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The journey of Scrum Master – diving into the practice

Published on 12th February 2020

Scrum Guide precisely defines what a Scrum Master is and what are their main responsibilities. However, still, there are numerous discussions regarding this role and which hard and soft skills needed to make a successful Scrum Master. That’s why we thought it would be great if we talk about the journey of Scrum Master..

Do you remember famous quotation: “It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman!” Do you think Scrum Master look alike him a bit? What kind of roles he/she should act? Servant Leader? Facilitator? Coach? Some even say Scrum police. It is obvious that the Scrum Master should be many roles at once.

So, what does a Scrum Master actually do? How does their workday look like? Also, does their daily routine change as they engage with more teams? These are some interesting questions, probably very well known to those with deep experience in this role, but let’s talk a few words on this at the beginning.

 

Scrum Master as per book

A Scrum Master is a Teacher, Coach, Mentor, Learner… We have mentioned this at the beginning, so just to confirm. As per definition, the Scrum Master empowers the team to perform, achieves this goal serving the people, rather than leading them. That’s why the Scrum Master is often called the Servant Leader.

As a servant leader, the Scrum Master’s main responsibility is to facilitate value delivery by removing roadblocks that making progress becoming slow or out of the track. Furthermore, Scrum Masters are often considered team coaches, those who train the people, improving their skills and performances. This is how Scrum Master builds a culture of an organization, by learning teams Scrum values and principles.

The Scrum Master is the person in the team who is responsible for managing the process and only the process! They don’t have the power over the team, and they are not involved in the decision-making. Still, they have the authority guiding the team through the Scrum process with their experience and expertise.

 

The day of the Scrum Master

Scrum Masters are working closely with the team, celebrating the success and failures together, trying to bring things on track wherever things go off track or people forgetting Scrum values. Whether they are doing Scrum ceremonies or building a team culture, they share all the goals of their team, they are the main support that enables the team to achieve the goals.

The Scrum Master facilitates all Scrum meetings, Sprint Planning, Review, Retrospective, and Daily Scrums. Daily Scrum meetings are his/her common routine, and Scrum Master is there to appoint the team purpose of Daily’s. So, he/she should help the team(s) stay focused on the purpose of Scrum, and this is process improvement. Daily Scrum should have a limit to up to 15 minutes, but this should not be a strict rule.

Together with the Product Owner, they should realize other Scrum meetings, involving them as well, but facilitation is still in the hands of Scrum Master. Depending on how much they are engaged with the stakeholders, Scrum Master should be the bound between the Product Owner and the team. They should have a regular meeting and sync ups, especially when the Product Owner misses some of the meetings.

Scrum Master is working on Sprint Reviews, by setting up a scene for every team. It is a time when whole team members gather together in one place, even stakeholders if possible. This is how they receive feedback from all departments at once. These meetings are at the end of the Sprint where the Scrum team and all the stakeholders get together and discuss accomplished tasks and which of the Sprint goal has been met.

While Sprint Review is a discussion about what the team is building, Sprint Retrospective has more focus on how they’re building it. Sprint Retrospective often goes after the Sprint Review, and they serve to help the team improve by identifying issues and determining action items that will help solve them. Scrum Master has a leading role in preparing both of the Scrum ceremonies.

To achieve all Spring goals, the most important is Sprint Planning. It should take up to 8 hours the most of each Sprint and Scrum Master has to take care to achieve the team’s better collaboration and more effective communication on these events. As a great facilitator, he/she understands the goals the team has to commit. Using leadership tools and techniques makes sure the team understands them as well, training them.

As a Coach Scrum Master is responsible for managing the process of how information flows. The Scrum Master is like a leader for his Scrum team in his daily practice, for a single team or a multiply teams. In a part of its day, Scrum Master should up to date the team with everything that is taking place inside the workplace, help them with the obstacles, resolve impediments. The journey of Scrum Master is full of challenges.

So, it is best if you determine your daily routine and your own practice, whether you choose to do facilitating, problem-solving, or just sitting with the team, and watching them in progress. Although seems simple, it is not such an easy thing to be an outstanding Scrum Master. You can become this whether through very good practice and challenges or though mastering your skills in some of the advanced programs.

 

What beyond the role – how to Advance Scrum Master journey

If you are already a Certified Scrum Master and have built your base on Scrum values, practices, and applications, then getting an Advanced Certified Scrum Master certification should be the next step of your Agile journey. As a person in charge for changes, you should change yourself.

With your experience, you know how much change can be difficult, and how much it is challenging to implement changes. But your role is to question and even challenge the initiative within your organization, helping it to become more successful. That’s why you always need new techniques, ideas or approaches to support your mission in resolving impediments.

Programs such as an Advanced Scrum Master equips you with the knowledge to implement the Scrum framework for Agile and Lean project management. Furthermore, it includes Agile coaching, Agile facilitation, service delivery, as well as setting up and managing the Scrum lifecycle.

It can also enable you with a big picture of how to make Scrum teams more productive in the workplace. The same as on how to bring changes in the organization for the adoption of Scrum and Agile principles. An Advanced Certified Scrum Master Certification can help you further upskill yourself with the latest Agile tools and techniques.

What is best about this? A-CSM programs are the most common practice-based, with a lot of case studies and experience sharing. Ultimately it makes you ready to help the team to solve problems, protect them from external interference and irritation. Furthermore, help them improve their performance and leap over each other’s tasks.

 

Is this the end of the journey of a Scrum Master?

The answer is no, it actually depends on your own interests and ambitions. There are three options you can take. For example, if you take Advanced Scrum Master course, you can continue to develop your career becoming a Certified Scrum Professional, Team Coach or a Scrum Trainer, if you have that kind of passion!

Otherwise, you can continue to nurture Scrum career, becoming an outstanding Scrum Master, amazing speaker, lecturer or writer, sharing your experiences. If you want to go beyond Scrum, but you don’t like to climb the leathers, you can certify yourself for a Product Owner as well. Scrum does not prescribe this, because it considers these should be divided roles. However, you can understand much better your Product Owner and his position.

As you can see, there are a lot of options and opportunities. The future is promising for sure. Scrum is rising star and Scrum roles are its sparkles. It’s not a joke, Scrum roles belong to the jobs of the future, they are future actually. Scrum Master, as a quick fact, has mentions on the LinkedIn as one of the most promising jobs of 2020.
Are you ready to take this journey? Jump in, the right time is today!

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