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Why A Scrum Master Is The Key To A Teams Success

If you’re working in an IT firm or any company that uses the Agile software development method, you might already be familiar with scrum. However, to give you a perspective, it could be said that scrum is an iterative Agile software development framework that helps teams successfully complete projects. For a project to succeed, there are two key requirements—an efficient team and someone who can manage the team. In a scrum framework, the scrum master is in charge of ensuring that the team performs well and fulfills goals within the specified period of time. To help you understand the role of a scrum master better, let’s delve into the subject deeper. What Is Scrum? You’ve already learned that scrum is a framework or, in simple words, a way of developing a product. There are many approaches when it comes to completing a project like a sequential plan where in the product is developed in phases by different teams. However, this methodology doesn’t work well when you’re considering software or other such products that need constant collaboration. In a scrum system, many teams connect with each other to develop a product. These teams are expected to be self-organizing and Agile, and constantly looking for ways in which they can improve their work. The teams collaborate by either co-locating or through internet portals that allow them to communicate with each other. Also, scrum teams are always aware that a customer or client can change specifications or place new requirements at any point during the development phase. As a team, they are required to quickly understand these demands and implement them. Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of scrum, let’s take a look at it’s framework so that we have a better insight into the role of a scrum master. How Scrum Works? There are three people who make this methodology work and they are: 1. Product Owner You could consider the product owner to be the face and voice of the client. They develop user stories and create a product backlog so that different teams can understand the requirements. Their job is to manage the business aspect of the product and ensure that stakeholders and workers are on the same page. Product owners don’t interfere with the technical aspects of the product. 2. Development Team Like in any project, the team is the soul of the whole product development process. They are the ones doing the actual work and setting and accomplishing goals. The development team is responsible for coming up with shippable products at the end of each sprint cycle. They co-ordinate with each other to ensure that everyone is doing their bit in developing the product. 3. Scrum Master A scrum master is someone who makes all of the above-mentioned people work efficiently. Their job is to ensure that the development team can meet their goals without any hindrances. The scrum master could be a project manager but some companies prefer having two distinct job posts. To get a brief idea of what a scrum master does, read this listicle below: ● They co-ordinate with product owners and ensure that the team understands the product requirements clearly. ● The scrum master helps a team understand the definition for done ● They educate the team about scrum principle so that everyone can work towards a shared goal ● They help a development team solve problems so that the process runs smoothly ● The scrum master reviews progress and makes sure that the team comes up with shippable products at the end of every sprint cycle The role doesn’t just end here as a scrum master also has to deal with stakeholders and brief them about the development of the project. Why Should I Consider Becoming A Scrum Master? If you like challenges and responsibilities, you should consider becoming a scrum master. Also, if you want to move up from your position of a team lead, then this is the best way to do so. Companies that have this framework in place will prefer hiring someone who is familiar with the methodology. On the other hand, new companies that want to adopt scrum would consider you as the ideal candidate and will be willing to offer a high compensation. How Can I Become A Scrum Master? You can become a scrum master by taking up certifications for the same. A certification course will help you understand the Agile and scrum values better, and will also show you ways in which you can practically implement them. Taking up a professional course is always better as it will push you in the right direction and also give you a certificate at the end of it. A scrum master is integral for the success of a development team following the scrum framework. Additionally, as a scrum master, you can expect to have a rewarding career at several IT firms and other corporates.

Why A Scrum Master Is The Key To A Teams Success

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Why A Scrum Master Is The Key To A Teams Success

If you’re working in an IT firm or any company that uses the Agile software development method, you might already be familiar with scrum. However, to give you a perspective, it could be said that scrum is an iterative Agile software development framework that helps teams successfully complete projects.

For a project to succeed, there are two key requirements—an efficient team and someone who can manage the team. In a scrum framework, the scrum master is in charge of ensuring that the team performs well and fulfills goals within the specified period of time.

To help you understand the role of a scrum master better, let’s delve into the subject deeper.

What Is Scrum?

You’ve already learned that scrum is a framework or, in simple words, a way of developing a product. There are many approaches when it comes to completing a project like a sequential plan where in the product is developed in phases by different teams. However, this methodology doesn’t work well when you’re considering software or other such products that need constant collaboration.

In a scrum system, many teams connect with each other to develop a product. These teams are expected to be self-organizing and Agile, and constantly looking for ways in which they can improve their work. The teams collaborate by either co-locating or through internet portals that allow them to communicate with each other.

Also, scrum teams are always aware that a customer or client can change specifications or place new requirements at any point during the development phase. As a team, they are required to quickly understand these demands and implement them.

Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of scrum, let’s take a look at it’s framework so that we have a better insight into the role of a scrum master.

How Scrum Works?

There are three people who make this methodology work and they are:

1. Product Owner

You could consider the product owner to be the face and voice of the client. They develop user stories and create a product backlog so that different teams can understand the requirements. Their job is to manage the business aspect of the product and ensure that stakeholders and workers are on the same page. Product owners don’t interfere with the technical aspects of the product.

2. Development Team

Like in any project, the team is the soul of the whole product development process. They are the ones doing the actual work and setting and accomplishing goals. The development team is responsible for coming up with shippable products at the end of each sprint cycle. They co-ordinate with each other to ensure that everyone is doing their bit in developing the product.

3. Scrum Master

A scrum master is someone who makes all of the above-mentioned people work efficiently. Their job is to ensure that the development team can meet their goals without any hindrances. The scrum master could be a project manager but some companies prefer having two distinct job posts.
To get a brief idea of what a scrum master does, read this listicle below:

● They co-ordinate with product owners and ensure that the team understands the product requirements clearly.
● The scrum master helps a team understand the definition for done
● They educate the team about scrum principle so that everyone can work towards a shared goal
● They help a development team solve problems so that the process runs smoothly
● The scrum master reviews progress and makes sure that the team comes up with shippable products at the end of every sprint cycle

The role doesn’t just end here as a scrum master also has to deal with stakeholders and brief them about the development of the project.

Why Should I Consider Becoming A Scrum Master?

If you like challenges and responsibilities, you should consider becoming a scrum master. Also, if you want to move up from your position of a team lead, then this is the best way to do so. Companies that have this framework in place will prefer hiring someone who is familiar with the methodology. On the other hand, new companies that want to adopt scrum would consider you as the ideal candidate and will be willing to offer a high compensation.

How Can I Become A Scrum Master?

You can become a scrum master by taking up certifications for the same. A certification course will help you understand the Agile and scrum values better, and will also show you ways in which you can practically implement them. Taking up a professional course is always better as it will push you in the right direction and also give you a certificate at the end of it.

A scrum master is integral for the success of a development team following the scrum framework. Additionally, as a scrum master, you can expect to have a rewarding career at several IT firms and other corporates.

Usha

Usha Sunil

Blog Author

Writing is Usha's hobby and passion. She has written widely on topics as diverse as training, finance, HR and marketing, and is now into technical writing and education. She keeps an interested eye on new trends in technology, and is currently on a mission to find out what makes the world go around.

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

85 percent of respondents say Scrum continues to improve quality of work life—State of Scrum 2017-2018 We have all heard companies who have adopted Scrum wax eloquent about its advantages and the benefits it brings in to business. Scrum has been adopted because it is supposed to be simple and promotes collaboration and communication. Yet, more organizations attempting the Agile/Scrum transformation often fail and end up abandoning their transformation or get stuck in a limbo. So, is the golden statement that ‘Scrum is lightweight, simple to understand, difficult to master’ true? In this blog we attempt to decipher this statement and understand how Scrum Masters can help make Scrum projects or implementations successful.Where to start?So, what makes Scrum so popular? That it is better suited to the changing market conditions of the present times is well known, but how is it able to do it?  Scrum is an adaptable, iterative framework that helps Scrum teams break down large projects into small chunks called epics and sprints. Goals are defined and timeboxed. Teams are small, self-organized and with a high degree of cross-function. A goal or functionality has to be delivered at the end of each sprint. This helps for quick feedback and gives teams the ability to adapt to changing requirements—a must in times when products have to adapt quickly to please changing user preferences.  The advantages of Scrum include:  More satisfied customers Better managed processes and happier teams Better visibility into projects Better quality products  Projects completed withing time and budget constraints Better adaptability  Motivated teams Lightweight Management ProcessScrum is a lightweight framework because it provides adaptable solutions to complex problems and helps teams and organizations generate value.Why Scrum is considered to be lightweight, easy to understand but difficult to master?Lightweight: Scrum, based on Agile values, has few elements and maximizes responsiveness to customer needs. This makes it lightweight and apt for software development in the modern world.  Easy to Understand: With just three roles, three artifacts, four ceremonies and 12 Agile values, Scrum is pretty easy to understand. Scrum is a collection of practices and concepts that teams use to build processes around. The Scrum Guide which is the Scrum bible is also easy to read and understand. The three scrum roles are: Team, Scrum Master, Product Owner The ceremonies are:  Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Retrospective and Sprint Review The three artifacts are: Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Burndown chart  Difficult to Master: So, if Scrum is so easy to learn about and understand then why is that it’s difficult to actually implement and master? Let us look at this from the perspective of a Scrum Master. A Scrum Master is a critical part of the Scrum team and is in effect a microcosm of Scrum upholding the Agile values and focusing on creating a self-organizing, highly motivated and collaborative team. Scrum is a not a one-size-fits- all framework. Perhaps that is what makes it difficult to master. It has to be tailored to suit the needs of each project, team and organization. There are several factors that need to be considered before adopting Scrum. The Scrum Master’s role, similarly, needs to be learnt and there are several skills a professional must have or needs to cultivate in order to be a successful Scrum Master. The Scrum Master’s Role in a Successful Scrum Adoption:There are many Scrum teams that have started out in the right way, but soon fall by the wayside as they do not follow Scrum in principle. 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Servant leadership in Scrum is all about making the team self-reliant, so they can cope with the pressures of the role. As a servant leader the Scrum Master creates a high performing team, helps them become collaborative and high performing in order to achieve goals and meet the requirements of the customer.  Service to the Scrum Team: As a servant leader, the primary responsibility of the Scrum Master is to help the development team perform. They help the team perform to the best of their abilities by giving them an environment that is conducive to work in, encouraging them, guiding them and removing obstacles that may hinder progress. As a coach, the Scrum Master will guide the team on scrum processes and help them adhere to Agile values during the development of the product. The Scrum Master is responsible for the scrum team’s effectiveness, and they work tirelessly to ensure that the team is motivated, encouraged, creative and innovative. The Scrum Master through servant leadership helps the team improve Scrum practices which helps them become more productive and generate value. The Scrum Team’s role in motivating and helping the team comes through in the daily stand-up meetings that are arranged as part of the sprint. The Scrum Master encourages team members to share their grievances and progress made through the sprint. Team members can talk about obstacles that may be hindering their work and due cognizance will be taken up by the Scrum master to ensure that these obstacles are removed.  According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master helps the Development Team by: Coaching the team in becoming self-organized and cross-functional Helping the Scrum Team focus on creating high-value increments by removing impediments Helping the team deliver within the timeframe of the sprint Service to the Product Owner: The Scrum Master is a servant leader not just for the development team but also the Product Owner. 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Scrum Masters coach and help teams and departments understand Scrum and develop an Agile mind-set. Besides servant leadership to the team a Scrum Master is also involved in promoting the ideas and values of Scrum. An organization can get an agile mind-set only if the entire organization adopts Scrum and not just a few teams. This is where the Scrum Master comes in, helping other teams not involved with Scum to gain the Agile mind-set, through training and coaching. The Scrum Master is an Agile evangelist and promotes Scrum enterprise-wide.According to Scrum.org the Scrum Master serves the organization by: Leading, training, and coaching the organization in adopting Scrum Planning and advising Scrum implementations within the organization Coaching employees and stakeholders in the way Scrum works Helping stakeholders work with Scrum TeamsSome Servant-Leader Behaviours for every Scrum MasterBeing empathetic: This is the foremost personality trait required for anyone wanting to become a Scrum Master. Your empathy will shine through in your interactions with the team members and your dealings with the stakeholders. You should be able to see problems from the point of view of each party and work towards solving these problems. Caring: As a caring and empathetic Scrum Master, your team will feel free to approach you and share their concerns. Providing a listening ear will make you more approachable. You will be able to more clearly understand the impediments that are stopping project progress and work towards providing a solution.  Managing Conflicts: Not all team members will get along with each other and this can cause disruptions and problems within the team, lowering their productivity. As a Scrum Master you need to be great at conflict management, help others solve their problems, work with each other and create a high performing and harmonious team. Building relationships: You need to build a rapport with your team, the product owner and the stakeholders. This will help you communicate freely and help others approach you with their problems and issues. You need to build that relationship of trust and take everyone along on the journey of success.  Being ethical: Ethics play an important role in software development, especially since software now controls every aspect of our lives. The product created should be free of malice and fraud. The Scrum Master should guide the team in delivering the product at a value and standard that is expected and agreed upon with the stakeholder. There should not be any shortcuts or concessions made on the quality of the product delivered as this will affect not just the Scrum Master and the team’s reputation but will cause a dent in the reputation of the organization.   Conclusion  Servant leadership and the Scrum Master’s role is the backbone of Scrum. The Scrum Master as a servant leader re-emphasizes the values of Scrum and helps to enhance teamwork, collaboration, motivation and value. Under the able servant leadership of the Scrum Master, individual members and the team will grow, become more confident and help in delivering value.  
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The Nexus Integration Team forms an essential role within Nexus and is tasked with providing transparent accountability among the teams in Nexus.Product OwnerThe Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the product value and the work carried out in Nexus. Their primary task is to order and refine the product backlog. Being a member of the Nexus Integration Team, the product owner will work with all the Scrum teams in the Nexus Integration team. The product owner and the teams work towards better defining and refining the product backlog.Scrum MasterJust like in regular Scrum, the Scrum Master in the Nexus Integration Team is also responsible for ensuring that the Nexus framework is understood by everyone on the team as prescribed by the Nexus Guide.   MembersThe members of the Nexus Integration Team are the Scrum team members who aid the Scrum teams in adoption of tools and practices that will help the team and members deliver value at the end of each sprint that meets the definition of done. Nexus Integration Team membership should be considered more important than the individual Scrum Team membership and members should work towards first fulfilling their Nexus team responsibilities.What are the Events in Nexus?Nexus adds or augments the events as defined by Scrum. The Nexus event durations are like Scrum event durations and are guided by the Scrum Guide.  Nexus events consist of: Sprint- A Nexus sprint is the same as in Scrum, at the end of which a single increment is delivered.  Cross team refinement- The aim of Nexus is to enhance collaboration and reduce cross team dependencies. Cross team refinement helps to make dependencies and responsibilities more transparent. This makes it easier for Scrum teams within the Nexus to clearly identify and deliver their allocated tasks.  Nexus Sprint Planning- Nexus sprint planning will involve the participation of the Product Owner and concerned teams' members from each team. The purpose of the Nexus Sprint Planning is to assign and co-ordinate activities for a single sprint.  Nexus Daily Scrum- This is like the daily stand up in Scrum. Nexus daily scrum is used to identify any issues and track progress. Any issues are immediately prioritized and solved so that they do not hinder the work of the developers.  Nexus Sprint Review- This event is held at the end of sprints to provide feedback on the increment that has been built and on any future updates that have to be made. Nexus Sprint Retrospective- Like in Scrum, Nexus retrospectives are an important part of the project and are used to reflect on how quality and consistency can be improved.  Some Nexus ArtifactsNexus artifacts are the same as Scrum artifacts and when implemented correctly ensure transparency and value maximization. Every artifact is designed to give a commitment. For example, the product backlog is the artifact and its commitment is the product goal. Other artifacts and their commitments include: Nexus Sprint Backlog-Nexus Sprint Goal Integrated Increment-Definition of Done Along with Nexus, LeSS is another popular framework for scaling agile.  Scaling Scrum with LeSS The Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) framework is an offering from Atlassian and is a framework for scaling Scrum to multiple teams that are working on the same product. The idea behind LeSS is to start with a single Scrum team as defined in the Scrum Guide and then replicate it to multiple teams who are working on a single product. LeSS has earned the label of being “barely sufficient” as it is a simple framework to apply and uses the basic concepts of Scrum to scale.  How do Sprint Planning meetings in LeSS work?  LeSS generally carries out sprint planning in two stages. Sprint Planning One focuses on selecting items that are of topmost priority, solving unanswered issues and defining the sprint goal. The Sprint Planning Two is like the sprint plan of regular Scrum and focuses on creating a plan of action for getting things done.  Daily meeting  The daily Scrum meeting in LeSS is similar to how it is done in normal single Scrum teams and involves team members discussing the work accomplished and the work to be done during the day. It is a time-boxed meeting and helps teams address any issues that may be hindering work.   Sprint Delivery Meeting (Review) The sprint review meeting is an essential part of LeSS and helps teams and stakeholders review the product built during the sprint and suggest changes and new ideas.   Retrospective The retrospective for LeSS is similar to one team Scrum. These retrospectives held at the end of the sprint will help teams to reflect on the progress of tasks, and identify the obstacles that may hinder or impede the overall project.  Let’s take a look at some of the other frameworks that are used for scaling agile. Scaling Scrum with SAFe®The Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe in short, follows the principles of lean and agile and helps in scaling Scrum to the enterprise. It helps to manage alignment, collaboration, and delivery from multiple agile teams to ensure enterprise success. It systematically focuses on applying Scrum at each level of the enterprise, to maximize value and ensure a successful agile transformation.A successful SAFe adoption ensures end-to-end business agility with significant improvements in strategy, delivery, execution and business competencies. It helps organizations overcome competition and ensure innovative business solutions to gain customer trust and partnership. The SAFe framework is continuously improvised in order to help organizations cope with the digital age and ensure that business outcomes are delivered.Scaling Scrum with the Scrum@Scale frameworkAnother framework that allows organizations to implement Scrum at scale is the Scrum@Scale framework. This framework expands on the core principles of Scrum and helps to scale Scrum over a wide range of industries and sectors, ensuring customer satisfaction and creation of successful products. It promotes communication across all teams and departments, and optimizes resources, removes roadblocks and ensures creation of innovative products.A Final Word By driving Agile at the organizational level, companies can gain all the benefits of team-level Scrum at scale. More often than not the principles of team level Scrum are not sustainable at the enterprise level and the transformation fails. Tested and proven Agile scaling frameworks are now able to turn this around, and help organizations scale up the principles and practices of Scrum to become more adaptable, flexible and responsive. Professionals can master these frameworks and help their organization adopt the culture, mind-set and principles of Scrum and agile.  
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A Guide to Scaling Scrum

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

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