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The Increasing Role and Importance of Scrum Masters

The presence of an experienced and skilled Scrum Master is an important part of the success of Scrum teams. He is responsible for overseeing the correct implementation of the Scrum Framework and ensures effective product delivery by his team. This article throws light on the role and importance of Scrum Masters in context to prevailing job markets.   Increasing use and popularity of Scrum The Scrum Framework is fast becoming an indispensable component for projects involving agile methodology. A recent survey undertaken by Version One 2016 reveals that over 58 percent teams are using the pure Scrum approach; while 75 percent teams are including hybrid agile approaches(e.g. a combination of Scrum with Kanban to create Scrumban) to enable successful project deliveries. Given these figures, and recent growth trends in the IT industry, it is no small wonder that the job profile of a Scrum Master has scored a ranking of #10 on “LinkedIn’s list of The Most Promising Jobs for 2017. The role has been assigned with a median base salary of $100,000 USD. With the predicted year-over-year job growth being 400%, base salaries are expected to reach higher levels as the demand for Scrum Masters increases.     Role and importance of a Scrum Master According to a much-quoted role definition by Tech Target, a scrum master is responsible for the overall facilitation of his agile development team. He uses the potential of Scrum; specifically as a methodology that permits any team to make changes and self-organize itself quickly, and in accordance with laid down agile principles. A skilled Scrum Master has in-depth understanding of the software delivery processes of his organization and knows how to implement the steps needed for bringing products to the market. He has the ability to connect, build and retain relationships with team members and all stakeholders. In the role of a Scrum Master, he also understands the importance of other agile approaches such as XP, Kanban, Lean, etc. He readily involves team members with setting up processes, recognizes and takes action on team conflict, and dares to take up a disruptive approach. A Scrum Master is responsible for training agile teams in a way that helps them remain on a clear path to success. He encourages ownership, shares experiences, and coaches professionally. With a strong understanding of all components and processes, an adept Scrum Master helps team members interpret agile concepts and methods in effective ways. This role also incorporates proper transmission and management of information across all channels; facilitation of meetings with product owners to ensure smooth development and deliveries; removal of all impediments to progress, etc. Certification courses for Scrum Master by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers (CSTs) Comprehensive understanding of the critical areas of change linked with Scrum Framework – Self-Management, Iterative Development, and Visibility -are essential for aspiring Scrum Masters to perform the above-mentioned roles effectively. With this in view, individuals with prior knowledge of agile methodology and Scrum Framework are opting for training for CSM or Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Master Certification as well as PSM or Professional Scrum Master Certification.   Way forward Do you desire to don the rewarding role of a Scrum Master? Do you have it in you to blend technology, leadership, and different business acumen to deliver great work? Make the most of your existing knowledge of Scrum and related methodology by honing your skills even further. You may like to acquire new credentials by enrolling for a Certified Scrum Master certification at the earliest.
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The Increasing Role and Importance of Scrum Masters

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  • by Uma Daga
  • 05th Jul, 2017
  • Last updated on 27th Aug, 2019
The Increasing Role and Importance of Scrum Masters

The presence of an experienced and skilled Scrum Master is an important part of the success of Scrum teams. He is responsible for overseeing the correct implementation of the Scrum Framework and ensures effective product delivery by his team. This article throws light on the role and importance of Scrum Masters in context to prevailing job markets.

 

Increasing use and popularity of Scrum

The Scrum Framework is fast becoming an indispensable component for projects involving agile methodology. A recent survey undertaken by Version One 2016 reveals that over 58 percent teams are using the pure Scrum approach; while 75 percent teams are including hybrid agile approaches(e.g. a combination of Scrum with Kanban to create Scrumban) to enable successful project deliveries.

Given these figures, and recent growth trends in the IT industry, it is no small wonder that the job profile of a Scrum Master has scored a ranking of #10 on “LinkedIn’s list of The Most Promising Jobs for 2017. The role has been assigned with a median base salary of $100,000 USD. With the predicted year-over-year job growth being 400%, base salaries are expected to reach higher levels as the demand for Scrum Masters increases.

 

 

Role and importance of a Scrum Master

According to a much-quoted role definition by Tech Target, a scrum master is responsible for the overall facilitation of his agile development team. He uses the potential of Scrum; specifically as a methodology that permits any team to make changes and self-organize itself quickly, and in accordance with laid down agile principles.

  • A skilled Scrum Master has in-depth understanding of the software delivery processes of his organization and knows how to implement the steps needed for bringing products to the market.
  • He has the ability to connect, build and retain relationships with team members and all stakeholders.
  • In the role of a Scrum Master, he also understands the importance of other agile approaches such as XP, Kanban, Lean, etc.
  • He readily involves team members with setting up processes, recognizes and takes action on team conflict, and dares to take up a disruptive approach.
  • A Scrum Master is responsible for training agile teams in a way that helps them remain on a clear path to success. He encourages ownership, shares experiences, and coaches professionally.
  • With a strong understanding of all components and processes, an adept Scrum Master helps team members interpret agile concepts and methods in effective ways.
  • This role also incorporates proper transmission and management of information across all channels; facilitation of meetings with product owners to ensure smooth development and deliveries; removal of all impediments to progress, etc.

Certification courses for Scrum Master by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers (CSTs)

Comprehensive understanding of the critical areas of change linked with Scrum Framework – Self-Management, Iterative Development, and Visibility -are essential for aspiring Scrum Masters to perform the above-mentioned roles effectively. With this in view, individuals with prior knowledge of agile methodology and Scrum Framework are opting for training for CSM or Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Master Certification as well as PSM or Professional Scrum Master Certification.

 

Way forward

Do you desire to don the rewarding role of a Scrum Master? Do you have it in you to blend technology, leadership, and different business acumen to deliver great work? Make the most of your existing knowledge of Scrum and related methodology by honing your skills even further. You may like to acquire new credentials by enrolling for a Certified Scrum Master certification at the earliest.

Uma

Uma Daga

Blog Author

Uma Daga has completed MBA in International Business and Finance from ICFAI. She has penned several knowledge based articles on topics related to Project Management, PMP, Big Data, workplace tools, Data Analytics, Cloud, digital marketing, programming, networking, Service Management, Quality Management, etc.

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Agile Project Management: Best Practices and Methodologies

Agile is an iterative and incremental solution development methodology that focusses on delivering value to the customer by seeking customer feedback, embracing and adapting to change and striving for improvement continuously.  The Agile Manifesto along with the Agile Principles are at the heart and in the spirit of the various Agile Frameworks which are being adopted increasingly by Enterprises as their Project Management Framework. Agile Project Management Agile Project Frameworks Scrum, Kanban, XP, SAFe are some of the Agile Frameworks that are have replaced traditional waterfall and predictive approaches of Software Project Management. Long standing philosophies such as Lean and practices like TDD, BDD, Pair Programming etc are leveraged into these frameworks.  Scrum and Kanban are the most popular Agile Frameworks used today with Scrum being used in almost 58% of Agile Projects as per the Annual State of Agile Report 2020. Scrum uses a time-boxed iterative approach to develop incremental products and solutions with each iteration spanning 2 /3/ 4 weeks. Kanban does not have time-boxed iterations and focusses on establishing flow of work by controlling WIP (Work In Progress) and is well suited for maintenance, support or Helpdesk projects. In this article we will discuss about Agile Project Management using Scrum. Before looking at the Scrum framework briefly, we need to understand two very important aspects in which Agile Project Management is different from traditional Waterfall – Scope and Estimation. The Iron Triangle Unlike traditional projects, in Agile the schedule and the cost involved for a project is largely fixed. The scope is the variable entity and is adjusted as per the latest information and feedback from customers. The focus is on delivering value rather than following a rigid and detailed plan laid out at the beginning of the project. In Scrum for example, every Sprint runs for a fixed time-box and changes to agile team composition is not recommended. Estimation – Relative Sizing Agile recommends “relative sizing“of work items that enables predictability rather than complex estimation techniques striving for accuracyIn the Image 2 above people on the road looking at the buildings would most likely converge on the fact that Building A is the smallest of the three, Building B is twice that of A , Building C is the tallest – almost 3 times that of Building A. This can be done quickly at the first glance. In contrast if they must estimate the actual height of the building in metres it is prone to error and there are going to be a lot of differences. The power of relative sizing lies in the fact that we do not strive for accuracy (in the example the height of the building in metre) but focus on sizing the work and achieving predictability over the course of time. Instead of complex effort estimation in man days/hours, High level Epics /Features are usually estimated by the T-shirt sizes (Small, Medium, Large, X-Large) and Stories are estimated and given “Story Points” that follow the  modified Fibonacci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, 100) Brief overview of Scrum Framework The Scrum framework comprises of the roles, events and artifacts and describe how these entities interconnect with each other in order to implement the framework.   Scrum follows an iterative approach where development cycles are 2 /3/4 weeks long. At the end of every iteration an incremental version of the product/solution is ready to be shipped. Each event /artifact/role in the scrum framework serves a purpose and furthers the goal of Agile project development. Let us go over each of them in detail. Release Planning Although Agile does not recommend detailed rigid plans laid out well in advance, it does not altogether forego planning. There is a high-level Release Planning at the beginning of the release and shorter detailed Sprint planning events at the beginning of every Sprint. Having short planning phases throughout the project implementation helps to adapt to changes and course correct at responsible milestones. For large organizations where multiple scrum teams work towards developing a solution, planning and timing a release is very important. The organization might choose to time the release as per Customer(s) demand or at an established cadence (e.g every quarter) or in alignment with certain events (e.g tradeshow/ compliance deadline etc). The release planning is a look ahead planning with an objective of arriving at the scope of the release considering the schedule and budget as fixed components of the iron triangle. The two important inputs required for this event is a prioritized product backlog and the velocity of the teams participating in the release (historic data for teams running on agile and an informed guesstimate for the new teams.) The teams will roughly plan out their upcoming sprints (if a release spans 12 weeks there can be 5 sprints of 2 weeks each followed by a 2 week “hardening sprint”). At the end of this planning event there is a list of prioritized features that can be accommodated in the release and a high-level plan for each sprint.  Scrum Roles  The Scrum Master, Product Owner and the development team form the “3 Amigos”. There is a good amount of trust and a healthy relationship amongst the people playing these three roles. Healthy conflicts and disagreements between these three entities is expected and bound to occur. At these times the teams are guided by the Scrum Values of Respect, Courage and Openness. At all times the scrum team practices commitment and focus to achieve the Sprint Goals and further the Agile Values and Principles. Responsibilites of Each RoleScrum Artifacts Product Backlog: A Product Backlog consists of all the new features, changes to the existing features, technical requirements such as infrastructure upgrades or architectural requirements that might become a part of the product. This is continuously refined by the product manager, product owners and the scrum teams. The purpose of the refinement is to prioritize, split and detail the contents of the backlog so that the first set of items in the backlog are ready to be picked by the teams during their Sprint Planning. Sprint Backlog: The items picked from the Product Backlog and committed by the team for a Sprint constitutes the Sprint Backlog. It is unlikely to change during the course of the Sprint/iteration. A product owner could introduce changes in consensus with the team. Multiple changes to the sprint backlog within the Sprint timeframe should be discouraged and root cause analysis has to be performed during retrospective meeting if this happens often. Product Increment: The work items ready to be delivered at the end of a Sprint is a Product Increment. It has to be in a potentially shippable condition and meet the definition of done as defined by the team and has to be accepted by the Product Owner as complete and ready for release. Scrum Ceremonies / Events EventFrequency of OccurrenceDescriptionBacklog RefinementContinuousEpics and features are estimated and broken down to Stories. Stories are broken down and acceptance criteria are added. The Backlog is prioritized and ordered.Sprint PlanningOnce at the beginning of a Sprint lasting up to 4 hours for a 2-week SprintThe top priority stories that are refined and ready for the team is picked. The teams estimate the stories and load the sprint up to their Capacity. The historic Velocity and the current capacity (leaves and holidays adjusted) are taken into account for loading the Sprint.SprintCan be 2 /3/4 weeks longNot recommended to change the Sprint duration often. The cadence once set has to run for at least 3 to 4 Sprints to collect data for becoming predictable.Daily Stand upEvery day for 10-15 minutesThe Scrum Master facilitates the event and the team shares the happenings of previous day, strategize and plan for current day. Impediments /concerns are raised.Sprint ReviewOnce at the end of the SprintThe working software is demonstrated to stakeholders. Based on Sprint Review and outcomes, inputs and changes are done to the Product BacklogSprint RetrospectiveOnce at the end of the SprintThis is the "sacred time of learning" for the entire team. Issues and problems faced during the Sprint are discussed, root cause analysis performed and team arrives at solutions to resolve and prevent in future. The team identifies areas of improvement.Scrum ceremonies or eventsScrum Values  Courage - Every team member feels safe to fail and learn, to seek help, to say ‘no’ and question something that is going wrong. Commitment – Commits to the Sprint goals as a team. Does not overcommit.  Focus - Aims to complete what is started and steer away from distractions and unprioritized / "shoulder tap" work. Limits Work in Progress. Openness - Seeks and values feedback and opportunities to learn. Makes impediments, failures and learnings visible. Respect - Team collaborates and acknowledges the work and achievements of every member. Builds trust. Quantitative Metrics Organizations can collect and measure various metrices. The below metrics are most likely to be captured by most of the projects and add value. Burn Down Chart: The Burn down chart is a run chart of the rate at which the scrum team completes work within a sprint in terms of number of Story points completed per day.  Velocity: Velocity is the number of story points completed and accepted by the Product owner within a Sprint.  Collecting data on velocity enables teams, releases and projects become more predictable. Other than the absolute velocity, another important perspective of velocity data is % of story points delivered against total story points committed by the team. Velocity cannot be used to compare the efficiency of teams since 3 story points for one team is different for another team. Quality related Metrics: Quality related metrics like number of defects reported in production after release, number of defects in Integration testing are captured to understand the level of Quality. Armed with quantitative data the teams can come up with ways to improve Quality.  Agile Projects at Scale While the scrum framework prescribes the guidelines to run an Agile team, the same can be extrapolated and mechanisms can be put in place to scale it to multiple teams. SAFe and Nexus offer frameworks to scale Agile in large Enterprises. Large projects in Enterprises involve multiple teams and dependencies with other functions, divisions and with third party partners, suppliers and vendors. The complexities of large solutions and programs require Governance, Compliance, Stakeholder Management, Streamlined Communication, Conflict and Risk management. The Agile Program Management Office takes care of establishing Agile at scale with the help of Senior Leadership, Agile Coaches and Change Agents (who could be the Agile Project Managers and Scrum Masters). Role of the Agile Project Manager The Agile PM plays an important role when doing Agile at scale in large enterprises. While working towards a seamless project release by interfacing with the multiple scrum teams and various stakeholders, the Agile PM also plays a key role in the Agile transformation journey of the Enterprise.   Scrum Master and Agile PM Roles Agile Projects at scale requires the role of a Scrum Master for the internal functioning of the team and the Agile PM for aligning multiple teams and orchestrating the activities of a Release. Agile PMScrum MasterTakes care of the facilitation, risk management, conflict management, handling of impediments that span multiple teams and external stakeholders.  Engages closely with Senior Leadership, Product Managers, Product Owners, Scrum Masters to ensure smooth implementation of the current release, forward plans for the subsequent release and co-ordinates the Post production activities of the previous release. Facilitates the Scrum of Scrums synch meetings at a regular cadence (every week).  The Agile PM guides the scrum masters to resolve risks and impediments within the team if and when escalated. Takes care of these activities within the scrum team. The Scrum Master focuses on the current sprint and current release. Facilitates Scrum Ceremonies. Participates in the Scrum of Scrums and updates if the team is on track to meet the Sprint Objectives and if there is any change/ risk foreseen. During this meeting the Scrum Masters raise any impediments /risks/concerns they are unable to resolve and need help with. Release Management Continuous Integration and Deployment: With incremental versions of the product after every iteration from multiple teams early continuous integration is the need of the hour. Investing in an automated Continuous deployment into the Staging or Production environment is encouraged so that the latest version of the product is release ready. Enterprises are increasingly using toggle configurations to switch on/off a set of features so that the release can be done for a particular market segment or can be timed with an important milestone like a tradeshow. By separating the deployment and actual release, there is a lot of risk avoided. The actual product release can be announced at the right time – as per Market demand/ after a robust Beta has been done and feedback incorporated/timed with a compliance deadline or important milestone like tradeshows. Post-production Support: Releasing working software at regular intervals is not the end of the road. Customer Support, training and customer documentation where required is necessary and these activities should also come under the purview of an Agile Working environment.  Beta and Canary Release: Large Enterprises engage with Beta customers to get focussed feedback on the product before a wider market release. Solutions and products can also be released to a particular market segment or a subset of users alone. This is called a “Canary Release”. This phased approach rather than a big bang approach will ensure the risk level is reduced and the quality of the product and credibility of the Enterprise is maintained.  How is an Agile PM different from the Conventional PM  The roles and responsibilities of a conventional Project Manager is now distributed amongst the Scrum Teams, Scrum Master, Product Owner and the Agile Project Manager. But the most important but subtle difference between the Conventional PM and Agile PM is the mindset.  The Agile PM is a Servant Leader who wants to create a self-empowered self-organized team. He/she creates an agile environment where everyone is accountable, there is no fear of failure but the willingness to learn and continuously improve. The Agile PM avoids the traditional Command and Control approach where decisions are taken for the teams. .  There is also a conscious effort to decentralize decision making so that decisions are taken closer to where work is done. There is always an emphasis for visualization of work and transparency. Go-to Traits for a Successful Agile Project Self-Organized Teams: Self-organized teams that are empowered and largely self-sufficient is an important facet of Agile. Teams are used to conventional ways of working where they look up to their superiors for decision making. Decentralized decision making will help largely to create empowered teams Responsive to Change: creating empowered teams enable them to respond to change responsibly with minimum red tape. Quick Feedback Loops: Agile thrives when there are quick feedback loops established so that teams can adapt to change based on informed decisions. Continuous Improvement: Learning from the past and resolving not to repeat mistakes is an important facet of Agile teams. Retrospection at end of every iteration and release is highly recommended. Business Agility: It would not be enough if engineering teams are agile and churn out software seamlessly. “Building the product right “is not sufficient and the teams should “Build the right product”. Solutions and products have to meet the customer needs and solve Customer Problems.  All functions such as product management, marketing, sales HR have to come into the purview of Agile Principles and Values to achieve the kind of Business Agility that is required to be Customer Centric and deliver value. In conclusion, Agile is a paradigm shift from the phased traditional waterfall methods which run on detailed plans laid well ahead. Agile Project Management is the need of the hour considering the rapidly changing market scenario, disruptive technologies and the ever- growing competition.  Before embarking on Agile projects organizations have to invest the time and effort to create a conducive Agile Work environment. The bare basics of Agile training and creation of small Agile teams (5 to 9 members recommended) with the vision to make the teams self-organized need to be in place. Agile Coaches and Change agents have to be identified to ensure the Agile transformation starts and keeps pace with small strides and does not die a natural death with teams, business and leadership falling back to traditional waterfall methods in the name of agile. 
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What is a Daily Scrum?

The Daily Scrum is a tool used by the Scrum team to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and assess how progress is trending toward completion of the work against the Sprint Backlog. The Daily Scrum is an important agile ceremonyat the heart of the Agile framework. The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Scrum team. The Daily Scrum is held every day of the Sprint. At it, the Scrum team plans work for the next 24 hours. This optimizes team collaboration and performance by inspecting the work since the last Daily Scrum and forecasting upcoming Sprint work. The Daily Scrum is held at the same time and place each day to reduce complexity. Scrum Guide 2017 The Team meets daily, preferably at the start of the day in a meeting called the daily scrum. This is strictly time boxed to 15 minutes. This keeps the discussion brisk and relevant. All team members are required to attend the meeting including scrum masters.Product ownersand Manager are optional; if they attend, they are advised to be silent listeners. In this article, we understand  Purpose of the Daily Scrum During the daily scrum, each team member should answer the following three questions: What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? Are there any impediments in your way? By focusing on what each person accomplished yesterday and is planning to accomplish today, the team gains an excellent understanding of what work has been done and how much work remains.  During the Daily Scrum, the main question should be about impediments; if any of the team membersfacing any impediments, they are required to bring it to the fore and someone from the team will volunteer to help out. The discussion about the impediments will happen offline, so that the 15-minute window is not disturbed. In most cases, the team will figure out the solution themselves. If it is beyond the ability of the team, thenit becomes the prime responsibility of the Scrum Masterto listen, understand and remove the impediments standing in the way of the team’s delivery.Who runs the Daily Scrum meeting?While the Scrum Master ensures that the Scrum team meets daily at the specified time,it is the Scrum team who is responsible for conducting the daily meetings.The Scrum Master coaches the Scrum team to keep the daily scrum meeting timeboxed to 15 minutes. This is a step towards making the agile team self-organized. Inspection and adaption at the heart of Scrum The Scrum team uses the Daily Scrum to inspect the progress towards the Sprint Goal. The daily scrum increases the probability of the Scrum teammeeting the Sprint Goal. The goal is to make the team self-motivated and self-organized. The discussion in daily scrum should be limited to the three questions mentioned above, if there are any further discussions required, the team can meet outside of this call and set up separate meetings with other team members. This meeting improves communication and collaboration, eliminates other meetings, removes impediments, improves the health of the sprint, and promotes quick decision-making. It is a key “inspect and adapt” meeting. What are the basic rules of the Daily Scrum? The Daily Scrum is not a status update meeting The daily scrum meeting is not a status update meeting in which a manager is collecting information about who is behind schedule. Rather, it is a meeting in which team members make commitments to each other. By virtue of this meeting, the team gets an idea about where the sprint is heading – is it behind schedule or ahead? Accordingly, corrective steps can be taken. The Daily Scrum is not a problem-solving meeting This meeting should not be considered as a problem-solving opportunity. Issues that are raised must be taken offline right after the scrum meeting with the specific group of people concerned with the issues. Some Anti patterns for Daily ScrumChanging the time of the scrum daily This is not a good practice and Scrum Master should ensure that the team meets at the same time daily with minimal exception. Daily Scrum is used to discuss new requirements or technical tasks This will again hijack the purpose of the daily scrum; such discussions should be taken offline, outside of the daily scrum meeting. Daily Scrum changed to status report In many instances, a senior person other than scrum team member joins the daily scrum and in some sort of fear, this changes to a status meeting; Scrum master is required here to help the Scrum team. Ageing of work item age Scrum team is facing difficulty in getting one issue resolved from so many days and no one is offering help. Scrum Master should intervene here and remove the impediment. Allowing one person to lead This meeting is for the team and no one should lead here. A key tenet is to move the teams towards becoming self-directed and self-organized. Cluelessness or not listening Sometimes, team members are so keen for their turn and their statuses that they will miss out important communication. Stating the same daily task on every consecutive day We need to think about why the same status is continuing and whether there is anything that is holding a team member up; the team should work on that immediately to remove the impediment. Why a stand up? A stand up is typically a short, time-boxed meeting of 15 minutes. When the team members are co-located, the discomfort of standing up during the meeting will serve to keep tab on how long the meeting runs for and helps it to be short and time boxed. Importance of the Scrum Board Scrum board is highly recommended in the daily scrum meeting. It gives better visibility to not only the team but other stakeholders too. In case somebody missed the daily scrum, meeting can quickly go through the scrum board and gather updates from there. It is recommended that scrum board not only has the data of the sprint progress but it should also have sprint burn down chart also so that the team will have updates on the health of the sprint. On top of the board, the Goal of the sprint should also be mentioned along with Definition of Done list.Ideally, one should not book the conference room for daily scrum meeting. Conducting the meeting as a stand-up keeps the meeting short. In many instances, team members are not on time for the Daily Scrum and also tend to skip it. Here, it is the responsibility of the Scrum master to make sure that all team members understand the responsibility of the meeting and try their best to attend the meeting on time. If the situation doesn’t improve, then teams can employ different tactics such as daily fines or penalties so that team members do not skip the meeting.It ultimately depends on the team how they want to cultivate a discipline of culture within the team. Who are the participants of a Daily Scrum? The entire team which includes Developers,Testers, Business Analyst, Architects, Dev leads/Tech leads. Product owner are welcome to attend the Daily scrum, though this is not mandated. Managers should generally avoid these meetings,as there are high chances of losing focus and the meeting turning into a status check meeting. What are the responsibilities of the three Scrum roles during the Daily Scrum? Scrumteam’s responsibility Individual responsibility Each team member must answer the three important questions: (1) What you have done?(2) What will you do today? (3) Are there any impediments? Not only must the individual team members pay attention to others’ updates, but also listen to see if there is any impediment that they can help solve. Team responsibility Together, the team bears the responsibility to ensure that they meet daily for 15 minutes and provide the updates. The Scrum team is collectively responsible for conducting daily scrum meetings. Scrum Master’s responsibility Scrum master ensures Scrum team meets daily within a 15-minute time box. The daily scrum meeting is an internal meeting; if other stakeholders are present, then the scrum master must make sure they do not disrupt the meeting. Product Owner’s responsibility While not a mandatory attendee, the Product owner is welcome to attend, listen and observe. It is good for a product owner to attend the Daily scrum as it will give them the opportunity to guide the team if any team members deviate from the Sprint Goal or if there is change in the scope or goal of the sprint. What should the Daily Scrum approach be for virtual, distributed, and co-located teams? First and the foremost thing that needs to be kept in mind that we should respect each other timings. Few hours of overlap is definitely required when the teams are not collocated. Video conferencing or any tools like skype meeting or team meetings can be used to do daily scrum meetings. We have seen non-collocated teams to be more loosely coupled than collocated teams. Here are some measures that teams can take to increase the effectiveness of the remote daily scrum. Team should institute the following measures. Install video camerasand speakers: While carrying out the Daily Scrum remotely, investingin the right set of web cameras andspeakershelps retain the effectiveness of collocated Scrum meetings; privacy aspects would need to be carefully considered before enforcing this. Consider time zones: Respect the time zones of all the remote teams and have considerable amounts of overlap between the teams. Invest in tools: Organizations must invest in good tools such as JIRA and Visual Studio Onlineto help the team speed up work and by syncing up easily. While such tools are not meant to replace the physical daily scrum meeting,they help the team see the daily progress happening across locations. Travel: Even the scrum guide says that travel budget should be kept aside for successful delivery with offshore teams. Let people gather at one location, hang out, discuss, make good friends, understand, and share their cultures and build trust. It helps to build the collaboration, communication, and richness. What is the outcome of the Daily Scrum? The Daily Scrum is basically a health check of the sprint deliverables. The outcome of the Daily Scrum is that the team learns early of any impediments to any individual’s work, which can be immediatelyaddressed. If there are any deviations from the original plan, then this can be tracked easily through the Daily Scrum. What are the challenges in running the Daily Scrum? Distributed teams If the team is geographically collocated,then there might be challenges in running daily scrum due to different time zones. Here, the teams must find some overlap in timing across the time zonesamong the teams. Although a physical scrum board is not possible in such cases, agile tools like Jira andVisual Studio Online canfulfil this to some extent. Resistance to change A change of mindset from the waterfall to the agile model will have some challenges initially. Scrum team members should have the mindset to adjust the change in requirements as well as change in priorities.Invest some time in inculcating Agile mindset and principles along with Scrum values. Team stands still and thinks it is the waste of time A few team members may have the attitude that this meeting is just a waste of time and will therefore not pay any attention to the updates from other team members. Such team members are hindrances to the delivery of the project. Their concerns must be addressed,and mindset corrected on an immediate basis. Discussion on urgent scope change, defect or integration testing In some instances, team members may starta discussion on burning topics such as an escalation on high priority defects. However, even in such cases, the team should adhere to the guidelines for the scrum meeting and all other items right after scrum meeting. Long technical discussions in the daily scrum is the waste of time of other team members Long technical discussions should be strictly avoided in scrum meetings as this may not be relevant for other team members. Such discussions must be had in smaller forums at other times than the daily scrum meetings. How can we make the Daily Scrum more effective? For the Daily Scrum to be used effectively, teamsmust understand its importance and adhere to the timings and be punctual for this meeting. The team must always keep the scrum board up to date, have meetings around it, and let each team members update the board. If distributed teams are using the board (with online tools likeRally or Jira), then these must be maintained up to date before the daily scrums.  Teams must use the “parking lot” for any other technical discussion that need to be conducted outside of the daily scrum.Burn down charts and theSprint Goalmust always be updated on the scrum board. It is always effective to have a standup meeting rather than sitting down. Some teams use a game like passing the ball or calling the other team member’s name to keep theenergy going rather than taking the same sequence repeatedly. Conclusion For the Daily Scrum to be used effectively, teamsmust understand its importance and adhere to the timings and be punctual for this meeting. The team must always keep the scrum board up to date, have meetings around it, and let each team members update the board. If distributed 
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What is a Daily Scrum?

The Daily Scrum is a tool used by the Scrum team t... Read More

How to take Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) course online

A Product Owner is one of the three main roles defined in Scrum.The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work performed by the Development Team. However, how the Product Owner accomplishes this can vary widely depending on many factors, including the team, the business stakeholders, and the development processes of the organization. The job description of a product owner is to act on behalf of the customer, prioritize the backlog, answer, or get answers to the team’s queries and accept/reject the work that the team generates. To fulfill these responsibilities, the product owner needs skills such as facilitation, conflict management, creative thinking, and the ability to influence the team and other stakeholders.  From a business point of view, the role of the Product Owner is a very important and challenging role.To adequately take on the role of a Product Owner, one would need to become a Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®).The first step towards getting a CSPO certification is to start with the Certified Scrum Product Owner® course with a certified coach or trainer.  The CSPO course can now be taken online!  The CSPO course was earlier offered by Scrum Alliance only as an in-person classroom training. The premise was that for better learning, students need to interact with each other and the trainer through the in-person classes.  However, considering the COVID-19 pandemic, Scrum Alliance now offers live online training in addition to the traditional in-person classroom training. Currently, all the courses are temporarily available in an online format including the Certified Product Owner class.  With this development, students can participate in the course from the safety and comfort of their homes. Along with the convenience and comfort, live online training also reduces the expenses, time, and travel involved for students and trainers. Most importantly, online CSPO training can be utilized in taking up advanced certifications and generate more time for self-learning. Another advantage offered by online training is that students can revisit the lectures as many times as they can. It helps students to pay full attention to the CST® and they do not need to feel pressured to take notes during class. For whatever reason, if a class is missed, students can always peruse the lecture later. Online training also allows the CST to get creative in different ways to impart the learning. The use of tools, graphics and videos make for rich learning content to help you understand the concepts better.  How different is the CSPO online training from the conventional in-person training?  As opposed to the traditional 16-hour long in-person course, the online course is just 14 hours long. Scrum Alliance has also capped the online course size to 30 so that students have maximum engagement and learning experience. Unlike the in-person course that had 7-8 hours long classes for two consecutive days, online classes will be held with shorter hours for multiple consecutive days. For the online course, the CST will teach the candidates in real-time using a webcam and other tools that allow them to interact with the students. The classes are interactive so that students can collaborate with one another virtually. How to take the CSPO course online  Here are the steps to take the CSPO course online: Download the virtual meeting tool specified by your Registered Education Provider (REP). If you have a registered Email ID with the Scrum Alliance, use the same one to register for this program. Ensure that your camera and mic are activated. Also, you must have a good internet connection. Your trainer might use some tools for making the training engaging. You might also be asked to download them or sign up before the session starts. You will have to log in at least 15 minutes before the training begins. As the training starts, you will be connected to the audio through your computer’s speakers and microphone. All the participants must keep their microphone on mute during the session. In case of any query or question, you can ask it in the chat window. Always keep a pen and paper by your side. At the beginning and end of the session, your attendance will be recorded. If your attendance is not recorded both times, you will be marked as absent and you will not receive your Certification link. The trainer will share the soft copy of the courseware with you. At the end of the training, you will have to fill out a Survey that is mandatory for receiving your certification. How can I become a Certified Scrum Product Owner® via the online training program? Here are the steps for you to become a Certified Scrum Product Owner: Enroll yourself with a Registered Education Provider or REP of Scrum Alliance like KnowledgeHut.  Study the Agile Manifesto and Scrum guide thoroughly. Attend the mandatory 2-day training for Certified Scrum Product Owner certification. The objective of the course is to help you qualify for the certificate by teaching your Scrum’s concepts. After you have completed the course, your CST will update your details to the website of Scrum Alliance. Once this is done, Scrum Alliance will send you a welcome email asking to log into your account and accept your license. Log in with the link provided in the email and reset your password. You will get your license after this. After this, you will receive your CSPO certification along with a 2-year membership with Scrum Alliance. (Currently, you are not required to give a test for the certification.) Getting started with the CSPO course A Product Owner is an integral part of Agile projects and can go a long way in accelerating the velocity of the project and achieving the goals well within the deadlines.With the popularity of Agile and Scrum growing, the demand for product owners is certain to grow. Upskill yourself as a Certified Scrum Product Owner and capitalize on the career growth opportunity.  
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How to take Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CS...

A Product Owner is one of the three main roles def... Read More

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