About the life of the agile team, relations, Scrumastership, responsibilities and some good practices.
“KEEP CALM SCRUM MASTER IS HERE”
When I started in one of the company’s development team, I had no experience with Scrumastership. The team was already formed and was in the “storming” phase. After coming into the team we reset the teams’ clock and started from the scratch. We were working in some way of Scrum.
As the newbie, I needed some time to be comfortable with the setup and relationships going on. In the beginning, I saw some differences in what is written in the wise books and our practices. The team was great! Enthusiastic, motivated but we were lost. We were supposed to find out our own way of doing our work and we were lucky to have a supportive boss who believed in us and were able to sell the Agile to the organization as first.
Why am I writing this? So many people asked me what am I doing the whole day, every day.
WHAT SCRUMMASTER DOES ALL THE DAY? SCRUMMASTERSHIP!
First I started with the organization of the team events and ceremonies. What does it mean?
Book the meeting room, send out the invitation to scrum team and in case of reviews to stakeholders. I had chosen the way of setting it upfront that everybody who needs to be on those ceremonies will have time and will participate.
The organization is one part of the whole process, later on, comes the preparation of the agenda, topics which need to be discussed and to ensure that responsible person will be part of the meeting to share our thoughts and be heard. Next, preparation of materials and equipment needed for smooth meetings.
I was in the company already for few years, it was my big advantage. The team on daily stand-up mentioned their blockers, impediments or anything that made them some kind of pain. I need to say I was and still am “YES” woman. Good? Not Good? Depends on the perspective of whom you look at it. :)
My role was to remove impediments! Simple “tasks” solved fast, in case of complex problems it took few days. I contacted anyone who was able to help me, even boss if needed. What was the expected result? The development team is able to work without any blockers…
3.IMPROVEMENTS & RESEARCH
Even we thought, we are on a good way, we also had in our heads we can not take it for granted. Constant work on ideas for improvements through Retrospective. It was hard for me to prepare it to get a higher value as it is possible. Started with Retrospective board and Experiment Board which helped us to make it visible for the team and for the organization. To be honest, sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.
Scrum is a framework based on empirical process… learning by doing…TRY, FAIL, IMPROVE.
That’s what I was using and consultancy and research were my BFF (best friends forever). I was not the technician, I spent a lot of time to get to know “our” product. I was reading the documentation and tried to get information with a value that helped me to understand what the team is implementing. Of course, in case I didn’t completely understand or I missed something I was asking the team.
Finding new techniques for ceremonies, new trends in agile or anything helpful for us to try. I made my research.
What about all the time mentioned facilitation? In my opinion, it is a crucial part of this job. It is hard to be quite at the right time and ask when it is needed to open a Pandora’s box. To be the one who starts the discussion regarding requirements or some emotional topic. Help them to be on track, to not waste time with looong discussions with no results, to follow the Agenda and maintain so important time.
Last but not least at the beginning of the meeting set the goal and purpose.
5.BUILD THE RELATIONSHIP
How much easier is to communicate with someone you like? To cooperate with someone you have common hobbies with? Do you prefer coffee with chit-chat and little laugh? Of course YES!
Me too! I am relationship based person :) I had been focusing on building the relationships with every team member. Taking each and everyone as individuality who needs something different. This takes time, patience, lot discussions and liters of the coffee.
We started even jointly plan the trips and activities where we had fun. Gym, beer, dinner, comics, hiking etc. I was happy to wake up every morning, go to work, be with the development team, work on our product together and have fun. The atmosphere we created together was pleasant (not every day :) we are not robots or some sunny people), and we were happy to work in the team.
I thought what else can help us in Scrum. There are useful metrics which can be used for visualization to be transparent and have the clear overview.
Clear overview not only for us but also for product owner and Customer who was not in our office but in a different location, for everybody in the organization who was interested in our work.
We were not ashamed of what we are working on, we were proud and we didn’t want to hide it.
I mentioned at the beginning, my boss. In the whole story, he is an important person! Why?
He was the one who made it possible and even more. Development work is creative work..you supposed to have creative workplace..enough time and someone who cares! He brought a lot of ideas how to improve things, how to make a better place to perform and grow.
We planned and organized different hackathons, conferences and we had focused on different activities that help us to innovate and support our willingness to be the ONE with value.
What I didn’t mention is mentoring and coaching. With each and every step we shaped our way and we mentor and coach our selves.
Everybody had an impact on everybody. :)
BE YOURSELF, DO YOUR BEST, FIND YOUR WAY!