver the best. Avoid dictatorship, as it affects the team spirit, stifles progress and results in a lack of communication among the team members. This is one of the common Scrum pitfalls a Scrum Master typically faces during work.

3.Scrum Master holding sole responsibility for the delivery-

This is the common Scrum problem usually found in traditional companies, that have recently entered in the world of Agile development. In traditional companies, people were so far following the leadership style viz. ‘Command-and-control’, in which a single person used to be accountable for all the project tasks, making management impediments-free, simple, and more comforting. 

Normally, Scrum Master ensures that the developers are inclined to all the project requirements. But when it comes to the responsibility of the Scrum Master to deliver the product, he/she just concentrates on the product delivery, ignoring the quality. To avoid this, stop planning projects individually. Planning is collectively done by the team members. It needs each and every team member to adhere to the commitments, to understand the target and the way to achieve that.

4.Scrum Master acting as a mediator between the Team and the Product Owner-

Suppose the team has finished with the daily Scrum and started to construct a functionality which was recently planned for the meeting. But the team is facing some difficulties and needs to discuss with the Product Owner to get an information. At this point, the Scrum Master communicates with the Product Owner to remove communication barriers and furnishes the needs of the team members. After asking the relevant queries to the Product Owner, the Scrum Master relays the same to the team.  


In this way, Scrum Master acts as a mediator between the team members and the Product Owner and forms a Scrum solution to overcome communication impediments.

5. Not conducting Retrospectives after every Sprint-

One of the principles from the Agile Manifesto states that- “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly”. Sprint Retrospective is often considered as an add-on, and implemented only in free time. Agile is all about the adjustments, fine-tuning and versatility. It is really very difficult to fine tune if you seek for the adjustments every time.

6. Not removing obstacles at an initial stage-

One of the main roles of the Scrum Master is to remove the impediments. The daily stand-ups is the best way to communicate the obstacles to get the task done. But in case these barriers (more correctly, the issues or constraints) are not escalated by the team members, Scrum Master will fail to remove them. Scrum Master should remind the team at the very beginning to present the potential blockades which might delay their work.

7. Less/ No daily stand-ups-

The daily scrum is pivotal from several aspects. It allows open communication (face-to-face), collaboration, yields visibility and transparency into the project. So, for every team member, attendance should be mandatory. During meeting, each team member should stick to the following 3 questions- 

  1. What did I accomplish yesterday?
  2. What will I work on today?
  3. What impediments are blocking me in achieving the project goals?

It should, however, be noted that the teams do not have to restrict themselves to the above three questions. As per the tenets presented in the latest Scrum guide, discussion-based stand-ups are equally effective and provide insights into the latest happenings in the Scrum team.

8. Not strictly adhering to the Agile Manifesto principles-

Try to keep Agile startups uncomplicated. According to Agile Manifesto- Agile gives higher value on  ‘individuals and interactions than on processes and tools’. So, Agile projects can be successful without the use of the tools. You can use stickers on the wall, spreadsheets, and manual burndown charts to keep the process simple.

9. Wrongly assuming an easy transition to Agile-

Agile transformation takes time to set up in the organization. It always starts with mess-ups. Transformation includes dealing with the existing corporate and cultural problems like- poor communication, lack of accountability, skeptics, time management, etc. Effective Agile transformation can be a total cultural change. Be patient and ready to embrace the cultural changes.

10. An ill-formed/non-prioritized product backlog-

The most common reason behind Sprint failure is a product backlog with status “not ready”. It is also a cause for delivering low value. Making a backlog ready before the ‘next sprint’ is good. Do not let the team run out of the tasks and keep in mind that every task should be prioritized by the Product Owner.Always heed the point that being a Product Owner or a Scrum Master can be time consuming.So set the goals and provide the necessary training on product backlog to the team members. 

11. Not handing over the ownership of daily scrums to the team- 

Sometimes, Scrum team keeps some of the product backlog items undone. This results in spilling over of the undone tasks and simply shifting to the next sprint. This happens when a team fails to finish the high-priority tasks. However, Scrum Master and the team should not take it lightly. When they do this, Sprint planning become meaningless. Therefore it is mandatory on the part of a Scrum Master to support his/her team in planning of its next sprint so that they can finish everything on time. Equally essential is to make them feel accountable if they do meet the targets and the stipulated deadlines.

12. Overburdening the Scrum team- 

Scrum team works in Sprints. Only when one sprint ends, the next one begins. Under no circumstances should two consecutive sprints overlap. In simpler words, teams should avoid working in the upcoming sprint while the current sprint is still on. To maintain consistency, the team should work at a sustainable pace. A Scrum Master should safeguard the team from going beyond this sustainable pace and tackle any situation that might overburden the members.

Concluding Thoughts-

Scrum, as you already know, is one of the largest and promising frameworks in Agile methodology. One can in fact strongly say, a paradigm shift has occurred with the advent of Scrum. It is therefore important for the companies to practise Agile in a correct way to build the products and deploy them faster to the market. Therefore, being a Scrum Master, it is pivotal to avoid the above mentioned Scrum problems to successfully launch the product in the market.

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Also, he/she should have at least 24 months of work experience as a Scrum Master. What next after CSP-SM certification?CSP-SM certification is a gateway towards achieving the Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®), Certified Enterprise Coach℠ (CEC), or Certified Team Coach℠ (CTC) certifications.3. Certified Team CoachSM (CTC):The Certified Team Coach (CTC) is a guide level certification, usually works with the management, Scrum teams, and Stakeholders. As the name says, the CTC works at the team level. Organizations hire Certified Team Coach (CTC) to train, coach, mentor, remove obstacles, and lead the team to leverage value delivery, team collaboration, and continuous development across multiple teams. Prerequisites to grab CTC certificationAn active Certified Scrum Professional certification 1,000 hours of Agile coaching experience in the last 2 years without considering your role as Scrum MasterCoaching experience in at least 2 organizations Must be actively participated in a minimum of 5 Agile eventsPractical experience of Scrum implementation and coaching experience in Agile and Scrum framework.What next after CTC certification?Certified Team Coaches (CTCs) can initiate coaching, mentoring, and training the professionals on Agile and Scrum processes once they earn CTC certification. Also, they can recommend up to 50 individuals yearly for whom they have given 25-hours of in-person training or small group training to achieve Certified ScrumMaster® and Certified Scrum Product Owner® certifications. In this way, a CTC certified can contribute to creating a healthy environment of the organizations by coaching the team members on Scrum.      4. Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST)Scrum Alliance offer only one trainer-centric certification in the form of Certified Scrum Trainer®  (CST) certification. This is the most sought-after certification and those who wish to transform the working way of the teams can be a part of this training. Prerequisites to grab CST certificationTo become a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), you need to have:Detailed knowledge of the Scrum concepts, practices, and principlesAn active Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster™ (CSP-SM™) certification from Scrum AllianceHands-on experience in implementing the Scrum framework as a ScrumMaster, Product Owner, or Development team memberTeaching experience in partnership with any Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) or independently-Taught to at least 100 candidatesHosted at least 10 or more days ScrumMaster training sessions Respective certifications in order to train professionals on the courses (e.g. if want to train on CSPO, an individual should hold an active CSPO certification.  What next after CST certification?As a CST, you can teach Scrum to the students who want to work in a Scrum environment. Scrum Alliance considers CST as an active member in the Scrum community who actively takes part in the events and user groups, blogging, and in online discussions.    5. Certified Enterprise Coach℠ (CEC):The Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) exhibits their years of experience in Scrum transformations at an enterprise level. They also show their in-depth understanding of implementing Scrum practices and principles. The CECs are skilled at Scrum (both theoretically and practically) and guide organizations during their Agile transformation journey.Prerequisites to grab CEC certificationThe individuals aspiring Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) credential must possess:Knowledge of Scrum practices, proven leadership, and coaching skills An active CSP-SM™ or CSP-PO™ or CSP® certification Working experience in Scrum team rolesCoaching experience in at least three organizations2,000 hours over the past 3 years of work experience as a Coach.What next after CEC certification?Being a CEC certified, an individual can help organizations to become an Agile organization using the Scrum framework to transform the world of work. Also, they can recommend up to 50 individuals yearly for whom they have given 25-hours of in-person training or small group training to achieve Certified ScrumMaster® and Certified Scrum Product Owner® certifications. In this way, a CTC certified can contribute to creating a healthy environment of the organizations by coaching the team members on Scrum.   6. Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®)The Product Owner (PO) creates the product vision, prioritize the product backlog, and help the team in delivering what customers intuitively looking for. The CSPO®  is the certification for the Product Owners that will help an individual in handling the business side of the project. Prerequisites to grab CSPO® certificationThere is no prerequisite to attend  CSPO® training. However, in order to earn this certification, an individual need to attend 2-days of CSPO® course taught by Certified Scrum Trainer®  (CST). What next after CSPO® certification?After taking CSPO certification, you can go for advanced-level certification of CSPO which is an Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner® (A-CSPO®) course from Scrum Alliance. 7. Certified Scrum Developer® (CSD®)The  CSD® certification proves that an individual has skills of building the software using Scrum as a part of the Scrum team. With CSD® , you can strengthen your technical skills in Agile software development. Prerequisites to grab CSD® certificationAny programmer (having coding knowledge) can attend CSD® course. To achieve this, an individual needs to undergo at least 5-days of the formal CSD training course by a Scrum Alliance Registered Education Provider (REP) and a Scrum Alliance Authorized Instructor. In addition to this, the CSD® certification offers the privilege to the CSM certified candidates. They can skip the first 2 days and directly join from the 3rd day of the technical training.What next after CSD® certification?After CSD® certification, an individual can level-up his/her skills with Certified Scrum Professional® for Developers (CSP- D) certification. The CSP certification help teams to constantly improve the ways of implementing Agile and Scrum practices and principles.   8. ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Coaching (ICP-ACC) CertificationICP-ACC certification in Agile Coaching certification aims to achieve an Agile mindset. After this certification, an individual can easily be able to differentiate between the facilitation, mentoring, professional coaching and teaching and will get to learn the skills like team collaboration and conflict resolution to form a healthy organizational environment.Prerequisites to grab ICP-ACC certificationAn individual with CSM certification and 2-3 years of working experience as a Scrum Master, is eligible to achieve ICP-ACC certification training. What next after ICP ACC certification?Being a certified Agile Coach, you can play the role of the mentor to the Agile team by facilitating Agile practices and empowering teams to reach their goals. More specifically, an Agile Coach can is a guide to the team members who help the team in Agile adoption. Career Roles of a Scrum MasterThe Scrum Master is the heart of the Scrum process who plays a diverse set of roles in the team. Let's have a glimpse of the various roles that Scrum Master can play after the CSM certification:Agile CoachProduct OwnerManager SAFe Scrum MasterConcluding ThoughtsThe Scrum Master role should not be an end itself. There is always a scope of consistent improvement. So, for all the Scrum Masters, ‘What’s your next career path?’ Being a Scrum Master, try not to keep yourself restricted to limited skills. Try to advance your Scrum skills always by taking more advanced Scrum certifications.    So, are you ready to take the plunge with other advanced Scrum certifications after earning CSM certification?  
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