Scrum mastery is like orchestrating a musical. You need to make sure everyone participates meaningfully and together your orchestra hits the right notes. At the same time, you also need to make sure that the audience is having a good time and are getting what they came for. Therefore, it is needless to say that being a Scrum Master is a challenging role.
While a Certified Scrum Master Training may have prepared you for your job, there are a few things you gain through experience. Here are a few tips that will make you a great Scrum Master:
Get Your Basics Right
As a Scrum Master, you are responsible for disseminating Scrum theories, ideologies, and practices amongst your team members. Thus, it is imperative that you have a clear understanding of the foundational concepts of Scrum. Getting a CSM Certification is a good place to start.
Be a Team Player
Scrum Masters are often described as ‘Servant Leaders.’ As such, their first priority will always be their team. The main goal for any Scrum Master is to ensure the well-being and growth of each of the team members.
Even though you are supposed to lead your team, it should be done with the complete involvement of the team members. Whether it is accepting change requests or committing to deadlines/deliverables, consult your team at every step.
“Done” is the final stage of all your processes. However, what is “done”?
As a Scrum Master, you need to make sure that “Done” is clearly defined. You could create a list of all the items/stages/processes that need to be mandatorily completed to ensure that a task is indeed done without any compromise with the quality.
Along with the definition of done, you will also have to define quality tests/measures that the product needs to pass to be actually counted as done.
All these details will help a team member understand the series of processes that need to be carried out before marking it as Done.
Ensure Parity Between the Team Members and Stakeholders
While they may be at the opposite ends, team members and product stakeholders work towards the same goal – the success of the product. They offer varying perspective on the product and add dimension to it. However, if one team starts acting condescending towards the other, it will result in overall failure.
Thus, it is important for a Scrum Master to maintain the equilibrium. You need to assign value to both the perspectives and ensure that they treat each other as peers.
Keep Up the Morale
Your team heavily depends on you. You are responsible for setting the mood of your team and, as such, you need to establish a positive learning environment.
Erase the word ‘failure’ from your vocabulary and replace it with ‘attempts,’ especially while naming sprints. Thus, even if the sprint falls short of delivering what was expected, you still register the attempt rather than the failure.
Along the same lines, praise your team for meeting their sprint goals. A good trick to sincere praise is personalizing rather than simply throwing in a “good job” at work. It will motivate the team to work harder.
Learn to Say No
As a Scrum Master, you need to look out for your team in all ways possible. Doing so may involve making some tough decisions as saying ‘No’ to things. It could be to a product developer who is aggressively pushing for a tighter deadline or is simply asking too much. You may also need it when multiple projects pour in from various sources, thereby, putting pressure on your team.
You need to learn to say no so that your team does not get overworked to the point where they have to cut corners in terms of quality.
Remember, protecting your team is much more important than anything else.
Making use of these tricks can positively help you in becoming a successful Scrum Master. Feel free to experiment with your processes and deviate from the Agile framework every now and then. The key is to be as accommodating as possible to provide a healthy working atmosphere for your team without letting them turn complacent.
A true sign of a successful Scrum Master is such, that an outsider may feel that the Scrum Master is not needed at all! Having a team that works like a well-oiled machine is an indication of your skill and expertise that makes you indispensable to your organization.