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The Anti-patterns To Look Out For In The Daily Routine Of A Scrum Master

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. Encourages ownership: 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.    Notices: 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. Shares experiences: 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.  Prevent impediments: 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.  Always available: 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.   Concluding Thoughts: 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.  
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The Anti-patterns To Look Out For In The Daily Routine Of A Scrum Master

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The Anti-patterns To Look Out For In The Daily Routine Of A Scrum Master

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
     


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.


Encourages ownership:

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. 

 

Notices:


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.



Shares experiences:


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. 



Prevent impediments:

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. 


Always available:

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.

 


Concluding Thoughts:

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.

 

Sandeep

Sandeep Kshirsagar

trainer

Sandeep is an Agile mentor with more than 12 years of experience as a Developer, Test Engineer, Automation Engineer, Scrum Master and an Agile Coach. He is presently working as an Agile Coach at Knowledgehut Solutions Pvt Ltd. Up until this point, he has prepared 800+ programming experts and trained more than 450+ programming experts in Agile journey at different organizations.
 

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Creating a swim lane for each team member may not be a good idea since the basic guideline for scrum is to work as a team and this representation might affect a team’s mindset. In the board below blue cards are User Stories and green Cards are tasks. Red cards are Production bugs. Some cards are flagged red indicating risks or impediments. Image 5: Example of scrum board with colour-coded cards and swim lanesAspects of Kanban in Scrum BoardA common challenge encountered in projects is when tasks accumulate or pile up in a phase or stage of the workflow. There could be several reasons why that happens. But identifying them is the key to solving that challenge and the Scrum Board effectively helps in this. Assume that Cards D, E, F, G have completed development and ready for testing. Cards B, C are being tested. It is day 6 of a 10-day Sprint.  Developers might now bring in H, I from the Ready Column to start development work, creating a bottleneck at Testing. Image 6: Scrum Board without WIP LimitsConcepts of Kanban can be borrowed into a typical Scrum board to address this. One of the techniques that can be used is to split the column into “In Progress” and “Ready”. This will set the stage for a “Pull” mechanism at every stage in the workflow of a story.  Introducing “WIP Limit” or “Work in Progress” Limit at the columns ensures multiple work items do not pile up at one stage of the process, do not get “pushed” downstream but rather gets “pulled” by downstream process and there is a steady flow created in the system. Considering the team is at day 6 of the iteration, it is recommended the team “stops starting and starts finishing”.  If the team swarms and completes the testing of D, E,F,G there could  be more business value delivered rather than starting development of H and I and having only few of the Development complete cards partially tested. In this scenario, a WIP Limit of 4 at development prevents the team from bringing in more work items into the development phase. The team can now swarm to complete the testing of the developed items taking them to completion.  Image 7: Scrum board with WIP limits and columns split into “In progress” and “Ready”Effective use ofthe Scrum Board  Updating and maintaining the Scrum Board Scrum board is owned by the team and it is the team’s responsibility to update the board to reflect the reality.The team also has the responsibility to evolve the board to suit the need of the project by experimenting on concepts of WIP Limit. How best to use the information on the Board Scrum Board can be used to identify bottlenecks in the flow of work. If bottlenecks are identified in one stage of the workflow, the team can resort to Swarming or enforcing WIP Limits. Seeing the work items move through the Scrum board and reach “Done” during the Sprint provides the team a sense of accomplishment. Challenges and ways to overcome them Easier said than done, updating the board is one of the biggest challenges faced especially in beginner teams. Not every team member will be prompt in updating the board. To overcome this challenge, updating the board could be one of the team ground rules with non-compliance attracting fun consequences decided by the team, such as the defaulter treating the team with chocolates/coffee or updating everyone’s scrum board the next day. The Scrum Master can immensely help the team realize the power of the board by using it during agile ceremonies like planning, stand up and retrospectives. Facilitating the scrum by traversing the board from right to left (i.e.“Done” to “To-Do”) is another tactic to keep reinforcing the value of the board and motivating the teams.Having conversations in stand-ups by traversing the board from right to left will first bring up cards that are done or almost done and helps see what has been accomplished in the sprint.  What a Scrum Board is not A Scrum Board cannot replace the conversations and interactions that are always encouraged in Agile projects. Flagging a card on the scrum board / posing queries on a card should not solely replace the conversations around these. A Scrum Board is not for executives to monitor the team’s progress and efficiency, but it is for the team to monitor their sprint items as a whole. Key takeaway A Scrum Board is an excellent tool for the team to visualize their work, look at everyday progress, identify bottlenecks, make immediate course corrections, so that they can meet their Sprint goals. Used rightly, it will serve the team and benefit them. However, if it is used by management to monitor the team or if the team members consider it as a tool to update management then it loses its purpose and becomes just another overhead. 
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How to Use Scrum Board for Agile Development

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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...

Scrum stands out as one of the most dominant A... Read More

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