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New Ideas For Scrum Master Day To Day Activities

Large swathes of IT organizations are embracing Agile. This is both a good and bad news. Good news, for the many boons of Agile and Scrum known to all. Bad news, because you are no longer enjoying the benefits alone. Every day, every hour, more number of functional IT teams are making Agile work for them. Each in their own unique ways.  So what is the only way to not lag behind in the Agile race?                                                                                                         Always welcoming brand new ideas! Just like always, the beginning has to be done with the mainstay of the Agile team- The Scrum Master! If you are aware of the daily life of a Scrum Master, you already have the best of Agile cards to lay your hands on. The first and the best card is to relook and rethink the daily activities of a Scrum Master. Crossing this milestone will give you an idea of a few new entries in the existing Scrum Master’s checklist.  The Scrum team consists of three roles- Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Team members. Everyone thinks that a team member who develops the software all day and a Product Owner who shapes the product all day, have full-time jobs. But based on assumptions, being a Scrum Master does not always mean having a full-time job. In any case, the role of the Scrum Master is highly important, as he/she manages the Scrum operations of the entire team.  "A Day in the Life of a Scrum Master" https://t.co/IVoiKxEAfF by @Barryovereem on @LinkedIn — Jacek Durlik (@jacek_durlik) September 4, 2017   Let us take a look at a day in the life of a Scrum Master:   Start the day with a ‘free and open mind’ Can ask a good question like “How can I facilitate creativity for the Scrum team to improve their lives?” Attend the Daily Scrum as a facilitator- You just need to listen to what things are being discussed in the meeting by team members. Consider some of the questions that are mentioned earlier. Based on the surveillance, you execute your next step. This might be coaching, facilitating, managing, problem-solving, conflict resolving, etc.  Getting too busy and not noticing the concerned things is an activity which should not happen to a Scrum Master.   The above-mentioned tasks should be the Scrum Master’s daily checklist. Collated below are some new ideas for Scrum Master day to day activities that can help improve your Agile practices.  1) Play dual roles: Scrum team members should always keep changing their area of expertise. Sometimes they should be able to choose a work which is outside their comfort zone.  For example- If you are a User Interface developer (where you know all the secrets of the domain) then you can try to work on the data access code too. How to implement- Let us go with the above example. To enforce data access code, more than one team member has to work on a user story. Secondly, confine the user stories which are under ‘task in progress’, that is one user story should be smaller than the team size. Also, it can be implemented performing pair programming.    Takeaways- Enforcing the thing which is out-of-the-box can help expand your knowledge. More people will come to know about all the aspects of the software (how a software works, what are the resources needed, etc.). This will increase the courage of the team member. The courage to venture beyond their boundaries. They can gradually perform tasks that are outside their expertise, lowering risks of failure, and enhancing team spirit. 2. Ask to check commit review: Whenever a developer writes code and wants to check-in that code, test, and document to the version control system, he/she asks a co-developer to review the changes first. The developer can implement this by adding ‘commit reviews’ to the ‘definition of done’. Also, they can refuse the user stories for which commit reviews are not mentioned (can be viewed as a version control system). Takeaways- At least one person has been aware of the changes, this means he/she may continue working on this particular topic if the situation demands. It increases ‘know-how transfer’. It will help increase the overall quality, as the peer developer can challenge the decision made by the prior developer. This leads to better and painless solutions. The original developer will go through the changes and explain them to this peer, which will definitely help both enhance their knowledge and skills. It increases understandability to reply to the queries of the peer developer. 3. Give awards and celebrate the victory:   Being a Scrum Master, you can introduce the culture of celebrating a victory. For example- you may give little presents to the team (whole team, not only for the individuals) for achieving a Sprint goal. This will increase the motivation of the whole team.  4. Managing test-driven development: You can introduce test-driven development for developing the software. Takeaways- A team can work in parallel with the use of mock objects, with no need to wait for the availability of real dependencies. A team can refactor the code to initiate new functionality without changing the already existed functionality. Defect count will get reduced due to the double check done by the developers.  5. Arrange workshops on coding guidelines, designs, tools and different engineering practices: Arrange workshop for the team members where you can discuss or try a new tool, current architecture, latest technology, build process and many more. This can be implemented by reserving time for the workshop and organizing an arbitrator (can be from the team).   Takeaways- Built team spirit, where a team can perform their own way. All team members will commence working in a team way rather than individual way, which will enhance team-wide consistency. Team can stay committed to each topic. 6. Coding DOJOS: In a Coding Dojo, the entire team gathers together in a discussion room. Two developers from the team perform pair programming at a computer which is connected to a projector for other team members. The pair is whirled every 15 minutes. In this way, team solves each other’s queries to develop engineering skills. This can be implemented by reserving time for the event (coding Dojo) and arranging a moderator.   Takeaways- The team will get an idea about how to develop a software. Know-how transfer can be achieved on all topics related to software creation.  7. Testing day: When there is a lack of testers in the team, you can introduce ‘Testing day’ in the organization. Let each team member test the application and as a compensation for that work, that team member is freed from all coding tasks.   Takeaways-     Complete focus will be on testing. No task switching is allowed to get more efficient testing output and increased quality. As entire team participates in testing, they can share individual responsibility for the quality.   8. Urgent call for Scrum meeting: Involve team members whenever there is an emergency to mitigate the risks which are inhibiting the Sprint goal. In that case, all the team members have to drop the current task and join the meeting.   Takeaways-   Big errors can be taken care of quickly. All the team members will get convinced that they are not alone. 9. Introduce WIP (Work-In-Progress) Limits on the Scrum Board: When there forms a stack of the user stories on the Scrum Board, you can put forward WIP limits on the boards. These limits will compel you to take care of the user stories that might block a flow. E.g. Developers may assist the testers by writing automated tests on the scenarios that have to be tested. This can be enforced by-   Writing the limits on the Scrum board Calling an emergency Scrum meeting whenever a limit is violated  Takeaway-   The status of more user stories will be ‘done’, removing them from the ‘to-be-done tasks’ list.   10. Kanban Scrum hybrid: Rate the team capacity (in %) for working on user stories. So the PO can make use of this rating for the unplanned items that need to be finished early without delaying or canceling a Sprint. Once the current task is over, team members are compelled to take an item from the fast-lane (till the reserved time is utilized), before working on the regular Sprint backlog items. If the reserved time is not sufficient to end the backlog items, then the PO can either wait for the next sprint or cancel the sprint.    FYI- Kanban is a tool which organizes work efficiently. This tool breaks work to a small chunks and uses a Kanban Board (similar to Scrum Board) to represent the progress of the work.     Takeaways-   Can earn benefits from the Sprint planning and release planning. The team can stay focused on a Sprint goal.   11. Manage time boxes of Spikes: Make sure that the time boxes set for Spikes are taken care by the team members. Also, ensure that the user stories are prioritized. Try to show the results to the team members during each retrospective.   Takeaways-  Transparency in the team’s work. If the user stories are prioritized then it will not only maximize the value of the product at the end of each Sprint but also minimize a list of the pending tasks. Following the time-boxes not only helps in planning the future spikes but also holding a Sprint goal.    12. Fixing bugs before working on user story task: Initially, all the team members need to fix the bugs before working on a user story.   Takeaways-  Bugs are not piled up on the Scrum Board.   Motivation will be high. Quality will be better if the defects are zero.    13. Vertical User stories + Specialist → Pair Programming:  While working on a user story, if one domain expert shares his/her knowledge with another domain expert, then the knowledge transfer can be easy to the other team members. The user stories and specialist forms pair programming. At the Scrum meeting, you can decide the pairs and their respective tasks.    Takeaways-  Knowledge can be transferred from the specialist of the team. The whole user story can be implemented consistently due to the pair programming concept. 14. Personal Sprint goals:  Every team member selects personal Sprint goals, once the retrospective is over. Typically, personal goals are related to the improvement in the engineering skills or new tools. Achieving these goals makes the team members more efficient. Some of the primary goals are-  Learning Visual Studio Learning Resharper tool Providing good method/variable/tests, for each Sprint Preparing small methods, for each Sprint Takeaways-   Every team member can learn something from each small Sprint also. Increased motivation of the team members. 15. Know the difference between Spikes and User Stories:  You should always remember that Spikes have a fix time-box and an estimated result, whereas, User stories have a fixed result and an estimated time. So you can use User stories when you know what you want and Spikes when you want to plan the unknown.   Takeaways-  Spikes allow you to plan a Sprint. Work hours will not be wasted. Better focus due to fixing functionalities It allows more disciplined manner of working (i.e team members can either get the functionality fast or get an information within the defined time limit).  Do’s and Don’ts for the Scrum Master- DO,S                                 Don'ts                    Facilitate the PO to maintain and prioritize the backlog iteams. Own the decisions on product backlog on behalf of product Owner. Facilitate team member  if any additional training required. Making estimates on behalf of the team. Make sure that team delivers the true value to the business. Assigning the task to the team member. Inspires the team member  to execute the tasks responsibly. Trying to direct the team. Assist team member in making decisions. Making changes to the team in the middle of a sprint. Remove  any impediments restricting the team to achieve their goals. Accept backlog changes in the middle of sprint. Helps team to become self-organised. Make commitments on team's behalf. Protects team from external interference. Let the team succumb to performance issues due to external problems.    Acts as a servant-leader Only lead and instruct Always willing to imrove continuously. Not learn new ways to enhance performance. Handles only one team. Handles multiple teams. Concluding Thoughts- The role of the Scrum Master is still shrouded in a mystery.  It is said that the Scrum Masters are the voice of the Scrum framework at the team level. Scrum is indeed all about continuous improvement and learning. It is also about adding new hacks to the working culture. When it comes to Agile and Scrum, you definitely cannot achieve everything overnight. All you need is to get laser-focused on the newly incorporated Scrum practices and think of innovative ways to spearhead your team to greater altitudes.  It’s time to get started with the new!   

New Ideas For Scrum Master Day To Day Activities

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New Ideas For Scrum Master Day To Day Activities

Large swathes of IT organizations are embracing Agile. This is both a good and bad news. Good news, for the many boons of Agile and Scrum known to all. Bad news, because you are no longer enjoying the benefits alone. Every day, every hour, more number of functional IT teams are making Agile work for them. Each in their own unique ways. 

So what is the only way to not lag behind in the Agile race?

                                                                                                        Always welcoming brand new ideas!

Just like always, the beginning has to be done with the mainstay of the Agile team- The Scrum Master! If you are aware of the daily life of a Scrum Master, you already have the best of Agile cards to lay your hands on. The first and the best card is to relook and rethink the daily activities of a Scrum Master. Crossing this milestone will give you an idea of a few new entries in the existing Scrum Master’s checklist. 

The Scrum team consists of three roles- Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Team members. Everyone thinks that a team member who develops the software all day and a Product Owner who shapes the product all day, have full-time jobs. But based on assumptions, being a Scrum Master does not always mean having a full-time job. In any case, the role of the Scrum Master is highly important, as he/she manages the Scrum operations of the entire team. 

 

Let us take a look at a day in the life of a Scrum Master:  

  • Start the day with a ‘free and open mind’
  • Can ask a good question like “How can I facilitate creativity for the Scrum team to improve their lives?”
  • Attend the Daily Scrum as a facilitator- You just need to listen to what things are being discussed in the meeting by team members.
  • Consider some of the questions that are mentioned earlier.
  • Based on the surveillance, you execute your next step. This might be coaching, facilitating, managing, problem-solving, conflict resolving, etc. 
  • Getting too busy and not noticing the concerned things is an activity which should not happen to a Scrum Master.

 

The above-mentioned tasks should be the Scrum Master’s daily checklist.
Collated below are some new ideas for Scrum Master day to day activities that can help improve your Agile practices. 

1) Play dual roles:

Scrum team members should always keep changing their area of expertise. Sometimes they should be able to choose a work which is outside their comfort zone. 
For example- If you are a User Interface developer (where you know all the secrets of the domain) then you can try to work on the data access code too.

How to implement-

Let us go with the above example. To enforce data access code, more than one team member has to work on a user story. Secondly, confine the user stories which are under ‘task in progress’, that is one user story should be smaller than the team size. Also, it can be implemented performing pair programming.  


 Takeaways-

Enforcing the thing which is out-of-the-box can help expand your knowledge. More people will come to know about all the aspects of the software (how a software works, what are the resources needed, etc.). This will increase the courage of the team member. The courage to venture beyond their boundaries. They can gradually perform tasks that are outside their expertise, lowering risks of failure, and enhancing team spirit.

2. Ask to check commit review:

Whenever a developer writes code and wants to check-in that code, test, and document to the version control system, he/she asks a co-developer to review the changes first. The developer can implement this by adding ‘commit reviews’ to the ‘definition of done’. Also, they can refuse the user stories for which commit reviews are not mentioned (can be viewed as a version control system).

Takeaways-

  • At least one person has been aware of the changes, this means he/she may continue working on this particular topic if the situation demands. It increases ‘know-how transfer’.
  • It will help increase the overall quality, as the peer developer can challenge the decision made by the prior developer. This leads to better and painless solutions. The original developer will go through the changes and explain them to this peer, which will definitely help both enhance their knowledge and skills.
  • It increases understandability to reply to the queries of the peer developer.

3. Give awards and celebrate the victory:

 
Being a Scrum Master, you can introduce the culture of celebrating a victory. For example- you may give little presents to the team (whole team, not only for the individuals) for achieving a Sprint goal. This will increase the motivation of the whole team. 

4. Managing test-driven development:

You can introduce test-driven development for developing the software.

Takeaways-

  • A team can work in parallel with the use of mock objects, with no need to wait for the availability of real dependencies.
  • A team can refactor the code to initiate new functionality without changing the already existed functionality.
  • Defect count will get reduced due to the double check done by the developers. 

5. Arrange workshops on coding guidelines, designs, tools and different engineering practices:


Arrange workshop for the team members where you can discuss or try a new tool, current architecture, latest technology, build process and many more. This can be implemented by reserving time for the workshop and organizing an arbitrator (can be from the team).
 
Takeaways-

  • Built team spirit, where a team can perform their own way.
  • All team members will commence working in a team way rather than individual way, which will enhance team-wide consistency.
  • Team can stay committed to each topic.

6. Coding DOJOS:


In a Coding Dojo, the entire team gathers together in a discussion room. Two developers from the team perform pair programming at a computer which is connected to a projector for other team members. The pair is whirled every 15 minutes. In this way, team solves each other’s queries to develop engineering skills. This can be implemented by reserving time for the event (coding Dojo) and arranging a moderator.
 
Takeaways-

  • The team will get an idea about how to develop a software.
  • Know-how transfer can be achieved on all topics related to software creation.

 7. Testing day:

When there is a lack of testers in the team, you can introduce ‘Testing day’ in the organization. Let each team member test the application and as a compensation for that work, that team member is freed from all coding tasks.
 
Takeaways-    

  • Complete focus will be on testing. No task switching is allowed to get more efficient testing output and increased quality.
  • As entire team participates in testing, they can share individual responsibility for the quality. 

 8. Urgent call for Scrum meeting:

Involve team members whenever there is an emergency to mitigate the risks which are inhibiting the Sprint goal. In that case, all the team members have to drop the current task and join the meeting.
 
Takeaways-  

  • Big errors can be taken care of quickly.
  • All the team members will get convinced that they are not alone.

9. Introduce WIP (Work-In-Progress) Limits on the Scrum Board:

When there forms a stack of the user stories on the Scrum Board, you can put forward WIP limits on the boards. These limits will compel you to take care of the user stories that might block a flow. E.g. Developers may assist the testers by writing automated tests on the scenarios that have to be tested. This can be enforced by-  

  • Writing the limits on the Scrum board
  • Calling an emergency Scrum meeting whenever a limit is violated

 Takeaway-
 
The status of more user stories will be ‘done’, removing them from the ‘to-be-done tasks’ list.
 

10. Kanban Scrum hybrid:


Rate the team capacity (in %) for working on user stories. So the PO can make use of this rating for the unplanned items that need to be finished early without delaying or canceling a Sprint. Once the current task is over, team members are compelled to take an item from the fast-lane (till the reserved time is utilized), before working on the regular Sprint backlog items. If the reserved time is not sufficient to end the backlog items, then the PO can either wait for the next sprint or cancel the sprint. 
 
FYI- Kanban is a tool which organizes work efficiently. This tool breaks work to a small chunks and uses a Kanban Board (similar to Scrum Board) to represent the progress of the work.  
 
Takeaways-
 

  • Can earn benefits from the Sprint planning and release planning.
  • The team can stay focused on a Sprint goal.

 

11. Manage time boxes of Spikes:


Make sure that the time boxes set for Spikes are taken care by the team members. Also, ensure that the user stories are prioritized. Try to show the results to the team members during each retrospective.
 
Takeaways- 

  • Transparency in the team’s work.
  • If the user stories are prioritized then it will not only maximize the value of the product at the end of each Sprint but also minimize a list of the pending tasks.
  • Following the time-boxes not only helps in planning the future spikes but also holding a Sprint goal. 

 

12. Fixing bugs before working on user story task:

Initially, all the team members need to fix the bugs before working on a user story.
 
Takeaways- 

  • Bugs are not piled up on the Scrum Board.  
  • Motivation will be high.
  • Quality will be better if the defects are zero.

 

 13. Vertical User stories + Specialist → Pair Programming:

 While working on a user story, if one domain expert shares his/her knowledge with another domain expert, then the knowledge transfer can be easy to the other team members. The user stories and specialist forms pair programming. At the Scrum meeting, you can decide the pairs and their respective tasks. 
 
Takeaways

  • Knowledge can be transferred from the specialist of the team.
  • The whole user story can be implemented consistently due to the pair programming concept.

14. Personal Sprint goals:

 Every team member selects personal Sprint goals, once the retrospective is over. Typically, personal goals are related to the improvement in the engineering skills or new tools. Achieving these goals makes the team members more efficient. Some of the primary goals are- 

  • Learning Visual Studio
  • Learning Resharper tool
  • Providing good method/variable/tests, for each Sprint
  • Preparing small methods, for each Sprint

Takeaways-  

  • Every team member can learn something from each small Sprint also.
  • Increased motivation of the team members.

15. Know the difference between Spikes and User Stories: 

You should always remember that Spikes have a fix time-box and an estimated result, whereas, User stories have a fixed result and an estimated time. So you can use User stories when you know what you want and Spikes when you want to plan the unknown.
 
Takeaways- 

  • Spikes allow you to plan a Sprint.
  • Work hours will not be wasted.
  • Better focus due to fixing functionalities
  • It allows more disciplined manner of working (i.e team members can either get the functionality fast or get an information within the defined time limit).

 Do’s and Don’ts for the Scrum Master-

DO,S                                 Don'ts                   

Facilitate the PO to maintain and prioritize the backlog iteams.

Own the decisions on product backlog on behalf of product Owner.
Facilitate team member  if any additional training required. Making estimates on behalf of the team.
Make sure that team delivers the true value to the business. Assigning the task to the team member.
Inspires the team member  to execute the tasks responsibly. Trying to direct the team.
Assist team member in making decisions. Making changes to the team in the middle of a sprint.
Remove  any impediments restricting the team to achieve their goals. Accept backlog changes in the middle of sprint.
Helps team to become self-organised. Make commitments on team's behalf.
Protects team from external interference. Let the team succumb to performance issues due to external problems.   
Acts as a servant-leader Only lead and instruct
Always willing to imrove continuously. Not learn new ways to enhance performance.
Handles only one team. Handles multiple teams.


Concluding Thoughts-

The role of the Scrum Master is still shrouded in a mystery.  It is said that the Scrum Masters are the voice of the Scrum framework at the team level. Scrum is indeed all about continuous improvement and learning. It is also about adding new hacks to the working culture. When it comes to Agile and Scrum, you definitely cannot achieve everything overnight. All you need is to get laser-focused on the newly incorporated Scrum practices and think of innovative ways to spearhead your team to greater altitudes. 

It’s time to get started with the new! 
 

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

Author

KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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Why Scrum Is Lightweight; Simple To Understand; Difficult To Master?

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While giving advise on how things should be done is necessary, appreciating the team on its achievements is equally important.   Respect for Others: Your team members all have different personalities and each brings their own uniqueness and expertise to the team. No one team member is less or more important than the other. An effective and efficient Scrum Master will recognise this early on and treat every team member with the same amount of respect.  Understanding of Situations in the Right Context:  Not all things are as what they appear. The sooner a scrum master understands this, the better. Situations in context to teams, individuals and even the organization are not always black and white and the Scrum Master must consider the baggage of organizational culture, current systems, internal politics, etc before coming to a conclusion about a team or a team members. Instead, one must attempt to form close relationships with the team and understand the workings of the team and the organizations before passing judgement. Ability to Have Tough Conversations :  You as a Scrum Master are often seen as a problem solver, friend and mentor. But don’t let this image of yours come in the way of making tough decisions or having tough conversations. As a Scrum Master you must have the courage to do the right thing and if this means having difficult but necessary conversations with either the team members, the product owner or the stakeholders, then you must do it.    Courage to Protect the Team:  More often than not, there are unreasonable demands made on the development team. The Scrum Master should have the courage to protect the team and say an emphatic ‘no’ to the Product Owner or the stakeholders.  Accountability: You are accountable for your team’s success as you are for its failures. If as a Scrum Master you want your team to be accountable then the best way to get them to do that is to be accountable yourself. You can do this by being more invested in the day-to-day activities of the team and considering yourself to be a part of the team as well.  Support for Team Members: As a Scrum Master you are not just invested in the project but also in the growth of individual team members. You should motivate, encourage and support your team members to grow and reach heights in their careers.   Deep Commitment: If the team feels that the Scrum Master is committed to the project, committed to the team and committed to the team members, then they are more likely to be open and transparent with the Scrum Master. This trust with the team has to be built so that team members can be open about the challenges they face. The Scrum Master is the voice of the team and must support them at all stages.   Focus on Improvement:  Scrum is all about continuous improvement and the success of the Scrum Master is also tied to the continuous improvement of the Scrum team. If your team is getting better with time then you are doing well as a Scrum Master. From daily sprints to retrospectives, the Scrum Master provides avenues for the team to improve itself, identify problems and suggest solutions to work better.  Conclusion Scrum is the most used Agile framework, yet there are several lessons that organizations need to learn about Scrum before they embark on a transformation journey. This lightweight and easy to use framework can turn around the fortunes of companies if implemented in the right way. It’s important for an organization’s culture to be ready to accept and implement Scrum for project and organizational success.  
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Why Scrum Is Lightweight; Simple To Understand; Di...

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Scrum Master – The Scrum Team’s Servant-Leader!

The term servant leader is synonymous with a Scrum Master. But what does it mean? The Scrum Master is a servant leader in Agile projects, but servant leadership goes far beyond Agile, and Scrum Masters serve more than just the team.In this blog we attempt to look at the Scrum Master’s role as a servant leader, what the role entails and the responsibilities of the Scrum Master beyond the team, in context to the organization. What is servant-leadership?The term servant leadership was first coined by Robert Greenleaf in his article “The Servant as Leader”, in which he defined a servant leader as: The Servant-Leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That leader significantly differs from one who is leader first, may be due to the need to acquire power, material belonging, control and authority within the organization. Servant leadership is something very different from traditional leadership, which places the leader at the top of the hierarchy and the employees in the lower rung. Servant leadership, in a sense, is the opposite of traditional leadership, as it places the leader at the bottom of the hierarchy while employees are on the higher rungs. The leaders, in this case, are serving the people above them. Servant leadership refers to leaders who believe in serving people and the community that they are a part of, rather than accumulating power for themselves. This style of leadership emphasizes on helping subordinates better themselves, empowering employees and helping others perform to the best of their abilities.Servant leadership does not prescribe telling employees what to do, instead it helps the workforce find their sense of ownership and unlock their potential to reach their goals. Servant leadership is all about empowering others, which when consistently done can raise morale, enhance productivity and reduce employee attrition.Servant Leadership and ScrumScrum, in a way, is the very essence of servant leadership. Unlike traditional project management methodologies, it does not follow a top-down, hierarchical approach. Instead, decisions are lateral and happen with the involvement of the whole team. Scrum is the perfect approach in which to practice the concept of servant leadership. The 5 Scrum values of Openness, Respect, Commitment, Courage, and Focus, adhere to the philosophy of Servant Leadership. The Scrum Master plays a key role in the development of the product, the team and the organization. The Scrum Guide defines the servant leadership a Scrum Master’s role has to perform in context to the roles mentioned above. The Scrum Values that a Scrum Master practices have a ripple effect throughout the organization. The Scrum Master is seen as an evangelist for practicing and promoting Scrum in the enterprise.The Agile Manifesto and servant-leadershipThe Agile Manifesto states that one must value: Individuals and interactions over Process and tools Working software over Comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over Contract negotiation Responding to change over Following a plan These again align with the values of servant leadership, which is all about putting people or employees first. The Agile Manifesto describes focusing on building projects around motivated individuals and giving them an environment of support, trust and collaboration—all characteristics of servant leadership.Who Are These Servant Leaders?The Scrum Guide defines the service provided by the Scrum Master as servant leadership. The Scrum Master selflessly provides servant leadership to the development team, product owner and the whole organization. By serving these entities, the Scrum Master can create a high performing team, a valuable product and an efficient organization that is able to meet business objectives and keep customers happy.  Though the term Scrum Master may be deceptive, the Scrum Master is not a master of the team but in fact serves the team in order to ensure smooth functioning and productivity.Servant Leadership and Scrum Master Roles of Servant LeadershipServant leadership:The day-to-day activity of a Scrum Master involves servant leadership. Servant leadership in a scrum team involves performance planning, coaching, helping the team self- organize, resolving conflicts through conflict management, removing obstacles that hinder progress and serving the team. The Scrum Master, while practicing servant leadership, helps the team grow and mature and become independent enough to make their own decisions. Servant leadership in Scrum is all about making the team self-reliant, so they can cope with the pressures of the role. As a servant leader the Scrum Master creates a high performing team, helps them become collaborative and high performing in order to achieve goals and meet the requirements of the customer.  Service to the Scrum Team: As a servant leader, the primary responsibility of the Scrum Master is to help the development team perform. They help the team perform to the best of their abilities by giving them an environment that is conducive to work in, encouraging them, guiding them and removing obstacles that may hinder progress. As a coach, the Scrum Master will guide the team on scrum processes and help them adhere to Agile values during the development of the product. The Scrum Master is responsible for the scrum team’s effectiveness, and they work tirelessly to ensure that the team is motivated, encouraged, creative and innovative. The Scrum Master through servant leadership helps the team improve Scrum practices which helps them become more productive and generate value. The Scrum Team’s role in motivating and helping the team comes through in the daily stand-up meetings that are arranged as part of the sprint. The Scrum Master encourages team members to share their grievances and progress made through the sprint. Team members can talk about obstacles that may be hindering their work and due cognizance will be taken up by the Scrum master to ensure that these obstacles are removed.  According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master helps the Development Team by: Coaching the team in becoming self-organized and cross-functional Helping the Scrum Team focus on creating high-value increments by removing impediments Helping the team deliver within the timeframe of the sprint Service to the Product Owner: The Scrum Master is a servant leader not just for the development team but also the Product Owner. While the Product Owner is primarily responsible for the product backlog, they cannot do this alone. The Scrum Master aids the development team and the Product Owner with effective product backlog management.The Scrum Master is involved at every stage of the product backlog grooming, helping the product owner with Scrum events, product planning and to identify backlog items along with the development team. The Scrum Master helps the Product Owner define the product vision to the team.   According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master helps the Product Owner by: Helping in Product Goal definition and Product Backlog management Helping the Scrum Team understand manage the Product Backlog items Setting up empirical product planning in complex environments and, Managing and facilitating stakeholder collaboration.Service to the Organization: The Scrum Master is a coach and motivator not just for the development team but goes beyond the team to spread the awareness of Scrum in the entire organization. Scrum Masters coach and help teams and departments understand Scrum and develop an Agile mind-set. Besides servant leadership to the team a Scrum Master is also involved in promoting the ideas and values of Scrum. An organization can get an agile mind-set only if the entire organization adopts Scrum and not just a few teams. This is where the Scrum Master comes in, helping other teams not involved with Scum to gain the Agile mind-set, through training and coaching. The Scrum Master is an Agile evangelist and promotes Scrum enterprise-wide.According to Scrum.org the Scrum Master serves the organization by: Leading, training, and coaching the organization in adopting Scrum Planning and advising Scrum implementations within the organization Coaching employees and stakeholders in the way Scrum works Helping stakeholders work with Scrum TeamsSome Servant-Leader Behaviours for every Scrum MasterBeing empathetic: This is the foremost personality trait required for anyone wanting to become a Scrum Master. Your empathy will shine through in your interactions with the team members and your dealings with the stakeholders. You should be able to see problems from the point of view of each party and work towards solving these problems. Caring: As a caring and empathetic Scrum Master, your team will feel free to approach you and share their concerns. Providing a listening ear will make you more approachable. You will be able to more clearly understand the impediments that are stopping project progress and work towards providing a solution.  Managing Conflicts: Not all team members will get along with each other and this can cause disruptions and problems within the team, lowering their productivity. As a Scrum Master you need to be great at conflict management, help others solve their problems, work with each other and create a high performing and harmonious team. Building relationships: You need to build a rapport with your team, the product owner and the stakeholders. This will help you communicate freely and help others approach you with their problems and issues. You need to build that relationship of trust and take everyone along on the journey of success.  Being ethical: Ethics play an important role in software development, especially since software now controls every aspect of our lives. The product created should be free of malice and fraud. The Scrum Master should guide the team in delivering the product at a value and standard that is expected and agreed upon with the stakeholder. There should not be any shortcuts or concessions made on the quality of the product delivered as this will affect not just the Scrum Master and the team’s reputation but will cause a dent in the reputation of the organization.   Conclusion  Servant leadership and the Scrum Master’s role is the backbone of Scrum. The Scrum Master as a servant leader re-emphasizes the values of Scrum and helps to enhance teamwork, collaboration, motivation and value. Under the able servant leadership of the Scrum Master, individual members and the team will grow, become more confident and help in delivering value.  
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Scrum Master – The Scrum Team’s Servan...

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A Guide to Scaling Scrum

Scrum has been proven to work well for small teams. But the true benefits of Agile can only be reaped if Agile and Scrum are scaled at the enterprise level. However, this is easier said than done. According to statistics, 47% of Agile transformations are not successful. While this is a worrying trend, there are still hundreds of organizations who have got it right and are able to survive the competition by innovating faster, delivering value and adapting to changing markets. How are they doing it? By using scaled Scrum.There are several tools and frameworks available for scaling Scrum at the enterprise level. In this blog, we attempt to look at a few of these.  Scaling Scrum with NexusNexus is among the most popular frameworks for scaling Scrum. According to the Nexus Guide, “Nexus is a framework for developing and sustaining scaled product delivery initiatives. It builds upon Scrum, extending it only where absolutely necessary to minimize and manage dependencies between multiple Scrum Teams while promoting empiricism and the Scrum Values.” How is Nexus different from Scrum? Scrum defines three primary roles: The Product Owner, the Scrum Master and the development team. These three roles work together in one team.The Nexus framework consists of several Scrum teams that work together toward a common product goal and defines the Nexus Integration Team as an additional accountability.  Nexus helps to build on the values of Scrum and also solves the collaboration and dependency challenges that tend to occur between teams in Scrum.Benefits of using Nexus Nexus extends Scrum in the following ways:  Accountabilities: Nexus introduces the Nexus Integration Team, which consists of the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and members. This team is accountable for delivering a workable product at the end of each sprint.  Events: Nexus events aim to add to or supplement Scrum events and serve not just individual teams but also the Nexus Integration Team. The objective of a sprint is to achieve the Nexus sprint goal. Artifacts: Although the teams are different, within the Nexus framework they all work towards a single goal and follow a single product backlog. There’s a high amount of transparency and work is allocated to each team. The Nexus Integration TeamAccording to the Nexus Guide, “the Nexus Integration Team exists to coordinate, coach, and supervise the application of Nexus and the operation of Scrum so the best outcomes are derived.” The Nexus Integration Team or NIT comprises of the Scrum Master, the Product Owner and Nexus integration team members. There are generally three to nine Scrum teams working together in Nexus. All of them follow a single product backlog and work towards delivering a single product. The Nexus Integration Team forms an essential role within Nexus and is tasked with providing transparent accountability among the teams in Nexus.Product OwnerThe Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the product value and the work carried out in Nexus. Their primary task is to order and refine the product backlog. Being a member of the Nexus Integration Team, the product owner will work with all the Scrum teams in the Nexus Integration team. The product owner and the teams work towards better defining and refining the product backlog.Scrum MasterJust like in regular Scrum, the Scrum Master in the Nexus Integration Team is also responsible for ensuring that the Nexus framework is understood by everyone on the team as prescribed by the Nexus Guide.   MembersThe members of the Nexus Integration Team are the Scrum team members who aid the Scrum teams in adoption of tools and practices that will help the team and members deliver value at the end of each sprint that meets the definition of done. Nexus Integration Team membership should be considered more important than the individual Scrum Team membership and members should work towards first fulfilling their Nexus team responsibilities.What are the Events in Nexus?Nexus adds or augments the events as defined by Scrum. The Nexus event durations are like Scrum event durations and are guided by the Scrum Guide.  Nexus events consist of: Sprint- A Nexus sprint is the same as in Scrum, at the end of which a single increment is delivered.  Cross team refinement- The aim of Nexus is to enhance collaboration and reduce cross team dependencies. Cross team refinement helps to make dependencies and responsibilities more transparent. This makes it easier for Scrum teams within the Nexus to clearly identify and deliver their allocated tasks.  Nexus Sprint Planning- Nexus sprint planning will involve the participation of the Product Owner and concerned teams' members from each team. The purpose of the Nexus Sprint Planning is to assign and co-ordinate activities for a single sprint.  Nexus Daily Scrum- This is like the daily stand up in Scrum. Nexus daily scrum is used to identify any issues and track progress. Any issues are immediately prioritized and solved so that they do not hinder the work of the developers.  Nexus Sprint Review- This event is held at the end of sprints to provide feedback on the increment that has been built and on any future updates that have to be made. Nexus Sprint Retrospective- Like in Scrum, Nexus retrospectives are an important part of the project and are used to reflect on how quality and consistency can be improved.  Some Nexus ArtifactsNexus artifacts are the same as Scrum artifacts and when implemented correctly ensure transparency and value maximization. Every artifact is designed to give a commitment. For example, the product backlog is the artifact and its commitment is the product goal. Other artifacts and their commitments include: Nexus Sprint Backlog-Nexus Sprint Goal Integrated Increment-Definition of Done Along with Nexus, LeSS is another popular framework for scaling agile.  Scaling Scrum with LeSS The Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) framework is an offering from Atlassian and is a framework for scaling Scrum to multiple teams that are working on the same product. The idea behind LeSS is to start with a single Scrum team as defined in the Scrum Guide and then replicate it to multiple teams who are working on a single product. LeSS has earned the label of being “barely sufficient” as it is a simple framework to apply and uses the basic concepts of Scrum to scale.  How do Sprint Planning meetings in LeSS work?  LeSS generally carries out sprint planning in two stages. Sprint Planning One focuses on selecting items that are of topmost priority, solving unanswered issues and defining the sprint goal. The Sprint Planning Two is like the sprint plan of regular Scrum and focuses on creating a plan of action for getting things done.  Daily meeting  The daily Scrum meeting in LeSS is similar to how it is done in normal single Scrum teams and involves team members discussing the work accomplished and the work to be done during the day. It is a time-boxed meeting and helps teams address any issues that may be hindering work.   Sprint Delivery Meeting (Review) The sprint review meeting is an essential part of LeSS and helps teams and stakeholders review the product built during the sprint and suggest changes and new ideas.   Retrospective The retrospective for LeSS is similar to one team Scrum. These retrospectives held at the end of the sprint will help teams to reflect on the progress of tasks, and identify the obstacles that may hinder or impede the overall project.  Let’s take a look at some of the other frameworks that are used for scaling agile. Scaling Scrum with SAFe®The Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe in short, follows the principles of lean and agile and helps in scaling Scrum to the enterprise. It helps to manage alignment, collaboration, and delivery from multiple agile teams to ensure enterprise success. It systematically focuses on applying Scrum at each level of the enterprise, to maximize value and ensure a successful agile transformation.A successful SAFe adoption ensures end-to-end business agility with significant improvements in strategy, delivery, execution and business competencies. It helps organizations overcome competition and ensure innovative business solutions to gain customer trust and partnership. The SAFe framework is continuously improvised in order to help organizations cope with the digital age and ensure that business outcomes are delivered.Scaling Scrum with the Scrum@Scale frameworkAnother framework that allows organizations to implement Scrum at scale is the Scrum@Scale framework. This framework expands on the core principles of Scrum and helps to scale Scrum over a wide range of industries and sectors, ensuring customer satisfaction and creation of successful products. It promotes communication across all teams and departments, and optimizes resources, removes roadblocks and ensures creation of innovative products.A Final Word By driving Agile at the organizational level, companies can gain all the benefits of team-level Scrum at scale. More often than not the principles of team level Scrum are not sustainable at the enterprise level and the transformation fails. Tested and proven Agile scaling frameworks are now able to turn this around, and help organizations scale up the principles and practices of Scrum to become more adaptable, flexible and responsive. Professionals can master these frameworks and help their organization adopt the culture, mind-set and principles of Scrum and agile.  
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A Guide to Scaling Scrum

Scrum has been proven to work well for small tea... Read More

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