Course Discount

Search

All You Need To Know About The Roles Of A Scrum Master

1. IntroductionHaving worked on Agile projects for a while, I was surprised to find out that “Scrum” came from the process word scrummage, a word used in rugby sports. In rugby, scrummage refers to restarting the game where the players are coming close to each other with their heads down and gaining a possession of the ball. The players work together in a unified manner relying on their strengths in order to overcome and break across their opponents, taking incremental steps collectively as a team.Traditional waterfall approach as a software development methodology is successfully practiced over many years as a structured and proven method. It emphasizes a lot on proper documentation and proper process control. In Traditional waterfall methodology, the entire stage is completed before moving sequentially to the next stage. The method, however, is rigid to changes during the software development cycle.Agile software development methodology, on the other hand, is quite the opposite, it looks into ensuring flexibility and incorporating regularly users inputs as a way to build better user products.Scrum software development methodology is a subset of the Agile methodology. “Scrum” methodology was the brainchild of 2 Japanese Hiro Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka. Who wanted to create “a flexible and holistic product development strategy where a development team works as a unit to reach a common goal.” 2. Who is a Scrum Master?A Scrum Master is a facilitator of the Agile development team. He is not the project manager nor the product owner. A Scrum Master is not a position but a role.However, having said that it doesn’t mean this role is less important than the role of a project manager. In fact, a scrum master is a crucial role in the success of an agile project.3. What does a scrum master do?Scrum Master is “A Servant Leader”.  The roles and responsibilities of the Scrum Master include:Making sure the team follows the agile processes.Shielding the team.Facilitating Scrum Ceremonies.Championing information radiators.Working with stakeholders to get tools and training for the team.4.  What Qualities does a Scrum Master have?A Scrum Master does not need a particular type of qualification to assume the responsibilities.  However, he or she should possess particular qualities necessary for the role.Traits of a good Scrum Master are-a) Influential - able to convince others, have empathy and respect for people and showing by exampleb) Collaborative - seek to collaborate with others in the organization and not for self-gloryc) Observant - alertness to identify issues and problem areasd) Knowledgeable - not only on agile processes but has some technical and project management knowledge5. Roles and Responsibilities of the Scrum MasterSome organization practices rotation of Scrum Master roles among the team members, this is up to each Scrum Team.However, the roles and responsibilities of the Scrum Master are common:SM is the Agile framework custodian and process owner for the team.SM is a facilitator and Servant Leader who never discourage but encourages and expects self-organization from the Agile development team. SM builds close collaboration across roles and functions in the organization, works on matters collectively and is not individualistic.SM protects the team from distractions which includes both external and internal.SM removes impediments, so the team can focus on the development work and tasks.SM is not typically a manager or lead, but he/she is an influential leader who does not do direct command and control.SM is a coach, give the bits of advice to the team and discussed issues encountered.SM is an adviser and is equipped with technical and project management know-how, this is so that he/she understands the problems and be able to provide a proper guidance and advice to the team.6. Scrum master skillsThese are the essential skills a Scrum Master should have:Encourage a self-organising teamRemove barriers and Shield the teamEncourage Collaboration and Resolve ConflictsCoach and Advises the teamEstablish partnerships (team, product owner, stakeholder)Facilitate and is a Servant Leadera) Encourage a self-organizing team - The scrum master needs to know when to hold his views and keep quiet to allow the team to be self-organizing. That said he should be actively listening attentively to the team members inputs and learning points and guide the team to perform better in subsequent sprints.b) Remove barriers and shield the team - The scrum master should shield the development team from outside distractions. At the same time, the job of the scrum master is to remove any project barriers and impediments including resolving resource issues. Allowing the team to focus on their development works and tasks. c) Encourage Collaboration and Resolve Conflicts - The scrum master should have respect for people. He should encourage collaboration among team members and also across teams. He should be a collaborator who is able to resolve conflicts within and across teams by focusing on the scrum values of openness, respect, and honesty.d) Coach and Advises the team - The scrum master should read widely and coaches the team on agile processes. Other than being a teacher to the team to explain scrum processes clearly and enforcing the practice for agile. The scrum master should have technical and project management knowledge. Imagine if the scrum master is not able to understand when a team member raise a project issue how will he provide guidance on the right course of actions? then be able to coach and guide the team effectively and run constructive meetings.e) Established partnerships (team, product owner, stakeholder) - The role of the product owner is to push the team to deliver fast, while the role of the scrum master is to protect the team. However, the scrum master needs to know when to strike a balance and to build partnerships with others.f) Facilitate and be a Servant Leader - The scrum master facilitates the daily scrum, sprint planning, sprint demo, and retrospective meetings. He has no particular authority over the team members and is not their manager. However, the scrum master should put the needs of the team members before himself and serve as a Servant Leader.7. What are the benefits of having a Scrum Master Certification?Why should you be interested in becoming a Certified Scrum Master?According to scrumalliance.org based on a survey with about 5000 people in February 2015, 87% agrees that Scrum improves the quality of work life for their team. At the same time, 81% of Scrum Masters who received certification agree that it has significantly helped to improve their practice.Check our CSM certification training schedules in Top cities of IndiaCertificationPlaceSchedulesCertified Scrum MasterBangaloreView SchedulesHyderabadView SchedulesChennaiView Schedules8.  Scrum master learning path (how to become a scrum master)How to become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM®)?Step 1: Attend a 2-day Certified Scrum Master course or seminarStep 2: In 30 to 90 days, register online for the Scrum Master Accredited Certification ProgramStep 3: Upon successful registration, you will receive your Exam Access Code instantly onlineStep 4: Take the online test anywhere, anytime on the multiple-choice questionsStep 5: Get your lifetime and international valid Scrum Master Accredited Certification Document instantly onlineIn a meanwhile, you can take a glimpse of the Certified Scrum Master (CSM®) training at KnowledgeHut.9.  Scrum Master training and certificationRequirements for CSM® (from scrumalliance.org)The first step toward your CSM® is to familiarize yourself with the Scrum framework.Then, attend an in-person, two-day  (16 hour) CSM® course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®) where you’ll get a comprehensive overview of how to organize and support a Scrum Team. After the course, you’ll need to pass the CSM® exam. After you pass the CSM® exam and accept the License Agreement, complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile and enjoy the benefits of certification.The Certified Scrum Master Exam is conducted online. The exam consists of 35 multiple choice questions and to pass the certified scrum master exam, you need to get at least 24  correct answers. You can take up the exam only after the completion of two days of training. The test takes about an hour to get completed.Scrum Alliance allows a candidate to make two attempts on the exam. This is available at no cost. However, subsequent attempts after the second time will be chargeable.For people who are Certified Scrum Masters, the next step in the Agile journey will attain the Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM®℠) certification.In order to prepare for the Certified Scrum Master exam (CSM exam), you can refer this Scrum tutorial. This is a complete guide that will help you in preparing for the Scrum Master examination.Requirements for A-CSM®  (from scrumalliance.org)Attend a certified educational offering to get techniques and skills that go beyond the basics and mechanics of Scrum, expanding into interaction, facilitation, coaching, and team dynamics.Successfully complete all educator-designed components of an approved educational offering. This may include pre- or post-course work as deemed necessary by your approved educator to complete the learning objectives.Validate at least one year of work experience specific to the role of ScrumMaster (within the past five years).Hold an active Certified ScrumMaster (CSM®) certification with the Scrum Alliance.NOTE:  You may take the A-CSM® course at any time after completing your CSM® certification, but must have at least 12 months of Scrum Master experience logged into your Scrum Alliance profile before you can receive your A-CSM® certification.You can opt for the Scrum Mock tests which will help you in raising your confidence level of passing the CSM exam with an excellent scope. Click here for CSM practice test online.10. Benefits of a Scrum Master CertificationThere are many reasons why people take the Scrum Master Certifications and here are just some of them:Expand career options across industry sectors using Scrum and Agile methodologyExpand career options across industry sectors using Scrum and Agile methodologyDemonstrate the attainment of Scrum knowledgeMeet like-minded Scrum professionals and networking Continuous learningIf you are ready to encourage your team and advance your  Scrum career, then it is an ideal opportunity to become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM®). Get enroll for the CSM® certification course today and start preparing for the success.Begin your Scrum Master journey today!
Rated 4.0/5 based on 22 customer reviews

All You Need To Know About The Roles Of A Scrum Master

4K
  • by lorraine ong
  • 10th Dec, 2018
  • Last updated on 15th Jun, 2020
  • 11 mins read
All You Need To Know About The Roles Of A Scrum Master

1. Introduction

Having worked on Agile projects for a while, I was surprised to find out that “Scrum” came from the process word scrummage, a word used in rugby sports. In rugby, scrummage refers to restarting the game where the players are coming close to each other with their heads down and gaining a possession of the ball. The players work together in a unified manner relying on their strengths in order to overcome and break across their opponents, taking incremental steps collectively as a team.
Roles Of A Scrum MasterTraditional waterfall approach as a software development methodology is successfully practiced over many years as a structured and proven method. It emphasizes a lot on proper documentation and proper process control. In Traditional waterfall methodology, the entire stage is completed before moving sequentially to the next stage. The method, however, is rigid to changes during the software development cycle.
Agile MethodologyAgile software development methodology, on the other hand, is quite the opposite, it looks into ensuring flexibility and incorporating regularly users inputs as a way to build better user products.
Agile software development methodologyScrum software development methodology is a subset of the Agile methodology. “Scrum” methodology was the brainchild of 2 Japanese Hiro Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka. Who wanted to create “a flexible and holistic product development strategy where a development team works as a unit to reach a common goal.”

 2. Who is a Scrum Master?

A Scrum Master is a facilitator of the Agile development team. He is not the project manager nor the product owner. A Scrum Master is not a position but a role.
However, having said that it doesn’t mean this role is less important than the role of a project manager. In fact, a scrum master is a crucial role in the success of an agile project.

3. What does a scrum master do?

Scrum Master is “A Servant Leader”.  The roles and responsibilities of the Scrum Master include:

  • Making sure the team follows the agile processes.

  • Shielding the team.

  • Facilitating Scrum Ceremonies.

  • Championing information radiators.

Working with stakeholders to get tools and training for the team.

4.  What Qualities does a Scrum Master have?

A Scrum Master does not need a particular type of qualification to assume the responsibilities.  

However, he or she should possess particular qualities necessary for the role.

Traits of a good Scrum Master are-

Traits of a good Scrum Master
a) Influential - able to convince others, have empathy and respect for people and showing by example
b) Collaborative - seek to collaborate with others in the organization and not for self-glory
c) Observant - alertness to identify issues and problem areas
d) Knowledgeable - not only on agile processes but has some technical and project management knowledge

5. Roles and Responsibilities of the Scrum Master

Some organization practices rotation of Scrum Master roles among the team members, this is up to each Scrum Team.

However, the roles and responsibilities of the Scrum Master are common:

  • SM is the Agile framework custodian and process owner for the team.
  • SM is a facilitator and Servant Leader who never discourage but encourages and expects self-organization from the Agile development team. 
  • SM builds close collaboration across roles and functions in the organization, works on matters collectively and is not individualistic.
  • SM protects the team from distractions which includes both external and internal.
  • SM removes impediments, so the team can focus on the development work and tasks.
  • SM is not typically a manager or lead, but he/she is an influential leader who does not do direct command and control.
  • SM is a coach, give the bits of advice to the team and discussed issues encountered.
  • SM is an adviser and is equipped with technical and project management know-how, this is so that he/she understands the problems and be able to provide a proper guidance and advice to the team.

6. Scrum master skills

Scrum master skillsThese are the essential skills a Scrum Master should have:

Encourage a self-organising team
Remove barriers and Shield the team
Encourage Collaboration and Resolve Conflicts
Coach and Advises the team
Establish partnerships (team, product owner, stakeholder)
Facilitate and is a Servant Leader

a) Encourage a self-organizing team - The scrum master needs to know when to hold his views and keep quiet to allow the team to be self-organizing. That said he should be actively listening attentively to the team members inputs and learning points and guide the team to perform better in subsequent sprints.

b) Remove barriers and shield the team -
The scrum master should shield the development team from outside distractions. At the same time, the job of the scrum master is to remove any project barriers and impediments including resolving resource issues. Allowing the team to focus on their development works and tasks.
 
c) Encourage Collaboration and Resolve Conflicts - The scrum master should have respect for people. He should encourage collaboration among team members and also across teams. He should be a collaborator who is able to resolve conflicts within and across teams by focusing on the scrum values of openness, respect, and honesty.

d) Coach and Advises the team - The scrum master should read widely and coaches the team on agile processes. Other than being a teacher to the team to explain scrum processes clearly and enforcing the practice for agile. The scrum master should have technical and project management knowledge. Imagine if the scrum master is not able to understand when a team member raise a project issue how will he provide guidance on the right course of actions? then be able to coach and guide the team effectively and run constructive meetings.

e) Established partnerships (team, product owner, stakeholder) - The role of the product owner is to push the team to deliver fast, while the role of the scrum master is to protect the team. However, the scrum master needs to know when to strike a balance and to build partnerships with others.

f) Facilitate and be a Servant Leader - The scrum master facilitates the daily scrum, sprint planning, sprint demo, and retrospective meetings. He has no particular authority over the team members and is not their manager. However, the scrum master should put the needs of the team members before himself and serve as a Servant Leader.

7. What are the benefits of having a Scrum Master Certification?

Why should you be interested in becoming a Certified Scrum Master?

According to scrumalliance.org based on a survey with about 5000 people in February 2015, 87% agrees that Scrum improves the quality of work life for their team. At the same time, 81% of Scrum Masters who received certification agree that it has significantly helped to improve their practice.

Check our CSM certification training schedules in Top cities of India

Certification
Place
Schedules
Certified Scrum Master

8.  Scrum master learning path (how to become a scrum master)

How to become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM®)?
Learning path of Certified Scrum MasterStep 1: Attend a 2-day Certified Scrum Master course or seminar

Step 2: In 30 to 90 days, register online for the Scrum Master Accredited Certification Program

Step 3: Upon successful registration, you will receive your Exam Access Code instantly online

Step 4: Take the online test anywhere, anytime on the multiple-choice questions

Step 5: Get your lifetime and international valid Scrum Master Accredited Certification Document instantly online

In a meanwhile, you can take a glimpse of the Certified Scrum Master (CSM®) training at KnowledgeHut.

9.  Scrum Master training and certification

Requirements for CSM® (from scrumalliance.org)

The first step toward your CSM® is to familiarize yourself with the Scrum framework.
Then, attend an in-person, two-day  (16 hour) CSM® course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®) where you’ll get a comprehensive overview of how to organize and support a Scrum Team. After the course, you’ll need to pass the CSM® exam. After you pass the CSM® exam and accept the License Agreement, complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile and enjoy the benefits of certification.

The Certified Scrum Master Exam is conducted online. The exam consists of 35 multiple choice questions and to pass the certified scrum master exam, you need to get at least 24  correct answers. You can take up the exam only after the completion of two days of training. The test takes about an hour to get completed.

Scrum Alliance allows a candidate to make two attempts on the exam. This is available at no cost. However, subsequent attempts after the second time will be chargeable.

For people who are Certified Scrum Masters, the next step in the Agile journey will attain the Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM®℠) certification.

In order to prepare for the Certified Scrum Master exam (CSM exam), you can refer this Scrum tutorial. This is a complete guide that will help you in preparing for the Scrum Master examination.

Requirements for A-CSM®  (from scrumalliance.org)

Attend a certified educational offering to get techniques and skills that go beyond the basics and mechanics of Scrum, expanding into interaction, facilitation, coaching, and team dynamics.
Successfully complete all educator-designed components of an approved educational offering. This may include pre- or post-course work as deemed necessary by your approved educator to complete the learning objectives.
Validate at least one year of work experience specific to the role of ScrumMaster (within the past five years).
Hold an active Certified ScrumMaster (CSM®) certification with the Scrum Alliance.


NOTE:  You may take the A-CSM® course at any time after completing your CSM® certification, but must have at least 12 months of Scrum Master experience logged into your Scrum Alliance profile before you can receive your A-CSM® certification.

You can opt for the Scrum Mock tests which will help you in raising your confidence level of passing the CSM exam with an excellent scope. Click here for CSM practice test online.

10. Benefits of a Scrum Master Certification

There are many reasons why people take the Scrum Master Certifications and here are just some of them:
Expand career options across industry sectors using Scrum and Agile methodology

  • Expand career options across industry sectors using Scrum and Agile methodology

  • Demonstrate the attainment of Scrum knowledge

  • Meet like-minded Scrum professionals and networking 

  • Continuous learning

If you are ready to encourage your team and advance your  Scrum career, then it is an ideal opportunity to become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM®). Get enroll for the CSM® certification course today and start preparing for the success.

Begin your Scrum Master journey today!

lorraine

lorraine ong

Blog Author

Lorraine Ong is a skilled Strategist, Program and Product Manager, with 18 years of IT Management experience. She holds multiple certifications including PMP, Blackblot Product Management Professional, ScrumMaster, Scrum Product Owner, ITIL, CITPM, and J2EE Enterprise Architect. She has experience in policy writing and successfully lead teams in various large scale projects, products and programs implementations in MNCs and organisations.

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Suggested Blogs

How to Use Scrum Board for Agile Development?

What is a Scrum Board?A Scrum Board or an Agile Board is a visual representation of the work planned, progressed, and completed by a scrum team in a sprint or iteration at any given point of time. The board is comprised of columns that represent various successive states of the workflow progressing from left to right. The work items appear in the column as per their current state in the development workflow and then move across the board from one column to the next till they reach completion or last stage.The “To Do / Ready” and “Done” states appear in almost every Scrum Board, the “In Progress” items can be further categorized into various states e.g. – Analyse, Design, Code, Test etc. These states are solely created as per the needs of the Scrum Team and Project.                                                                                                               Image 1: Simple Scrum Board  Why is a Scrum Board needed? The Scrum Board visually represents the amount of work along with their current states in a Sprint.  The Board speaks to the team everyday about the holistic progress made by the entire team towards their Sprint Goals and provides a sense of accomplishment and achievement when work items are completed. It avoids creation and progress of “Hidden Work” or “Shoulder Tap” injected work that may not be prioritized. In the event of an interruption (like production issue, any new or changed requirements, changed priorities), it helps Business to reprioritize the work items quickly looking at the current state of the planned items in the Sprint.   It also keeps reinforcing road blocks and impediments faced by the team to all the major stakeholders. Any number of written and verbal communication may not be able to visually represent the state of the entire sprintas a whole as effectively as this visual radiator.Scrum board allows teams to manage the flow of work across the sprint as it helps in avoiding multi-tasking, overloading one person because everything is visible and traceable. How to organize a Scrum Board Physical and Virtual Scrum Boards Teams that are entirely collocated can benefit from physical boards that caneven just be a whiteboard placed near their work cubicles. A physical board could also be on a wall having coloured tape for columns and sticky notes for cards.  Team members typically swarm around the board /agile wall/task wallduring their daily stand up or whenever there is a need.                                                                                                                            Image 2: A typical physical scrum board                                                                                                                                 Image 3: A typical Jira scrum boardDistributed teams on the other hand find virtual boards easy to use. There are many tools available in the market to set up Scrum Boardssuch asJira , Rally , Monday.com etc.  In some companies, the Scrum boards are displayed on giant monitors placed near the teams work cubicles. Cards and Columns are the two basic entities on the scrum board.Card is the entity on the board that represents a “Work Item”. A Card can be a User story /Production Bug/Technical Task. During the course of the Sprint these cards travel through the board from left ,“To-Do” to right “Done”.  A Simple Scrum Board for Beginner Teams The Scrum Board below is an example of a typical team board in a software project.                                                                                               Image 4: Typical scrum board for a software projectThe items on the Product Backlog are discussed and as per priority and their readiness, pulled into the “To Do” or “Ready” column during Sprint Planning. At the beginning of a Sprint all items in the “To Do” or “Ready” column comprises the Sprint Backlog of the team. As the Sprint progresses, the items move into the downstream columns until “Done” is reached. A clear “Definition of Done” helps to conclude if the story / task is completed. Usually beginner teams build the board translating the current workflow of their work items into columns on the board. As the teams evolve, they adjust the board accordingly. Effective Visual Representation of data  Information on the Cards Physical Cards usually are post-it notes or sticky notes that carry the User Story/Description, Acceptance Criteria and the Story Points as a minimum. Using post-it notes is a deliberate attempt to keep the story small and avoid loading a lot of work into one story.  In a Virtual board, cards can have exclusive fields to carry information like Project Name/Assignee/Reporter/Created Date etc. These might serve multiple purposes like metrics/reports. Colour-Coded Cards Colour coding is an excellent technique used to convey important information to the audience at the first quick glance.Cards can be colour coded based on their work type like User Story/ Technical Task/Production Bugs. Cards could also be flagged (in the case of a Virtual board) or overlaid with a (preferably) Red coloured card to convey a risk/dependency that needs attention. Swim lanes Defining Swim lanes is a very useful mechanism to categorize the work items on a Scrum Board. They are horizontal rows on the board that carry a specific type of work that is different from the normal/ work categorized by a certain parameter. For e.g. a team that has to resolve emerging high priority production bugs would prefer to use a “Fast Track” swim lane to progress the bug and then continue with their original Sprint work. A team that works on hardware, firmware and software components in a sprint might want to use different swim lanes for each component.  Swim lanes are for the teams. Creating a swim lane for each team member may not be a good idea since the basic guideline for scrum is to work as a team and this representation might affect a team’s mindset. In the board below blue cards are User Stories and green Cards are tasks. Red cards are Production bugs. Some cards are flagged red indicating risks or impediments.                                              Image 5: Example of scrum board with colour-coded cards and swim lanesAspects of Kanban in Scrum Board A common challenge encountered in projects is when tasks accumulate or pile up in a phase or stage of the workflow. There could be several reasons why that happens. But identifying them is the key to solving that challenge and the Scrum Board effectively helps in this. Assume that Cards D, E, F, G have completed development and ready for testing. Cards B, C are being tested. It is day 6 of a 10-day Sprint.  Developers might now bring in H, I from the Ready Column to start development work, creating a bottleneck at Testing.                                                                                                        Image 6: Scrum Board without WIP LimitsConcepts of Kanban can be borrowed into a typical Scrum board to address this. One of the techniques that can be used is to split the column into “In Progress” and “Ready”. This will set the stage for a “Pull” mechanism at every stage in the workflow of a story.  Introducing “WIP Limit” or “Work in Progress” Limit at the columns ensures multiple work items do not pile up at one stage of the process, do not get “pushed” downstream but rather gets “pulled” by downstream process and there is a steady flow created in the system. Considering the team is at day 6 of the iteration, it is recommended the team “stops starting and starts finishing”.  If the team swarms and completes the testing of D, E,F,G there could  be more business value delivered rather than starting development of H and I and having only few of the Development complete cards partially tested. In this scenario, a WIP Limit of 4 at development prevents the team from bringing in more work items into the development phase. The team can now swarm to complete the testing of the developed items taking them to completion.                                                                                        Image 7: Scrum board with WIP limits and columns split into “In progress” and “Ready”Effective use ofthe Scrum Board  Updating and maintaining the Scrum Board Scrum board is owned by the team and it is the team’s responsibility to update the board to reflect the reality.The team also has the responsibility to evolve the board to suit the need of the project by experimenting on concepts of WIP Limit. How best to use the information on the Board Scrum Board can be used to identify bottlenecks in the flow of work. If bottlenecks are identified in one stage of the workflow, the team can resort to Swarming or enforcing WIP Limits. Seeing the work items move through the Scrum board and reach “Done” during the Sprint provides the team a sense of accomplishment. Challenges and ways to overcome them Easier said than done, updating the board is one of the biggest challenges faced especially in beginner teams. Not every team member will be prompt in updating the board. To overcome this challenge, updating the board could be one of the team ground rules with non-compliance attracting fun consequences decided by the team, such as the defaulter treating the team with chocolates/coffee or updating everyone’s scrum board the next day. The Scrum Master can immensely help the team realize the power of the board by using it during agile ceremonies like planning, stand up and retrospectives. Facilitating the scrum by traversing the board from right to left (i.e.“Done” to “To-Do”) is another tactic to keep reinforcing the value of the board and motivating the teams.Having conversations in stand-ups by traversing the board from right to left will first bring up cards that are done or almost done and helps see what has been accomplished in the sprint.  What a Scrum Board is not A Scrum Board cannot replace the conversations and interactions that are always encouraged in Agile projects. Flagging a card on the scrum board / posing queries on a card should not solely replace the conversations around these. A Scrum Board is not for executives to monitor the team’s progress and efficiency, but it is for the team to monitor their sprint items as a whole. Conclusion A Scrum Board is an excellent tool for the team to visualize their work, look at everyday progress, identify bottlenecks, make immediate course corrections, so that they can meet their Sprint goals. Used rightly, it will serve the team and benefit them. But if it is used by management to monitor the team or if the team members consider it as a tool to update management then it loses its purpose and becomes just another overhead. 
Rated 4.0/5 based on 13 customer reviews
6601
How to Use Scrum Board for Agile Development?

What is a Scrum Board?A Scrum Board or an Agile Bo... Read More

Must-Have tools for Seamless Agile Management

For a long time, developers did not have a lot of freedom with their projects when it came to product development. Expected to work within the restraints provided by the top management or the sponsor of the project, and creatively limited by locked plans, developers craved to think out of the box and unleash their intuition and skills to develop a much more productive system.  This led to the rise of Agile development, a science that allows developers to be flexible and creative in delivering exactly what the users demand. Agile management took over a whole new system of development. This management system has come a long way since its birth and has now become one of the best manifestos for project management.   However, with such a heavy structure in place, there were strenuous tasks and methods involved. To get accustomed to this manifesto, you should invest in a good Agile and Scrum certification to get well versed with the different Agile tools given below: 1.  Agile Manager This tool helps organize and guide teams from the start as they work towards developing working code for an Agile model. At the beginning of this process, the manager will gather important user stories and contemplate on how to attack the problems addressed by them.  During each code sprint, the developers record their progress on user stories and their problems. The entire progress is plotted on a dashboard so that everyone is up to date with their work. Figure 1: Agile ManagerFeatures included: Creates epics and map them to releases, features and stories Uses story points for estimation Analyses sprint performance with help of dashboard and scrum Uses templates and custom statuses for process management 2. JIRA The JIRA tool is one of the best tools for project management. The team first makes a list of project tasks with the help of a tool called Confluence. Then they track the tasks on an interactive Kanban board that developers can update as they finish each task.  This Agile tool is integrated with other tools. Bamboo is a tool that offers continuous integration that pre-builds the code before evaluating it. Discussions take place through HipChat, and these revolve around the tasks and probable solutions.  Included features: Issue tracking Boards Epics Bug tracking Custom fields BacklogFigure 2: Jira dashboard3. Planbox Planbox is a hierarchical tool. It offers four specific levels of organizational power, thus allowing many teams to simultaneously work towards a single goal. The topmost level is called the initiative, which is broad and abstract. They contain various projects, which are filled with tasks.  Planbox creates these projects and evaluates them to form a report. This report is prepared for the shareholders.  There are various amazing features like looping customer reviews and time tracking. This tool is integrated with Github for storage and Zendesk for tracking customer satisfaction.4. LeanKitLeankit is a very unique tool. It aims to create a conference room type of whiteboard where most projects start from. This lets members post virtual notes on it that represent tasks, user stories or glitches, which should be addressed later.   The board has a fast update feature and lets multiple teams work together in separate spaces while still coordinating together.  Figure 5: Leankit  Included features: Board view templates Track issues and bugs Manage project portfolios Lean metrics and reporting 4. Proggio This is a next generation project management tool which focuses on and around the team instead of the task. It has a good visual representation that allows managers to create a full-project blueprint. This promises team clarity and increased planning capabilities.With the powerful task management tool, every team member is sure to be on track, and the virtual portfolio is an added accessory that helps tabulate developer progress.  Now, chasing around team members for every update is no longer necessary! Any and all progress report by the team members will clearly be reflected in the project timeline.   Included features: Board and List views Visual tracking Better timelines                                                                              Figure 6: Leankit  6. Proggio This is a next generation project management tool which focuses on and around the team instead of the task. It has a good visual representation that allows managers to create a full-project blueprint. This promises team clarity and increased planning capabilities.With the powerful task management tool, every team member is sure to be on track, and the virtual portfolio is an added accessory that helps tabulate developer progress.   Now, chasing around team members for every update is no longer necessary! Any and all progress report by the team members will clearly be reflected in the project timeline.   Included features: Board and List views Visual tracking Better timelines                                                                 Figure 7: LeankitChoose the Agile tool best suited for your business In this vast market, there are unlimited tools created for Agile, but the above-mentioned are the ones which yield the best results. This will help you evaluate and find the tool that functions best for your context and is comfortable for your team. With every team applying their own unique approach to the Agile methodology, choosing the right tool may appear to be a rather difficult task. However, once the Agile manifesto is in place, things are sure to run quite smoothly and profitably.  This is your first step to a professional and productive future, so get your Agile and Scrum training now! 
Rated 4.0/5 based on 14 customer reviews
6545
Must-Have tools for Seamless Agile Management

For a long time, developers did not have a lot of ... Read More

Scrum Product Backlog and Agile Product Backlog Prioritization

The 21st century has witnessed a major surge in the adoption of Agile with organizations trying to fit into their ways of working to better meet customer demands. As per the 14th Annual State of Agile 2020, 58% of the respondents were using Scrum as the framework for product delivery. It has been noticed that Agile and Scrum are considered as the same thing. Scrum is a subset of Agile where Agile is a way or method of implementing frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, etc. Agile is a timeboxed, iterative way of software delivery focusing on faster time to market and customer collaboration. With a great framework like Scrum, Agile gets a runway to deliver quality products in an iterative, incremental, and timeboxed manner. Talking of product development, be it any framework, we start with the creation of the requirement list. The same applies to Agile too. Here, we term this as “Backlog”. I am often asked about the origin of the term, “Backlog”. Why “backlog” and why not some other word? Well, the term dates back to the 1680s when large logs were placed at the back of a fire to keep the blaze going and concentrate the heat. By the 1880s, the term was adopted in its figurative sense of "something stored up for later use". So, a Backlog is a prioritized list of items the teams’ need to work for the successful delivery of a product. According to the State of Scrum 2015 report, surprisingly, only 56% of the respondents reported using extensive scrum artifacts like Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog. Major success criteria for any Agile project lie in its backlog and it demands a lot of focus both in terms of keeping it refined and updated with current situation. Thankfully, it is the topic of the day, and here we will talk more about it! Product Backlog  What is a Product Backlog? The Product Backlog is the ordered list of requirements of all that is required to successfully deliver it to the client. It contains the prioritized list of requirements that can be detailed or vague and has everything that needs to be done for a particular product. One can visualize it as a big bucket that has all the items/necessities needed for a product to be successful and competitive in nature.  Who owns the Product Backlog? The Product Backlog is primarily handled by the Product Owner who takes care of the client's needs and makes sure the product backlog represents the exact requirement. The product owner is responsible for keeping the backlog healthy and in a state that is readily consumable by the team. The product backlog is never frozen, the items can change as per the demand and market scenario. Anyone can suggest items to be added in the list but the final say will always be on the Product Owner.  Example of a Product Backlog Let’s look at an example to further understand it better: Build a mobile application for a local bank so that the users can access the bank on the go. Product Backlog would look like: S. No.RequirementPriority1Create a sign in page for the usersHigh2Create a logout pageHigh3Create a home page to land after successful sign in to the applicationHigh4Create a page for AccountsMedium5Create a page for Money TransferMedium6Create a page for LoansMedium7Create a page for User ProfileLow8Create a page for 'Contact Us' sectionLowThere can be multiple other requirements both frontend and backend to get this mobile application delivered, but, here for understanding, we are just taking a few of them. Each item in the list will have a priority attached to it, this makes it easy for the development team to pick work once they are done with the one in hand. Product Backlog can also be termed as the master list of requirements. Sprint Backlog What is a Sprint Backlog? Sprint Backlog is a list derived from the product backlog or the master list. When teams start working in Scrum, they have sprints which are a timebox for delivery, it defines when a customer can expect the shipment and at what intervals. The period can range from a week to a months’ timeline. Here, in sprints, the team pulls the work from the product backlog as per the priority and their capacity and put it in a smaller bucket called ‘Sprint Backlog’. It is like delivering the big Product Backlog in chunks called “Sprint Backlog’. The Sprint Backlog can also be defined as a subset of superset ‘Product Backlog’. For a successful product delivery, both are essential, and hence the need to keep them healthy.  Who owns the Sprint Backlog? Sprint backlog is owned by the scrum team andtogether they create their sprint board which consists of the user stories, bugs (if any), and spikes. It is the development team who determines the Sprint Backlog. Here, the Scrum Master can facilitate the Sprint Planning meeting to help the team come up with the Sprint Backlog. The scrum team utilizes the sprint planning meeting to discuss on the sprint goal and the commitment they can make for the upcoming sprint. They pull the items to discuss from the top of the list and create their sprint backlog according to the capacity and complexity of parameters.  Example of a Sprint Backlog So, the sprint backlog is a subset of product backlog and going back to our example let's create a Sprint backlog now: S.No.RequirementPriority1Create a sign in page for the usersHigh2Create a logout pageHigh3Create a home page to land after successful sign-in to the applicationHighIn our example, we have pulled the sprint backlog items from the master list which was already in a prioritized state. Product backlog vs Scrum backlog: Understanding the difference The Scrum Master can help the development team understand the difference between Product Backlog and the Sprint Backlog, this can be done through coaching the teams about the process and the Scrum artifacts and can help the Product owner in maintaining a healthy backlog. The team uses Product Backlog to create their sprint backlog. During the Sprint planning meeting, the development team should talk about the complexity and the efforts needed to get the job done. They pull the items from the product backlog to the Sprint Backlog to be completed in the sprint timebox. How to create a more effective Product Backlog? Effective Product Backlog depends on a clear understanding of the result and the need. The Product Owner must clearly define the requirements that have details enough for the team to get a clear picture of what is needed to be done. The product backlog needs to be a thorough list of all the work that must be done to get the project delivered successfully. Once a high-level list is created, the development team can help in further refining and creating an exhaustive backlog with all the technical aspects needed to deliver the functional side. Creating a backlog should be a collective team effort, this also helps in bringing about the ownership and collaborative environment amongst the group. Though the development team can help the Product Owner in creating a proper efficient Product Backlog, the sole responsibility for the Product Backlog lies with the Product Owner. How to create a better Sprint Backlog? Once you have a good Product Backlog, pulling out the Sprint Backlog gets easy. Sprint Backlog gets its shape during the sprint planning meeting which is the first thing in a new iteration where the team sits together, either, physically or virtually, to discuss the requirements they can work on in a new sprint. Essentially the discussion circles the functionalities, the technical aspect around it, and how much they can load in an iteration. Here, the Scrum Master can help the team with excellent facilitation skills to come up with a sprint goal as a joint team effort. The team pulls up the highest priority items from the product backlog to discuss functionality and complexity, they also converse on the steps they could take to reach the goal. What are the benefits of Backlog Prioritization? Prioritization is one of the critical aspects of a Product Backlog that helps in keeping it in a healthy state. Let’s look at a few of the benefits of prioritizing the backlog: Helps in the Sprint Planning with the story selection as the Product Backlog is already Prioritized. Better visibility to pull items during the iteration if the team has the bandwidth. Effective risk management due to pre-known issues during the grooming of the backlog Improved supervision of dependencies Early return of investment as the requirement follows value-based delivery. %
Rated 0.0/5 based on 0 customer reviews
7647
Scrum Product Backlog and Agile Product Backlog Pr...

The 21st century has witnessed a major surge in th... Read More

Useful links