Scrum Master (SM) plays a very critical role in the success of Agile/Scrum implementations in an organization. The entire effort of transforming teams with Agile ways of working is bound to fail if the role of a Scrum Master is not understood clearly.
Listed below are some of the anti-patterns seen in a Scrum Masters-
- Unable to coach the Product Owner
- Scrum Master with Command and Control Leadership Style
- Scrum Master taking updates from the development team during Daily-Standup as opposed to the actual purpose of Daily-Standup
- Allowing the spillover of work to subsequent sprints
- Taking partial credit for the unfinished work in the current sprint by splitting story points
- Allowing for burn out of Development Team
- Playing the role of Scrum Master without believing in Agile/Scrum values and principles
- Always conducting Sprint retrospective in the same fashion
- Playing the role of SM without understanding the behavioural aspects needed to play the role
- Solving all impediments for the team
- Demonstrating the working software during Sprint Review to the stakeholders.
- Not creating awareness in the team with Agile Engineering Practices
- Not following Timebox
- Allowing Managers to attend Sprint Retrospectives
- Assigning tasks to Dev team members
- Trying to influence the team estimates
- Forcing team to commit for Sprint deliverables
- SM doing planning for the team instead of facilitating
- Playing favourites, showing differences and bias among dev team members.
- Being authoritative
- Lack of knowledge on implementation of Agile/Scrum
- Providing solutions for the team
- Allowing dev team members to work on items other than what has been committed during the Sprint Planning.
- Hiding information from the dev team members
- Scrum Master playing the role of a Manager
- Not listening to the team issues during Sprint Retro and being biased and pushing his/her viewpoints
- Providing explanations for each point during Sprint Retro
- Micro-managing the team
- Creating poorly organized Minutes of Meeting for daily standup
- Ill-management of the Triple Constraints (Scope, Cost, and Schedule)
- Playing the role of Scrum Master for multiple teams despite not having the bandwidth
- Playing the role of Scrum Master in spite of not understanding the role of a Coach in the team
Anti-patterns in the Role of Scrum Master https://t.co/eerwT6ve9S— Sandeep (@sandeeps064) 20 February 2018
Exactly, what does a good Scrum Master do?
As indicated by the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master is in charge of guaranteeing that the Scrum principles are comprehended and followed correctly. Scrum Masters do this by guaranteeing that the Scrum Team sticks to the Scrum ideas, practices, and guidelines. Basically, the Scrum Master is a Servant-leader for the Scrum team. Also, the Scrum Master helps the team to grasp an outside conversation and assist them in picking up the useful things.
The role of a Scrum Master is one of the numerous positions and assorted variety, and a great Scrum Master is the person who comprehends them and knows when and how to apply them as per the circumstances. Everything with the motive to help individuals understand and apply the Scrum framework better.
In his/her daily life, the Scrum Master acts as a:
- Servant-Leader- Keeps focus on the necessities of the team members and on the client’s requirements, with the aim of achieving business objectives.
- Facilitator- Facilitates by providing clear confinements so that the team can work collaboratively.
- Coach- Trains the individual in the Scrum team to follow the Scrum principles appropriately.
- Conflict navigator- Resolves conflicts to manage the unproductive mindsets and non-operating behaviors;
- Manager- Manages the impediments, Scrum process, remove waste, confining limits of self-organization, and following the Scrum culture.
- Mentor- Transfers the Agile knowledge and experiences to the team;
- Teacher- Allows teams to understand and follow the Scrum related methods.
A GREAT SCRUM MASTER…
Let us first take a quick tour of the daily life of an ideal Scrum Master.
The above infographic pretty much sums up the daily activities of a great Scrum Master. A successful SM essentially is one with the following traits-
Includes the team with setting up the Scrum processes:
A good Scrum Master ensures the entire team adheres to the chosen Scrum process and understands the value of every Scrum event. Therefore, the Scrum meeting is always planned according to a suitability of all the team members. A common concern behind engaging all the team members in the meeting is to plan the process in the project for the future steps and discussion on the desired output.
Comprehending the team development:
As per the renowned psychologist Bruce Tuckman, there exist diverse stages of a team development- forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. A Scrum Master is great when he/she comprehends under which phase the team is suffering and when he/she knows the importance of a stable team composition clearly.
Understands principles are more crucial than practices:
Basically, without the concrete understanding of the principles, every executed Agile practice is worthless. So a great Scrum Master understands the Agile principles first to increase the usage of practices successfully.
Finds out and tries to sort out team conflicts:
A great Scrum Master finds out the team friction at an early phase and tries to sort out the issues by applying numerous resolution strategies like healthy conflict and constructive disagreement.
Is aware of the organizational activities:
A great Scrum Master can have a profound impact on the culture of the organization so that the Scrum teams can flourish and sustain. He understands that changing people's behavior isn't all about changing people. He/she must be aware of the activities happening in the organization i.e. should aware of the climate of the place.
Is the Scrum Master needed or not?
A great Scrum Master has upheld the development of teams in such a way they needn't bother if he/she will not be with them any longer on a daily basis. But due to his/her demonstrated commitment, the SM will get asked frequently. In fact, you can say that the SM’s role has changed as a periodical mentor and advisor to a daily coach and teacher.
Not preventing the team occasionally:
A great Scrum Master has an idea of when to save a team from falling and failing. But sometimes, the SM lets the team fail, as the lessons can be learned better after a mistake.
A great Scrum Master motivates his team to assume complete ownership of the tasks they are mapped to.
Should be self-organizing:
The great Scrum Master comprehends the importance of a self-organizing team. They should be able to make their own decisions, manage own work, cooperate team members to achieve project target.
Knows the power of silence:
A great Scrum Master is always aware of the three levels of listening-
Level 1- internal listening
Level 2- focussed listening
Level 3- global listening
A great Scrum Master does not simply hear, he listens
A great Scrum Master is also a great listener. Less talking and more listening is something he follows on a regular basis. He is aware of all the three levels of listening and knows how to to make the best use of them. He listens carefully to what is said, and also to what isn't said.
The daily Scrum is arranged by the team for the team. The Scrum Master just observes that session and keeps a water clear view of what is being discussed, how and what the team members played the role in the session.
One of the unique traits of successful Scrum Masters is that they always share experiences and relevant information with their peers. This might either be intra-organizational or through seminars and conferences, which are great platforms to share experiences and garner knowledge. Undoubtedly, noting down and sharing the lessons learned is also highly commendable on the part of an SM.
Has a knapsack loaded with numerous retrospective designs:
A great Scrum Master can apply numerous retrospective designs. This makes sure that the retrospective will be a leisure and functional for the team. A Scrum Master has an idea of which retrospective to refer to according to the team’s situation. Also, the SM allows the team to host their own retrospective.
Can guide professionally:
An efficient Scrum Master comprehends the energy of expert training and has aced at this area of study. Books like Coaching Agile Teams and Co-Active Coaching don't have any privileged insights for Scrum Masters. He/she knows how to direct without recommending. He/she can close the vacant space between considering doing and really doing. Also, he/she enables the team members to comprehend themselves better so they can find out new approaches to benefit as much as possible from their potential.
Has influence at an organizational level:
A successful Scrum Master always motivates and influences team members at tactic and strategic level. Mostly, team members face difficulties at these levels. It is important that a Scrum Master knows how to act at the different levels within an organization.
A great Scrum Master resolves and also prevents the impediments for future. Based on his/her past experiences, the SM reads the situations and acts on them proactively.
An extraordinary Scrum Master isn't generally effectively present. He doesn't irritate the team unnecessarily and helps the team to get into the 'flow'. However, when the team needs him, he's constantly accessible.
Forms an incredible pair with the Product Owner:
An incredible Scrum Master has a remarkable pairing with the Product Owner. In spite of the fact that their advantages are to some degree extraordinary, the Product Owner 'pushes' the team while the Scrum Master secures them. This strong partnership is to a great degree significant for the Development Team. Together they can fabricate the establishment for outstanding outcomes.
Allows leadership to grow:
A great Scrum Master allows leadership within the team to develop and views this as a successful outcome of their teaching. They believe in the mantra "leadership isn't just a title, it's an attitude". This is something every single member of a Scrum team should maintain.
Knows about gamification:
An incredible Scrum Master can utilize the ideas of game and consider game mechanics to connect with clients in taking care of issues and stick to the commitments made to the clients.
Comprehends more knowledge on Scrum related things:
An incredible Scrum Master is likewise skillful with XP, Kanban, and Lean. He knows the qualities, shortcomings, openings, and risks of each technique/framework and how and when to utilize them. He tries to comprehend what a team needs to accomplish and causes them to turn out to be more viable from an Agile viewpoint.
Leads by example:
A great Scrum Master is somebody that team members need to take after. He/she does this by motivating them to release their inner potential and demonstrating to them the desired behavior. At troublesome circumstances, he/she demonstrates industry standards to the team members to follow up on it; he/she doesn't freeze, remains quiet and enables the group to discover the arrangement.
A good leader tells, a great leader leads, a Scrum Master sets examples
Is a conceived facilitator:
An incredible Scrum Master is a facilitator by nature. All the Scrum events are a delight to attend, and every other meeting is very much arranged, valuable and fun, and has a reasonable result and purpose.
There are a lot of conceivable outcomes to failing as a Scrum Master. Sometimes, the absence of an organizational support, unfair people for unsuitable job, people conflicting with their team members over trivial issues are some of the common instances. Some Scrum Masters basically need criticism from their Scrum teams and stakeholders. Whatever be the case, try and give credit to your Scrum Master for the times he has stood by his team. After all, Scrum, in the end, is a group activity.