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Traps In Transition From Project Manager To Scrum Master

A Project Manager is as indispensable for an Agile team as is the Scrum Master. However, there have been some noticeable changes in the traditional roles of a Project Manager in the recent years, whereas the Scrum Master’s roles have remained more or less constant. With more number of companies embedding Agile practices in their frameworks, the existing roles of the Project Managers are being directly impacted, and are even wiped out in many cases.So where are these Project Managers disappearing? Yes, they are being dispersed into other roles. Many of the Project Managers are even being found to take up the roles of Scrum Masters. This is more challenging than it sounds. A Project Manager turned Scrum Master should be wary of more than one pitfall.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-1) 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 the processes and tools.2) 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.3) 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.4) 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 few days or even minutes.Reasons to Switch from Project Manager to the Scrum Master role-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-1) The potentiality 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 focusMeasure the results at each SprintGive the fastest delivery2) Different ways to manage projects:Mostly 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 running3) Prepare what the client like: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 . How your current Scrum Master role differs from that of your earlier Project Manager role-While switching from traditional software development process (Waterfall model) to the Agile methodology, you may think that it is only about shifting from the Project Manager title to that of the Scrum Master. In reality, the transition is not as titular. The responsibilities of the Project Manager markedly varies from the Scrum Master roles. The responsibilities get split among the team members, viz. Product Owner, Scrum Master and the rest. For example, while the Scrum Master will be accountable for the features, the Product Owner will prioritize the processes, which will henceforth be supported by the team.  However, the overall switching from Project manager to the Scrum Master’s responsibilities is not an easy task. Let us have a look at the distinct responsibilities of these two roles:Roles of the Project Manager:Project Manager (PM) is responsible for managing the budgetsPM can report the Project status to the business leadershipPM focuses on processesThe role of the PM is to allocate the tasks to the team membersPM prioritizes the processes before implementingPM can mitigate the risksMaps other dependent team members to tasksRoles of the Scrum Master:Scrum Master (SM) is a servant-leader, serves the team when neededRemoves impediments to project successSM coaches the product OwnerMonitors the advancements of each sprintEncourages continuous communicationArranges meetings for the team members and does Sprint planningMotivates the team and assists at the point when the project needs assistanceActs as a cement to bind the team togetherNow, let’s move on to the-Similarities-The first similarity between the Project Managers and the Scrum Master is both are ‘People’. Naturally, they make mistakes. They can communicate, help teams in resolving issues, and receive feedback.The Project Managers and the Scrum Master both are not the end bosses. They have to report to the steering committees and Stakeholders.Both are always ready to learn new things for the sake of an organization.Both PM and SM fails in case they are not following professionalism, basic principles of the role and when there is a negligence of people and opinions.A quick caveat here! If you are a Project Manager currently serving as a Scrum Master, the striking similarities between the two roles should not confuse you. At no point in time can you let the two different role subsets overlap. It is highly recommended that you gain sufficient clarity on the new requirements and responsibilities before taking the big leap.If you are planning to be a part of a seamless, error-free transition, a Certified Scrum Master training can help you streamline your tasks and of course, add one more feather to your career cap!ConclusionTransitioning from Project Manager to Scrum Master can be a challenge 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!
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Traps In Transition From Project Manager To Scrum Master

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Traps In Transition From Project Manager To Scrum Master

A Project Manager is as indispensable for an Agile team as is the Scrum Master. However, there have been some noticeable changes in the traditional roles of a Project Manager in the recent years, whereas the Scrum Master’s roles have remained more or less constant. With more number of companies embedding Agile practices in their frameworks, the existing roles of the Project Managers are being directly impacted, and are even wiped out in many cases.

So where are these Project Managers disappearing? Yes, they are being dispersed into other roles. Many of the Project Managers are even being found to take up the roles of Scrum Masters. This is more challenging than it sounds. A Project Manager turned Scrum Master should be wary of more than one pitfall.

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-

1) 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 the processes and tools.

2) 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.

3) 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.

4) 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 few days or even minutes.

Reasons to Switch from Project Manager to the Scrum Master role-

Reasons to Switch from Project Manager to the Scrum Master role

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-

1) The potentiality 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

2) 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

3) Prepare what the client like:

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 .

How your current Scrum Master role differs from that of your earlier Project Manager role-

Scrum Master role differs from that of your earlier Project Manager role

While switching from traditional software development process (Waterfall model) to the Agile methodology, you may think that it is only about shifting from the Project Manager title to that of the Scrum Master. In reality, the transition is not as titular. The responsibilities of the Project Manager markedly varies from the Scrum Master roles. The responsibilities get split among the team members, viz. Product Owner, Scrum Master and the rest. For example, while the Scrum Master will be accountable for the features, the Product Owner will prioritize the processes, which will henceforth be supported by the team.  

However, the overall switching from Project manager to the Scrum Master’s responsibilities is not an easy task. Let us have a look at the distinct responsibilities of these two roles:

Roles of the Project Manager:

  • Project Manager (PM) is responsible for managing the budgets
  • PM can report the Project status to the business leadership
  • PM focuses on processes
  • The role of the PM is to allocate the tasks to the team members
  • PM prioritizes the processes before implementing
  • PM can mitigate the risks
  • Maps other dependent team members to tasks

Roles of the Scrum Master:

  • Scrum Master (SM) is a servant-leader, serves the team when needed
  • Removes impediments to project success
  • SM coaches the product Owner
  • Monitors the advancements of each sprint
  • Encourages continuous communication
  • Arranges meetings for the team members and does Sprint planning
  • Motivates the team and assists at the point when the project needs assistance
  • Acts as a cement to bind the team together

Now, let’s move on to the-

Similarities-

  • The first similarity between the Project Managers and the Scrum Master is both are ‘People’. Naturally, they make mistakes. They can communicate, help teams in resolving issues, and receive feedback.
  • The Project Managers and the Scrum Master both are not the end bosses. They have to report to the steering committees and Stakeholders.
  • Both are always ready to learn new things for the sake of an organization.
  • Both PM and SM fails in case they are not following professionalism, basic principles of the role and when there is a negligence of people and opinions.

A quick caveat here! If you are a Project Manager currently serving as a Scrum Master, the striking similarities between the two roles should not confuse you. At no point in time can you let the two different role subsets overlap. It is highly recommended that you gain sufficient clarity on the new requirements and responsibilities before taking the big leap.

If you are planning to be a part of a seamless, error-free transition, a Certified Scrum Master training can help you streamline your tasks and of course, add one more feather to your career cap!

Conclusion

Transitioning from Project Manager to Scrum Master can be a challenge 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!

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It needs each and every team member to adhere to the commitments, to understand the target and the way to achieve that.   4.Scrum Master acting as a mediator between the Team and the Product Owner-   Suppose the team has finished with the daily Scrum and started to construct a functionality which was recently planned for the meeting. But the team is facing some difficulties and needs to discuss with the Product Owner to get an information. At this point, the Scrum Master communicates with the Product Owner to remove communication barriers and furnishes the needs of the team members. After asking the relevant queries to the Product Owner, the Scrum Master relays the same to the team.     In this way, Scrum Master acts as a mediator between the team members and the Product Owner and forms a Scrum solution to overcome communication impediments.   5. Not conducting Retrospectives after every Sprint- One of the principles from the Agile Manifesto states that- “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly”. Sprint Retrospective is often considered as an add-on, and implemented only in free time. Agile is all about the adjustments, fine-tuning and versatility. It is really very difficult to fine tune if you seek for the adjustments every time. 6. Not removing obstacles at an initial stage- One of the main roles of the Scrum Master is to remove the impediments. The daily stand-ups is the best way to communicate the obstacles to get the task done. But in case these barriers (more correctly, the issues or constraints) are not escalated by the team members, Scrum Master will fail to remove them. Scrum Master should remind the team at the very beginning to present the potential blockades which might delay their work.     So, at the end, you can have several SMs for a team if your combination allows to get the team focused on delivering value and not wasting time on who is the Scrum Master that can help them on removing impediments or facilitating events. — Israel López (@israelagile) 27 November 2017     7. Less/ No daily stand-ups-   The daily scrum is pivotal from several aspects. It allows open communication (face-to-face), collaboration, yields visibility and transparency into the project. So, for every team member, attendance should be mandatory. During meeting, each team member should stick to the following 3 questions-  What did I accomplish yesterday? What will I work on today? What impediments are blocking me in achieving the project goals? It should, however, be noted that the teams do not have to restrict themselves to the above three questions. As per the tenets presented in the latest Scrum guide, discussion-based stand-ups are equally effective and provide insights into the latest happenings in the Scrum team.   Scrum Master Daily stand-ups https://t.co/vlORxTcJoV — Kevin Ackerman (@ackwdw123) 15 June 2017   8. Not strictly adhering to the Agile Manifesto principles- Try to keep Agile startups uncomplicated. According to Agile Manifesto- Agile gives higher value on  ‘individuals and interactions than on processes and tools’. So, Agile projects can be successful without the use of the tools. You can use stickers on the wall, spreadsheets, and manual burndown charts to keep the process simple.   12 #Principles of the Agile #Manifesto by the @AgileAlliance People matters. We are in the ages of uncertainty at work. We need our minds to boost the best of us and businesses #ProjectManagement #teamwork #SustainableDevelopment pic.twitter.com/4yFAOitEYC — Anca Fajardo (@KathiFajardo) 20 January 2018   9. Wrongly assuming an easy transition to Agile- Agile transformation takes time to set up in the organization. It always starts with mess-ups. Transformation includes dealing with the existing corporate and cultural problems like- poor communication, lack of accountability, skeptics, time management, etc. Effective Agile transformation can be a total cultural change. Be patient and ready to embrace the cultural changes. A company's transition to an Agile environment is a welcome and positive experience. But when reality sets in, some resist the change, particularly those in management. https://t.co/kxpyWqBcUB — Joe Little (@jhlittle) 21 January 2018   10. An ill-formed/non-prioritized product backlog- The most common reason behind Sprint failure is a product backlog with status “not ready”. It is also a cause for delivering low value. Making a backlog ready before the ‘next sprint’ is good. Do not let the team run out of the tasks and keep in mind that every task should be prioritized by the Product Owner.Always heed the point that being a Product Owner or a Scrum Master can be time consuming.So set the goals and provide the necessary training on product backlog to the team members.  What's in a Product Backlog? The most critical part of any Scrum project is a well-defined product backlog. How do we effectively define an efficient and productive backlog?https://t.co/QqMyGe9MBm — Dan Tousignant (@ScrumDan) 19 January 2018   11. Not handing over the ownership of daily scrums to the team-  Sometimes, Scrum team keeps some of the product backlog items undone. This results in spilling over of the undone tasks and simply shifting to the next sprint. This happens when a team fails to finish the high-priority tasks. However, Scrum Master and the team should not take it lightly. When they do this, Sprint planning become meaningless. Therefore it is mandatory on the part of a Scrum Master to support his/her team in planning of its next sprint so that they can finish everything on time. Equally essential is to make them feel accountable if they do meet the targets and the stipulated deadlines.   Do Scrum Teams Meet Too Much? One of the most frequent criticisms I hear of Scrum when teaching Certified Scrum Master courses is “Scrum teams have too many meetings.” With daily scrums, sprint planning meetings, sprint reviews, retrospectives and https://t.co/O9t2EUsq5y — Dan Tousignant (@ScrumDan) 19 January 2018   12. Overburdening the Scrum team-  Scrum team works in Sprints. Only when one sprint ends, the next one begins. Under no circumstances should two consecutive sprints overlap. In simpler words, teams should avoid working in the upcoming sprint while the current sprint is still on. To maintain consistency, the team should work at a sustainable pace. A Scrum Master should safeguard the team from going beyond this sustainable pace and tackle any situation that might overburden the members.     Concluding Thoughts- Scrum, as you already know, is one of the largest and promising frameworks in Agile methodology. One can in fact strongly say, a paradigm shift has occurred with the advent of Scrum. It is therefore important for the companies to practise Agile in a correct way to build the products and deploy them faster to the market. Therefore, being a Scrum Master, it is pivotal to avoid the above mentioned Scrum problems to successfully launch the product in the market.
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