How can I teach my company, what are the Scrum Master's tasks?

Last post 03:04 pm April 23, 2021
by Daniel Wilhite
5 replies
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07:34 am April 22, 2021

Hi folks,

in my company we had yesterday a meeting to give me some tasks. Because I am a new SM in my company and I think they don't now really what are all his tasks. And the maintask of the SM, is to ensure that the company is using Scrum the right way. We have talked about the tasks, that in the future I should control in the Product Backlog the incoming features, if the description of them are matching a company template for feature description, before they are coming to the Product Owner to meet the Definition of Done. They have to understand that the Product Owner owns the Product Backlog and he is the one describing features. I understand that I can help him in that if he doesn't know how to do it, but I think they are mixing things up. How should I deal with it?

And do you know maybe a good site for example templates of features? Where a good way of describing them is demonstrated?

08:15 am April 22, 2021

As someone who has passed the PSM I & II exams, I would expect you to know what tasks are associated with the SM role, either from the material and teachingy you received from a course or via your self studies which may or may not have included the SM learning path that this site provides. 

Here are some articles that may help you: 

https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/hey-scrum-master-what-are-you-doin…

https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/what-does-scrum-master-do-all-day

https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/scrum-accountability-game-how-eval…

https://www.scrum.org/forum/scrum-forum/6491/scrum-master-joining-exist…

https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/28-characteristics-great-scrum-mas…

https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/scrum-master-qa-fulltime-scrum-mas…

 

09:30 am April 22, 2021

And the maintask of the SM, is to ensure that the company is using Scrum the right way. We have talked about the tasks, that in the future I should control in the Product Backlog the incoming features,

...

How should I deal with it?

Why not point out that a good Scrum Master doesn't control a darned thing, and instead will seek to reveal rather than to resolve.

11:27 am April 22, 2021

IMHO Devil is in the details. If:

  • the intent is honest and you debate how to share operational work, and
  • PO understands that as he may seek help and delegate responsibilities to others, at the end of the day he remains accountable,

then If you, regardless of that you are an SM, see that in your context you can take some of his responsibilities, simply as a co-worker or team member, why not to help each other?

11:44 pm April 22, 2021

This is a where a professional Agile Trainer (somebody who can certify others) comes in. They would need to hold classes for the affected teams, including managers and leaders. Without formal training from a professional trainer, they won't get it. And please ensure that you're getting somebody like a PST and not a contractor Agile "Coach."

03:04 pm April 23, 2021

I think that @Ian Mitchell and @Piotr Górajek are both correct.  @Piotr Górajek illustrates how a Scrum Master can help to resolve something but doesn't that could be an impediment to the Product Owner doing their job.  

However, I really think that the organization has it all wrong.  They don't understand Scrum and the roles within.  If the organization is dictating that you do the pre-screen, it is wrong.  If the Product Owner had asked you to help, it is different.  The organization's dictating that you do this is a strong indicator of command-control.  I wonder if they also said that you had to "run the standup" and "produce burndown charts"?   Because that sounds like what I've seen from other companies that exhibit this kind of behavior.

How do you get them to understand?  Sometimes it helps to have an "external expert" point out where something is being done wrong.  If you are not successful at redirecting the company's understanding of Scrum you may want to follow @Mark Adams advice and advocate for bringing in someone.  

"But you haven't told me how to make them understand."  Yes you are right because I am not in the company to know the full extent of what they do and do not understand.  For this specific purpose you might find some information here about what the Scrum Master and Product Manager roles actually do.  Share that with your company's leadership and then start leading by example.  It isn't going to be easy.  

Good luck.