The role of a Scrum Master is very important in project management.
1. If you have not discussed this with the team, please do not make any promises on behalf of the team.
As a Scrum Master, you have no right to accept changes in requirements on behalf of the team even though you can be absolutely sure that the team can handle it. You can answer like this “I need to communicate with the team before confirming whether it is feasible.”
At the same time, you can’t promise any delivery date or anything else without consulting the team. You may not have to hold a full meeting every time to communicate with everyone. In some cases, some members of the team can make decisions after communication. But it’s still the team’s decision, not your decision.
2. Don’t use the Agile rulebook to attack the team.
Neither Scrum nor Agile comes with a rulebook (although some people try to create one). If your product has users, consider writing user stories. But stories are not necessary. If someone needs to know when you will deliver, please estimate. If no one wants to know, you don’t need to estimate. If you think it’s too late to review Sprint at the end of Sprint, please review it when each function is developed.
3. Nothing is eternal, so please verify your process.
One aspect of respecting agility principles is to validate your process. Encourage the team to try new things. Does your team like the two-week sprint and think it’s perfect? If so, it’s great. Now let them try a week or three-week Sprint and observe the results. Experiments may not always be popular, but they are the best way to ensure that you continue to discover better ways to work.
4. Protect the team in every way.
The Scrum Master needs to protect the team from being influenced by demanding product owners or stakeholders. This is the advice we often hear from Scrum Master, this is good advice. Sometimes, the product owner is very powerful and simply asks for faster and more. This will force the team to sacrifice quality and end up haunting the project. Therefore, a good Scrum Master can protect the team from this.
However, you may not know that a good Scrum Master should also prevent the team from falling into complacency. A good Scrum team will constantly seek improvement. Some teams may unconsciously think that they are good enough, and they may indeed have made significant progress than before. But even the best team often has a chance to get better. An excellent Scrum Master protects the team and does not make them feel that there is nothing to learn.
5. Remove failure from your vocabulary.
I occasionally meet some teams, if they fail to deliver all the work they planned at the end of the Sprint, they will call this Sprint a “failed Sprint”. I don’t think this is a failure, especially if the team has completed most of the planned items, or they have handled the emergency smartly.
When a basketball player throws the ball to the basket and scores, it is called Field Goals. If the player misses a shot, this is called a Field Goals Attempt. This is not a failure, but an attempt.
A good Scrum Master helps the team adjust their thinking so that they realize that failing to meet the expected Sprint is not a failure but an attempt.
6. Encourage the team to take over your work.
Teams that are not familiar with Agile will rely on their Scrum Master or coach. The team may not know how to complete the daily standup meeting in fifteen minutes, or they may not understand how to work in a staggered manner and the importance of building a cross-functional team.
No matter how good agile teams are, I think they can still benefit from coaching from Scrum Masters. However, good Agile teams will learn more actively to master the skills required for product development.
7. Shut up and listen.
In many cases, listening and keeping silent is the best counseling, allowing the team to find the answer by themselves. This can be difficult. When you see that your team is trying to figure out what to do, you naturally want to interject and provide suggestions. But if you solve the problem, or easily provide suggestions, team members will wait for you to solve every problem for them.
But as a good Scrum Master, you need to help the team learn how to solve problems on their own. If you solve every problem faced by team members, they won’t have a chance to know if they can do it on their own, and whether they can fix them by themselves.
The above are a few suggestions for Scrum Master.