The Ideal Scrum Master (Part 2)

from on 01.11.2016
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In part 1 of this blog post I have shared some of the insights from a session I hosted at the agile unconference in Zürich on November 4th 2015 with Peter Stevens.
As a reminder the mission of the Scrum Master is
– to make the team perform and develop continuously
– to be a guardian of the values of scrum
In order to achieve this the Scrum Master dedicates and acts as a catalyst, a gardener or an un-manager.
 
In this article I want to present some insights from the sports world your scrum masters can learn on their way from good to great.
There are a lot of parallels with the role of the trainer in a sports team:

Observation and reflection:

The trainer of any serious team observes the behavior of the players during the game from out of the field. He uses these observations to give (almost) immediate feedback to the players in order to guarantee the collaboration and the discipline required for the mission in this case winning the game.
He makes the team aware of what they do not realize by themselves in the action of the game. He criticizes them where appropriate and challenges them to get out of their comfort zone to achieve greater results.

Adaption :

She will point out things that are not working in the game and propose alternative strategies to overcome the problems encountered. A difference worth noting is that the emphasis of the Scrum Master is on proposing not imposing where a trainer will more likely decide. Here I believe that in some exceptional cases the Scrum Master has the right to enforce a strategy in order to challenge a status quo.

Teaching the techniques :

The trainer spends most of it’s time helping the team acquire the techniques of the game and the automatism of collaboration between the various players. This is part of the scrum master’s responsibilities too. Obviously he focus on the principles of agile and lean (e.g. focus, limit work in progress, fast feedback,…) and encourage the team to “train” on the technical aspects of their job in order to continuously improve the outcome of their work.

Dedication :

All of these points require dedication to the team:  the better you get the harder it gets to improve and reach the next summits. When a team reaches the next higher league or qualifies for the champions league they do not make their trainer part time on the premise that the team has got more mature but rather add a couple more personal trainers and coaches to reach the next goal.
In conclusion, looking at your scrum master as your trainer and team coach will hopefully open you the doors to the next league of product development.
I will hopefully see you on the next agile unconference in Zürich coming soon on November 4th 2016 to discuss further.
 
Thanks to Daniel Tobler for its inputs to the article and to all the participants of the Session at the conference especially to Peter Stevens for it’s contribution to the moderation.
 

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