The Scrum Master role in real project teams

The Scrum Master role in real project teams

Why do you want to be a Scrum Master? That’s what we asked a few Scrum students. Here is one interesting answer.

I have participated in several projects developed under SCRUM, in different roles:
Software developer for 3 years
Business analyst, in the development of 2 projects in the last year and a half; In general, my experience in the last 7 years is in the field of business analysis and project management.

I believe that the role of Scrum Master is extremely important for the success of the project (as well as any other role) with the difference that team members in other roles have clearly defined responsibilities, while the role of Scrum Master requires a combination of competencies personal qualities and authority through which it will be possible for the Scrum Master to successfully facilitate the project activities. Inspired by: What is it like to be a Scrum Master?

So to speak, if the Scrum Master is doing a good job, the team members would probably think that this role is unnecessary, but when such a role does not exist or is not performed properly, it becomes clear that a project also cannot there is.

In the project in which I am currently participating, an attempt is being made to distribute the responsibilities of the Scrum Master among the other members of the team and at the moment I cannot judge how successful this is. Reference: Using the Scrum framework as a project management process for product development

However, my inner feeling is that the responsibilities of a product owner and a scrum master can hardly be shared between different team members; this creates an opportunity to broadcast diverse messages and rather creates a sense of chaos. As I partially perform such functions (of both Product Owner and Scrum Master), I would like to increase my level of competence on the subject.

What do you expect to be a Scrum Master?

I expect a Scrum Master to:

Initiates the creation and communication of a common understanding/expectation of the organization of teamwork; specifically before starting the work scrum master initiates in the team definition of definitions of ready, definitions of done, team agreement, etc. and ensure that the agreed framework is communicated and understood by all team members. Reference phron.org: Scrum example team and projects scenarios

Ensure that Scrum ceremonies are held

Supports the work of the team – helps to solve problems and stops work – this is a difficult task for me because often the reason why something is not done is external/unavoidable and beyond my control. Just asking the question ‘who is responsible for providing access on your part?’ ‘Until when do you think we will have feedback?’ Does not always change reality significantly. Reference mpmu.org: Real Scrum problems of the Scrum Master role during the Daily Scrum meeting

Supports Product Owner

Supports Product Owner and the team with a tool for prioritizing backlog; by clarifying the need for clear tasks on top; by creating clear expectations of the scope and priorities of the tasks;

Participates / organizes planning (daily, sprint, release, roadmap, product vision). Follow progress. Participates in adaptive product release planning.
Scrum principles should not be violated – for example, ‘replacement’ / ‘change’ of tasks during the sprint, unilaterally by the product owner, without this being agreed with the team; work on tasks outside the team’s sprint, while other tasks are in danger of not being done, etc.

Effective Scrum communication

Creates/maintains positive, effective communication between team members – hard work
Preaches the iterative approach (in the team, product owner, and organization) of developing and decomposing complex tasks, ie. the most critical and confirmed for the iteration to be planned for the sprint, and all additional obscure functionalities to be planned additionally.

What are the possible difficulties of the Scrum Master role in your opinion?

I have no experience as a Scrum Master. My attitude is positive, I accept it as a challenge from which I will learn. Reference: Scrum Master role and issues related to the team and project work

Long-term planning makes it difficult for me – we do sprint planning, but we don’t do release planning together with the team; Actually, I’m trying to maintain some version of the master plan based on the senior developer’s assessment and Product Owner’s expectations to be predictable.

I want to achieve the following:

To learn more about the distribution of responsibilities, the organization of work, and Scrum planning.
By increasing knowledge to increase my confidence
Find the right way to communicate it with the rest of the team
Learn more about planning in an Agile project Reference www.kosovatimes.net: Comparison between Scrum and Kanban methodologies

What problems do you think you will have in your work?

Regarding the framework in which the project works – it is difficult to change the attitude, we work agile, but with time and scope, price and this requires additional and precise management

Unemployed team – how is activation facilitated?

Controlling dependencies on other projects, systems – to what extent is this the responsibility of a Scrum Master?

Not good enough prioritization and planning – to what extent is this the responsibility of a Scrum Master? Reference managementeducationinc.wordpress.com: Scrum Master role and interactions with other positions

Shared responsibility at certain moments is felt as a lack of responsibility for the task

How to fill the gap between the idea that the Product Owner has to the detailed functional description that the Development team expects.

Scrum Master talks about Waterfall projects

Most project parameters are pre-defined, approved, and signed – costs, budget, project scope, requirements, staff, events, quality, benefits.

Waterfall is a method of working that cannot be completely abandoned, no matter how much humanity and the way it works develop. Reference: Comparison of Waterfall and Agile project management

Industry, construction, the shipbuilding industry are places where it is almost impossible for things to happen asynchronously, and to properly observe safety and reliability measures some processes must happen at a specific time and after specific other processes. Ships, buildings, or engines may not start construction/manufacturing until they have undergone detailed planning, calculation, and decision-making to use the correct materials. Nor can the purchase of materials be primarily planned and determined. Waterfall can be a slow project development process, but it is much more secure and involves calculating risk and budgeting at an early stage.

Qualities of the teams that would add business value to the project.

Awareness – in my opinion, this is one of the most important qualities that a team must possess. Reference www.kievpress.info: Adding business value in organizational project management and product development practices

Awareness of oneself and one’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of team members (and, of course, this is exactly what is achieved over time). It is also important for each member of the team to be aware of their weaknesses, but not to be obsessed with them and their improvement, but to know that it is his strengths that make him a valuable member of the team. If everyone was good at everything – there would be no need for teamwork.

A desire for development – in today’s fast-growing society, without a desire for personal development, it is difficult for a person or a team to remain a valuable staff. Of course, this goes hand in hand with self-awareness. We need to develop both our strengths and weaknesses in a balanced way, and not just emphasize the development of the weak and forget about the strengths. If a person has a desire to develop but works only on his weaknesses, he will likely remain at the same level for too long without realizing it. The opposite is also not preferable – only emphasizing the strengths would make the individual an expert in this field, but it can play a bad joke on him and narrow his worldview.

Reliability – no matter how phenomenal a person’s skills are, the most important quality that makes him a good team player is his reliability. This applies to both individuals and teams. If a staff/team is indecisive in its actions, unenforceable, then this will reflect on other staff/teams that interact with them. But, reliability is not something fixed that we should expect a staff/team to have from the first day, or to keep until the end. Employee reliability is something that management must work for and maintain. If he stresses and oppresses his employees, he can very quickly lose their devotion, as well as the reliability to them that they will perform their duties conscientiously.

How senior management can add business value to a project.

Knowledge transfer – whatever the management role, the people in it have a wealth of experience behind them. The thing that can give the best business value, in my opinion, is precisely the transfer of knowledge that they have accumulated over the years. Whether it’s a way of working, a development process, or team building.

Demonstration of confidence – for a team to cope well with the tasks, and to have confidence in themselves and others on the team, as well as in the decisions made by management, as a start, the manager responsible for them must show this confidence. When a team is confident in its manager and his decisions, they are more efficient and work without a doubt.

Taking responsibility – a good manager is clear that he is responsible for the successes and failures of the people over whom he is responsible. It is for this reason that they must take responsibility for their employees, supervise them and see what they can do to help them, or push them towards their professional development.

Think of 3 potential initiatives, events, or practices that the organization can organize to add business value to the project.

Centralizing certain processes in the company – When a part of the work process is repeated constantly, it is good to find some way to centralize and share between teams. In the IT field, this would be an algorithm that can be exported as a library and used by all teams in the industry (for example, a metalworking machine operator) – a drawing of an element that is common or used. In order not to waste time constantly writing/drawing the same things, it would be a good practice to have a place where everyone in the company has access to such “shared” assets.

Organizing regular retrospectives – according to the given project, and it is good to hold retrospective meetings at a certain period. No matter how it works, these meetings would always be useful to understand which process is where what has slowed down the development so far, what has helped it. This greatly helps the work process, saves time and confusion. Also, if there are misunderstandings, they can be discussed at these meetings and settled.

Staff training – although it seems like a cost, in the long run, the training of existing staff would be a contribution to the company and the project it presents. Also, it contributes to the good name of the company and enhances its reputation as an organization that seeks to support the development of its employees.

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