The 9 qualities of an efficient Scrum Master
« The life of an individual is an accumulation of time. Employees are offering a very important part of their lives to us. If we don’t use their time effectively, we are wasting their lives. »
Askida uses various tools and processes, including Agile methods, to structure development and deliver outstanding software quality to our partners and clients. Every day, our Scrum Masters play an important role in guiding our teams, giving them clear objectives and helping them achieve these goals. The Scrum Masters communicate regularly with the Product Owner, also known as the “PO”, to determine priorities and identify potential challenges and issues to come.
Agile favours a collaborative and iterative approach. By dividing the development cycle in several sprints, Agile methods allow project leaders to measure the overall progression of a project and adjust priorities as development progresses. Ultimately, Agile gives project leaders more control over the development cycle, which allows the team to deliver more value and better software quality.
To deliver a successful project, the Scrum Master has to wear different hats, including those normally associated with project management. In an nutshell, an efficient Scrum Master:
-Identities clearly the priorities of the current sprint and communicates them to the team. To make the priorities visible to everyone, the Scrum Master can, for example, write them on a whiteboard.
-Minimizes distractions and interruptions so that the team can focus on the tasks to accomplish. In other words, the Scrum Master must shield the team from these problems.
-Eliminates obstacles that are preventing the team from moving forward or reaching its full potential. These obstacles can be technical (example: material problems), logistical (example: not enough resources) or related to scheduling (example: too many meetings). If necessary, the Scrum Master doesn’t hesitate to change work culture and habits to obtain better results.
-Develops a relationship of trust with the Product Owner to produce an application that brings tons of functionalities and a lot of value to the client without sacrificing software quality.
-Gets the team to take full ownership of the project by allowing them to share their ideas. The more the team feels involved, the more team members will want the project to succeed.
-Encourages independent communication and information-sharing amongst all members of the team.
Identifies potential personality conflicts and steps in before they can cause bigger problems. If you’d like to read more about potential conflicts that can occur during a project, we recommend the book The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.
Keeps track of various metrics to determine how the project is progressing, forecast delivery dates and file reports.
In other words, the Scrum Master must have a broad skillset. To describe the qualities that a Scrum Master must possess, Geoff Watts, a Scrum expert, developed the acronym RE-TRAINED, which means:
-Resourceful (can come up with creative solutions to concrete problems)
-Enabling (Likes to help others)
-Tactful (can manage human conflicts in a respectful manner)
-Respected (Is treated by and treats the team with respect)
-Alternative (Not afraid to promote new solutions, tools and ideas)
-Inspiring (Creates enthusiasm amongst the team)
-Nurturing (Can help others reach their full potential)
-Empathic (Possesses emotional intelligence)
-Disruptive (Willing to disrupt the statu quo to establish new ways of doing things)
In the end, Agile methods put the emphasis on individuals rather than on the processes themselves. It’s up to the Scrum Master to work with his or her team to implement the best methods according to the team’s strengths and weaknesses. Focusing on the individuals and giving them the tools and resources they need to succeed will go a long way in ensuring that the Scrum Master’s project is ultimately a success.
Are you a Scrum Master? What techniques do you use regularly to ensure that you team delivers quality? Tells us in the comment section below this article!