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New Scrum Master trying to Implement Scrum

Last post 05:43 am June 26, 2023 by Adeyombo Adeyeye
5 replies
08:46 am June 10, 2023

I have started my journey as a Scrum Master in a new company with the goal of ensuring that the development teams adhere to the Scrum framework. At the moment I am studying how to be a Scrum Master while also learning about the team's processes.

Currently, our team consists of 3 full-stack developers, 1 Android developer, 3 front-end developers, 1 DevOps developer, 1 business analyst, 1 system administrator, and the CTO, who also acts as the Product Owner.

Essentially, according to my study of the Scrum framework, the team's basic structure involves:
a) The Product Owner who is responsible for the project vision and determining what goes into each app release.

b) The Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring that the development team adheres to Scrum principles and for removing any impediments they face during their work.

c) The development team is responsible for creating the work that will be included in each release.

Let me provide some information about the current roles of the Product Owner and System Administrator to give you a clearer picture of how work is distributed within the team.

The System Administrator is responsible for handling issues in Unisys. They communicate with stakeholders and users, and document their issues as tickets. The System Administrator has two meetings per week with the Product Owner to discuss new issues. The issues are prioritized by the System Administrator, and the Product Owner evaluates and adjusts the priority accordingly.

The Product Owner is responsible for determining what goes into each release. They receive updates on new issues from the System Administrator twice a week, unless it's an urgent matter. The Product Owner recommends solutions, estimates the effort (weight/sizing), adjusts the priority of tickets, and assigns them to developers they believe can complete the tasks. They may also assign other developers to a ticket to gain a better understanding of the issue or to seek their recommendations.

Based on my understanding, work is assigned by the Product Owner to the developers without input from the developers before a ticket is assigned. However, they may provide input after the assignment. The front-end developers receive ticket assignments from both the Product Owner and the Marketing Department.

Currently, I have been tasked by the Product Owner to figure out how to migrate the business users' tickets to Jira while keeping the dev teams' tickets on GitLab. After the business user tickets are separated from the developer tickets I can then start implementing the Scrum framework in the team.

Also the product owner wants the meetings with the Product Owner and System Administrator to be replaced with the Scrum Master and the System Administrator which doesn't makes sense to me.

Based on this information, how would you go about implementing the Scrum framework and what other information should I try to extract to get a better understanding of the team's dynamics?

Any guidance as a scrum master would be greatly appreciated.

05:43 pm June 12, 2023

Best thing would be to either hire experienced Scrum coach (for example people who advertise their courses at who would teach basics of Scrum to everyone involved, or, even better to start learning Scrum by your own, whole Scrum team together(very carefully reading Scrum guide is a first step) and then implementing it as you learn.

What you do now is not Scrum, but that's okay, considering you all are only starting.

Add learning scrum into product backlog and definition of done, and and encourage developers and product owner to always select some learning items into Sprint backlog for upcoming sprints.

Learn from mistakes.


06:56 pm June 12, 2023

You used a lot of scrum terminology but it wasn't used according to the Scrum Guide. For example, the Product Owner does not estimate the size of work, assign work or even decide what will be in the next Sprint.  As you explain it, you are using time based cycles in a waterfall project where one person is in control of the work that everyone does.

I am not sure where you are doing your education on Scrum.  Some of your understandings are vaguely correct but not the implementations.  I would suggest that you read the Scrum Guide multiple times.  It really isn't that long and reading multiple times helps you to connect information that is stated within. 

Currently, I have been tasked by the Product Owner to figure out how to migrate the business users' tickets to Jira while keeping the dev teams' tickets on GitLab. After the business user tickets are separated from the developer tickets I can then start implementing the Scrum framework in the team.

Why is this necessary?  The Product Backlog is expected to hold any work that is needed in order to improve or maintain the Product.  Aren't the Business Users tickets potential work that is needed? And what authority does the Product Owner have to assign you work?  According to the Scrum framework, they do not have this.

I am going to suggest that having a Chief Technical Officer as a Product Owner is probably not a great idea.  The position of CTO has a lot of authority that comes with it.  I could be wrong, especially if this individual is willing to give up that authority and give the Scrum Team the ability to self-organize and self-manage their work to the benefit of the Product. But given the statements you have made, it doesn't seem to be the case. 

As a Scrum Master, it is your responsibility to ensure that everyone in the organization understands and appreciates the Scrum framework, not just the Developers.  I would start with the CTO and help them understand the framework properly.  Find out if they are willing to change the command-control structure in place today to allow Scrum to be effective.  Find out what they expect to see from a change to Scrum.  You may find that all they really want is to use some of the terminology so that they can claim they are Agile.  Agile is not a framework, process or methodology. It is a commercial concept that allows companies to make money by selling products, services, tools that are touted as helping companies.  However, if they really want the company to have the agility to adapt to changes and incrementally deliver products, Scrum might be a good choice for them but only if they are willing to give up the command-control environment they have established.

07:42 pm June 12, 2023

Based on this information, how would you go about implementing the Scrum framework 

You wouldn't. You wouldn't implement Scrum based on those issues you've described. Scrum isn't something to be molded and twisted around what an organization does right now. Instead, the framework is about changing that current reality so very different empirical outcomes can be achieved, each and every Sprint.

Bear in mind also that it isn't your organization to change in the first place. Find out who in the company wants Scrum as it is actually defined in the Scrum Guide. That's what everyone''s understanding of Scrum really ought to be based upon. Find out who wants different outcomes from the ones they are currently getting with the "distribution of work" you have described, and who can create a sense of urgency for the necessary change to happen.

07:56 am June 15, 2023

Good points already mentioned.

Appologies, not trying to be rude. Only from similar questions before, I get the notion the question is, how do I put the team into the scrum box? It seems an attempt to implementing scum by identifying the set of scrum rules, and force them on a team with a traditional command and control project management style. 

I believe one aspect is to have the team part of the discussion. Instead of telling people what to do, tell them what not to do. For example, PO sets up priority on backlog, and team pulls from the backlog. No assigning of tasks.

01:14 pm June 25, 2023

POs are not suppose to assign work to the developers. Developers are suppose to pull work from the Product backlog because the Developers can self manage.

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