Published (and inspired) on Agile and Scrum blog by Zuzi Sochova (an independent Agile Coach, Trainer, and a Certified Scrum Trainer with more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry)
Being an amazing Scrum Master is a quite challenging and engaging expedition. Everyday meetings and communication with the Development team and Product Owner require so many skills and a sense of helping others. And we can’t forget: Scrum Masters are human beings, and yes they’re making mistakes. This time, we’ll focus on what you should avoid or what are the most common mistakes of Scrum Master. So, pay attention to these moments:
#1 Scrum Masters should be a Team Assistant?
Being helpful is a great thing, but only in the short term. Long-term, in the team, it will create unconfident people who rely on Scrum Master and never take over responsibility and ownership. Instead, you should show them they can solve most of their problems by themselves, and be a good coach, facilitator, and servant leader.
#2 Scrum Masters also should be too supportive?
Many Scrum Masters believe that their only role is to support their development team to be great. But even if you are super successful, it’s only changing at the team level. It’s necessary to experience, learn, and practice all approaches which can help you as a leader and change agent.
#3 Does Scrum Master manage meetings?
Scrum Master is neither manager of the Scrum meetings, nor responsible for scheduling them. Instead, Scrum Master should be a facilitator, who takes care about the form of the conversation, not the content.
#4 Scrum Master as a Technical Expert?
Being a technical expert is definitely dangerous for Scrum Masters. Why? Because they feel a strong need to advise people on what to do. If you know a better solution, it’s just easier to tell them, then help them to figure it out. One Scrum Master must trust the team they are the experts and coach them so they become better.
#5 Did you hear for a ”Fake Scrum”?
Very often Scrum Masters take Scrum as just a process, don’t search for deeper understanding or – just do it process (backlog, Daily Scrum, roles…). They don’t have the proper mindset. Agile and Scrum aren’t about practices, it’s a different way of thinking. It’s about ”being” not ”doing”.
#6 Scrum Master doesn’t believe in Scrum
As a Scrum Master, there’s no place for doubts. You need to be sure it works, need to believe in it, need to be the biggest Agile enthusiast all around. Otherwise, you can’t make the others follow.
#7 Sharing Scrum Master Role with another Role
There’s a usual problem that Scrum Masters have a lack of focus. Instead of sharing this role with another role, let Scrum Master full time to focus on how they can become greater and better in order to help the entire organization.
#8 Never-ending process
Being a Scrum Master is a journey, and you can never stop learning. Even if you feel you know Agile and Scrum, there is always something new. And there are those other domains you need to master: coaching, change, facilitation, team dynamics, leadership… In other words – learning is never-ending.
#9 Waiting for someone else to start the change
Scrum Masters often wait for someone else to initiate a change. They are reluctant to take over responsibility and ownership and the organization isn’t moving anywhere. Instead of waiting forever, Scrum Master should initiate incremental changes in the business.
#10 When we are great Team, we are done
No, no, no. Often Scrum Masters let their team believe they can be done. The team is good and together they finished Agile transformation without bothering with new ideas. The team is self-organized and know to work. Do you see the problem? Instead of this false belief, Scrum Master must coach the team so they see other opportunities to inspect and adapt. You can never be done in a complex environment.
In the end, we’re all human beings. With different flaws and virtues. Throughout the whole of our life, we’re learning and adopting new knowledge and it’s normal to make some mistakes. In this process, it’s important to accomplish a goal and remain professional in each aspect of the business.
If you wanna be a truly fantastic Scrum Master, never doubt in your capability to make great things especially in your career.
Tell us your experience and some common mistakes in your team. Share good practices.