So you spent two days on the Certified Scrum Master course and passed with flying colors. Congratulations. For a project to be successful, it is important to set the right expectations. Now the real work begins.
I would like to give you some pointers of things you can do to make your new role easier to manage.
Here, one can look at this relationship as being a new twist on the prisoner’s dilemma, albeit with a new twist. Defection is painful for everyone, so you need to find ways to cooperate.
Look for the source of motivation for your team – A cross-functional team might be defined as a team of equals, but the Scrum Master is responsible for enabling the team to get the work done. Sometimes, this requires holding out a carrot (you get a goodie) or the stick (your work quality is unacceptable). Use both these tools wisely.
Let’s be honest. It’s extremely difficult to motivate people if work is a drudge, so make it lively.
Join a support group – Sometimes, it’s lonely being a Scrum Master. Nobody understands your situation, and you have no one to turn to. It’s good to know that there are others out there who understand your plight, so reach out to your fellow Scrum Masters and feel good about consoling yourselves.
Remember, both you and your team can only do what you can do. That’s what Agile is all about, but such an attitude is difficult for an overachiever.
Traceability is a technique worth treasuring. Going from top to bottom…and then reverse. Does it still make sense? Don’t be surprised if you found some gaps. After all, we’re only human.
If you handle more than one project, it truly means you are partially committed to the project and are not able to give your 100% to it. A capable ScrumMaster may handle multiple projects, but successful projects are handled one at a time.
Scrum results are advantageous only as a team effort. In this approach, emphasizing on individual results becomes an impediment.
It’s important to know that as an effective ScrumMaster, you should rely on the principles of self-management and not managing the team.
To ensure consistent performance, it’s vital that the work attributed to team members isn’t too much, requiring them to compromise their personal time that would lead to burnout, dissatisfaction, and poor output.
When a team member states that he has completed a task, how does one determine that it is done as expected? Here, it would help to have an auditable checklist so that the team can recognize what the real state is and strive to accomplish each activity based on definitions.
Lack of motivation reflects on ScrumMaster’s job. When the team works in unison, it means you can achieve desired results. However, if a team member is not motivated enough, it means the ScrumMaster is not doing his job well. Even if one team member is not in sync, it increases the project risk.
The role of a ScrumMaster is similar to that of a tourist guide. He can guide you, but not control you. The ScrumMaster too is expected to make a difference but he can’t have any formal authority over the team members.
While a good scrum master knows that he is responsible for ensuring the success of the team by removing all roadblocks that may hinder the progress, a great one rather takes the onus of driving the team on that road to Scrum success. Though a Scrum Master may lack authority to direct team, a great Scrum Master addresses the unspoken needs of the team to be able to comfortably work with each other. A great Scrum Master ensures that the team environment is conducive to discussion and collaboration which undisputedly the soul of any successful work.
A good Scrum Master relies on coordination to bring the team on the same page but a great Scrum Master rather understands the need to facilitate the scrum process. Any Scrum Master would know that glory for a Scrum Master truly lies in the success of the team rather than just for their own self. A great Scrum Master can identify and align the value that each member brings to the table and thus enhances the overall team potential. Also. the key ingredient here is to know that each team is different and each team may need a different approach. This mode of continuous learning keeps the humility alive in a great Scrum Master.
A great Scrum Master knows the importance of a collaborative culture for a successful team. The intent here is to establish collaboration, discussion, and debate to resolve any question, query or conflict among team members. A sense of gain in all the members on arriving at a useful conclusion is continuously reinforced by a great Scrum Master to develop a collaborative culture.
Since Scrum Masters do not usually work in this role full time, great Scrum Master is someone who ensures commitment to the project through the sprints till the successful completion of the project. Usually, this requires a focus on removing all impediments as soon as possible to ensure that every sprint can achieve its desirable outcomes. All the roadblocks are timely addressed by all great Scrum Masters.
Garnering influence from the team is an essential trait to persuade the team to dedicate their team goals to the Scrum way. It also helps when a great Scrum Master is able to identify resources that the team may require but are not readily available. A great Scrum Master is able to proactively understand the needs of the team and use influence to make them accessible to the team when they may require it. Within the team also a great Scrum Master can convince team members to use new, better approaches and tools to solve their problems.
Though every Scrum Master learns Scrum and improves their approach with every project, a great Scrum Master continuously learns and unlearns the details of what the team does as part of their scope. This helps the Scrum Master to be great because only with the knowledge are they able to understand the criticality of decisions that are taken through the process and can address issues that may be technical in nature. They are in turn more effective and are more successful at facilitating the team.
For the development of a product and its management, the development team has certain predetermined goals that must be achieved within a limited time period. The deadlines keep the team oriented towards completing tasks. As a ScrumMaster, your duty would be to make deadlines and goals clearly visible to everyone involved in the team.
You need to remove any blocks and barriers that come in the team’s way to accomplish their objectives and provide matchless quality in performance. You will have to monitor your team’s execution and prevent distractions like unnecessary complexity in procedures, delay in resources, challenges pertaining to work environment and other factors, or even having too many office meetings that interfere with the workflow.
Maintaining a balance between the product owner and development team tactfully is one of the major responsibilities of a ScrumMaster. Knowing the product owner’s requirements and conveying them to your team in a way that will yield apt and quick results is not as simple as it sounds. You will have to ensure your team delivers with maximum efficiency while rolling out a high quality product and meeting the client’s specifications.
Educate your team about Scrum practices to make the workflow better. Through these practices, you must be able to build self-organised teams, implement simple and adaptable techniques, create a smooth flow of information between team members and product owners or any other external groups, having a common vision for your team, product, and project, monitoring the project for smooth operation and giving timely feedback, and providing team flexibility without compromising on customer needs.
As a ScrumMaster, you will need to ensure your team uses adaptable techniques and engineering tools for the enhancement of the project. Keep a simple design, provide a time-to-time review, reduce time and efforts with automated builds, provide a multi-level automated testing, improve the software quality, and adapt to the latest industry trends and procedures to make the project more efficient.
Scrum-prescribed collaborations help you etch out a strong plan that enables faster and better results. So, encourage collaboration amongst your team by releasing planning sessions, iterating these sessions, conducting daily standup meetings, reviewing iterations, having demo sessions, and finally holding a retrospective session to reflect on the issues related to the project.
Be it for yourself or for your team, learning should be a continual process. Learning new techniques and inculcating new methodologies will definitely help in the enhancement of the product. You can learn new ways of solving problems. It also gives you the benefit of knowing the ever-changing market and customer needs.
As a ScrumMaster, you have many responsibilities. The good to great journey for a Scrum Master may not come easy. There are always roadblocks associated with managing team members, keeping the team focused and most importantly maintaining the momentum to achieve deliverables each sprint. Being mindful of following tacit aspects are cues to scaling that journey. Open communication, active contribution from team members and product owners, stressing on people over processes and customer value over extensive documentation, are some of the Scrum-based strategies that help in deriving effective outcomes and delivering complete customer satisfaction.
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