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How much time Scrum Master should give to the new team members to understand agile processes?

Last post 05:23 am August 11, 2019 by Ian Mitchell
8 replies
04:32 pm August 9, 2019

Hi All,

How much time Scrum Master should give to the new team members to understand agile processes? as they are coming from a Traditional / Waterfall process background and very new to the Fast Paced Agile processes.

I answered as "2 weeks" but not sure if interviewer got satisfied with my answer.

Please assist.




03:40 am August 10, 2019

How can that time possibly be a Scrum Master’s to give?

05:43 am August 10, 2019

Hi Ian,

I believe Scrum Master is giving this 'Time' as he is the person who drives the project.


10:18 am August 10, 2019

I answered as "2 weeks" but not sure if interviewer got satisfied with my answer.

What would you, as a Scrum Master, do after two weeks if the individual in question did not meet your bar for understanding agile processes?

If I was interviewing you, I wouldn't be satisfied with that answer.

Part of the role of Scrum Master is coaching - coaching the Product Owner, the Development Team members, the organization, and even stakeholders outside of the organization. This work to teach and coach never ends - even as a Scrum Team matures, they should be able to solve more problems without direct, hands-on involvement from the Scrum Master (and this is a good thing), but the journey on the path of continuous improvement never ends. The team will always face impediments that they could use some help in removing, there will be new employees and stakeholders that need education, and there are always experiments to be run in improving productivity and effectiveness within the team and organization.

Even a Scrum Master's learning is never done.

03:09 pm August 10, 2019

Hi Thomas,

Thank you for the reply. I completely agree with you that Learning is never ending process.

But considering the impact on the Deliverable there should be some threshold time after which Scrum Master can expect productive results from the Team.

I agree that my team is new to agile but there is work as well to deliver. How to balance this?


03:29 pm August 10, 2019

@SUMIT AGRAWAL, I believe you didn't understand Ian's question properly. How can you accurately determine how much time it would take for teams to become more agile?

but there is work as well to deliver. How to balance this?

Consider if every team can reach this desired state at the same pace? Consider this example, would you be able to learn a new language which you've never used before in your life and become an expert at it in a specific amount of time? Even in your native language, do you know every word and the meaning of every word in the dictionary/vocabulary? If your boss asks you to learn this new language and start communicating to your clients how would you manage it? and what response would you likely give your boss? -- Does that help answer your question?


06:30 pm August 10, 2019

I don't believe that you understand the role of the Scrum Master. The Scrum Master does not "drive the project", nor does the Scrum Master "expect productive results from the Team". The Scrum Master helps, coaches, teaches, facilitates, and leads.

The Product Owner orders the Product Backlog based on the value. The Development Team plans a Sprint based on recent past performance and forecast of upcoming capacity. The Scrum Master (among other things) helps the Product Owner to ensure that the Product Backlog is arranged to maximize value, helps the Product Owner and/or Development Team remove impediments to success, and facilitates or guides changes that increase productivity and effectiveness across the organization.

New teams and teams following changes to their membership are going to have worse performance for a period of time - this is natural. However, I don't believe that you can put a clock on a team developing. As a Scrum Master, you can take steps to help resolve issues that arise and to teach or coach the team. The important thing, in my opinion, is to demonstrate continued progress and improvement over an extended period of time, recognizing that some changes may not work out. However, when you are trying changes or improvements every couple of weeks, you have time to learn from failures and adapt.

I'm curious as to what you think a Scrum Master could do if an individual or team was not at a desired level after some arbitrary length of time.

03:24 am August 11, 2019

Thank you Thomas, Steve for your time to resolve my query.

Now its clear to me that Scrum Master cannot "Time" this activity as its an ongoing process.

I believe, interviewer asked me this question to guess my 'real-time' knowledge.

Thanks again.

05:23 am August 11, 2019

I believe, interviewer asked me this question to guess my 'real-time' knowledge.

Interviewers do not always have a good understanding of agile practice themselves, and they may assume activities of this nature can or even must be timed. This often happens when deadlines and commitments have already been made in a waterfall culture, for example.

It’s possible he or she was just trying to gauge your knowledge, but either way I think it would be reasonable to probe the interviewer’s assumptions.

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