Process Champion, Facilitator, Buddy, Coach, Mentor, Ear to listen to, Shoulder to cry upon, The friend you can confess with, The non-judgmental listening box, the savior, the rescuer and more…
Well, if you combine all these adjectives , what you get is your Ideal Scrum Master.. but..
but but.. nothing in this world is IDEAL not your wife or husband , girlfriend or boyfriend … and the checklist to find one is something like this :D…
But this is what gets your there, yes, right there up to the top.. but then the question arises, how do we take those first steps to become that ideal one?
Well, unfortunately, no institute or certification can guarantee you to be perfect in your work as a Scrum Master and be able to handle every single situation. But, for sure, these are things that can be learned, imbibed and practiced.
So, let’s start this journey. TBH, there is no one good place to start, you can go in any order you want but make sure you learn and practice as much:
Scrum Master as a facilitator:
By definition, facilitation means to make an action or a process easy or easier.
So , here you are not an expert but much rather helping your Scrum team, your unit, your management complete the processes in an easy way. This could be a sprint planning event or that difficult meeting with the client or conflict resolution between two team members, you are helping the team go through those seamlessly by calling for the meeting, identifying the right agenda and people, identifying a suitable place and ensuring that the event goes on smoothly and the event goal is reached. You may actually feel like Doraemon, and rightly so…
There are many facilitation techniques that you should be aware of here including effective listening , non verbal communication, visual facilitation, facilitated conversations and more and it’s important for Scrum Master to learn as many of these to help the team
Scrum Master as a teacher:
A teacher is the one who shares his knowledge with those who listen and want to learn. It require skills, attention , preparation, practice and patience.
Imagine being on a stage, with 800 eyes focusing on every move that you make, every word that you say, every expression that you give. If you cannot engage your audience and they sleep mid-way through your play, you have lost the plot.
As someone who is expected to know Scrum framework and Agile philosophy in and out, you would be expected to teach Scrum to your team, your business stakeholders, your customers et al. So, it’s time to tighten your seat belts and practice as much as you can.
Scrum Master as a coach:
This is where it gets more interesting. As a coach, you may not answer all the questions but you are there to help them find the answers.
Yes, that’s where it gets difficult too.
To keep your mouth shut, to help them learn.
It’s easy to jump in and be the shining knight in the armor and solve all the problems of your team, but for the team to be self organized, it is important that you ask them the right questions, so they can discover solutions by themselves . Yes, they would hem and haw and fail occasionally, but that’s part of the learning process the team has to undergo to be in-charge of their own destiny and be truly self-managed.
There is so much material available on the web today about how to become a good coach , there are so many instant potion classes which claim to make you a coach in three days; but, to me, it’s truly a journey, where you discover yourself too as you help your team
Scrum Master as a mentor and guide:
Mentoring is the longest engagement out of all the above. This requires that you are invested both in the outcomes as well as the process. You are there with your team and team members, almost through the lifetime.
This is where you are helping them identify their team and personal goals and helping them as a teacher, facilitator or a coach at every step to help them reach those goals. So, it requires patience and perseverance and yes, true Agility (Responding to change over following a plan).
Ok, to summarize, you are almost like a parent to your team. Being there for them , always, in many forms, many situations and many ways.
Enough of reading…
Now, go figure out and make a plan how you are going to put all of the above in action from tomorrow morning 😀