Scrum Mentors and Scrum Internships
Just saw another post today, about how does someone get the experience to become a scrum master. Well instead of talking about it until the cows come home let us see if we can do something about it.
My idea: We create a listing of Scrum Masters who are willing (and organisations of course), to take on unpaid (or paid if able!!) interns on a one month or even longer time period to see how Scrum/agile works in practice and not just in theory.
This would also mean that organisations would have access to possibly great talent at no cost?
What is everyone's views? Is this achievable?
By the by, this is how I got my job as a Scrum Master!
Personally I wouldn't be interested in it unless it was taken to be a serious job. A role like this really requires committed support by the organization and with a trial period where it's easy to walk away when things prove too hard, is not going to attract the best talent.
Scrum needs more than just the people doing the work, it would also need leadership support. Goal shouldn't be to try and find free resources, but instead to find great people. Great people aren't free, especially a great Scrum Master.
If the intent is to create interest for the company to make an investment in Scrum, I would instead rely on data. The "State of Agile Report" via https://www.stateofagile.com/#ufh-c-473508-state-of-agile-report is pretty good.
If you want to instead mentor other Scrum Masters, they should work together and eventually try the Scrum Master out with a mature team.
Thanks for your valuable input.
I agree with everything you say here
"A role like this really requires committed support by the organization and with a trial period where it's easy to walk away when things prove too hard, is not going to attract the best talent.
Scrum needs more than just the people doing the work, it would also need leadership support. "
The question though is how do we give people, who want to be Scrum Masters but don't have the necessary experience the chance to prove themselves.
Time after time we see people coming into these forums (I was one of them), applying for jobs to be told you don't have the experience. The chicken and egg situation though, is there is no way to gain this experience.
My idea is that we would build a community that is open to mentoring potential scrum masters. Be this an internship or another something else, I think we need some sort of space where people can gain this much needed experience
I am open to anything that will help solve this problem
I see. Yeah that sort of problem exists in every practice. Now I understand why you suggest internship because that's a comparison to students achieving working experiences.
I don't think there's a true answer for the problem but here are some tips that I think will help...
- People want to see you embody the Scrum Values. It's more than an outgoing personality.
- You can prove you know stuff by writing blogs. You don't need views, you just need things created. Something you can show or talk about in an interview or conversation that would allow someone with experience to review and be able to say to a hiring manager "oh yeah, this person does know what they're talking about".
- Networking is crucial.
- Meetup groups and Conventions are big hits. You're literally around like-minded and passionate Scrum advocates.
- As you attend certification training, connect with everyone in the class. Some people are already in the role or see that several teams will soon need a Scrum Master at their current job, so having that referral is critical.
- Some companies offer contract positions on a temporary basis. Most of them do not require much experience. Practice interviewing so that you leave an impression that you know what you're talking about.
- Look for opportunity to branch out in your current job.
- Become friends with your current Scrum Master and allow yourself to their backup.
- Let your manager know that you want to be a Scrum Master and would like to be mentored while you're doing your current role.
Everything you said is excellent advice. I am 100% on board.
That said some I don"t see how my idea is in conflict with yours. In fact it is pretty similar to your point 5.1. The only difference is in my example people don't have a Scrum Master they can ask to be a backup. So let's create a marketplace where experienced Scrum Masters can pass on knowledge and potentially scout great talent, and potential Scrum Masters get to learn and get experience.
This is my first post on the forum.
Just wanted to let you know that I think that you're idea is very appealing to someone like me who has just started out on the journey to becoming a Scrum Master.
Though I've yet to apply for jobs, the chicken & the egg scenario is one that I've been thinking about. I've been considering how one should go about getting job experience and your ideas would be very attractive to someone like me looking to get their foot in the door.
I hope that your idea gains traction as within the next few weeks I may be in need of this contact list.
Thanks for your response. I absolutely know where you are coming from because I was there myself. Lets hope this gets some traction.
Out of interest which country are you from?
John's advice above is a good starting point if you are looking to get into scrum.
Find an agile community near you, start attending events, and maybe do some blogging on here.
Keep me posted on your journey!
Great Suggestions and advice.
I am trying to see how we can try and implement Scrum for our team. I am in Operations and deployment team and have issues on a daily basis.
In fact, one of the account managers posed me a question: I have parts to be installed on the field but my scheduler has not worked the tickets? I need to communicate to my customer. What can I do to improve the situation? In this case, he may not need daily meet with the scheduler,
I suggested set up a 15 min call with him twice a week and understand his roadblocks and prioritize his needs The scheduler works with 4 account managers and is definitely having a hard time to keep up with all the requests. I would like to see how it helps them.
Was that a good approach or should have been handled in a different way. Advice, suggestions.
@Uma Tirukonda, would scrum help solve or mitigate issues that you are apparently facing?
Would making the issues transparent, visual and limiting WIP perhaps help?
I'm based in the UK.
Thanks for the tips, I’ll certainly give them a go once I pass PSMI & start to increase my knowledge of Scrum.
@Steve, I work for an ATM service provider company. Our team deploys ATM per request of the team, it may be a one-off request or a project to Install/ remove ATM for n number of locations. The work request comes from Account Service Management team, the Deployment team works on the tickets, scheduling the work, engaging tech, cash team, and the Warehouse to ship the parts out. The teams work independently as the workflows into their domain and their is no communication to the deployment team if issues arise. I am trying to see how Scrum can be used in this scenario to improve productivity and mitigate issues.
Good luck and keep us posted about your journey!
@Uma Tirukonda, Since you mention work requests and tickets, I am curious to know if the type of work you get has a specific set of steps to be followed and best practices to get the work done. For example does, installation of ATM or removal of ATM have specific steps to be followed to consider the work complete?
It also appears that you have identified the issue to be communication. You also mention that the teams work independently. I am not sure if Scrum would be a good approach in such a case. This is my view and I could be wrong.
I however, strongly think that you are trying to reduce the time it takes to get each work request done and to reach an optimal state. That causes me to think of metrics like, Lead time, cycle time etc.
@Steve, Yes, there is specific steps involved. In case of installation it would be shipping of the ATM from the warehouse to site, install and cash load. In removal, pull cash, de-install and ship to our warehouse. Each of these have to happen in sequence to get work done. The deployment team is responsible to ensure that the requested work is completed. If Warehouse has run out of stock on certain parts required or a delay in shipping, they fail to communicate leading to a failed deployment. This is where I was hoping to see if Scrum can be implemented and I agree with you it may or may not be possible.
@Uma - Perhaps Kanban would bring better visibility in this case. The steps could become your Kanban statuses. Use Class of Service to expedite and prioritize requests if needed. Measure Lead time, Cycle time and Throughput to identify bottlenecks. Have WIP limits and reduce batch sizes. All of this is textbook guidance to be honest but as you explore Kanban more and start experimenting, you will find the right balance to optimize the process and can then work on continuous improvement.
@Soniya, I am not familiar with Kanban but I will explore and try to apply the principles within our organization. Thank you for the suggestion.
Just passed the test today with a score of 77/80.
Was wondering if there were any developments regarding your idea of a list of Scrum Masters willing to mentor trainees for a month or so.
I'm based in the UK but would be happy to consider other places in Europe for any such "internships".
Congrats on passing the PSM 1. Sadly no traction in here regarding internships. Do you speak German by chance? Our company is always on the look out for people who are passionate about Scrum, but some language skills are a must have.
If you want, feel free to add me on Linkedin. My linkedin site is on my profile page!
Unfortunately don't speak German but would be happy to work on it :)
Please feel free to let me know if any opportunities for internships should come up. Would be happy for the opportunity to experience Scrum as well as pick up German.
Will set up my LinkedIn page and add you in due course.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
@Matt, once you do, could you send me your CV via private message. Cheers!
Really its good idea.But need support for it from all mentors...(Scrum masters).Since Im new to Scrum field and before was into development(Coding Php mysql).Now want to switch my career towards Agile Methodology. But I do not have relevant experience on scrum..Attempting for passing PSM1(Preparation is going on ).But not able to get any jobs without scrum relevant experience..Feeling very difficult get the job as beginner.(Bangalore ,KARNATAKA,INDIA)
Hope I may get calls once I clear my PSM1.
I feel your pain sir, and this is the reason I suggested it. That said, you are right to say, it needs buy in from a lot more scrum masters to be even a tiny bit effective.
@Rashmi DR @Stephen Sykes @Matthew Barr
I think it would be helpful if -for instance- the certified PSM II-list (and PSPO II list) would be accessable per country. In that way you as a rookie or 1st level-holder are able to find the ones who are probably acting within the role on a day to day bases. It second gives you the ability to approach them and ask if something like this is possible.
I have had "interns" in the past who wanted to become scrum masters, and (if the company I act for is open to this offcourse) would probably be able to create such an opportunity again.
Hi @Jaap Mintjes
Thanks for the suggestion. Honestly I don't know if that is the best way to go though. As much as I value my qualifications from scrum.org, they really don't denote seniority. Most of the scrum masters at my client have no professional qualifications at all.
I personally think, if we can get a group of the scrum masters here to agree to take on interns, we could grow it organically.
This seems like something respective Scrum Masters would need to work out with their organization should they be willing to mentor aspiring Scrum Masters internal or external to the company due to varying policies and procedures.
Scrum Alliance has an 'Agile Careers' page where they promote positions from many different companies. I envision this being the same thing for entry level internships or job shadowing for companies.
Thanks for the post...
Absolutely it would have to be cleared with the scrum masters' respective companies.... but once that has been done why not have a list here of Scrum Master's here who are open to have interns/apprentices etc...
We see a lot of people coming in here looking for that kind of experience, and my feeling is we should self organise and get it done..
Does it involve work... yes
Will it benefit organisations and scrum... yes
Then lets be empiric, run a test, and see if our assumptions are correct!
I was able to join as a volunteer intern Not for Profit Organization that is creating an App for teens for financial literacy. I was offered role to assist the Product owner. I have some knowledge to create user stories but in this case a few pages for the app that have been developed need changes to be incorporated as requested by the stakeholder. I am not able to understand whether all changes will be included in one task for the developer to work on or need a task for each change request. I have reached out to the PO and he is already overwhelmed with the amount of work that he has that I did not want to push too hard on him. If you are able to guide/ coach me with couple of pages, it would help me. Please connect with me on LinkedIn and I can provide with details.
I think your idea is great! I just finished a 4 weeks training with a group of 20 new certified Scrum Masters that have the same issue “How to start without experience?” Such idea could help both professionals and agile companies get together in a fastest way.
I’m certified for PSM and PSPO but more interested on making my path though Scrum Master. Without experience I’m definitely not applying for Scrum Master positions so I decided to search for some internship, unfortunately I haven’t found anything at least in Germany. So if you know about a company interested in taking interns preferably in Berlin, please let me know. I have german proficiency B2.
I like the idea and in fact is something that I'm starting in January. There is this woman from Brazil, living in the Netherlands, who reached out asking for help to become Scrum Master and how to do it. So we worked out a plan where she is going to obtain her PSM certificate and starts to shadow me, to get up to speed and see how it works in practice. Than we gradually transition to a more practical approach, where she is going to be a Scrum Master in a relatively easy environment. The first month is her own investment, after that we offer a reduced rate for the company I'm contracted at, and after 3 months it will be a full rate. This way she gets the help to acquire some experience, and the organization has to invest less, but will eventually benefit.
I also have the same issue in a way... I am currently the only scrum master here in AU on our office... all other scrum masters are either located in UK or US which is very hard to communicate because of the time difference...
I always feel alone in a way whenever i have some questions or concerns... I am using this community page to look for answers or read other topics or scenarios...
I thought I would bump this thread as I have been getting a lot of enquiries about internships. Now for our company that is of course amazing news, likewise for the people who will be starting internships with us.
But given the amount of enquiries I have been getting, predominantly people viewing this thread and contacting me, I was wondering if it was worthwhile seeing if there is any further interest in this community about doing something about it!
@Sander that's great news, have you continued this with other people
@Sherwin I think continuing to ask questions and seek advice on this forum is a great start. Have you thought about going to any local meet ups or agile communities?
Hi Stephen ,
Firstly , thank you for bringing the topic up in the forum and your constant push for a solution . It's something that no one wants to pay a heed about , as life goes on for the ones who managed to get jobs\roles as a Scrum Master .
What's interesting is that though the statement looks simple , however it is a complex problem as the variances and assumptions are at large .
I am keen to find a solution or atleast take a step towards it , i have recently signed up to the meetup groups here in Brisbane , AU and would like to bring this topic up . Do we start a trello board or equivalent , which would then allow suggestions etc to be captured and not get lost in the conversations ?
Looking forward to hearing from you .
Good idea with the Trello board, and I'm happy to contribute!
On the other hand it's not me you need to convince, but to persuade other scrum masters, and their respective clients, that its a worthwhile endeavour!
Anyone here who is in Manila (Philippines)? There is someone I know who wants to practice this role but has no opening or slots for SM in her employer right now.
I'm venkat working as Devops engineer and has more than 7 years of experience in IT . I have been actively using jira for 2 years in my project's.I would like to switch my carrier from technical aspect to Project Management(Scrum-Master). Question 1: Finding a job at entry level as project manager/Scrum master/Agile coach? is going to challenging? Question 2:What kind of certification are needed? Question 3:What is my first step ? Please do the needful and looking forward to hear from you.
This is a great idea and I'm happy to help since this is something that would be very helpful for me. I'm an experienced Project Manager and got my ScrumMaster certification last year. Despite having the certification, none of the companies that I've worked for in the past two years use Agile or Scrum so I don't really have experience with it. I have the theoretical knowledge but no practical experience. I've been trying to find a volunteering opportunity but no luck so far.
Your idea would certainly help a lot of people.
This is my first post on this form, but this echos a lot of what I've been trying to navigate the last few months, and I think it is an awesome idea and could really help a lot of people out, myself included.
I decided I was ready for a career change and no longer wanted to continue as a Mechanical Engineer, so I decided to go back to school for Project Management. In the process I learned about Agile and Scrum and decided that was the direction I wanted to go, as the concept of servant leadership really resonated with me. In preparation for my career pivot I continue to do lots of reading and self-education, took Agile/Scrum release planning classes, got my Scrum Master Certification, and attended every meetup I could until the Covid-19 crisis hit, and I periodically talk to and check in with an Agile coach.
The problem I keep running into is when talking with recruiters is like others have mentioned I don't have professional experience working as a Scrum Master on paper, and how do you get that first experience when you're not a traditional graduate coming fresh out of University.
I would welcome the opportunity to work as an intern or any Junior role in an Agile environment and shadow a Scrum Master or Product owner and get the opportunity to learn in real time and experience Scrum in action.
Hi Marcelo and Jon,
Unfortunately this is something I am seeing over and over again. I normally get one email on linkedin a week, just because of the lack of hands on opportunity and people asking me what they can do to get experience.
Like it or not there are not many companies who are willing to offer this opportunity and the question is why not? So the next question is, how do we make this more appealing to Scrum Masters?
Hi my name is Obii, a project manager and a newly certified Scrum Master.
What if developers create an app that tailors all the activities of scrum master in a company. Where you choose a company you work for and the type of product they are targeting and follow the process with actual work.
Also Stephen have you helped new scrum masters in any way because I do need the help. Thank you
I´ll post what I think is the current stand of becoming a Scrum Master today. This is just my personal opinion so take it for what its worth. Here is my 2 cents:
1. By in large,there is no formal education for being a Scrum Master which includes hands on training. Of course the Scrum.org offers training and professional certification but most Scrum Masters are former developers. (Opinion and based on what I have seen. No data to prove this but anecdotal evidence)
2. I am not a former developer, my background comes from finance and teaching. I also know Scrum Masters that come from the HR field, but non technical Scrum Masters are in the minority. (Opinion and based on what I have seen. No data to prove this but anecdotal evidence)
3. I was lucky to get an internship, but before me, the company I worked for didn't offer it. I was lucky I was noticed. The way I got noticed was about blogging about it regularly on the Scrum.org forums
4. I have tried to encourage Scrum Masters on this forum to start accepting other people as interns. I have received a lot of feedback from people like you asking for an opportunity, but no great response from people offering this.
1. Get yourself noticed. Post regularly on scrum.org about your journey. Attend agile meet ups in your area and online.
2. Be pro-active ask Scrum Masters and companies for the opportunity to do an internship. This will likely be unpaid / not very well paid as most internships are, but if you have an opportunity do it.
3. If you can do it, and you can afford it, get certified in the meantime. I had my PSM1 before I was asked to do the internship, and it helped me a lot! Of course theory isn't everything, but it helps.
Hope this is useful,
Thanks for the brilliant idea and effort to help aspiring scrum masters, I created this profile purposely for this as it really appealed to me that someone really understood the reality of how hard it is having a recruiter/hiring manager contact you when you have no experience.
I am a network engineer switching to scrum, but the reality as most under this thread already know is companies need real world experience, I have read books, watched videos, bought and listen to courses on udemy, listen to podcasts from scrum masters on their experiences and challenges, and has been certified, i have been applying for jobs nonstop and won't most of the time won;t even hear back from the recruiters/companies, I am open and willing for internships (paid/unpaid) mentors, shadowing a scrum master, hoping anyone reading this can help.
I just came across this discussion because I recently decided to change jobs so I did the did the PSM1 and passed the assessment. I however dont have any experience and I dont know where to start. I'm looking for help to get an internship please.
Thank you, Fortunate.
Stephen, you have a great idea!! If you know of any companies willing to hire Jr SM please post. With offering unpaid be very careful with that. One, if you are looking for serious, professional people I believe you will have a hard time finding them when the company expects them to work for free. You should be paying everyone that works for you. Now, offering them a cut in salary during training and a bump to qualified pay when training is finished is a way that the company can show they are serious, can be trusted and attract a more lucrative response. Second, most professional people have expenses they are responsible for on a weekly/monthly basis so they may not take the posting seriously. Lastly, be careful with unpaid internships because they can land a company in lawsuits. I had a website and during its development we reached out to several colleges and universities to bring in unpaid interns. One would think this would be the location to find interns willing to work in return for experience.. Every person we spoke to all said the only way you can hire someone and not pay them is if and only if they will be getting class credit. And the only work they can do must be directly related to their course work. They all told us the legalities of hiring someone as unpaid is a very tricky one, and the courts seem to side with the person working and not getting paid. Needless to say we never went that route.
I have recently pass my PSM1, came upon your post when I was searching for ways to increase my knowledge and to be mentored. As I do not have experience in Scrum.
Will start on all the methods mentioned here.
this discussion just popped up while I was looking for a scrum master intern. I am totally OK to work for no money in order to gain experience.
My story: I was a project/business manager in a manufacturing company for more than 9 years. By the end of 2019, I was introduced to Agile and Scrum methodologies. Servant leadership consept hit me in the face and I knew that this is what I should be doing all along. So I attended a Scrum Master course and I got certified. The first thing I have done was to implement what I have learned in a small manufacturing team. The results were astonishing. We were breaking records of all kinds. I got to a point where I don't have anything else to give or learn.
So the next natural step for me is to find a digital project where I can be helpful and uplift my knowledge.
Feel free to contact me if you think that it is a good idea to work with me. I do not expect any payment before you are assured that I can bring value to your project.
I happened upon your original thread while Googling "scrum mentors". I have a long background in IT and have actually supported the drilling software center of my company, so I was fortunate enough to see some Scrum in action. In my last role of digital project lead, our company was about 2 years into our digital transformation. I formed a digital cell, where I worked with internal business units and the IT support teams to identify automation opportunities within their processes. I conducted business analyses and recommended automation solutions built on the Power Platform using the Scrum framework and Agile methodology to deliver these solutions as was in line with the company transformation vision.
However,.what I found was that there was no support from management or clear direction from a scrum master guiding our journey in embracing and practicing scrum. We had online training resources that I literally devoured in my thirst to be able to deliver my solutions to the business. Unfortunately, without support and guidance from the business, I had to play the roles of scrum master, product owner and sometimes developer. While utilizing resources from the service desk, UX teams, security and governance teams, etc., I was able to practice at best a "hybrid" version of scrum to deliver my projects.
Unfortunately, I was laid off from my company the first part of December just shy of 2 years in my last role. In beginning my new career journey, I took a look back at my past and realized just how much I enjoyed supporting the drilling software team because of their mindset, values and principles and how much I enjoyed practicing scrum. I recently received my CSM certification but was hungry for more in depth knowledge of scrum and agile. I am currently in pursuit of my PSM II certification.
Like many others here, I lack the minimum amount of experience as a scrum master working with a traditional development team. I have submitted my resume to some job postings for Jr. Scrum Master and Scrum Master but I really feel that an entry-level/intern position is the way to go as this point.
Your post has been extremely helpful and encouraging. Bravo to you for continuing your mission to address this issue. I, like others here believe in networking. I had begun to look at joining some Meetup groups but believe it or not, there are only a couple in the whole state of Texas. I realize that participation can be remote though. Are there any groups that you particularly recommend for beginners?
Additionally, I am currently unemployed, so doing some sort of internship or part-time scrum master shadowing position is not out of the question for me.
I stumbled on this conversation because I was searching for potential Mentors. Is there any update on this? I am a scrum Master working with a new team and I really do need mentoring. Attending trainings, seminars and meet ups can help to a certain level.