February 19, 2018

Myth:  Scrum Master is a Project Coordinator

The Scrum Master role is a new one and is often misunderstood by teams and organizations implementing Scrum. When I work with organizations, often I see Scrum Masters role is not taken very seriously,

 A frequent response is to make the “leftover people” the Scrum Masters. They might be nice people but often lack the right traits, motivation, and Scrum knowledge to be effective Scrum Masters. They might morph the role into something else, which becomes an accepted “definition “ within the organization as a Scrum Master should be.  So, eventually, that leads to False assumptions about the Scrum Master role. 

After all, the Scrum Master should know if they’re doing things correctly. Unfortunately, sometimes well-meaning Scrum Masters who are new to Scrum or not a good fit for the Scrum Master role cause things to happen that are actually counter to Scrum and detrimental to Scrum adoption, thereby transforming them into anti-Scrum Masters.

 

Scrum guide clearly articulates that,

 

“The Scrum Master’s job is to work with the Scrum Teams and the organization to increase the transparency of the artifacts. This work usually involves learning, convincing, and change. Transparency doesn’t occur overnight, but is a path” 

 

Surviving the Traditional Corporate Culture

Traditional organizations have a project coordinator who coordinates work between teams.  When you adopt Scrum, multi-team coordination is the responsibility of the teams. Many teams are so used to having a coordinator role in doing this type of work, But Scrum Masters enable the teams to do this independently. There are many ways that the Organization's culture may need to change for Scrum teams to thrive. For example, perhaps your organization has a culture of "dictating" and "telling" the teams to do and coordinate their daily activities. 

Often, this starts with some Constraints. But,

Constraints foster Creativity

 Help the teams this way by Introducing Some of the Practices listed,

 

  • Create Team Agreements on Co-ordination Mechanism, e.g., Nexus Daily Scrum. The Nexus Daily Scrum is an event for appropriate representatives from individual Development Teams to inspect the Integrated Increment's current state and identify integration issues, newly discovered cross-team dependencies, or cross-team impacts. For more information on Nexus, please refer: https://www.scrum.org/resources/online-nexus-guide 
  • Introduce teams to each other.
  • Facilitate a discussion only if needed
  • Enhance the Transparency of the teams using Information Radiators (For ex: Dependencies, for the teams to Inspect & Adapt themselves).
  • Teach the teams the purpose of each event and ensure the entire Scrum Team and the Organization understand the purpose.
  • Work with other Scrum Masters in the Organization to improve the effectiveness of the Scrum Implementation.
  • If teams are Distributed, Help the teams by Introducing “Good” practices on Distributed Model.
  • If multiple teams are working on the same backlog, help the teams create mutually accepted “Definition of Done”, which will make their Integrated increments potentially releasable.

Inspect & Adapt!

 

References:

www.scrumguides.org

https://www.scrum.org/resources/nexus-guide