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Best Practices When Using JIRA

The Atlassian product suite is most commonly used by IT companies to define requirements and track issues in their Agile projects. However, teams often have questions around what are the best practices of managing requirements using JIRA and Confluence. In this article, I will be discussing how to add different types of requirements on JIRA and discuss a few best practices for managing the same. Creating requirements on JIRA The ‘Create’ option on JIRA opens up a pop-up window that allows the team member to create an issue as indicated in the image below.  The starting point for adding any set of requirements is to first add business requirements as Epics. The user can also add requirements as features or user stories. Changes to requirements can be added as improvements, incidents, ideas or even as a bug. JIRA also provides the possibility to add test cases and test scenarios also as issues that helps better manage projects heavy on assurance of solutions. Epics added will appear on the left side of the screen as indicated above. The user can expand on each epic and view issues added as user stories, tasks etc. under that epic. The user may also directly create a story under a particular epic by selecting the Create Issue in Epic option.  Epics in traceability wth atlassina JIRA will be colour coded and a tag will appear against each issue allowing the user to easily identify to which epic a particular issue belongs. This helps teams group related issues together to better manage the progress of feature groups identified as epics. When adding issues in JIRA the team members can add a lot of information about a particular issue. Below is a small discussion about these aspects and on how JIRA supports the same.  Every issue will need to have a summary explaining the issue, type of issue, priority of the issue, due date, a person to whom the issue is assigned, who created the issue etc. Similarly, the team members can mention which environment the issue appears in or needs to be fixed on and the acceptance criteria for the issue added as a description.  The team members may also specify the complexity or size of an issue in story points or specify the effort required to complete the issue. The team may tag epics to which a particular issue belongs and in addition to that add any supporting materials as attachments.  Issues may also be tagged to a sprint or just be kept on the backlog for future development. Labels added to issues can be used as tags to assist with searching issues in the future. Tasks and subtasks can be added under issues/stories created in JIRA. This is possible by selecting the Create subtask option from within an issue in JIRA as shown on the image below. One of the common problems teams face in terms of requirements on JIRA is with regards to the following. There are lots of instances where issues go beyond the duration specified for a particular sprint. Similarly, multiple subtasks need to be completed in order for a story to be marked as a sprint. It is fine if all subtasks added under a story can be completed during the said sprint. However, more often than not it is not the case and tasks get overrun. Similarly, there are stories or issues which may run for months together where multiple long-running subtasks need to be completed for a story to be marked as done. How do we handle this in JIRA? Is it reasonable to keep on creating the same user story over and over again whenever a related subtask needs to be created? Is it a good practice to keep on forwarding a story to subsequent sprints marking them as not done and let your velocity suffer? JIRA provides a solution to overcome the above dilemma, allowing teams to link tasks to stories.  This allows teams to specify tasks or issues as belonging to, blocked by, cloned by, duplicated by, relates to or as to be tested by another issue in JIRA. Issues or tasks added using the above approach will allow teams to complete and mark these tasks as done without affecting the whole user story which is the parent of it. The parent issue or user story can thus be forwarded to a future sprint without any issue. Discussed above are some of the best practices in managing issues in JIRA. If used intelligently, JIRA can be a very powerful tool to manage Agile projects.  

Best Practices When Using JIRA

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Best Practices When Using JIRA

The Atlassian product suite is most commonly used by IT companies to define requirements and track issues in their Agile projects. However, teams often have questions around what are the best practices of managing requirements using JIRA and Confluence.

In this article, I will be discussing how to add different types of requirements on JIRA and discuss a few best practices for managing the same.

Creating requirements on JIRA
The ‘Create’ option on JIRA opens up a pop-up window that allows the team member to create an issue as indicated in the image below. 

The starting point for adding any set of requirements is to first add business requirements as Epics. The user can also add requirements as features or user stories. Changes to requirements can be added as improvements, incidents, ideas or even as a bug. JIRA also provides the possibility to add test cases and test scenarios also as issues that helps better manage projects heavy on assurance of solutions.

Epics added will appear on the left side of the screen as indicated above. The user can expand on each epic and view issues added as user stories, tasks etc. under that epic. The user may also directly create a story under a particular epic by selecting the Create Issue in Epic option. 

Epics in traceability wth atlassina JIRA will be colour coded and a tag will appear against each issue allowing the user to easily identify to which epic a particular issue belongs. This helps teams group related issues together to better manage the progress of feature groups identified as epics.

When adding issues in JIRA the team members can add a lot of information about a particular issue. Below is a small discussion about these aspects and on how JIRA supports the same. 


Every issue will need to have a summary explaining the issue, type of issue, priority of the issue, due date, a person to whom the issue is assigned, who created the issue etc. Similarly, the team members can mention which environment the issue appears in or needs to be fixed on and the acceptance criteria for the issue added as a description. 

The team members may also specify the complexity or size of an issue in story points or specify the effort required to complete the issue. The team may tag epics to which a particular issue belongs and in addition to that add any supporting materials as attachments. 

Issues may also be tagged to a sprint or just be kept on the backlog for future development. Labels added to issues can be used as tags to assist with searching issues in the future.

Tasks and subtasks can be added under issues/stories created in JIRA. This is possible by selecting the Create subtask option from within an issue in JIRA as shown on the image below.


One of the common problems teams face in terms of requirements on JIRA is with regards to the following. There are lots of instances where issues go beyond the duration specified for a particular sprint. Similarly, multiple subtasks need to be completed in order for a story to be marked as a sprint. It is fine if all subtasks added under a story can be completed during the said sprint. However, more often than not it is not the case and tasks get overrun. Similarly, there are stories or issues which may run for months together where multiple long-running subtasks need to be completed for a story to be marked as done. How do we handle this in JIRA? Is it reasonable to keep on creating the same user story over and over again whenever a related subtask needs to be created? Is it a good practice to keep on forwarding a story to subsequent sprints marking them as not done and let your velocity suffer?

JIRA provides a solution to overcome the above dilemma, allowing teams to link tasks to stories. 


This allows teams to specify tasks or issues as belonging to, blocked by, cloned by, duplicated by, relates to or as to be tested by another issue in JIRA.


Issues or tasks added using the above approach will allow teams to complete and mark these tasks as done without affecting the whole user story which is the parent of it. The parent issue or user story can thus be forwarded to a future sprint without any issue.

Discussed above are some of the best practices in managing issues in JIRA. If used intelligently, JIRA can be a very powerful tool to manage Agile projects.
 

Rumesh

Rumesh Wijetunge

Chief Innovation Officer - Zaizi Limited, Chief Operating Officer - LearntIn (Pvt) Ltd., Director /

Rumesh is an IT business leader with over 12 years of industry experience as a business analyst and project manager. He is currently the CIO of Zaizi Limited, a UK based data management company heading the operations in Sri Lanka, the COO of LearntIn, a global training institute based in Sri Lanka and is also a lecturer / trainer at multiple private universities on management, IT, business analysis and project management subjects. He is the current president of the IIBA Sri Lanka chapter and is one of the most qualified and sought after trainers in Sri Lanka. Refer his LinkedIn profile for more details and to see more articles he has written on linkedin

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But, the following prerequisites are recommended for those who wish to take the SAFe Scrum Master (SSM) certification exam:Insight of Agile concepts and principlesAwareness of Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP) and KanbanWorking knowledge of hardware and software development processes3.3. What is the certification cost for SAFe® Scrum Master certification?The first attempt of the exam is included as a part of the course registration fee, provided the exam is taken within 30 days of completion of the course. Each retake attempt costs $50.3.4. Here’s how to become a SAFe® Scrum Master professional:The very first step is to attend a SAFe® Scrum Master course. This is a requirement as this will help you gain access to all the study material as well as the examination.Upon completion of your SAFe® Scrum Master course, you can gain access of the examination within the SAFe® Community Platform.Take the test.After clearing the test, you’ll get a Certified SAFe® 4 Scrum Master PDF certificate or a Certified SAFe® 4 Scrum Master digital badge along with a one-year membership to the SAFe Community Platform, which includes access to the SSM Community of Practice.3.5. What will the SAFe® Scrum Master certification examination be like?The SAFe® Scrum Master certification examination can be taken in English, consists of a total of 45 questions of the type multiple choice and multiple select, and out of which you are required to score a minimum of 73% (33 out of 45) to obtain your certification. The time duration for the exam is 90 minutes. Here are a few sample test questions.3.6.Reattempts for SAFe® Scrum Master certification examThe first retake, that is the second attempt of the examination can be taken immediately after the first attempt. The third attempt requires a 10-day wait, while a fourth attempt requires a 30-day wait. Each retake attempt costs $50.3.7. How to renew your SAFe® Scrum Master certification?SAFe® certifications hold the validity for one year. After the completion of first year, you will be required to renew your certification by paying a renewal fee of $100.4. EXIN Agile Scrum Master (ASM)The EXIN Agile Scrum Master certification is a unique certification that combines the Scrum practices and Agile methodologies along with practical assignments. The certification tests the proficiency of a Scrum Master which is required to coach, facilitate and enable a cross-functional team. The course covers various topics like the role of the Scrum master, Adopting Agile, Agile planning estimation, control, monitoring, etc. This certification can be attained by professionals belonging to fields like business management, IT project management, Software development, IT service management.4.1. What is the accreditation body for the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) certification?EXIN is the accreditation body for Agile Scrum Master (ASM) Certification.4.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for ASM certification?There are no particular eligibility criteria for the Agile Scrum Master course. But it is mandatory for you to successfully complete an EXIN Accredited Agile Scrum Master Training.This certification is suitable for professionals in the following fields:Business managementSoftware DevelopmentIT Project ManagementIT Service Management4.3. What is the cost of the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) examination?The cost of the examination comes around $260, without any training course. If you have opted for a training course, it will include the exam fee as well.    4.4. What is the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) examination like?The  EXIN Agile Scrum Master certification examination consists of a total of 40 multiple choice questions (can be taken in English, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Latin American Spanish, Dutch, German, Polish, Czech, Chinese). The difficulty level for the examination is advanced and the exam duration is 90 minutes. You have to score a minimum of 65% in order to pass the examination and to get the ASM certification.5. Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)The Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) professionals can ensure that the Scrum Team is provided with the proper environment which helps the team in completing the project successfully. It is the duty of the Scrum Master to make sure that the Scrum process is being followed, while at the same time he is responsible to guide, facilitate and teach the Scrum practices to everyone who is involved in the project.5.1. Who is the accreditation body for Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)?SCRUMstudy is the accreditation body for Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)5.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for SMC™ certification?This certification is suitable for anyone who is interested in becoming a Scrum Master. There aren’t any specific prerequisites needed for this course. But, if you  who have completed the Scrum Developer Certified (SDC™) certification before opting for this certification are highly preferred.Moreover, it is recommended that you attend a 2-day SMC classroom training provided by a SCRUMstudy approved Authorized Training Partner (A.T.P.).5.3. What is the cost of the Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) examination?The cost of the examination is $450.5.4. What is the Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) examination like?The  SMC™ certification examination consists of a total of 100 Multiple Choice questions. The exam duration is 120 minutes. The current pass rate of this examination is 95%.5.5. How do I maintain my Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) certification?You are required to maintain 40 Recertification Units (RCUs) every 3 years in order to maintain your certification.6. Scrum Master Accredited Certification™The Scrum Master Accredited Certification Program is an online test examination that can be taken from anywhere around the world. The examination success rate is 98%.6.1. Who is the accreditation body for Scrum Master Accredited Certification™?International Scrum Institute™6.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for Scrum Master Accredited Certification™?This certification is suitable for anyone who is interested in becoming a Scrum Master.6.3. What is the cost of certification for Scrum Master Accredited Certification™?The test and certification cost for Scrum Master Accredited Certification is $69, with no other hidden costs or fees involved.The number of re-attempts: you can retake your examination for 10 times, without any additional fee. If you fail at your last attempt, the full amount of registration fee will be refunded to you.6.4. What will the Scrum Master Accredited Certification™ be examination like?The test contains 50 multiple-choice questions that you have attempt within 60 minutes. In order to obtain the certification, you will have to answer at least 60% of your test questions correctly.Summary of comparison between Scrum Master CertificationsCertificationAuthorized BodyDifficulty level Exam  DurationNo. of Questions CostRenewalCertified ScrumMaster (CSM®)Scrum Alliance®EasyNo Duration35$1400 (including a mandatory course fee)$100, every 2 yearsProfessional Scrum MasterTM (PSM)Scrum.orgMedium1 hour80$150 (course fee not included -depends on provider)Not required, has a lifetime validitySAFe® Scrum MasterScaled AgileDifficult1.5 hours45$995 – $1,295 (including a mandatory course fee)$100, every yearEXIN Agile Scrum Master (ASM)EXINDifficult1.5 hours40$260Not required, has a lifetime validityScrum Master Certified (SMC™)SCRUMstudyEasy2 hours100$45040 RCUs every 3 yearsScrum Master Accredited Certification™International Scrum InstituteDifficult1 hour50$69Not required, has a lifetime validityAdvanced and Related Scrum Master certifications1. Advanced CSM® (A-CSM®)If you have Certified ScrumMaster certification from Scrum Alliance® and have twelve months of working experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years you can get Advanced CSM® certificate after taking the class and “successfully completing all educator-designed components of an approved educational offering”.This course demands that you need to have a basic understanding of Scrum along with its practical usage and implementation. This workshop will help you get a deeper insight into the  Scrum Framework and how it relates to the Agile Manifesto and learn the ways to coach the Product Owner and development team members. You can renew your A-CSM® by earning Scrum Education Units® (SEUs) every two years.2. Certified Scrum Professional®-ScrumMaster (CSP®-SM) The CSP-SM certification is unique and distinct to developers. Along with the certification, the professional get opportunities to attend exclusive CSP events along with many other leaders in Scrum and Agile. The certification helps professionals to make an impression on the recruiters as well as attract a higher rate of pay.If you have an active A-CSM® certification with 24 months of experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years, and attend a CSP-SM workshop which is conducted by the Scrum Alliance® approved ‘Path to CSP Educator’, you can get certified after “Successfully complete all educator-designed components of an approved educational offering”You can renew your CSP-SM by earning Scrum Education Units® (SEUs) every two years.3. Professional Scrum MasterTM II (PSM II) & Professional Scrum MasterTM III (PSM III)The Professional Scrum Master II (PSM II) and Professional Scrum Master III (PSM III) are advanced-level courses from Scrum.org. You can attend an optional 2-day training for PSM II, while there isn’t any training required for PSM III. If you have cleared the PSM I assessment, can opt for PSM II assessment. If you have cleared the PSM and PSM II assessments and if you wish to gain a distinguished level of Scrum mastery can take up the PSM™ III assessment.PSM II assessment will cost you $250, will have 30 questions to answer in 90 minutes, and needs at least 85% passing to get certified. Whereas, PSM III assessment will cost you $500, will have 34 questions to answer in 120 minutes, and needs at least 85% passing score to get certified.4. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® from Project Management Institute (PMI)PMI-ACP acknowledges your knowledge and skill in Agile principles and techniques. The PMI-ACP covers agile approaches such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, extreme programming (XP) and test-driven development (TDD.)If you have 2,000 hours of general project experience working on teams along with1,500 hours working on agile project teams or with agile methodologies and 21 contact hours of training in agile practices, you can get PMI ACP certified after clearing the exam having 120 multiple-choice questions within 3 hours. You can renew your PMI-ACP certification every 3 years by earning professional development units (PDUs) in agile topicsThe Career path for a Scrum MasterBeing a certified Scrum Master opens the door for opportunities growth.1. Scrum MasterAfter completing the Scrum Master certification, the Scrum Master gets to perform all the roles that a Scrum Master is assigned to do. They need to work in this position for a minimum duration of one year to five years.2. Senior Scrum MasterAfter Scrum Master, you progress to becoming a Senior Scrum Master. A Senior Scrum Master needs to gather advanced knowledge of the best practices of Scrum and should know how to implement them in teams as well.3. Agile CoachFor the transition to become an Agile Coach from a Senior Scrum Master. It is essential for you to have a minimum of five years of knowledge in being a Scrum Master along with at least one year of experience of coaching and mentoring.Scrum is an Agile development framework which is used to manage the process of product development. The Scrum Master is a person who is responsible for implementing Scrum amongst the team members, remove the obstacles faced by them and make sure that the team members understand Scrum and its principles. He does the planning, takes care of the team backlog, sprint retrospective and sprint demo.Scrum Master certification opens the door to a leap in career growth. There are many certifications options to choose from. With the provided information, we hope you will choose a best Scrum Master certification as per your expectations and requirement work towards your getting your dream job.
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Scrum Master Certification - The Definitive Guide

What is a Scrum Master?The Scrum Master in a Scrum... Read More

5 Hurdles That Scrum Masters Commonly Face

Agile has gained a significant track and has been adopted by all organizations. Agile Methodology today has become one of the most popular and most dynamic project management styles among the software development teams. And Agile is also being adopted by various other functions. It is important to note that Agile can be applied to many types of teams and projects and should not be thought of as limited to engineers or software development projects only.We run all our software delivery through an Agile methodology called Scrum. Scrum is well-recognized amongst engineering teams, but a variety of teams across industries have come to love the Scrum way. From manufacturing to operations and education, businesses of all kinds have used Scrum practices and successfully. As long as your projects involve a concrete product, Scrum can work for you. We have been using Scrum for last few years and have some great success with it. But, still the Team come across various common Scrum Pitfalls.Many organizations are adopting Agile and Scrum for producing higher quality products and services.As per the statistics are given by PwC, “Agile projects are 28% more successful than traditional projects.”Almost three-quarters (71%) of organizations report using Agile approaches sometimes, often, or always. (source: capterra)So why not,Organizations are hiring Scrum Masters for implementing Scrum Framework. It’s a sole responsibility of a Scrum Master to make sure it’s fully implemented and followed by the team in an organization.Scrum is easy to understand but hard to implementWho is a Scrum Master?The Scrum Master is a champion for a Scrum team. He coaches the team, the product owner, and the business. The Scrum Master is a multitasker were deeply understands the work being done by the team, motivates the team and makes sure that the teams are following the Scrum processes and will also work together with them to continuously improve them.How important is a Scrum Master?Scrum Master also ranks on the top of the hierarchy on most of the Agile or Scrum Process, with an eye towards a better understanding of role and importance, here is a closer look at the Scrum Master roles.Scrum Master plays a vital role in the success of the project, he serves as a glue that can hold the entire project.Scrum Master may not participate in daily Scrum meetings but supports the entire team.Scrum Master helps in strengthening the Agile development teamScrum Master facilitates team meetings, which also includes Daily Stand-upScrum Master aims to deliver the maximum value to the customer.Let’s have a look at the 5 hurdles that Scrum Master commonly face:1. Managing Role ExpectationsMany organizations, as well as the upper management, confuses the role of the Scrum Master with a Project Manager. However, the most important thing that we all should know is that the Scrum Master is a Scrum facilitator for a team as well as an organization.However, sometimes management expectations are different, which makes the life of a Scrum Master little harder. We all need to understand that Scrum Master is a facilitator, a guide, a process follower and most importantly, a Servant Leader.2. Change ResistanceAs per Mike Cohn, it is the social aspect of change that can create resistance, all resistance comes from specific individuals. Teams or departments do not resist changing to Scrum, Individuals do.So, when we talk about Scrum implementations, the Scrum Master is the change agent for the same. It’s a major hurdle faced by a Scrum Master during the implementation. Change Resistance is not a surprise, it’s the most expected reaction whenever a new change is introduced.                                                      Tip: Choose a length of the Sprints in such a way that it can resist change.There are many ways for adopting Scrum patterns and overcoming change resistance. You will get that Scrum adopting patterns in my previous article- Patterns For Adopting & Spreading Scrum In Organizations.3. Keeping everything Time-Boxed        When we talk about implementing Sprints, every event is supposed to be time-boxed in order to get productive results. For example, the Daily Scrum event should not exceed 15 minutes, but in reality, we see team members start discussing their technical difficulties and the meeting goes longer than the allotted time. It’s one of the most common challenges for any Scrum Master.Well, a funny thing to try to overcome this hurdle is to make the team members stand for 15 minutes. Hide all the chairs! They will eventually get tired and finish up the meeting.4. Handling Urgent Change RequestsScrum Masters follow the rule when implementing Scrum which is to never accept changes within the Sprint. We can handle the change requests at the end of the sprint or at the start of the Sprint but not in between. However, in a practical world, we see Product Owners/Customers/Stakeholders coming up with an urgent change requests or bugs.However, it’s also not good to blindly follow the process without understanding the business and market aspects. It’s always better to communicate, collaborate with all the Stakeholders, replan and then make good decisions.5. Distributed TeamsIt is one of the most common barriers faced by a Scrum Master. When the teams are distributed geographically, there are sometimes delays, network issues, cultural or regional issues, different Time Zones, different working hours, it is always difficult to get everyone connected and collaborate/communicate with everyone.Thanks to all the technologies, applications out there that help us overcome this hurdle whether it’s communication, video conferencing, there are many tools available.Scrum Master also come across the following challenges:1. Scrum Master acts as an admin:Basically, Scrum Master tasks start with booking meetings, scheduling events, taking notes, and inviting people to ceremonies. All these may be the primary function of the Scrum Master and these deals with making the team be effective. The tasks involve various challenges.2. Lack of Agile training for the teams:As the Scrum Master is meant for the team, it’s a responsibility to make sure all your team members have foundational Agile training. This is one of the most problem faced by Scrum Master.To summarize, I would say, these are the just the “Hurdles” commonly faced by Scrum Masters but not the “Blockages”. These obstacles can be jumped over, with good skills, expertise and, experience in Scrum implementations. Keep Learning!
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5 Hurdles That Scrum Masters Commonly Face

Agile has gained a significant track and has been ... Read More

A Leader’s Journey: The Path from a Scrum Master to Agile Coach

Who is the Scrum Master?  The Scrum Guide defines the role as someone who upholds the values and principles of Scrum, someone who helps the rest of the team understand Scrum theory, and who supports their growth and maturity as individuals.  Not everyone can perform this role as the skills required are not easy to learn or master. It’s not that being a Scrum Master is hard, however, many people who take this path do so without a full understanding of what it means to be a Scrum Master.  So, what exactly is a Scrum Master?  How to become a Servant Leader?  John Maxwell, an author of numerous books on leadership states that being a leader is being someone of influence. What does this mean? Being someone of influence is someone who others come to depend on to help them grow as individuals and as members of a team. The leader influences them in some way to unlock their own potential.  Is Scrum Master the lifeline of Scrum?  A Scrum Master undoubtedly has to be an expert in the Scrum Framework.  However, being the expert at Scrum, and upholding its values and principles is not enough.  A Scrum Master has to also master being a leader and a coach for the team he or she serves.  The Scrum Master is a coach to the Product Owner, influencing her in ways to better her craft so that she can get better at maximizing the value being delivered by the team.  The Scrum Master also strives to be a coach to the organization, helping and influencing leadership to change their behavior from a command-and-control mindset to one where they also practice servant leadership, and develop their leadership skills and become people of influence.  All these do not happen after a two-day certification class.  It takes years to develop the coaching skills necessary to move from an expert in the Scrum Framework to a team coach, helping influence and shape a high-performing team, to coaching an organization, influencing leaders to improve their leadership skills. Many Scrum Masters will stay content in team coaching roles as it’s an extremely important one to fill, and many others will progress along a path to becoming an Agile Coach, someone coaching multiple teams, to an Enterprise Coach, coaching an organization.  The model, pictured below, from the Agile Coaching Institute, visualizes the coaching modalities required to be a successful coach (and leader).  The coaching modalities are colored in red.A Scrum Master, often called an Agile Team Facilitator, should be someone who is an expert facilitator, no easy skill to master.  Professional facilitation courses are available to help new Scrum Masters hone their skills, and Scrum Masters are encouraged to hone their craft to become master facilitators.First Facilitation → next Agile CoachAccording to Sam Kaner, the author of the “Facilitators Guide to Participatory Decision Making”, a facilitator “is an individual who enables groups and organizations to work more effectively; to collaborate and achieve synergy.  She or he is a ‘content neutral’ party who by not taking sides or expressing or advocating a point of view during a meeting, can advocate for fair, open and inclusive procedures to accomplish the group’s work”.  Facilitation, in my view, is something that takes years to master and can serve the individual if their career aspirations include coaching, teaching, and mentoring. All of these modalities require the person to be an excellent facilitator, as facilitation skills play strongly in all of them.For a Scrum Master, it’s important to work on facilitation skills, however, it’s not necessary to be an expert facilitator before taking on coaching, mentoring or teaching.  In fact, as a Scrum Master, you will be expected to mentor and teach your team, and to coach individuals.  Mentoring vs Coaching  When taken in an Agile context, the Agile coach is there to partner with their clients in a thought-provoking and creative process to help them change their mindset and approach and influence people in their organization to work in more Agile ways.  Mentoring, from an Agile context, is to share your knowledge and experience to offer your mentee’s choices and options from which to choose. Choosing a mentoring stance is something that you gain with experience.  And finally, Training is something that a Scrum Master will need to hone and develop their skills in, as it requires equal parts facilitation and mentoring to deliver effective training that people will learn from and remember.  In summary, a Scrum Master has a lot to master besides knowledge of the Scrum Framework! It may seem daunting at first, however, the key is to embrace the role and hone your craft as a facilitator as this forms the foundation for all the other modalities that make for a great coach and leader.  A typical path from Scrum Master to Coach may look something like this:As a newly minted Scrum Master, you’ll be expected to focus your attention on the team and the individuals on the team.  You will be facilitating all the team ceremonies while honing your mentoring and coaching skills in the process.  You will also be exercising these skills as you conduct workshops and more formal training for your team, and possibly other teams in the organization.  Don’t shy away from these opportunities; they will allow you to become better at being a Scrum Master, and a leader.  Remember that leadership is nothing more than influence, and having a mastery of these coaching modalities allows you to wield considerable influence on the people you serve.  As the team matures through your leadership, and as you mature as a Scrum Master, you will be ready to take on more of a leadership role for the organization.  You may focus on multiple teams as an Agile Coach, providing mentoring and coaching for new Scrum Masters, or other roles in the team. You may be conducting more workshops and training for the organization and possibly creating your own content for delivery.  You will be developing mastery in one or more of the coaching domains as pictured in the coaching model and will be developing expertise as a Business Coach, a Transformation Coach, or a Technical Coach. Business Mastery, as the name states, allows you to focus your coaching and leadership in Product Management, and other aspects that run the business. Transformation Coaches focus on all aspects of organizational change, while Technical Coaches roll their sleeves up, and work with technical teams to help implement DevOps, Continuous Integration and other technical enablers that help the enterprise accelerate delivery.  Take advantage of coaching boot-camps available commercially, and attend local coaching meetups.  This will give you the opportunity to meet other coaches for mentoring and coaching opportunities. Remember, the more opportunities you have to coach, the better you will be at it.And finally, the picture above depicts Enterprise Coaches as the pinnacle of coaching from an Agile context. These coaches have mastered all the coaching modalities, are experts in Lean-Agile, and have mastered at least one of the domains pictured in the coaching model. Enterprise coaches as master facilitators, and expert coaches who multiply their efforts by developing others to be great leaders and coaches.  So, go forth and become great Scrum Masters, as this role is foundational to great leadership.  In my view, being a coach is being a leader of influence. You will be able to help your organization stay nimble and adaptable through your leadership and coaching influence.
A Leader’s Journey: The Path from a Scrum Ma...

Who is the Scrum Master?  The Scrum Guide define... Read More

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