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What does Cross-Functional really mean for the Scrum Master? 🚀 (66)

September 1, 2022

We started this Scrum foundation series explaining we see four underlying concepts of the Scrum framework. In the past series of mails we covered the three pillars of Empiricism, the Scrum Values and Self-Management.

A self-managing team is taking decisions about who does what, when, and how. This ensures the team can move forward without unnecessary waiting time. If we want to improve on that, and to support the team taking ownership, having the needed skills within the team is another step.

 

👉 Cross-functional, meaning the team internally has all skills needed to successfully complete their goals.

 

Growing cross-functionality = growing skills = raising mastery = higher motivation = higher effectivity.

 

Each team member brings in skills to make the team cross-functional. What are skills expected from the Scrum Master?

 

Reminder: As Scrum Master you are accountable for the team’s effectiveness by enabling this team to improve its practices, within the Scrum framework. You also serve the organisation by learning them which actions are productive and not when interacting with the Scrum Team.

What does this mean with regards to skills?

 

Without even trying to being exhaustive, here are a skills / experiences I would expect the team to use:
 

  • Facilitation: not only for the specific Scrum Events; also facilitating the team to collaborate better.

  • Mentoring: based on your experiences, advise the team which steps to take; based on their and your experiences, find a solution together.

  • Coaching: enable the team to grow based on their strengths, letting them discover new and better ways to achieve their goals. Challenge the team to think, to reflect. Ask powerful questions. Believe that the team has everything they need to solve whatever is in their way.

  • Teaching: passing on your knowledge about the Scrum framework. What are the theories underpinning the framework? What are the values the framework puts forward? How do the events and artifacts enable empiricism?

  • Actively Do Nothing: maybe the most difficult - at least for me it was. Observe the team, understand what is going on, understand that in a lot of situations the teams learns more from running into a problem instead of the Scrum Master saying they need to do something without them understanding what the impact is of them not taking a certain action. Let them learn from their own experiences. Yet be sure it does not jeopardise the team in the long run, preventing them to reach their goals - then you do have to Take Action.

  • You’ll need to be able to actively listen, give feedback, use emotional and social intelligence. You’ll need to be able to explain concepts and convince people to try out other ways of working.

These are just a few examples of skills that are put in action in order to raise the Scrum Team's effectiveness.

 

☝️ It is not a matter of who in the team has the skills, as long as together the team has the skills needed.

 

Summary:

Cross-functional is about having all skills within the team to create value each Sprint.

In order to raise its effectiveness, the Scrum Team needs specific facilitator skills.



Prompt:

Together with your Scrum Team, evaluate which skill improvements the team would benefit from to raise the Scrum Team's effectiveness.

 

Here we are, 66 - already 66!! – short reads further about underlying concepts in Scrum. We started with how each of the Scrum elements supports Transparency, Inspection, and Adaptation; the three pillars of empiricism. Followed by how the Scrum Values support these by raising the trust within the team and with its stakeholders. How each of the Scrum elements can be used to support self-management. And now we covered what it means to have a cross-functional team.
 

💡After this sixth part in the series - Transparency was the first, Inspection the second, Adaptation the third, fourth were the Scrum Values, fifth was cross-functional - I am curious to hear from you what your most important insight is so far.
What have you already changed in your way of working and what was the impact of these? How can we help you further in your agile adventures? Let us know!

 

We hope you will find value in these short messages and if you are looking for more clarifications, feel free to take contact.

 

PS. Next week we'll kick off the part on Done. Watch out for these series.

 

If you want to take a deeper dive into the core concepts we are covering in this blog series, then surely check out our Professional Scrum MasterY workshop. We have some scheduled in the coming period.

 

Don't want to miss any of these blog posts? Have the professional Scrum foundations series weekly in your mailbox.

A Cross-Functional Team and the Scrum Master


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