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How To Choose A Scrum Master?

A common problem most of the scrum teams face is with regards to selecting a suitable team member to become the scrum master for the team. It has become a strenuous activity for some teams, for some a ritual whereas for some others it has become just another activity not to be stressed about. However, giving careful thought to the process of selecting a suitable scrum master will be beneficial for any scrum team with different scrum tools   Who is the Scrum Master?  A common analogy when teaching scrum is to refer to the scrum in rugby. The rugby scrum is where the two packs of the two opposing teams lock horns in order to gain possession of the ball. The scrum stays firm when the lines stay upright and strong. The responsibility of the scrum half is to get the ball out of the scrum and give it the direction to be taken by passing it on to the next suitable in line. The agile scrum master’s role is similar to the scrum half. The scrum master is the one who gives the team the correct direction and helps them achieve objectives of the project by guiding them in the correct direction. The scrum master is expected to be the protector, problem solver and process consultant for the scrum team.   When to select the scrum master? So when is the most suitable time to select a scrum master for the team? Like with any project the work begins once the contract has been agreed upon and signed between the two parties. This precedes analysis of the problem or opportunity, analysis of the stakeholders, identification and agreement on a solution statement and finally the development of a business case.  Once the project is confirmed it is handed over to a scrum master. So, it seems most suitable to assign the scrum master for the project as soon as the project is confirmed and contracts are signed. But is it the case?  It will be much better to appoint a team member who would be involved in the project while the bidding for the project or the proposal stage is in progress. The team member would thus be in the best position to understand the exact requirements of the project as well as the expectations of the client. By again, is this the most suitable person to be nominated as the scrum master? May be, or may be not!   Who should be the scrum master? Selecting an appropriate scrum master is prudent for the smooth execution and success of any agile project. First of all lets see characteristics of a scrum master.   Problem Solver It is said that the scrum master must be like a road construction worker who is developing a new road. He would need to identify big rocks or thorny areas on the path ahead and be able to clear that path by applying suitable problem solving skills. Similarly, the scrum master must be able to apply necessary facilitation skills, negotiation skills and problem solving skills to remove any impediments that the team may face.   Protector The Scrum master must be like the guardian angel of his team. A project team is always pressurized by the client to deliver value within the triple constraints of time, cost and scope. Similarly, the team is pressurized by the management and other teams to take or share team members in other projects. The scrum master must be able to protect his team from such external interferences and allow the team to focus on doing their task.   Process consultant The scrum master must be the one who defines and adopts agile processes and practices for the team. As the process consultant the scrum mater must be able educate the team members about the tailoring made to agile practices, be able to guide the team on a daily basis and be able to make necessary process related decisions as and when required.   Available and committed The scrum master’s presence is essential for any team to schedule scrum ceremonies, facilitate those events and to guide decision making during those events. The mere presence of a strong scrum master will be a confidence booster for the team. So, if the scrum master constantly takes leave or is not present for team meeting and is busy at other client meetings that person may not be the suitable to be the scrum master.   Servant Leader The scrum master is by no means a project manager. The scrum master must be knowledgeable to lead the team by example. He too should be able to contribute to the cross-functional team. Similarly, the scrum master must be a person who sticks with the team during good times and bad. Once, in one of the projects that I was involved in, the team had to work 12 to 15 hours per day for 2 whole months to meet client deadlines. The team was on the verge of quitting when the scrum master himself brought in food and drinks for the team and handed over the items to each team member in person patting them on the back and sitting with them a good 10 to 15 minutes.   Changing responsibilities? It is always good to have a change in scrum master role thought the life of the project. This will bring a different perspective and a point of view. However, it is always important to keep in mind the afore-mentioned qualities of a good scrum master and to ensure that the new scrum master does not disrupt the existing good state of the project. As the old adage goes the leader is as good as his team!!.  
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How To Choose A Scrum Master?

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How To Choose A Scrum Master?

A common problem most of the scrum teams face is with regards to selecting a suitable team member to become the scrum master for the team. It has become a strenuous activity for some teams, for some a ritual whereas for some others it has become just another activity not to be stressed about. However, giving careful thought to the process of selecting a suitable scrum master will be beneficial for any scrum team with different scrum tools

 

Who is the Scrum Master? 

A common analogy when teaching scrum is to refer to the scrum in rugby. The rugby scrum is where the two packs of the two opposing teams lock horns in order to gain possession of the ball. The scrum stays firm when the lines stay upright and strong. The responsibility of the scrum half is to get the ball out of the scrum and give it the direction to be taken by passing it on to the next suitable in line.

The agile scrum master’s role is similar to the scrum half. The scrum master is the one who gives the team the correct direction and helps them achieve objectives of the project by guiding them in the correct direction. The scrum master is expected to be the protector, problem solver and process consultant for the scrum team.

 

When to select the scrum master?

So when is the most suitable time to select a scrum master for the team? Like with any project the work begins once the contract has been agreed upon and signed between the two parties. This precedes analysis of the problem or opportunity, analysis of the stakeholders, identification and agreement on a solution statement and finally the development of a business case. 

Once the project is confirmed it is handed over to a scrum master. So, it seems most suitable to assign the scrum master for the project as soon as the project is confirmed and contracts are signed. But is it the case? 

It will be much better to appoint a team member who would be involved in the project while the bidding for the project or the proposal stage is in progress. The team member would thus be in the best position to understand the exact requirements of the project as well as the expectations of the client. By again, is this the most suitable person to be nominated as the scrum master? May be, or may be not!

 

Who should be the scrum master?

Selecting an appropriate scrum master is prudent for the smooth execution and success of any agile project. First of all lets see characteristics of a scrum master.

 

Problem Solver
It is said that the scrum master must be like a road construction worker who is developing a new road. He would need to identify big rocks or thorny areas on the path ahead and be able to clear that path by applying suitable problem solving skills. Similarly, the scrum master must be able to apply necessary facilitation skills, negotiation skills and problem solving skills to remove any impediments that the team may face.
 

Protector
The Scrum master must be like the guardian angel of his team. A project team is always pressurized by the client to deliver value within the triple constraints of time, cost and scope. Similarly, the team is pressurized by the management and other teams to take or share team members in other projects. The scrum master must be able to protect his team from such external interferences and allow the team to focus on doing their task.
 

Process consultant
The scrum master must be the one who defines and adopts agile processes and practices for the team. As the process consultant the scrum mater must be able educate the team members about the tailoring made to agile practices, be able to guide the team on a daily basis and be able to make necessary process related decisions as and when required.
 

Available and committed
The scrum master’s presence is essential for any team to schedule scrum ceremonies, facilitate those events and to guide decision making during those events. The mere presence of a strong scrum master will be a confidence booster for the team. So, if the scrum master constantly takes leave or is not present for team meeting and is busy at other client meetings that person may not be the suitable to be the scrum master.
 

Servant Leader
The scrum master is by no means a project manager. The scrum master must be knowledgeable to lead the team by example. He too should be able to contribute to the cross-functional team. Similarly, the scrum master must be a person who sticks with the team during good times and bad. Once, in one of the projects that I was involved in, the team had to work 12 to 15 hours per day for 2 whole months to meet client deadlines. The team was on the verge of quitting when the scrum master himself brought in food and drinks for the team and handed over the items to each team member in person patting them on the back and sitting with them a good 10 to 15 minutes.
 

Changing responsibilities?
It is always good to have a change in scrum master role thought the life of the project. This will bring a different perspective and a point of view. However, it is always important to keep in mind the afore-mentioned qualities of a good scrum master and to ensure that the new scrum master does not disrupt the existing good state of the project. As the old adage goes the leader is as good as his team!!.
 

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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How to Transition From Project Manager to a Scrum Master

Scrum Masters and Project Managers are not the same roles. I am going to talk about moving from a Project Manager role to a Scrum Master. Why do we need to talk about it? Because many people think they are the same thing with different artifacts or different language being used. They aren’t.You may be considering a change of roles from Project Manager to Scrum Master. You may be forced into such change as your organization is subjected to an Agile transformation. You may find yourself juggling both the roles and struggling with the competing agendas embedded in the two roles.  What I want you to get from this essay is an appreciation of the differences between the Project Manager and Scrum Master and some ideas about how the role of the Project Manager fits into Agile.The benefits of being a great Scrum MasterThe first and obvious answer is the huge drive to have an Agile delivery capability in almost every organization in the world. It’s a hot new job and having these skills and experiences to improve your employment prospects as you look for work.While there are still more Project Manager jobs than Scrum Master jobs on the jobs boards, the number of Scrum Master and similar jobs continues to grow, while the number of Project Manager jobs appears to be steady, and perhaps even shrinking in some markets.Additionally, more and more Project Manager roles require an understanding of and experience in Agile development and management methods, as project performance seems strongly correlated with the use of Agile methods.So, getting good in-depth experience in Agile working is an important step in your professional development, especially if you are a Project Manager involved in technology projects. Doing a job as a Scrum Master is an excellent way to immerse yourself in Agile world and learn the skills, knowledge, and behavior that will help you be a great manager and leader later in your career.But wait! There’s more.Many, many, many people who adopt the role of Scrum Master find their way into a new and fulfilling career. Scrum Masters and related coach type roles are inherently fulfilling for many people. Scrum Masters report a huge sense of satisfaction in being valuable team members and helping those around them grow in capability and deliver successful outcomes.  Becoming a Scrum Master may be the beginning of a whole new career track for you.Why to switch from Project Manager to a Scrum Master roleLet us have a look at the three key areas from where you can make out the decision on why the Scrum Master can be a great alternative for a typical project management environment:The potential to focus on the current taskDuring a project, the Project Manager has to discuss with the Client team and the Developer team to ensure the project goals. Being a Project Manager, it is very time-consuming and burdening as they have to ensure that the team is adhering to their own high standards.Whereas, Scrum Masters set priorities and target depending on sprint cycle. Scrum Master always keeps an eye on the active sprint. Scrum framework reduces distractions and the stress of achieving several different goals simultaneously. Being a Scrum Master, it is very easy to manage the projects as the Scrum framework allows to-Narrow the focusMeasure the results at each SprintGive the fastest deliveryDifferent ways to manage projectsMostly Project Managers spend much of their lives in:Collecting resourcesVerifying the resourcesEnsuring that everybody has what they wantFacilitating communicationScrum methodology allows to solve queries by communicating with the team members. The team can resolve issues without the help of the Scrum Master and the issues which can’t be solved by the team can be raised during ‘Daily Scrum’. Scrum meetings last for 15 minutes. In those 15 minutes, the Scrum Master will come to know the project status and the roadblocks hindering the project success.The Scrum method allows the teams to carry out communication by:Allowing the teams to communicate to solve issues internallyThe Scrum Master can get project status update in 15 minutes of Scrum meetingThe Scrum Master gets the things that can keep the project runningPrepare for what the client likesClients keep project goals like high ROI (return on investment), quality, reliability and higher lead conversion rates, before approaching any company. Along with the goals, clients want to know about the process and a collaborative relationship.Project manager manages the timeline, limitations, and achievements. They decide on the future aspects of the processes. This method is difficult to manage and works smoothly through changing priorities and resources.  On the flip side, in Scrum method goals, priorities, and resources can be set during Sprint planning. Since Sprint lasts for 2-3 weeks, they set target within a timeframe which allows them to accomplish the target in time and with less errors. The Scrum Master, developers, and teams, all are allowed in the Scrum planning process, so everyone can discuss the process for achieving the client’s requirement. This method allows the client to get the regular status of the project and allows us to create an awesome productTips for transitioning from Project Manager to a good Scrum MasterIf you are a Project Manager entering the Agile world, you probably have the reasons to switch from the Project Manager role to the Scrum Master. You already have a definition of a Project Manager’s role in your head.  It is probably based on the PMI definitions around planning, monitoring, controlling and closing a project. Maybe there is something about the accountability for the outcomes, and using the project management industry’s established methods and practices. That’s all good and a great set of knowledge to have.The best resources to learn what is a Scrum Master, what a Scrum Master does are from reading the Scrum guide and from talking to people who have experience in the role, most of whom are very generous with their time and enthusiastic about sharing knowledge and experiences.  The actual description of the Scrum Master role is very simple, clear and succinct.  The stories you get from the experienced people will help you see the complexity of those clear guidelines applied in complex situations.The most important contributions of the Scrum Master role are enabling the team by helping them unlock value from executing the Scrum framework well, being collectively disciplined and organized as a team, and in spending time and energy clearing impediments to the team’s progress.A Project Manager playing a Scrum Master role for the first time, would not be the first person to make the mistake of thinking the role is all about the process control. But it isn’t. It is an enabler role.As a Project Manager, you might hold accountability for creating a plan and for publishing progress reports against that plan to the Stakeholders.  As a Scrum Master, you are accountable for enabling the team to produce a plan and publish progress reports.You may end up being the person who grabs progress data and publishes it, but you are doing it in service to the team rather than to service your own delivery accountabilities. You may have very little to do with publishing progress reports. Anybody on the team or the team collectively can perform that task.Your job is to help the team understand the need for progress reports, to help them find useful methods to get the job done, and to find the discipline to consistently do the job well.The Scrum Master is advised to use the Scrum framework as a tool to inspect and adapt to both the product demands and the capabilities of the team. As your team learns new things, they will prioritize the opportunities and make changes according to the way they operate.  You can help them identify the opportunities and implement them. There are several easy ways to access methods and tools to solve a variety of problems out there, both inside and beyond the Agile toolkits, but the team should not settle for any obvious best practice. Good practices should be used, not to be settled. Always seek better.We have already looked at how your accountabilities change, but a Scrum Master won’t succeed unless they approach the work with the right attitude.  Each team is different, so you should always assess the expectations of the team and the role you play. Also, you will be able to bridge any gaps by using some fair core values based behaviors that people expect from a Scrum Master.Servant leadership — the watchwordThe Scrum Master role is a Servant Leader role. The Servant leaders seemingly face a conundrum that ‘how do I serve and lead at the same time’.  The answer is that you lead some things with authority based on the expertise and knowledge. You also step aside and let others manage their things based on authority, experience, and roles.For example the Product Owner in Scrum has positional authority on the backlog (that is supposed to be based on knowledge, but is also deeply positional.)You are expected to bring an authority, based on knowledge and experience around the  Scrum, team and system dynamics, and it should be valued by the team. To do this effectively you need to follow some tips for transitioning to the Agile Project Manager.Know your stuffKnowing only what to do leads to cargo cult practices and doesn’t engender a learning organization that continually evolves.  How and why Scrum worksWhy does each of the attributes of Scrum bring value?What problems do they solve and why does that part of Scrum work the way it does?You also need to know why Scrum parts work more effectively when it is executed integratively.New Scrum teams: Start with a Big Bang?If you are working with a team which is new to Scrum or Agile practices, as an effective Scrum Master you should also have some expertise in the way you roll in or implement the new Agile ways of working. Should you do a big bang implementation of Scrum, or roll in one practice at a time? Which one should you start with? Which next?The answer will depend on the circumstances of the team and the Scrum Master should have enough experience and wisdom to have an opinion that the team value because ideally, the teams should be deciding how to roll in the practices.Ask outcome-focused questionsAn important operating method for Scrum Masters is to highlight issues and ask questions.  When and if people express interest in the topic being raised, the Scrum Master may then offer advice and suggestion options. Collectively, the team should engage in the issue and decide what to do.  If the Scrum Master feel that the teams are going to make a mistake, you think about whether the mistake will be small enough to be safe and whether the team will take lessons from the failure. If you see risks, raise them and try to influence the down team with the different paths.As you interact with the team, your experience and advice should become more valued by the team over time.  You should build a consistent track record of helping them become a more successful team. You should not have to try to force change, although sometimes you will feel like you do, and some even rarer times you may feel you have to invoke authority from the management to force something.The importance of feedbackScrum and Agile methodology rely very heavily on fast and transparent feedback. As a Scrum Master, you have an initial feedback system laid out from you in the form of the Scrum ceremonies. These are just the beginning though. You and the team should continuously look to tune and improve your feedback systems so that the team can continually find better ways of delivering better business outcomes.Part of the Scrum Master’s role might be to look at the feedback system, to help the team assess whether they are the right ones and to find better ones.  Sometimes, a Scrum Master finds new ideas about feedback that a team might miss. The team members are all heads down building products and solutions and often prioritize ‘the work’ over ‘the system’.But a Scrum Master can bring an outsider’s perspective, or might be more able to observe the wider system the team operates in. Don’t be afraid of expressing your observations and ideas to the team where you have an insight that they don’t have. That perspective can be very valuable.  You will often be the first to see when a change needs to be made and can let the team know it’s time to start thinking differently.Getting feedback on your own performanceHave a plan for how you are going to grow and become great at the role.  Pursue continuous incremental improvement by setting up regular short cycle feedback systems on yourself.  Pause and reflect on how you are going and what you should do to improve. Do it regularly, and no less frequently than the sprint cycle.  Keep checking with the team whether they need help and what they would like you to help them with, and when you are done, check what they thought of your efforts.Get experience, get training, get a coach or mentor and find a community of practitioners that you can connect with and learn from. Leverage the experience from others, as the people who do this work love to help others and make themselves generously available.Traps in transitioning from Project Manager to a Scrum MasterHere are some of the traps in transition that can be avoided by a Project Manager who has recently assumed the role of a Scrum Master.Responsibility to organize meetingsAgile Manifesto principles believe in building projects collaboratively. Scrum Master arranges meetings for the teams whenever necessary. This is unlike a traditional Project Manager who used to be an administrative assistant to schedule meetings for everyone. Scrum and Agile give an importance to the individuals and interactions over processes and tools.Mistaking the ‘Daily Scrum’ as a ‘Status Update’ taskScrum Master arranges the ‘Stand-ups’ to communicate with the team members. The traditional Project Manager keeps track of everyone’s work to update the project plans and finding out the finishing dates. In Scrum, teams act as self-directing and accountable. So, after their transition to the Scrum Master’s role, the earlier Project Managers should be mindful about their perception of “daily scrum”. The point should be sledgehammered to the minds of these new Scrum Masters that daily scrum is only for the purpose of discussion and is not a status update task.Being a ‘Scrum Master’ is the only jobScrum Master’s role should be multifaceted as an SM has to play the ideal servant-leader role. Also, his role keeps changing in some Agile teams. If any task is incomplete and the Scrum Master is capable of doing it, they should pick up and implement the task. Scrum guide states that “helping the development team to create high-value products”, is one of the services of the Scrum Master. Therefore while transitioning from Project Manager to the Scrum Master, it is important to keep in mind that Scrum Master is not a unidimensional role. It entails multiple aspects.Improper Stakeholder Communication ManagementIn Scrum, the progress is measured as a ‘working software per Agile Manifesto’. The issues are raised, analysed and solved by the team with an external help if necessary. The Scrum Master may not be able to manage the objective the team uses to collaborate. The required deliverables may be set already if there is a governing body such as a portfolio management group or a project management office. In such cases, Scrum Masters should spot the reality that issues are flexible and alter depending on the work committed by the team. Detailing out risks can be ignored, as they will be outdated within a few days or even minutes.ConclusionTransitioning from Project Manager to Scrum Master can be a challenging yet fun. You just need to be very careful. It is important to help with reflection and coaching so that the new Scrum Masters leave some habits behind. When it comes to transitioning to the Scrum Master role, you definitely cannot achieve everything overnight. The first vital step is to get laser-focused. Certifications, as we discussed earlier can be the best if not the only way to do it. All the best for your transition.
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Scrum Master vs. Project Manager: Differences & Similarities

For an entrant in the IT industry, the roles Project Manager and Scrum Master look like two similar ones. But this is not an absolute fact. Both roles are very separate and distinct from each other. Both can be molded into different approaches in a project. While noting down the differences between the Project Manager and the Scrum Master, you will find out that the Project Manager plays the leadership role by leading a planning for the execution of the project. Scrum Master plays a support role for the team members, by working closely with the team and ensuring that they are following Agile principles properly. Relationship between the Scrum Master and the Project Manager Next, you might be wondering, what is the role of a Project Manager in Scrum? If you know the transition from Waterfall to Agile, you might think that the title ‘Project Manager’ is just shifted to the title ‘Scrum Master’. However, the Project Manager’s responsibilities cannot be directly converted to a Scrum Master role. When you transit from traditional approach (Waterfall model) to Agile, the responsibilities of a Project Manager are distributed among the variety of team members. Some responsibilities go to the Program Manager, some to the Product Owner, some to the Scrum Master and some to the remaining team. On the other hand, switching from Waterfall to Agile is not an easy process Unlike Scrum Master, we can say a Product Owner’s role is closely aligned to the Project Manager’s role. The highly responsible entity in a project can be identified as Product Owner. They have to maintain the product backlog and ensure that the product fits with the business requirements. In case of any changes in the product, the Product Owner has to adjust and re-prioritize the current product backlog to fit these changes and maneuver the project. This is a tedious task for the Product Owner. So, the Scrum Master is there to play a consultant role and take care of the project from all perspectives. The Scrum Master guides the Product Owner on how to manage the teamwork with the use of product backlog, sprint planning and meetings. The Scrum Master supports the Product Owner in managing the teamwork, coaches the team and ensures that the team is properly aligned to the Scrum process. The Scrum Master manages the Scrum process, ensures its correct implementation and increasing the scope of its benefits throughout the project. The differences between Scrum Master and Project Manager It is important to know the differences between the Scrum Master and the Project Manager, to find how they complement each other in large-scale projects. The Scrum Master is a coach and facilitator. The Project Manager is a leader, decision-maker and is responsible for managing the project, resources, and scope of business requirements. Sometimes, the Project Manager has to make sure whether the project is lined up with the necessary business requirements or not, whereas the Scrum Master has to look after one project team. Also, Scrum Master has to be a mediator between the project and the customer. Let’s look at how the Project Manager and the Scrum Master roles differ from each other in discrete terms. Parameter   Project Manager   Scrum Master   Goals Has defined goals like completing the project on time, planned budget, and scope Makes sure that the team members are well trained to follow Agile practices appropriately. Also, SM coaches the Scrum teams and mentions the timeline to finish the project Quality Assurance PM also knows the importance of quality, but doesn’t know how to achieve this. Usually, a consultant is hired to fix the errors Scrum Master assures the quality and very well knows the importance of it. Team Size Project Managers like to make things large. Project Manager works with more people and a huge budget. In this way, they improve to Program Manager. Scrum Master always tries to keep things smaller. They like to work in small teams irrespective of budget. Average salary in the United States (2019) $77,000 per year $97,500 per year Job Description Planning, creating budget and the related documents PM has to work with upper management to ensure a scope and direction of a project PM has to work with another department also, in case of emergency sometimes have to work themselves or instruct the team to finish a goal.   Resolves barriers and controls the Scrum processes. Making a team aware of Agile and Scrum to deliver successfully Facilitates the Scrum ceremonies Ensures that a project is running smoothly with the help of the tools Executes the Product Backlog as per the Product Owner prioritization Solves team conflicts with good communication skills Motivates the team Monitors the Scrum processes to increase efficiency                                                                     Differences: Scrum Master vs. Project Manager. Organizations that are new to Agile and Scrum commit some deadly blunders. The most common and overlooked one is the lack of clarity of the roles of the Scrum Master and the Project Manager. This is more often seen in smaller Scrum teams, where these two discrete roles overlap. There are of course similarities between Scrum Master and Project Manager roles. But that does not give way to ignoring the distinct differences between an Agile Project Manager and Scrum Master. Similarities between the Scrum Master and the Project Manager: Project Manager and Scrum Master both are humans and they both make mistakes. But they both debug and learn from the mistakes. They both can communicate, receive feedback, mitigate the risks, and enable a great bonding within a team. Actually, neither the Project Manager nor the Scrum Master is the supreme authority. The Project Manager has to report to the client and the stakeholders, whereas the Scrum Master has to report to the Product Owner alongside the stakeholders and clients. Both Project Manager and the Scrum Master fail when they ignore the basic principles that are supposed to be adhered to. They fail when they not only neglect being professionals, but also when they are any less than skilled professionals. Sometimes, they may also fail when they disrespect the team members’ opinions. Let’s find out the roles and responsibilities of a Scrum Master and Project Manager. The roles and responsibilities of a Scrum Master Scrum Master is referred as a facilitator, who manages the teams that are implementing the Agile methodology. Scrum framework is the best framework for smaller teams of developers, who can break their work into a Sprint in order to get your project done at the end of every sprint. Great teams rely on the Scrum Masters to get their work done within a time limit. You might as well say that being a Scrum Master is a kind of art. All depends on the sprint planning and release planning processes which give scientific clarity to SM in ensuring that the team is able to execute the amount of assigned work in the right way. Sprint planning Scheduling the daily Scrum meeting Managing Scrum process responsibly Helping the Scrum teams to follow Scrum practices Removing barriers so the team can focus on their work Assisting with the Product Backlog Co-operating with Product Owner in designing Product Backlog items for the next Sprint Protecting the team from external distractions Recording and assisting to improve team dynamics Guides the Product Owner on the project Helps teams to speed up the processes Monitors the sprint progress Promotes team discussions Motivates the team Scrum Master acts as a cement to bind the team together The roles and responsibilities of a Project Manager Project Manager’s role is to manage the projects and ensure that the project meets the requirements. There is a time or place for a Project Manager in the large projects. The Project Manager can cover multiple teams and can work with other dependent teams as well. PM can coordinate with multiple teams, help them to meet project timelines and collaborate when resources are required. The roles and responsibilities of the Project Manager are as follows. Defining project scope to the team Planning project target Preparing the work schedule for the team members Gathering requirements Defining the resource requirements for the project Preparing the budget for a project Assuring quality Mitigating the risks Monitoring the plans Getting user feedback Managing relationships with the client and the stakeholders Ending the project Managing the finance related issues budget Reporting to business leaders on the project progress Task allocation Risk management Focusing on processes Prioritizing the project related features Coordinating with other teams if required Conclusion The Project Manager and the Scrum Master both have varied roles. Deciding between the Scrum Master certification and Project Management certification is indeed a tough choice and entails a careful consideration of the prospects of each. Eventually, the role of a Scrum Master is proved as a ‘deciding factor’ of the successful projects. The Scrum Master and the Project Manager both have distinct roles. Both need particular skill-sets and a right person to make the work happen.
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Scrum Master vs. Project Manager: Differences & Si...

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Everything You Need to Know About Scrum Master

What is a Scrum Master?A deep understanding of Scrum roles is critical to implementing Scrum.Many times, this gets widely overlooked when organizations adopt Scrum for the first time. Even before Scrum can be useful for any team, a clear perception of “what is a Scrum Master” is important.Simply put, a Scrum Master is the coach and facilitator of a Scrum team. The Scrum guide describes Scrum Master as a person chiefly responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum. As rightly stated in the guide, a Scrum Master helps everyone understand the Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values. A converter of “doing Agile” to “being Agile” is what defines a Scrum Master. Essentially, a Scrum Master is a servant leader responsible for facilitating Scrum processes.That being said, a Scrum Master also helps people outside the Scrum team understand which of their interactions with the Scrum team are useful. This, in turn, helps the Scrum teams maximize the value created by them.According to Wikipedia, Scrum Master is a facilitator of the team responsible for removing the impediments to deliver the project target. The Scrum Master is not a traditional project manager and acts as a buffer between the team and any distracting influences.  What a Scrum master is “NOT”A better perception of “what is a Scrum Master” demands an understanding of “what a Scrum Master is not”. If you are in it for the long haul, this will help you become aware of the generic misconceptions around who a scrum master actually is.Well, a Scrum Master is not a:Project managerProduct OwnerA position (it is a role)Role above the teamIn this regard, it is also important to note that a Scrum Master is not an active participant in the daily scrum activities but only a moderator.So what is it that a scrum master does for real? Let us try to understand.What exactly does a Scrum Master do?Being a Scrum Master entails a lot more than the list of priority activities of a Scrum Master you come across nearly everywhere. In addition to moderating the team activities, a Scrum Master has to help teams live by Scrum values.A typical day in the life of a Scrum Master looks somewhat like below-Moderates team activitiesHelps organize meetingsKeeps scrum processes movingKeeps the team focused on current sprintEnsures a power balance among management, Product Owner, and the teamActively works with the PORemoves impedimentsHelps the team achieve sprint goalsMaintains transparency in processesHelps improve performanceEnsures quick delivery of the final productPromotes a constructive feedback cultureIdentifies hidden issues and helps prioritize and address themHelps build self-organizing teamsEncourages teams to learn from experienceWe shall discuss the roles and responsibilities of a Scrum Master in further details in the upcoming sections.What are the top qualities of the successful Scrum Masters?To be an effective Scrum Master, one has to be a Scrum enabler first. If you have had the chance to work with highly successful Scrum Masters, there a few patterns you must have observed. These are nothing but the key attributes seen in Scrum Masters of high-performing teams.Scrum Masters with these top qualities are found to lead their teams to success-Communication:Effective communication is one of the top skills for any role. A Scrum Master, however, should be adept in two-way communication. (S)he should be a good speaker and listener. An efficient Scrum Master should be able to listen, comprehend, repeat, summarize, energize, observe, write, simplify, critique, suggest, assert, chat, and present with equal ease.Responsibility and Ownership: Scrum Master is a representative of the Scrum team. As a Scrum Master, if you are capable of building and gaining trust among the team members, you should be able to represent them in their success or failure.Acknowledgment and appreciation: Genuine leadership entails valuing your colleague's efforts and enabling them to advance their performance. This is one of the top qualities of a Scrum Master, who happens to be a servant leader as well.Good leader, not a ruler A Scrum Master should not follow a command-and-control leadership. Instead, he should adhere to the principles of servant leadership, wherein decisions are made only after discussion with the team members instead of being directly imposed.Multitasker: As a Scrum Master, you should be able to juggle parallel tasks and manage important scrum events within defined timeframes. Assuming an ideal Scrum team of 6-9 members, you are responsible for managing today’s tasks and planning for tomorrow’s tasks along with arranging the Scrum events for the team members to resolve their queries, planning for the next Sprint, and release. Multitasking, in fact, is one of the top qualities of a Scrum Master.Resolve the obstacles and keep the team on track: The Scrum Master always focuses on keeping the team on track and resolving the obstacles that are blocking their way to deliver a quality product. These obstacles may include unwanted meetings, unwanted procedural complexity, work environment or any other challenge. He/She ensures that the team is away from the distractions that are hindering the project success.Encourage collaboration: A Scrum Master has to look into the daily activities of the team members. Also, the Scrum Master can share his/her experiences through seminars. conferences, and meetings with the team members. A good Scrum Master should encourage collaboration with the help of planning sessions, daily stand-ups, sprint planning, and sprint review meeting sessions.  Initiating latest technologies: A Scrum Master can use automated builds, simple designs, multi-level testing, automated development, and pair programming to reduce time and efforts while developing the project. He/she can also make use of the latest technologies and best practices that can help you in the early completion of the project.   Good coach for the team: A successful Scrum Master should understand the different phases that his/her team is undergoing and the importance of team building. The Scrum Master coaches the team members by building self-organizing teams, tracking the project, implementing simple methodology rules, and by creating project vision. Other than being a coach to the team to explain Scrum processes clearly and enforcing the practice for Agile, the Scrum Master should have basic technical and project management knowledge.Effective collaboration with the Product Owner: This is regarded as one of the key qualities of a Scrum Master. An effective Scrum Master should be able to collaborate with the Product Owner. While the role of a PO is to convey the user requirement to the Scrum team and push the team towards it, a Scrum Master facilitates a seamless execution of the processes. Together, the Scrum Master and Product Owner build a strong relationship with the team to provide the best results.Empathy: A Scrum Master develops many skills while working with team members. He/She builds his/her skills to develop emotions and to learn what the team members feel. This way, (s)he builds a strong connection with the team and understands their problems while also suggesting effective solutions.  A strong understanding of servant leadership and facilitation:The role of the Scrum Master is not to assign the tasks to the team, it is all about supporting the team members in achieving the project goals. Servant leadership, which is one of the fundamental qualities of a Scrum Master plays a key role here. By serving and encouraging the team in every way possible, a good scrum master always helps the team members attain their full potential. Needless to say, this has a direct positive impact on the business value they create as a team.A relentless approach to continuous delivery:A successful Scrum Master always tries to improve the way a team works. The best way to do this is to arrange the retrospective, where each team member identifies what went well and what went wrong in the initial Sprint. The team members learn from the mistakes and this leads to continuous improvement.A good relationship with the team:A Scrum Master may act as a team leader, but he/she doesn’t have the authority of a true manager. Eventually, a Scrum Master has to be cordial with the team members, if he/she wants to influence specific actions.Product, market, and domain knowledge:A Scrum Master need not have end-to-end technical knowledge and domain skills. However, a fundamental understanding of the product, markets, and software development processes, makes it easier for them to address challenges in project delivery.Encourage a self-organizing team:A scrum master should know when to express his views and should mostly allow the team to be self-organizing. That said, he should be actively listening to the team members’ inputs and learning points and guide the team to perform better in subsequent sprints.What are the essential skills of a Scrum Master?Though the Scrum Master role is complex and challenging, a diverse skill set allows them to become a great Scrum Master. Here are the Scrum Master competencies that help him/her succeed in the project:1. Organizing the teamKnowing the rules of the ScrumCommunicating internally and externallyReporting the status of the team membersCollecting the team members in the Sprint PlanningGuiding clearlyResolving the impedimentsEfficient facilitationImplementing collaborative engagement tools and techniques2. Improving the teamForming a good teamManaging the technical debtImproving team members’ activities by providing feedback and motivationImplemented continuous validated learningResponsible for making a change3. Establishing a self-organising teamDisplaying a servant leadershipExecuting the Scrum valuesDecide according to Agile methodologyOwing to the team members’ responsibilitiesInvolving every team member in planning4. Planning bigDiscussing with the team membersFinding and fixing the cross-team problemsImproving the cross-team technical practicesRoles and Responsibilities of a Scrum MasterThe Scrum Master’s role is pivotal to the success of a team. He/she is a process leader who helps the team understand Scrum values, principles, and practices. Some organizations practice rotation of Scrum Master roles among the team members; this is, once again, up to each Scrum Team.However, the roles of the Scrum Master include:The Agile framework custodian and process owner for the team.A facilitator and Servant Leader who never discourages but encourages and expects self-organization from the Agile development team.Build close collaboration across roles and functions in the organization, works on matters collectively and is not individualistic.Protect the team from distractions which include both external and internal.Remove impediments, so the team can focus on the development of work and tasks.Scrum Master is not typically a manager or lead, but he/she is an influential leader who does not do direct command and control.Scrum Master is a coach and advisor to the team and discussed issues encountered.Scrum Master should be equipped with basic technical and project management know-how, this is so that he/she understands the problems and is able to provide proper guidance and advice to the team.With Scrum gaining widespread attention in just about every sector, top industry majors like Microsoft, Honeywell, Ericsson, Bank of America, Cox Automotive, KPMG, etc. are focusing on the integration of Scrum into their existing frameworks. This trend has prompted more industries to invest in Agile and Scrum training.  Let’s see some more benefits of having a certified Scrum Master on a project.Why should you be interested in getting a Scrum Master Certification?Scrum has become the finest choice of organizations to deliver more value to the customers. In State of Scrum 2018 survey, 85 percent of the respondents say Scrum continues to improve the quality of work life. At the same time, 81% of Scrum Masters who received certification agreed that it has significantly helped improve their practice.Listed below are the reasons and benefits of having a Scrum Master certification (CSM).1. In-depth knowledge of Scrum:If you have not implemented Scrum before, earning the certification will help you to learn the Scrum skills effectively. With this certification, you can level-up your knowledge with the basics of Scrum and you will be able to:Make customers happy and satisfiedDeliver better quality product in less timeMaintain team collaborationLesser defectsFlexible working strategyTake a quick decision on an issue2. A number of companies moving to Agile:Nowadays, organizations are required to speed up their product development process to deliver fast according to the changing needs of the customers. This helps organizations to stay viable. Scrum produces in iterations and its self-organizing teams deliver products of maximum value. Due to this reason, a number of companies are shifting to Agile.      3. New career opportunities on the go:A CSM certification will bring more new career opportunities as more companies are migrating to the Agile approach and they need a professional who will guide a team to follow the Scrum approach. Being a certified Scrum Master, your chances of getting hired by the top employers with fair salary are more.    4. Increases collaboration:When it comes to working on a complex project, it needs collaboration among the team members. As a certified professional on a team, you can build and reinforce the basic understanding of Scrum to produce a value.  5. Switch to the Agile mindset:You need to develop an Agile mindset if you have to work with Agile methodologies. As a certified person on a team, you need to start thinking in an Agile way that will avoid differences in opinions and lead to successful projects with better team collaboration.    7. Organizations yield more:It is tough for any organization to accept new processes easily as it affects the complete structure of the organization. It affects processes, management, people, and clients. In this regard, you need a knowledgeable person in your team who will make the adoption a smooth process. Being a certified Scrum Master, you will be facilitating the tasks for the team members.  8. Enter the Scrum experts community:After taking a Certified ScrumMaster certification, an individual will get a chance to be a part of the Scrum experts community of Scrum Alliance. This community offers knowledge in a way to stay updated, find the events, and provide instructions to the certified members.Scrum Master vs. Project ManagerOnce we enter the industries, we often come across the term Project Manager along with the Scrum Master. These two roles are distinct from each other though they contribute to the projects. This creates confusion between the Scrum Master and Project Manager roles when an organization is undergoing an Agile transformation.A Scrum Master works on the Agile project associated with Scrum project management principles whereas a Project Manager’s work is based on the traditional disciplined project management principles. Let’s see the differences between a Scrum Master and Project Manager. Also, if you are serving as a Project Manager and willing to become a Scrum Master or vice versa, this information will help you to take a stand on this. Before going further, let's see the roles of the Scrum Master and Project Manager in brief.1. Scrum Master duties:Scrum Master responsibilities to the Product Owner (PO)-Helps the PO in managing the product backlogHelps the PO to convey the product requirement clearly to the team members  Facilitate Scrum events to the POScrum Master responsibilities towards the development team-Guiding and coaching the teams to follow Scrum rulesRemoves roadblocks that are inhibiting the project’s progressHelps to maintain team dynamics and high-value resultFacilitate the Scrum events and arrange Scrum meetingsDirecting the team in Scrum implementationMentor the team members who are new to Scrum adoption2. Project Manager roles:The Project Manager is responsible for:Delivering the product according to the project’s requirementsDefining the project scope and planning the project activities accordinglyEnsuring that the responsibilities assigned to team members are according to their skills and expertiseReporting the progress of the project to the stakeholdersTracking the project performance against the timelines and ensuring an effective project qualityMaking sure that the project documentation is properPlanning the tasks for the team members and ensuring that the team understands their roles in the projectPreparing a project budget and getting it approved from the senior managementManaging the StakeholdersMonitoring and controlling the risks in the projectDelivering the project on time with the project constraints like scope, the budget, time, and efficient resourcesLet’s figure out the major differences between a Scrum Master and Project ManagerScrum MasterAttributesProject ManagerMakes sure that the team members are well trained to follow Agile practices appropriately. Also, SM coaches the Scrum teams and mentions the timeline to finish the projectGoalsHas defined goals like-Completing the project on time, planned a budget, and scopeSM assures the quality and knows the importance of quality.Quality AssurancePM also knows the importance of quality, but doesn’t know how to achieve it. A consultant is usually hired to fix the errorsScrum Master always tries to keep things smaller. They like to work in small teams irrespective of budget.Team SizeProject Managers like to make things large. PM works with more people and a huge budget. In this way, they improve to Program ManagerThe average salary of a Certified ScrumMaster® is $116,659 per year.Average SalaryThe average salary of a Project Manager is $75,474 per yearCertified Scrum Master (CSM)®Advanced-Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM)®Certified Scrum Professional- Scrum Master (CSP-SM)®Professional Scrum Master (PSM I, PSM II, PSM III)Agile Scrum Master (ASM)Scrum Master Certified (SMC)SAFe® Scrum Master (SSM)SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master (SASM)CertificationsAgile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®Project Management Professional (PMP)®Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®Certified Project Manager (IAPM)CompTIA Project+Certified Scrum Master (CSM)- Scrum AllianceAdvanced-Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM)- Scrum AllianceCertified Scrum Professional- Scrum Master (CSP-SM)- Scrum AllianceProfessional Scrum Master (PSM I, PSM II, PSM III)- Scrum.orgAgile Scrum Master (ASM)- EXINScrum Master Certified (SMC)- SCRUMstudySAFe® Scrum Master (SSM)- Scaled Agile Inc (SAI)SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master (SASM)- Scaled Agile Inc (SAI)Accreditation bodiesAgile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®- PMIProject Management Professional (PMP)®- PMICertified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®- PMICertified Project Manager (IAPM)- International Association of Project ManagersCompTIA Project+- CompTIAEfficient Scrum Master = Great OrganizationThe role of a Scrum Master may vary from one project to another or one organization to another but the importance of Scrum Master in a team will always be the same. The role of the Scrum Master in general is very challenging. It goes without saying that hiring a Scrum Master is the wisest decision for an organization undergoing a real transition to Agile!  
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Everything You Need to Know About Scrum Master

What is a Scrum Master?A deep understanding of Scr... Read More

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