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How to Transition From Project Manager to a Scrum Master

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

1258
  • by Craig Brown
  • 09th Oct, 2018
  • Last updated on 18th Jun, 2020
  • 4 mins read
How to Transition From Project Manager to a Scrum Master

Scrum Masters and Project Managers are not the same roles. I am going to talk about moving from a Project Manager role to a Scrum Master. Why do we need to talk about it? Because many people think they are the same thing with different artifacts or different language being used. They aren’t.

You may be considering a change of roles from Project Manager to Scrum Master. You may be forced into such change as your organization is subjected to an Agile transformation. You may find yourself juggling both the roles and struggling with the competing agendas embedded in the two roles.  

What I want you to get from this essay is an appreciation of the differences between the Project Manager and Scrum Master and some ideas about how the role of the Project Manager fits into Agile.

The benefits of being a great Scrum Master

The first and obvious answer is the huge drive to have an Agile delivery capability in almost every organization in the world. It’s a hot new job and having these skills and experiences to improve your employment prospects as you look for work.

While there are still more Project Manager jobs than Scrum Master jobs on the jobs boards, the number of Scrum Master and similar jobs continues to grow, while the number of Project Manager jobs appears to be steady, and perhaps even shrinking in some markets.

Additionally, more and more Project Manager roles require an understanding of and experience in Agile development and management methods, as project performance seems strongly correlated with the use of Agile methods.

So, getting good in-depth experience in Agile working is an important step in your professional development, especially if you are a Project Manager involved in technology projects. Doing a job as a Scrum Master is an excellent way to immerse yourself in Agile world and learn the skills, knowledge, and behavior that will help you be a great manager and leader later in your career.

But wait! There’s more.

Many, many, many people who adopt the role of Scrum Master find their way into a new and fulfilling career. Scrum Masters and related coach type roles are inherently fulfilling for many people. Scrum Masters report a huge sense of satisfaction in being valuable team members and helping those around them grow in capability and deliver successful outcomes.  Becoming a Scrum Master may be the beginning of a whole new career track for you.

Why to switch from Project Manager to a Scrum Master role

Transition Project Manager to a Scrum Master


Let us have a look at the three key areas from where you can make out the decision on why the Scrum Master can be a great alternative for a typical project management environment:

The potential to focus on the current task

During a project, the Project Manager has to discuss with the Client team and the Developer team to ensure the project goals. Being a Project Manager, it is very time-consuming and burdening as they have to ensure that the team is adhering to their own high standards.

Whereas, Scrum Masters set priorities and target depending on sprint cycle. Scrum Master always keeps an eye on the active sprint. Scrum framework reduces distractions and the stress of achieving several different goals simultaneously. Being a Scrum Master, it is very easy to manage the projects as the Scrum framework allows to-

  • Narrow the focus
  • Measure the results at each Sprint
  • Give the fastest delivery

Different ways to manage projects

Mostly Project Managers spend much of their lives in:

  • Collecting resources
  • Verifying the resources
  • Ensuring that everybody has what they want
  • Facilitating communication

Scrum methodology allows to solve queries by communicating with the team members. The team can resolve issues without the help of the Scrum Master and the issues which can’t be solved by the team can be raised during ‘Daily Scrum’. Scrum meetings last for 15 minutes. In those 15 minutes, the Scrum Master will come to know the project status and the roadblocks hindering the project success.

The Scrum method allows the teams to carry out communication by:

  • Allowing the teams to communicate to solve issues internally
  • The Scrum Master can get project status update in 15 minutes of Scrum meeting
  • The Scrum Master gets the things that can keep the project running

Prepare for what the client likes

Clients keep project goals like high ROI (return on investment), quality, reliability and higher lead conversion rates, before approaching any company. Along with the goals, clients want to know about the process and a collaborative relationship.

Project manager manages the timeline, limitations, and achievements. They decide on the future aspects of the processes. This method is difficult to manage and works smoothly through changing priorities and resources.  

On the flip side, in Scrum method goals, priorities, and resources can be set during Sprint planning. Since Sprint lasts for 2-3 weeks, they set target within a timeframe which allows them to accomplish the target in time and with less errors. The Scrum Master, developers, and teams, all are allowed in the Scrum planning process, so everyone can discuss the process for achieving the client’s requirement. This method allows the client to get the regular status of the project and allows us to create an awesome product

method to get awesome product


Tips for transitioning from Project Manager to a good Scrum Master

If you are a Project Manager entering the Agile world, you probably have the reasons to switch from the Project Manager role to the Scrum Master. You already have a definition of a Project Manager’s role in your head.  It is probably based on the PMI definitions around planning, monitoring, controlling and closing a project. Maybe there is something about the accountability for the outcomes, and using the project management industry’s established methods and practices. That’s all good and a great set of knowledge to have.

The best resources to learn what is a Scrum Master, what a Scrum Master does are from reading the Scrum guide and from talking to people who have experience in the role, most of whom are very generous with their time and enthusiastic about sharing knowledge and experiences.  

The actual description of the Scrum Master role is very simple, clear and succinct.  The stories you get from the experienced people will help you see the complexity of those clear guidelines applied in complex situations.

The most important contributions of the Scrum Master role are enabling the team by helping them unlock value from executing the Scrum framework well, being collectively disciplined and organized as a team, and in spending time and energy clearing impediments to the team’s progress.

A Project Manager playing a Scrum Master role for the first time, would not be the first person to make the mistake of thinking the role is all about the process control. But it isn’t. It is an enabler role.

As a Project Manager, you might hold accountability for creating a plan and for publishing progress reports against that plan to the Stakeholders.  As a Scrum Master, you are accountable for enabling the team to produce a plan and publish progress reports.

You may end up being the person who grabs progress data and publishes it, but you are doing it in service to the team rather than to service your own delivery accountabilities. You may have very little to do with publishing progress reports. Anybody on the team or the team collectively can perform that task.

Your job is to help the team understand the need for progress reports, to help them find useful methods to get the job done, and to find the discipline to consistently do the job well.

The Scrum Master is advised to use the Scrum framework as a tool to inspect and adapt to both the product demands and the capabilities of the team. As your team learns new things, they will prioritize the opportunities and make changes according to the way they operate.  

You can help them identify the opportunities and implement them. There are several easy ways to access methods and tools to solve a variety of problems out there, both inside and beyond the Agile toolkits, but the team should not settle for any obvious best practice. Good practices should be used, not to be settled. Always seek better.

We have already looked at how your accountabilities change, but a Scrum Master won’t succeed unless they approach the work with the right attitude.  Each team is different, so you should always assess the expectations of the team and the role you play. Also, you will be able to bridge any gaps by using some fair core values based behaviors that people expect from a Scrum Master.

Servant leadership — the watchword

The Scrum Master role is a Servant Leader role. The Servant leaders seemingly face a conundrum that ‘how do I serve and lead at the same time’.  The answer is that you lead some things with authority based on the expertise and knowledge. You also step aside and let others manage their things based on authority, experience, and roles.

For example the Product Owner in Scrum has positional authority on the backlog (that is supposed to be based on knowledge, but is also deeply positional.)

Servant leadership


You are expected to bring an authority, based on knowledge and experience around the  Scrum, team and system dynamics, and it should be valued by the team. To do this effectively you need to follow some tips for transitioning to the Agile Project Manager.

Know your stuff

Knowing only what to do leads to cargo cult practices and doesn’t engender a learning organization that continually evolves.  

  • How and why Scrum works
  • Why does each of the attributes of Scrum bring value?
  • What problems do they solve and why does that part of Scrum work the way it does?
  • You also need to know why Scrum parts work more effectively when it is executed integratively.

New Scrum teams: Start with a Big Bang?

If you are working with a team which is new to Scrum or Agile practices, as an effective Scrum Master you should also have some expertise in the way you roll in or implement the new Agile ways of working. Should you do a big bang implementation of Scrum, or roll in one practice at a time? Which one should you start with? Which next?

The answer will depend on the circumstances of the team and the Scrum Master should have enough experience and wisdom to have an opinion that the team value because ideally, the teams should be deciding how to roll in the practices.

Ask outcome-focused questions

An important operating method for Scrum Masters is to highlight issues and ask questions.  When and if people express interest in the topic being raised, the Scrum Master may then offer advice and suggestion options. Collectively, the team should engage in the issue and decide what to do.  

If the Scrum Master feel that the teams are going to make a mistake, you think about whether the mistake will be small enough to be safe and whether the team will take lessons from the failure. If you see risks, raise them and try to influence the down team with the different paths.

As you interact with the team, your experience and advice should become more valued by the team over time.  You should build a consistent track record of helping them become a more successful team. You should not have to try to force change, although sometimes you will feel like you do, and some even rarer times you may feel you have to invoke authority from the management to force something.

The importance of feedback

Scrum and Agile methodology rely very heavily on fast and transparent feedback. As a Scrum Master, you have an initial feedback system laid out from you in the form of the Scrum ceremonies. These are just the beginning though. You and the team should continuously look to tune and improve your feedback systems so that the team can continually find better ways of delivering better business outcomes.

Part of the Scrum Master’s role might be to look at the feedback system, to help the team assess whether they are the right ones and to find better ones.  Sometimes, a Scrum Master finds new ideas about feedback that a team might miss. The team members are all heads down building products and solutions and often prioritize ‘the work’ over ‘the system’.

But a Scrum Master can bring an outsider’s perspective, or might be more able to observe the wider system the team operates in. Don’t be afraid of expressing your observations and ideas to the team where you have an insight that they don’t have. That perspective can be very valuable.  You will often be the first to see when a change needs to be made and can let the team know it’s time to start thinking differently.

Getting feedback on your own performance

Have a plan for how you are going to grow and become great at the role.  Pursue continuous incremental improvement by setting up regular short cycle feedback systems on yourself.  Pause and reflect on how you are going and what you should do to improve. Do it regularly, and no less frequently than the sprint cycle.  

Keep checking with the team whether they need help and what they would like you to help them with, and when you are done, check what they thought of your efforts.

Get experience, get training, get a coach or mentor and find a community of practitioners that you can connect with and learn from. Leverage the experience from others, as the people who do this work love to help others and make themselves generously available.

Traps in transitioning from Project Manager to a Scrum Master

Here are some of the traps in transition that can be avoided by a Project Manager who has recently assumed the role of a Scrum Master.

Responsibility to organize meetings

Agile Manifesto principles believe in building projects collaboratively. Scrum Master arranges meetings for the teams whenever necessary. This is unlike a traditional Project Manager who used to be an administrative assistant to schedule meetings for everyone. Scrum and Agile give an importance to the individuals and interactions over processes and tools.

Mistaking the ‘Daily Scrum’ as a ‘Status Update’ task

Scrum Master arranges the ‘Stand-ups’ to communicate with the team members. The traditional Project Manager keeps track of everyone’s work to update the project plans and finding out the finishing dates. In Scrum, teams act as self-directing and accountable. So, after their transition to the Scrum Master’s role, the earlier Project Managers should be mindful about their perception of “daily scrum”. The point should be sledgehammered to the minds of these new Scrum Masters that daily scrum is only for the purpose of discussion and is not a status update task.

Being a ‘Scrum Master’ is the only job

Scrum Master’s role should be multifaceted as an SM has to play the ideal servant-leader role. Also, his role keeps changing in some Agile teams. If any task is incomplete and the Scrum Master is capable of doing it, they should pick up and implement the task. Scrum guide states that “helping the development team to create high-value products”, is one of the services of the Scrum Master. Therefore while transitioning from Project Manager to the Scrum Master, it is important to keep in mind that Scrum Master is not a unidimensional role. It entails multiple aspects.

Improper Stakeholder Communication Management

In Scrum, the progress is measured as a ‘working software per Agile Manifesto’. The issues are raised, analysed and solved by the team with an external help if necessary. The Scrum Master may not be able to manage the objective the team uses to collaborate. The required deliverables may be set already if there is a governing body such as a portfolio management group or a project management office. In such cases, Scrum Masters should spot the reality that issues are flexible and alter depending on the work committed by the team. Detailing out risks can be ignored, as they will be outdated within a few days or even minutes.

Conclusion

Transitioning from Project Manager to Scrum Master can be a challenging yet fun. You just need to be very careful. It is important to help with reflection and coaching so that the new Scrum Masters leave some habits behind. When it comes to transitioning to the Scrum Master role, you definitely cannot achieve everything overnight. The first vital step is to get laser-focused. Certifications, as we discussed earlier can be the best if not the only way to do it. All the best for your transition.

Craig

Craig Brown

Blog Author

Craig’s roles over the past 20 years have involved leading project management teams, projects and programmes, consulting, training and coaching in a variety of aspects of project delivery. Most recently Craig was a program manager on Telstra’s Customer Advocacy journey, working with culture change, Net Promoter Scores, and lean-style customer centred process improvements.

Apart from the disciplines of project and portfolio management Craig is also an Agile and Lean enthusiast with a focus on the collaboration and cultivation aspects of agile practices and methods. Craig runs the Melbourne Scrum User group and also runs meetup groups for Agile business analysis and agile project managers where he helps people navigate their way from traditional roles and thinking to modern ones.

Craig also co-created the LAST conference which is a low cost community driven conference focusing on lean, agile and systems thinking.

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9 comments

Sanvi Raj 01 Nov 2018

Awesome Blog.... informative and knowledge gaining ..Thanks

Mellissa 03 May 2019

Thank you for writing this awesome article. I'm a long time reader but I've never been compelled to leave a comment. I subscribed to your blog and shared this on my Twitter. Thanks again for a great post!

Staci 07 May 2019

Great article! Thank you :)

Nilda 10 May 2019

I like it when individuals come together and share thoughts. Great blog, continue the good work!

Luther 11 May 2019

Thanks for posting this awesome article. I'm a long time reader but I've never been compelled to leave a comment. I subscribed to your blog and shared this on my Twitter. Thanks again for a great post!

R. Beaudet 17 May 2019

Thank you for the good writeup.

Publissoft 24 May 2019

Thanks for posting this awesome article. I'm a long time reader but I've never been compelled to leave a comment. I subscribed to your blog and shared this on my Twitter. Thanks again for a great article!

Alyssia Alexandria 11 Jun 2019

Fantastic thank you for sharing this truly eye opening.

Prem kumar 24 Jun 2019

This information is more valuable & use full thanks for providing such kind of blog...

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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! 
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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. %
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How Does an Agile Mindset Pave the Way for Professional Success?

In the days before the advent of Agile, most large organizations were run with a bureaucratic mindset. Even as Agile has taken over the world of work today, a large number of professionals and organizations are yet to embrace the Agile mindset as they are stuck in the traditional paradigm.  Traditionally, the primary focus of managers in a top-down hierarchy has been on bringing in funds for the organization and its investors, even as they are sorting out work in line with the rules, jobs, and criteria that have been pre-determined. The existence of a bureaucratic mindset, therefore, promotes hierarchy over collaboration. When the workforce has a bureaucratic attitude, the productivity at an organizational level gets impeded. This is especially the case in situations that are subject to rapid changes concerning business needs,opportunities, or challenges.. What is an Agile mindset? An Agile mindset is a mentality of having a positive, feedback-based,and flexible perspective. This mindset places high regard on mutual respect, collaboration, improvement, iterative construction, and learning cycles. It takes pride in ownership, lays focus on delivering value, and has the inherent ability to adapt to change. An agile mindset is critical to cultivating high-performing teams, capable of delivering amazing value for their customers. The Characteristic Traits of An Agile Mindset An agile mindset can be identified by certain behavioral traits. These are applicable at the level of an individual, team, and enterprise at large.  High degree of collaborative efforts: Teamwork is crucial to foster an Agile mindset. Those who wish to cultivate this mindset should have a thorough understanding of objectives, deliverables, and ownership. Tolerance, mutual respect, and a team-player’s attitude are essential for effective collaboration. Self-motivated: A certain sense of motivation will be displayed by professionals having this mindset. They are often driven enough to execute tasks until completion and even develop better strategies to perform tasks. Self-motivated teams are empowered teams as they are capable of driving success with their efforts while taking responsibility for their actions at the same time. Customer-focused and outcome-driven: Delivering value to customers within the stipulated deadlines and budget is second nature to those with an Agile mindset. Customer’s needs are top priority and an outcome-based approach will be followed to meet them.Speed and Transparency: A quick turnaround time is a hallmark of Agile environments. Work is often done in small increments over time while the feedback loops are shortened to boost progress and reduce errors. Transparency is a trait that every member of the team should possess so that work can be entrusted to them without a second thought. Getting Ahead with An Agile Mindset  A significant aspect of having an Agile mindset is an individual’s willingness to remain unfazed in failure, yet open to learning and growing to prevent the same mistakes. As a professional in the dynamic digital age, one has no option but to embrace changes.  With new technologies, work processes and customer demands emerging daily, cultivating an Agile mindset has become imperative for professional growth. Farsighted organizations have already embarked on their Agile journeys, with 92% senior executives globally believing that organizational agility is critical to business success.  This calls for the need of an Agile workforce and translates into greater opportunities for skilled professionals with an Agile mindset. The true adoption of the Agile mindset cannot happen over-night, it takes a gradual shift in perspectives which will eventually guarantee lasting returns. Attending workshops led by Agile experts is a great way to get started with one’s journey towards developing an Agile mindset. Not only will it help shape one’s mindset but also open doors to exciting opportunities in Agile. 
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