September 6, 2018

PSM II Training: 5 Insights from a Transformational Learning Experience

Anyone who has participated in a Professional Scrum Master (PSM) training knows how powerful the learning experience is.  The course is challenging and helps people discover a deeper understanding of the Scrum framework to enable the benefits of business agility.  With the launch of the Professional Scrum Master II (PSM II) course, we have another transformational learning opportunity for experienced Scrum Masters to level-up their skills and their impact.

I recently had the honor of teaching the first official PSM II course in Mumbai, India with a group of 22 experienced Scrum Masters.  Since I was involved in the process to evolve and launch this course, I already knew its potential.  And these are my observations after seeing this powerful learning experience fully come to life in the classroom.

You really helped me see the Scrum Master role in a new way.  I now see the bigger impact of my role as a servant-leader and how I can be and must be a change agent.”

Many students came up to me after class with variations of the statement above.  In addition, people walked away with concrete actions, stronger alignment to their values and principles, and confidence in their ability to move others beyond the limiting beliefs and impediments in their teams and organizations.

In this post, I will share five powerful insights from my experience teaching the first PSM II course.

5 Powerful Insights from the PSM II Course

#1 - Simple facilitation techniques can unleash the power of many minds.

The first time I saw Liberating Structures in action, I knew they would be a game-changer for teaching Scrum Masters to be more effective in enabling better self-organization and influencing change.

One of the key things Scrum Masters get from this class is experiencing the powerful simplicity of Liberating Structures and learning how they can be used to enable more creativity, generate powerful insights, and move towards actionable solutions.  The original course creators Barry and Christiaan have written a post that will give you a taste of what is possible with Liberating Structures.

#2 - Empathy, understanding, and appreciation are key to influencing others.

There is a lot of talk in the Scrum MAster community about having empathy for people and understanding different perspectives. However, it is easy to get swept up in the drama and busyness of your day.  You likely have a network of people who are already bought into the principles and values of Scrum and agility.  And it’s easy to talk about how other people you work with "just don’t get it."

In this class, you remember what it really means to practice empathy, understanding, and appreciation.  And you experience these not as “soft skills," but rather very difficult skills that make you a better leader.  These skills enable you to challenge the status quo, break through limiting beliefs, and support people in becoming more effective in their roles.

And this is what enables a virtuous cycle of valuable outcomes.

#3 - Focus on valuable outcomes (over output).

In order to navigate the unpredictability and constant change of product development, you must focus on valuable outcomes.  The way to move beyond “mechanical Scrum” is to create better transparency to desired outcomes and actual outcomes.  And then leverage the inspect and adapt feedback loops for continuous improvement.

Because the work is complex, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.  Much depends on context.  A Scrum Master helps shift the focus from traditional measures to more meaningful measures.  Let the outcomes guide you.

Frequent releases, validating assumptions, and measuring the right things are essential to enabling the benefits of Scrum.

#4 - Lead with empiricism.

As a Scrum Master, you don’t need to have the solutions.  You simply need to facilitate empiricism and enable self-organization.  As you grow into the Scrum Master role, empiricism becomes second nature.  You start shifting your stance as a servant-leader

  • from resolving to revealing;
  • from telling to assisted discovery.

The way you make these shifts is through experiencing what it’s like and then intentionally practicing.  The PSM II class helps you experience it.  You get to feel what it is like when there is more transparency and how empowering it is to discover local solutions.

You tap into your own creativity and knowledge, as well as that of your peers, to generate new insights and solutions.

This would not be possible without creating the space for it.

#5 - Space for reflection and generating new insights is essential.

As Scrum Masters, you have an important role in affecting change within your Scrum Teams and outside your Scrum Teams.  You experience a lot of pressure.  There is a lot of activity around you.  And you must be diligent in observation, so you can determine the best action (or non-action) to serve greater outcomes.

This class enables two days of reflection and generating new insights as individuals, in small groups, and with the entire class.  While the training does feel exhausting (becoming the next best version of yourself is hard work!), it is also empowering and energizing.

When you create the time and space for reflection and generating new insights, you are investing in yourselves.  This investment enables you to go back out into the world refreshed and confident.  And you will be better equipped to change the environment of your Scrum Teams for more success and greater business agility.

Summary

The PSM II course is designed to help advancing Scrum Masters kickstart their own transformational journey.  You will walk away knowing Scrum mastery is a journey, and you must be the servant-leaders who light the path and lead by example.  As servant-leaders, you will tap into your collective experience and wisdom, continuing to grow your own skills and abilities to meet the new challenges and opportunities ahead.  The future of Scrum is exciting!

Are you ready to take this step in your Scrum Master journey?  Join me for an upcoming PSM II class.