I hope whoever has spent sometime as a Scrum Master would agree that no matter how thankless the job and role may be, it gives you an immense sense of satisfaction of bringing in a positive change. I also believe that whoever has lived this role would have seen that to become a successful Scrum Master you just don’t need to wear multiple hats but you also need to be an avid reader and work on your inter-personal skills more often than anyone else.
When it comes to Scrum Master related reading, I believe most Scrum Masters would have read the book “Scrum Mastery” by Geoff Watts; if not read they might have atleast heard about it. If you are a Scrum Master reading this post and you haven’t heard about the book or haven’t read it; then I strongly recommend that you grab a copy of the book for yourself.
What I am about to share is nothing but an important learning from the book. Geoff Watts gives a wonderful message through his book – in the journey of becoming a great Scrum Master from a good Scrum Master, what one needs is belief.
B-Believe: One of the 12 principles of manifesto for agile software development says –
Build projects around motivated individuals.Give them the support and environment they need and trust them to get the job done.
As a Scrum Master, one has to believe in the capabilities of the team members, give them a safe environment to experiment and explore and nurture a culture of relentless improvement. The Scrum Master has to believe that the team is capable of doing great things. If the expectations are set high, performance tends to increase.
E-Enquire: One person cannot have all the information or knowledge possible; that is why we work in teams. Remember collective wisdom is always more than that of an individual. Always, enquire from the team not to understand to resolve the teams challenges but enquire to help the team to understand so that they are capable of solving their problems.
L-Listen: As a Scrum Master, one needs to be a good listener. One has to listen not just to what is being said but also all the unsaid aspects. One needs to listen with empathy, ensuring that the team members know that they are being heard, their challenges are being understood. Listen to respond and not to reply.
I-Illuminate: The Scrum Master is like the light house on the coast of the sea. Standing at the shore, looking out, observing and illuminating the path so that ships can find their way back. Just like the light house, a Scrum Master has to be an observer for the team. The Scrum Master should then share these observations with the team, illuminate them and bring them back on the right path of self-organization, alignment and value delivery.
E-Encourage: As a Scrum Master, one should remember that only change is constant. And in today’s ever changing market dynamics and the complex environments in which we operate, it is more true than anything else. The Scrum Master needs to encourage the team members to accept this fact and prepare themselves for a journey of relentless improvement, exploration and experimentation; where with each passing sprint/iteration the team becomes better than it was before.
F-Facilitate: One of the eminent psychologists once said – We cannot teach another person directly. We can only facilitate his/her learning. One of the many hats that a Scrum Master wears is that of a facilitator. Scrum Master is not a problem solver or decision maker. He/She has to facilitate the team in solving their problems, making their decisions by providing them a safe environment to collaborate, experiment and explore without the fear of failures.
So Scrum Masters, on your journey to become great from good have belief.