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Agile Project Management Using Scrum Methods

The traditional form of software development life cycle (SDLC) was the Waterfall method, in which each stage of software development was planned and initiated only after the completion of the previous phase. For example, the “Software testing” phase began only after the completion of the “Software coding” phase. The Waterfall model worked well when customer requirements were well understood and did not change over the period of the project. Each phase of this development cycle did not overlap with each other. The Waterfall method was found inadequate in the case of long and complex software projects, or when the customer requirements changed through the length of the project. Additionally, customers could not see the working model of the final product until late in the overall life cycle. Agile project management provides a more flexible and dynamic approach to SDLC and is followed now by most software development companies. Scrum project management is a methodology that is covered under the umbrella of Agile management. What is Scrum and how it works Scrum methodology can be defined as a framework used for managing an agile software project. Using Scrum, the complete software project is divided into multiple chunks of work, based on priority and functionality. Scrum methodology reduces the complexity of building an entire software product by dividing it into smaller and manageable chunks, which are defined, coded, and tested separately in shorter time cycles. Scrum project management reduces the burden of the project manager, by distributing responsibilities among the following roles: • Product owner, who defines the project goals, manages changes in project requirements and sets priorities for product features. The product owner represents the customer and develops a product backlog, which is a complete list of functionalities that needs to be added to the product. The product owner also sets priorities to the product backlog items to ensure that the Scrum team works on the high-priority items first. • ScrumMaster manages the daily tasks of the team and ensures that there are no impediments to the progress of the project. More than a manager, the ScrumMaster serves as a team coach. The ScrumMaster is well-versed with the Scrum methodology and is the best source to ensure that the software project reaps the benefits of agile project management. • Scrum team members, who work on the daily tasks and report the progress to the rest of the team. Scrum methodology does not have any overall team leader to manage the team and allocate the work. Each of the Scrum team members, including the development team, are assigned the responsibility of solving their problems and completing their daily tasks. Main Activities In Scrum project management, the SDLC is divided into a series of Sprints, with each sprint typically lasting around 2 weeks. For each sprint, a sprint backlog is created, which contains the priority items and tasks (retrieved from the product backlog) that need to be completed in the sprint. Scrum project management involves the following main activities: • Sprint planning, which is a planning meeting held at the start of each sprint. The product owner and the team members determine the high-priority tasks that can be completed from the product backlog. The final list of tasks that is agreed upon is added to the sprint backlog. • Daily Scrum, which is a daily meeting involving all the sprint team members and typically lasts for around 15 minutes. Daily scrum is useful for synchronizing the teamwork and provides the completed and planned daily tasks of each team member, along with reporting of any project impediment. • Sprint Review, which is conducted at the completion of each sprint. The completed product functionality is demonstrated for any review feedback from the product owner or any team member. • Sprint Retrospective, which is conducted at the end of each sprint and before the start of the next sprint. This involves all the sprint members including the ScrumMaster and the Product Owner, and is used to reflect on the just-completed sprint, along with suggestions for improvements. Other Scrum components In addition to the product backlog and the sprint backlog, Scrum project management includes the following component: • Burndown chart, which is used to estimate the amount of work that is pending in each sprint or the complete release. Sprint burndown chart is used to determine if the planned work is on schedule in the sprint, while the Release burndown chart is used to determine if the overall product release is on schedule and can be completed by the release date. Scrum tools Scrum projects for smaller teams located in the same office or geographical location are easy to manage using basic tools. Software companies use more complicated Scrum tools, when team members work from remote locations, and also with an increase in product backlog items.
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Agile Project Management Using Scrum Methods

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Agile Project Management Using Scrum Methods

The traditional form of software development life cycle (SDLC) was the Waterfall method, in which each stage of software development was planned and initiated only after the completion of the previous phase. For example, the “Software testing” phase began only after the completion of the “Software coding” phase. The Waterfall model worked well when customer requirements were well understood and did not change over the period of the project. Each phase of this development cycle did not overlap with each other.

The Waterfall method was found inadequate in the case of long and complex software projects, or when the customer requirements changed through the length of the project. Additionally, customers could not see the working model of the final product until late in the overall life cycle.

Agile project management provides a more flexible and dynamic approach to SDLC and is followed now by most software development companies. Scrum project management is a methodology that is covered under the umbrella of Agile management.

What is Scrum and how it works

Scrum methodology can be defined as a framework used for managing an agile software project. Using Scrum, the complete software project is divided into multiple chunks of work, based on priority and functionality. Scrum methodology reduces the complexity of building an entire software product by dividing it into smaller and manageable chunks, which are defined, coded, and tested separately in shorter time cycles.
Scrum project management reduces the burden of the project manager, by distributing responsibilities among the following roles:

• Product owner, who defines the project goals, manages changes in project requirements and sets priorities for product features.
The product owner represents the customer and develops a product backlog, which is a complete list of functionalities that needs to be added to the product. The product owner also sets priorities to the product backlog items to ensure that the Scrum team works on the high-priority items first.

• ScrumMaster manages the daily tasks of the team and ensures that there are no impediments to the progress of the project. More than a manager, the ScrumMaster serves as a team coach.

The ScrumMaster is well-versed with the Scrum methodology and is the best source to ensure that the software project reaps the benefits of agile project management.

• Scrum team members, who work on the daily tasks and report the progress to the rest of the team.

Scrum methodology does not have any overall team leader to manage the team and allocate the work. Each of the Scrum team members, including the development team, are assigned the responsibility of solving their problems and completing their daily tasks.

Main Activities

In Scrum project management, the SDLC is divided into a series of Sprints, with each sprint typically lasting around 2 weeks. For each sprint, a sprint backlog is created, which contains the priority items and tasks (retrieved from the product backlog) that need to be completed in the sprint.

Scrum project management involves the following main activities:

• Sprint planning, which is a planning meeting held at the start of each sprint. The product owner and the team members determine the high-priority tasks that can be completed from the product backlog. The final list of tasks that is agreed upon is added to the sprint backlog.

• Daily Scrum, which is a daily meeting involving all the sprint team members and typically lasts for around 15 minutes. Daily scrum is useful for synchronizing the teamwork and provides the completed and planned daily tasks of each team member, along with reporting of any project impediment.

• Sprint Review, which is conducted at the completion of each sprint. The completed product functionality is demonstrated for any review feedback from the product owner or any team member.

• Sprint Retrospective, which is conducted at the end of each sprint and before the start of the next sprint. This involves all the sprint members including the ScrumMaster and the Product Owner, and is used to reflect on the just-completed sprint, along with suggestions for improvements.

Other Scrum components
In addition to the product backlog and the sprint backlog, Scrum project management includes the following component:

• Burndown chart, which is used to estimate the amount of work that is pending in each sprint or the complete release. Sprint burndown chart is used to determine if the planned work is on schedule in the sprint, while the Release burndown chart is used to determine if the overall product release is on schedule and can be completed by the release date.

Scrum tools

Scrum projects for smaller teams located in the same office or geographical location are easy to manage using basic tools. Software companies use more complicated Scrum tools, when team members work from remote locations, and also with an increase in product backlog items.

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1 comments

Jeane Schramel 02 Feb 2017

You actually make it seem really easy along with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something which I feel I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely extensive for me. I'm looking forward for your next publish, I?¦ll attempt to get the hold of it!

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Scrum Product Backlog and Agile Product Backlog Prioritization

The twenty century has witnessed a major surge in the adoption of Agile with organizations trying to fit into their ways of working to better meet customer demands. As per the 14th Annual State of Agile 2020, 58% of the respondents were using Scrum as the framework for product delivery. The report also mentioned that many considered Agile and Scrum to be the same, which is incorrect. Agile is a way or method of implementing frameworks such as Scrum, Kanban and the like. It is a time-boxed, iterative way of software delivery focusing on faster time to market and customer collaboration. Scrum is a subset of Agile. With a great framework like Scrum, Agile gets a runway to deliver quality products in an iterative, incremental, and time-boxed manner. Talking of product development, whatever the framework, we must start with the creation of the requirement list. This applies to Agile too. Here, we term this as “Backlog”. I am often asked about the origin of the term, “Backlog”. Why “backlog” and why not some other word? Well, the term dates back to the 1680s when large logs were placed at the back of a fire to keep the blaze going and concentrate the heat. By the 1880s, the term was adopted in its figurative sense of "something stored up for later use". So, a Backlog is a prioritized list of items the teams’ need to work for the successful delivery of a product. How extensively are Scrum artifacts, and in particular, the product backlog and sprint backlog used? Source: 14th State of Agile 2020According to the State of Scrum 2015 report, surprisingly, only 56% of the respondents reported using extensive scrum artifacts like Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog. Major success criteria for any Agile project lie in its backlog and it demands a lot of focus both in terms of keeping it refined and updated with current situation. Thankfully, it is the topic of the day, and here we will talk more about it.Product Backlog  What is a Product Backlog? The Product Backlog is the ordered list of requirements of all that is required to successfully deliver it to the client. It contains the prioritized list of requirements that can be detailed or vague and has everything that needs to be done for a particular product. One can visualize it as a big bucket that has all the items/necessities needed for a product to be successful and competitive in nature.  Who owns the Product Backlog? The Product Backlog is primarily handled by the Product Owner who takes care of the client's needs and makes sure the product backlog represents the exact requirement. The product owner is responsible for keeping the backlog healthy and in a state that is readily consumable by the team. The product backlog is never frozen, the items can change as per the demand and market scenario. Anyone can suggest items to be added in the list but the final say will always be on the Product Owner.  Example of a Product Backlog Let’s look at an example to further understand it better: Build a mobile application for a local bank so that the users can access the bank on the go. Product Backlog would look like: S. No.RequirementPriority1Create a sign in page for the usersHigh2Create a logout pageHigh3Create a home page to land after successful sign in to the applicationHigh4Create a page for AccountsMedium5Create a page for Money TransferMedium6Create a page for LoansMedium7Create a page for User ProfileLow8Create a page for 'Contact Us' sectionLowThere can be multiple other requirements both front-end and back-end to get this mobile application delivered, but, here for understanding, we are just taking a few of them. Each item in the list will have a priority attached to it, this makes it easy for the development team to pick work once they are done with the one in hand. Product Backlog can also be termed as the master list of requirements. Sprint Backlog What is a Sprint Backlog? Sprint Backlog is a list derived from the product backlog or the master list. When teams start working in Scrum, they have sprints which are a timebox for delivery, it defines when a customer can expect the shipment and at what intervals. The period can range from a week to a months’ timeline. Here, in sprints, the team pulls the work from the product backlog as per the priority and their capacity and put it in a smaller bucket called ‘Sprint Backlog’. It is like delivering the big Product Backlog in chunks called “Sprint Backlog’. The Sprint Backlog can also be defined as a subset of superset ‘Product Backlog’. For a successful product delivery, both are essential, and hence the need to keep them healthy.  Who owns the Sprint Backlog? Sprint backlog is owned by the scrum team, and together, they create their sprint board which consists of the user stories, bugs (if any), and spikes. It is the development team who determines the Sprint Backlog. Here, the Scrum Master can facilitate the Sprint Planning meeting to help the team come up with the Sprint Backlog. The scrum team utilizes the sprint planning meeting to discuss on the sprint goal and the commitment they can make for the upcoming sprint. They pull the items to discuss from the top of the list and create their sprint backlog according to the capacity and complexity of parameters.  Example of a Sprint Backlog So, the sprint backlog is a subset of product backlog and going back to our example let's create a Sprint backlog now: S.No.RequirementPriority1Create a sign in page for the usersHigh2Create a logout pageHigh3Create a home page to land after successful sign-in to the applicationHighIn our example, we have pulled the sprint backlog items from the master list which was already in a prioritized state. Product Backlog vs Scrum Backlog: Understanding the difference The Scrum Master can help the development team understand the difference between Product Backlog and the Sprint Backlog, this can be done through coaching the teams about the process and the Scrum artifacts and can help the Product owner in maintaining a healthy backlog. The team uses Product Backlog to create their sprint backlog. During the Sprint planning meeting, the development team should talk about the complexity and the efforts needed to get the job done. They pull the items from the product backlog to the Sprint Backlog to be completed in the sprint time-box. How to create a more effective Product Backlog? Effective Product Backlog depends on a clear understanding of the result and the need. The Product Owner must clearly define the requirements that have details enough for the team to get a clear picture of what is needed to be done. The product backlog needs to be a thorough list of all the work that must be done to get the project delivered successfully. Once a high-level list is created, the development team can help in further refining and creating an exhaustive backlog with all the technical aspects needed to deliver the functional side. Creating a backlog should be a collective team effort, this also helps in bringing about the ownership and collaborative environment amongst the group. Though the development team can help the Product Owner in creating a proper efficient Product Backlog, the sole responsibility for the Product Backlog lies with the Product Owner. How to create a better Sprint Backlog? Once you have a good Product Backlog, pulling out the Sprint Backlog gets easy. Sprint Backlog gets its shape during the sprint planning meeting which is the first thing in a new iteration where the team sits together, either, physically or virtually, to discuss the requirements they can work on in a new sprint. Essentially the discussion circles the functionalities, the technical aspect around it, and how much they can load in an iteration. Here, the Scrum Master can help the team with excellent facilitation skills to come up with a sprint goal as a joint team effort. The team pulls up the highest priority items from the product backlog to discuss functionality and complexity, they also converse on the steps they could take to reach the goal. What are the benefits of Backlog prioritization? Prioritization is one of the critical aspects of a Product Backlog that helps in keeping it in a healthy state. Let’s look at a few of the benefits of prioritizing the backlog: Helps in the Sprint Planning with the story selection as the Product Backlog is already Prioritized. Better visibility to pull items during the iteration if the team has the bandwidth. Effective risk management due to pre-known issues during the grooming of the backlog Improved supervision of dependencies Early return of investment as the requirement follows value-based delivery.What are the different prioritization techniques or methods of prioritizing the Backlog?After talking about the Backlog and its benefits, let’s look at the various techniques of prioritization:MoSCoW MethodDeveloped by Dai Clegg, this is the most widely used model while prioritizing the backlog. The name itself has the meaning - Must Have, Should Have, Could Have, and Won’t Have.Moscow MethodKano ModelIn the 1980s Kano Model was developed by Professor Noriaki Kano. Under the Kano Model, items are categorized according to the requirements and opportunities of the stakeholders. The categories are – ‘Basic expectations’, ‘Satisfiers’, ‘Delighters’.Kano Method MethodStack RankingDuring Stack Ranking the items are placed in the order of priority which starts with one and goes up to the number of items in the backlog. Stack Ranking MethodCost Of DelayTo measure the cost of delay one needs to understand: “What will be the cost per time unit if we delayed delivery?” This is difficult to measure sometimes if you don’t use the correct parameters. This figure states how much money every month it will cost your organization to delay the delivery of the finished project. In practical life, we all have experienced ‘cost of delay’ whether it is starting late for work or starting up late with a new assignment.Cost Of Delay methodConclusionIn conclusion, we have seen that both the Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog are different entities tied together to the same group.Backlogs play a crucial role in software delivery and help the team deliver efficient solutions through effective backlog management tools and techniques. Once teams understand and use their backlog effectively, they are sure to achieve better delivery, serve customers better and enable the management to seize new opportunities.
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Career Benefits of Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) Certification

As soon as the organizations started relocating to an Agile way of software development, new roles have emerged. One of them is the Product Owner who plays a pivotal role in effectively connecting the needs of the customer and business directly to the development teams in a highly dynamic and responsive manner.Who is a Product Owner?According to the Scrum Guide,“The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Development Team. The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog”.From a business standpoint, one of the most vital roles on any Scrum team is the Product Owner (PO). The product owner is in charge of getting the product to life which customers want. To achieve this, the Product Owner does various activities that include creating the product vision, refining the product backlog, release planning, working with the customers, users, and other Stakeholders, managing the budget, launching the product, attending the Scrum meetings, and collaborating with the team.  Since the Product Owner must get input from other business Stakeholders, they need skills such as facilitation, conflict management, creative thinking, and the ability to influence the team and other stakeholders. In the waterfall model of development, we have business representatives and business analyst providing the requirements. The Product Owner combines the authority and responsibility which is distributed across different roles, including the customer or sponsor, the product manager, and the project manager.Responsibilities of a Product OwnerThe Product Owner represents the product, has a broad understanding of the product and “lives and breathes” it. The Product owner is responsible for creating and prioritizing the product backlog, a dynamic list of features for the product. The Product Owner is responsible for prioritizing and deciding what needs to be in the product backlog.The important qualities of a Product Owner include:Visionary and DoerThe Product Owner is a visionary who can envision the final product and communicate the vision. The product owner is also a doer who sees the vision through to completion.Leader and Team PlayerAs the individual is responsible for the product’s success, the product owner provides guidance and direction for everyone involved in the development effort and ensures that tough decisions are made.At the same time, the Product Owner must be a team player who relies on close collaboration with the other Scrum team members, yet has no formal authority over them.Communicator and NegotiatorThe Product Owner must be an effective communicator and negotiator. The individual communicates with aligns different parties, including customers, users, development and engineering, marketing, sales, service, operation and management.Empowered and CommittedThe product owner must have enough authority and the right level of management sponsorship to lead the development effort and to align stakeholders.The product owner must be committed to the development effort.Available and QualifiedThe Product Owner must be available and qualified to do a great job. Being a Product Owner is usually a full-time job. It is important to give products owners enough time to sustainably carry out their responsibilities.The roles and responsibilities of the Product Owner are as follows:The economic success of the project (controls the budget)Gives direction and creates alignmentDefines visionAligns work of a team by prioritization and focusProblem validation of product needsInterface for customer and stakeholdersVoice of customer and stakeholdersOrganizes customer feedbackProvides feedback to the teamsPushes back if necessary to protect the product release planningDefines and updates the product roadmapPlans product releasesManages Requirements/User storiesDefines product attributes & featuresWrites User storiesManages and prioritizes the product backlogDefines constraints to increase focusRisk management on a product levelAccepts or rejects work resultsWhat is CSPO Certification?The Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) certification from Scrum Alliance is a certification for the role of the Product Owner. This certification enables the participant to not only learn the basics but also take on the real-world problems that a typical product owner faces—emerging requirements, stakeholder conflicts and release planning.The Product Owner certification training will help you to learn how to improve a product value by increasing the speed of delivery of product features, leading the Scrum teams and coordinating with the Stakeholders to know their excitement about the product. Also, the Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) certification training leverages an effective communication between the Stakeholders and the development team about the final product to raise the product ROI to a maximum level.Why CSPO?CSPO Certification BenefitsCSPO certification offers the following benefits: Increases the scope of your career opportunities across all industry sectors adopting Agile practicesDemonstrate and apply core Scrum knowledgeUnderstand the foundation of Scrum and learn about the scope of the roleCollaborate with Scrum practitioners committed to continuous improvementIn addition to fulfilling the role of the Product Owner on a Scrum Team, your CSPO certification gives you a two-year membership with Scrum Alliance®. For people pursuing a higher level of certification in Scrum, such as the Certified Scrum Professional (CSP) designation, the CSPO provides attendees 16 Scrum Education Units to contribute to the total 70 SEUs they need to become a CSP. Certified Scrum Product Owner SalariesThe salary of a certified Scrum Product Owner varies from country to country. Collated below are the average salaries for three important countries:The average Scrum Product Owner salary in India is 18 Lakhs per year.The average salary of the Scrum Product Owner in the US is $ 100,831 per year.The average salaries vary from city to city in different countries. Provided below are the salaries for a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO):London: Pound 49,042San Francisco: $ 139,115Note: This data is based on the salary report by Glassdoor and Payscale.Top companies hiring Certified Scrum Product OwnersCertified Scrum Product Owners are sought after by top companies around the world. Some of the top companies which are hiring Certified Scrum Product Owners are Intel, Siemens, Target, EY, GE Healthcare, Honeywell.What are the requirements to become a CSPO?Before becoming a Certified Scrum Product Owner, you must first familiarize yourself with Scrum. The best way to do this is by reading the Agile Manifesto and Scrum Guide and watching the Scrum Foundations eLearning Series. Once you have completed these prerequisites, you must attend an in-person CSPO course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST). The CSPO course is an in-person course that consists of two 8-hour days. In the course, you will learn the fundamentals of Scrum and the responsibilities of the Product Owner through exercises, discussions, and case studies. The main topics of a CSPO course include:Techniques for developing a Product VisionHow to create, maintain, and order a Product BacklogHow to identify user needsAn overview of sizing in ScrumHow to manage stakeholdersConclusion Certified Scrum Product Owner(CSPO) is a must-have certification for aspiring product owners or anyone who wants to work with the “business side” of projects. This certification ensures that you have a solid foundation to jump-start your career as a Product Owner.
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Scrum Master Job Descriptions and Responsibilities In Agile

Scrum stands out as one of the most dominant Agile frameworks used widely across the world. As per the ‘14th Annual State of Agile Report’ published by VersionOne, Scrum has 58% of the segment in the overall adoption of frameworks across the organizations globally. Not only has Scrum captured a large share in the industry, but it is also easy to implement and brings about a more collaborative approach.   Scrum has three roles: product owner, scrum master and the development team members. It is these three roles that define the way a team works towards a single goal. Of the three roles, the role of the Scrum Master will be the focus of this article. We will talk about the qualities that make a successful Scrum master stand out from the crowd and discuss the major skill sets that employers seek from Scrum masters. Later, we will delve into how best to prepare for this role and how necessary it is for a Scrum master to possess technical knowledge related to the product or technology the team is working on. Finally, we will address how a Scrum Master can accelerate change and positively impact delivery in the team.  What is a Scrum Master?  Scrum Masters are facilitators of Scrum who act as servant leaders to drive the delivery in terms of process and product. As facilitators, scrum masters act as coaches to the rest of the team, “servant leaders” as the Scrum Guide puts it. Good scrum masters are committed to the scrum foundation and values, but remain flexible and open to opportunities for the team to improve their workflow. The Scrum Master is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. They do this by helping the team and the management understand the theory, practices, rules, and values of Scrum.  Roles of a Scrum Master  The scrum master is the role responsible for glueing everything together and ensuring that scrum is being done well. In practical terms, that means they help the product owner define value, the development team deliver the value, and the scrum team to get better. The scrum master is a servant leader which not only describes a supportive style of leadership but describes what they do on a day-to-day basis. The several ways that a Scrum master services the product owner, the Scrum Team and the organization are elaborated below. Service to the Product Owner Ensures that goals, scope, and product domain are understood by everyone on the Scrum Team as well as possible. Finding techniques for effective Product Backlog management. Helping the Scrum Team understand the need for clear and concise Product Backlog items. Understanding product planning in an empirical environment. Ensuring the Product Owner knows how to arrange the Product Backlog to maximize value. Understanding and practicing agility. Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed. Service to the Development Team Coaching the Development Team in self-organization and cross-functionality. Helping the Development Team to create high-value products. Removing impediments to the Development Team’s progress. Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed. Coaching the Development Team in organizational environments in which Scrum is not yet fully adopted and understood. Service to the Organization Leading and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption. Planning Scrum implementations within the organization. Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact Scrum and empirical product development. Causing change that increases the productivity of the Scrum Team. Working with other Scrum Masters to increase the effectiveness of the application of Scrum in the organization. Four main stances of a Scrum Master The Scrum Master wears different hats to deliver results.  As a Facilitator The Scrum Master is a facilitator who makes sure the team is following the scrum events by serving and empowering the team in achieving their objectives. The person must be ‘neutral’ without taking sides in any conversation or meeting, at the same time, back everyone to do their best in intellectual and in practice. On the lines of facilitation, Lyssa Adkins provides a very apt statement:   A Scrum Master should facilitate by creating a "container" for the team to fill up with their ideas and innovations. The container, often a set of agenda questions or some other lightweight (and flexible) structure, gives the team just enough of a frame to stay on their purpose and promotes an environment for richer interaction, a place where fantastic ideas can be heard. The coach creates the container; the team creates the content. - Lyssa Adkins As a Coach The Scrum Master helps the team to understand the framework and accordingly coaches them for being self-organized and cross-functional. This person inspires an outlook of continuous improvement and Back the team in problem-solving and conflict resolution.   As a Servant Leader The term Servant Leader was originated by Robert K. Greenleaf, who described this term as “The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. - Robert K. Greenleaf  This person ‘leads by example’ and puts the team/individuals' needs on priority. They make sure they are setting the foundation of trust, honesty, transparency, and openness. At the same time, they are the leader whom the team can look up to.   As a Change Agent The scrum Master brings about the change in terms of process, practices, and ways of working. They act as a catalyst in the overall transformation to bring about the degree of change expected from an organization. They help the team follow the process along with helping the stakeholders understand the empirical process. They help the entire team to adopt processes and enhance the delivery.  Scrum myth: The scrum master must run the daily scrum. In fact, the scrum master does not run any of the events, just ensures they happen and that they are successful. Top Qualities of a Successful Scrum Master  As with other roles, there is a secret sauce that goes into making the Scrum Master successful. While every individual serving as a Scrum Master may bring along their own personalities and strengths to reinforce the role, there are a couple of must-have qualities which every individual donning the Scrum Master role must hone. Let’s take a quick look at these traits that can add a pinch of charm to the Scrum Master role.  Powerful communicator The Scrum Master needs to be very specific and clear on the communication they have with the team and with stakeholders. They must be aware of the right channels and when to use them. They should know how to influence teams for better results.  Inspires ownership A good Scrum Master helps the team to understand Agile principles and why the team can gain better results through the adoption of ownership. They help the team to take ownership of their tasks, their task board, process, and even small failures.  Reads the room The Scrum Master should be able to understand and sense the temperature of the room. They should know when conflict is cropping up and how to deal with it smartly. This helps to build a culture of trust and transparency amongst the teams.  Impartial The Scrum Master can become a star leader if they are neutral towards any situation or the individual. They focus on the problem rather on the individual. They know every individual is good and has the right intentions, it is just the situations that alter the way the team behaves. This not only helps in creating a rapport but also gives one the satisfaction of doing the right thing.   Scrum Master Job Description and Responsibilities  With the increase in demand for Scrum Masters globally, it is important to understand the job description. Every industry is different and so are their ways of working. While each organization may have their own versions of the job description for a Scrum Master as per their need in a project, we will take a closer look into the typical job description that organizations use.   Below are some of the common points you will usually find in an open position for a Scrum Master:  Standups: Organize daily stand-up meetings, facilitate, and plan other project meetings as required including demos as suitable.  Sprint reviews: Empower the team to become self-organized to consistently deliver on their sprint commitments.  Adoption of best practices: Ensure development teams enthusiastically apply core agile principles of collaboration, prioritization, accountability, and visibility.  Impediment removal: Responsible to address impediments that prevent successful development and testing of approved requirements.  Visualization of issues: Support team to detect barriers that prevent it from delivering features to the customers.  Agile master: Strong knowledge of Scrum philosophy, rules, practices, and other frameworks.  Understanding of the software development process: Familiarity with software development processes and measures to understand team requirements.  Process ownership: Harmonize scrum team with agile; collaborate with Leadership to ensure delivery teams practice Agile framework and software engineering best practices.  Stakeholder management: Work in partnership with Stakeholders, Product Managers, Business Analysts, and development managers to plan releases and manage a healthy product backlog  Metrics/reports: Endorse and present appropriate metrics to sustain continuous improvement to get the best out of each team. Report progress, team status, and issues across the board.  Transparency: Communicate development status to sponsors, participants, management, and teams. Shares weekly or bi-weekly reports to ensure everyone understands the current state.   Quality: Safeguard observance of quality standards and project deliverables. Understand principles to drive quality ethics and help in devising tools and practices for best end results.   How can I prepare for this role?  Donning the role of a Scrum Master is akin to heeding to an internal calling; the role requires a person to be patient, a good communicator, a good listener, and most of all emotionally intelligent. If you want to become a Scrum Master, make sure you understand the in-depth meaning of servant leadership. It is not just following the process and events that make up a Scrum Master, it is a huge role which requires leadership while serving the team. If this is your calling, then here are some steps you can take –   Start learning about Scrum and how effectively you can use its values and principles with your team  Start reading articles and blogs on best practices with success stories.  Prepare for the certification required to start your journey.  Make sure you have a mentor who can shape you well and can help you hone your skills  Continuously work on your communication and influencing skills.  Is it essential for a Scrum Master to possess technical knowledge?  Of late, we have started noticing many job postings where organizations specifically demand a Scrum Master who is technically sound and knows the in and out of the technology the team is working on. Traditionally, however, Scrum Master is a non-technical role where the focus is on improving the work culture, adopting Scrum/Agile and its best practices, and helping the teams to grow, become self-organized and high performing. While it is a good-to-have criterion, technical knowledge is not mandatory. But then again, it really depends on the organization and their need.  Get started with the Scrum Master role  If you want to help teams work effectively together and want to change the world with scrum and agile, then the scrum master role is for you. It is a very people-centric role with a heavy emphasis on coaching, teaching, and facilitation. The Scrum Master role can be a game-changer for project delivery. They help the team understand their true potential which most of the times teams themselves are not aware of, with the help of coaching, mentoring, and using engaging team activities that help in understanding the overall process and delivery.  The Scrum Master role is critical and needs to be handled with care as the stakes are high. This role has a high degree of accountability and responsibility towards the team, process, and organization which not only requires an open mindset but also a concern for the wellbeing of co-workers.  Lived to its full potential, this role can build awesome high-performing teams that sustain hardships and efficiently draw learning out of every experience. Such teams are bound to succeed at every step, taking even failure as a step towards success. 
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Scrum Master Job Descriptions and Responsibilities...

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