New Scrum Master Role questions

Last post 07:31 pm May 23, 2022
by Faeze Gh. Rad
4 replies
08:06 pm May 18, 2022

You have been just hired as a new Scrum Master. The team you’re going to work with doesn’t
have any experience in Agile and is very sceptical about Scrum. They want to focus only on
coding and don’t want to track their progress or attend any meetings. How do you influence and
motivate them to use Scrum?

08:31 pm May 18, 2022

Where is senior leadership and do they really think they can just pass the buck?

09:45 pm May 18, 2022

Why do you want the team to use Scrum?

Instead of starting with a framework that presents solutions, it would probably be a better use of time to understand what problems the team is facing and craft solutions. Depending on what the problems are, Scrum may hold one possible solution. But Scrum is also an incomplete framework, so some problems may not have solutions within the Scrum framework or there may be alternative solutions that are different than what the Scrum Guide proposes.

There's only one practice described in Agile: reflection and improvement. If you need to establish something, establish a way for the team to regularly look at how they are doing and what problems they are facing and work to design and implement solutions. In implementing solutions, you may begin to move toward something that looks like Scrum. However, you may also move toward something that looks like not Scrum. In my experience, demonstrating the ability to solve problems and improve how people work and the quality of their work time goes a long way to building credibility and trust.

04:09 pm May 19, 2022

Before I provide my opinion, your question sounds a lot like some kind of an exam question.  Did you find this on an assessment that you were doing?  And if so, can you provide a link to it?

Now my opinion which starts with questions.

If the team has no interest, who and why is Scrum being forced upon them?  Is the team being ineffective in delivering value to the stakeholders? What problems have been identified that need to be addressed?

I would not try to "motivate and influence them to use Scrum".  As @Ian points out, Scrum is not something that a development team does.  It is something an entire organization is involved in and supports.  As @Thomas points out, Scrum is not the only way to agility.  In my responses in this forum I will often state that "the Scrum Guide does not say anything about ....".  Well in this case I'll point out that the Manifesto for agile software development says nothing about Scrum.  

You have been just hired as a new Scrum Master.

In this case, I would initially focus on asking questions of the person who hired me so that I can better understand why my title is Scrum Master if the team I am going to work with is not using Scrum.  I would ask any other Scrum Masters how effective the organization has been as supporting their teams in the implementation of Scrum. If the rest of the organization is using Scrum, I would want to know why this one team has not been using Scrum.  I would discuss with the development team how they work, why they work that way, and if they feel there are any problems. I would talk to the Product Owner for the team to understand if there is any concern coming from the stakeholders. After gathering knowledge, I would then work directly with the Product Owner and Developers to identify a single thing to focus on in order to help them feel things are improving.  Inspect and adapt as needed to incrementally improve. 

And I would question the motivation of having someone brand new to the organization being the Scrum Master for an existing team that has no desire to use Scrum.  I would think better success would occur from having a new employee work with an existing, well established team and let someone more familiar with the politics and products of the company work with the team that you mentioned. 

09:37 pm May 22, 2022

Thank you @lan @Daniel and @Thomas


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