Scrum Master journeys do not end at Certification - Why connecting with a good coach is essential to success.
Posted August 27, 2021
Written by Theresa McFarlane, SCAC, STAC, CSM, CSPO, CSSGB, CPM
PMO Practice Lead, Delivery Manager at Xpanxion
September 1, 2021 - Agile methodologies should be viewed as a set of tools on your tool belt of skill sets and also as a practice for your trade. A skilled tradesperson would not pick a flat head screwdriver for a phillips screwdriver job, right? Nor would they be complacent with only being an apprentice for their entire career.
I have seen many companies send employees to take an expensive class to become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) to "be Agile" and think that is where the journey ends. That is only one of many steps in the journey. Employers can't expect employees to be Subject Matter Experts (SME) overnight. Continued training, experience, and the support of professional Agile coaches and peers enable your team(s) to pick the right tool/methodology (SCRUM, XP, Kanban, Lean, FDD, Dynamic, Crystal, Extreme, etc.) for the job at hand.
The journey is only beginning once an employee gains their Scrum Master Certification. As an Agile professional, you continue to improve your practice by experience, taking classes, reading and learning from your peers and coaches as there are only so many elements that can be touched upon during a 2-day class. That is where good Agile coaches can help your CSM's grow and navigate through their professional journeys.
Agile Coaches can help your Scrum Masters grow by continuously coaching them on how to:
An Agile Coach can help Scrum Masters create meeting cadence that works for geographically dispersed teams, daily scrum techniques, effective sprint planning sessions, hosting engaging sprint demo sessions and hosting meaningful retrospectives, engaging activities during ceremonies and more. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach, so it is important to understand the structure of the team, the experience level of the team, and how they collaborate to provide the most effective methods, solutions, and activities.
Shielding the team
The Scrum Master needs to be the filter for the team with incoming requests. Scrum Masters need to filter priorities and maintenance from new development requests. All of those quick, fast 5-minute jobs or unnecessary meetings that individual team members get inundated with via IM/e-mail daily should be assessed and placed in a work intake section on your backlog. There you can assess if the work is valid (does this belong to your team or another team, has the work already been done as part of other work, is the answer already in a knowledge base and more).
Conflict resolutions skills
Create an environment of psychological safety for your team and organizational effectiveness will follow. Learn diplomacy, help navigate politics within your company and develop methods to resolve conflicts while creating wins.
Coaching your team with the best Agile practices and activities.
Estimating and Planning
Convey methods for Agile estimating and planning that works for the team(s).
Help your Scrum Master create effective roadmaps, timelines, project future work, identify the impact of outages and release time frames.
Learn what you can manage as a CSM, find the correct channels and identify when to escalate to the Product Owner.
Creating a communication channel and expectations (team, Product owner, stakeholder) for your team: Communication is key! Set up consistent tools, locations, and processes for communication within your team and also externally for your team. Be the PR person for your team. Market your team. Communicate your successes and wins throughout your organization. You set the tone for success!
Teach servant leadership skills.
Developing and Enforcing Team Meeting Rules/Habits
Teach the Scrum Master how to create/manage/use tools to measure team effectiveness, issues, and patterns in alignment with your organization's goals.
With years of experience, practice, good mentoring and certification, the journey should result in your Scrum Master becoming a coach and mentoring others.
About Xpanxion - Solving business problems with technology. We are software product engineering experts with over 20+ years of experience delivering the technologies, software architectures, processes and people critical to delivering success. As a trusted partner, we focus on business solutions and alliances that provide end-to-end value to solving our customer’s problems. We focus on providing best-in-class solutions by developing custom solutions with modern technologies or by delivering industry recognized off the shelf solutions.
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