To become a Scrum Master some may tell you that you need nothing more than Scrum Master certification and a few days of preparation on certain topics related to the Scrum framework and ceremonies.
However, the truth is quite different. Professional Scrum Master specialists think about many topics and have serious skills and knowledge not only in Scrum but also in human relations and even technical skills.
The following post presents real questions to students in the Scrum Master certification course and below you will find the mentors’ answers.
The mentor is an official representative of BVOP.org and participate in training related to the BVOP Certified Scrum Master program: Reference: https://bvop.org/scrummaster/
Why do you want to be a Scrum Master?
The idea to specialize as a Scrum Master originated in 2018, after I moved from a large company with very strict processes and dozens of Development teams to a startup of 7 people.
As we are building a complex platform, during the first month I noticed how unorganized, messy and not adaptive the work is between the product owner and the development team. So I decided to apply principles and a structure based on the Scrum Framework to optimize processes and help implement the given artifacts.
What do you expect to be a Scrum Master?
The main expectations from taking a position as Scrum Master are mainly related to the principles of the framework. Since the Scrum Master owns the process, I will make sure that the teams monitor the Scrum processes and also work with them to improve them continuously. This also applies to meetings such as the Daily Scrum, where I have to guide the team to meet the meeting time and not lose focus. And this often happens, especially in a startup environment. All this is in order to optimize the time, teamwork, and processes in order to create the best possible increment based on the tasks.
What are the things that bother you the most at this stage?
Change takes time. I have repeatedly witnessed leaders who try to implement a specific framework or agile processes, but there is a lot of resistance from the team itself, as they are already used to their process and do not want to adapt. This is one of the things that every Scrum Master is worried about or finds difficult to implement the framework successfully so that all participants can understand and practice it successfully. Reference: Professional Scrum Master vs Professional Scrum Developer, stc-montreal.org 2019
What problems do you think you will have in your work?
In a startup environment, it often happens that each team member wears several “hats”. In the rush to create a final product for your first customers, you often forget about process optimization and structure work. Simply because one person is responsible not only for gathering information and prioritizing the Product Backlog but sometimes for performing some of the tasks. This makes it difficult to implement the Scrum framework, where each role performs specific things. This is one of the problems that Scrum Master would face at work.
Other issues that may arise are related to managing role expectations and last-minute urgent changes during Scrum. It often happens that the director suddenly comes up with a very important idea that comes from our first clients and is set as the number one priority in order to win short-term victories. This ignores the Scrum Framework and violates the observed timeboxed events.
The mentor’s answers to the student enrolled in the Scrum Master course
Great motivation and desire to introduce the organization.
This example of non-organization and the indiscriminate relationship between the Product Owner role is actually quite common.
Well done for pointing to this example, which obviously impressed you. This demonstrates the hallmark of your character that is needed for a full-fledged Scrum Master. Reference: Scrum example team and projects scenarios, phron.org 2020
Although some projects are of the Start-up type, this does not mean that the daily routine should be chaotic and a good example of the Daily Scrum meeting.
Regarding resistance from teams, do not view it as necessarily negative. The inevitable imposition of opinions should not be 100%. You understand the idea of change and taking time, and that’s very good. Every initiative takes time. People adapt and even start to like the new over time and wonder how they worked before.
The re-mentioned startup atmosphere and the speed and dynamics of the team members are typical. Let’s comment again on the idea that if team members still feel comfortable, let them work. If there are real problems with this dynamic and the end result (product) suffers and the teams do not feel comfortable, then be more aggressive towards habits.
The Scrum Master role protects the team from negative events and aims to achieve value. This is the main function. Avoid imposing opinions or actions when they are not really needed. Assess the situation.
The emergence of sudden ideas and new priorities should not always be taken as something negative. Agile thinking should support priorities and business goals. Scrum is an Agile model of work, however, it must also agree with this. In the course, we look at different points of view such as MVP and Lean, which are focused on short-term but important victories. Reference: Lean and Agile Software Development, MPMU.org 2020
Small businesses and products on a huge global scale also need small and frequent victories.
There are small projects in which the non-realization of an idea within days can be critical for the business.
We can comment on the conclusion that Scrum is not designed for such dynamic teams and projects and requires a certain sequence and rules that provide great support in larger and more organized work.