Nowadays Scrum seems to be almost a buzzword in the IT industry - a lot of people talk about it, but what does using it really mean? I decided to interview my coworker Piotr to find out - check out what kind of Scrum mysteries he decided to unveil!
What does it mean for you to be a Scrum Master?
First of all, working FOR the team that I cooperate with. Lately, I've had to focus on coaching the whole organization surrounding the team.
What are the five adjectives that perfectly describe Scrum?
I would like to quote the Scrum Guide - Scrum is lightweight, simple to understand, and difficult to master. To add something to it, I would say that it's efficient when appropriately used and gives a real bite to a product.
What misconceptions about being a Scrum Master irk you the most?
That Scrum implementation resolves all organizations’ problems. It’s totally different - it will put them in the spotlight. However, it’s easier to shift the blame onto an “overrated framework” than to look for internal problems hidden deep within the company.
What are the main responsibilities of a Scrum Master?
Being a Scrum ambassador and advisor, which means ensuring that every team member, a well as the whole organization, has a proper understanding of the Scrum framework and knows how to use it.
How does the role of Scrum Master differ from the ones of Project Manager and Product Owner?
Ohhh… it’s hard to talk about the difference between PM and SM or PO because they have different responsibilities, even if they have mutual goals to achieve. A Scrum Master should be a “servant leader” for the team which opposes the traditional project management approach.
Take into consideration that the PM position is not present in Scrum because it’s a very lightweight framework that is distinct form methodologies like AgilePM, where project-level roles are existent.
End the sentence – “If you are a Scrum Master, you have to be…”
A very good listener.
Let’s think about the people that would like to be certified Scrum Masters, just like you. What can they do to achieve that?
It depends on the real reason behind getting certified. Scrum is very popular nowadays, and there is a pretty numerous group of people who want to be a certified SM just for the certificate itself. The Scrum Guide would be enough for them...
If your top priority is to gain valuable knowledge, then it's best to extend the list of "must have" knowledge sources. For me, the most important are local meetings with an Agile society. Of course, events like AgileByExample (ABE), although very worthwhile, are uncommon. It's good to read a variety of books (the bad ones too) to be familiar with the different approaches to Scrum.
What is your advice for companies that are planning to introduce Scrum? What challenges await them?
Now I know that not a Scrumbut, but a real Scrum Coach might be necessary for some companies if they want to implement Scrum. If you don't have a budget for an additional vacancy, you must be sure that you have an experienced Scrum Master or Scrum Masters who will take care of compliance to the rules during the whole process of the framework's implementation. And remember - engagement of management is crucial!
Talking about challenges, what are yours as a Scrum Master?
Working with people, of course! Working with individuals and with team-players is extremally different.
Walk us through your day-to-day responsibilities as a Scrum Master.
Each day is different, but there's still a place for routine - all Scrum meetings are planned and constant. My other activities depend on the current situation.
What do you have to do when it comes to motivating your teammates?
It depends… There are no universal techniques that work in all situations and with all teams or team members. The best motivation comes from the inside of the team, but it's not easy to extract it.
What’s your recipe for dealing with problems in the project?
Like in personal life - there are no magic tricks that will solve your every problem! I must analyze each situation and prepare a made-to-measure solution. Even if I fail, I try to learn something - lessons learned are the most valuable part of each decision.
Which tools are essential for every Scrum Master?
Talks and chit-chats!
What surprised you most when you became a Scrum Master?
The current level of knowledge about Scrum in companies which declare that they are using it. Sometimes it has nothing in common not only with Scrum but also with Scrumbut! The sentence "we work in Scrum" is definitely overused!
Tell me what are the most difficult parts of being a Scrum Master? What needs fixing?
Each day I learn something new, my knowledge about Scrum evolves, but I know that still there's still a long way to go until I feel well prepared and experienced.
But let's end it on a good note - how has becoming a Scrum Master improved your professional life?
I’ve changed my approach to software development and team-work. It has boosted my skills quite a lot!
And that's it for now! There are more things to come - expect to learn even more about the ins and outs of not only Scrum but also the whole backstage of working in a software house!