A Scrum Master’s organizational focus
In the final part of my ‘What does a Scrum Master do all day?!’ series, I focus on the organizational impact a Scrum Master can – or should – have. Although you have – or will have – the necessary Scrum knowledge to do your job, many other teams and colleagues will be new to the Scrum philosophy. That’s where you can step in again.
Sharing your knowledge will be a fun and essential task for you – if I speak for myself at least. Let’s find out how you can become your organization’s Center of Scrum Excellence.
14 October 2023
As noted above, the final element of a Scrum Master’s responsibilities lies within the entire organization you’re working at. As a Scrum expert, you’ll have the knowledge, and responsibility, to make other teams and departments in the organization understand the basics of Scrum.
You can take a proactive role in sharing Scrum knowledge, teaching and supporting other teams with practical knowledge, helping fellow Scrum Masters, and explaining the basics to leadership teams. Let’s dive deeper into what I mean by that.
Teach leadership how Agile changes their accountability
Working with Scrum impacts everyone: not only your team members but also the different management and leadership teams.
As we want teams to self-manage in Scrum, many managers will wonder what their new role will be in this Scrum environment that they don’t know yet. As a Scrum Master, you can help them by understanding and identifying the changes in their role and explaining how the team dynamics work.
Teach Scrum within the organization
A Scrum Team can perfectly ‘scrum’ by themselves but there are also many dependencies with other business units or teams throughout the organization. It will greatly benefit you and your team when these stakeholders also understand the principles of Scrum. As a Scrum Master, you can help them by explaining what Scrum is and what that means for them.
Also, when new teams start applying Scrum, a Scrum Master who already works in the organization is in the front seat to explain how Scrum is used within your organization.
Support Scrum Masters with their Sprint Retrospective
When you are in an organization with multiple Scrum Masters, you can help each other out by facilitating a Sprint Retrospective for each other’s team. The Scrum Master can then also become a participant and not just the facilitator, which can lead to different perspectives.
Of course, you can also ask your Developers or Developers of a different team to facilitate a Sprint Retrospective. However, it’s in a Scrum Master’s DNA to facilitate that and Developers would need to be part of the Sprint Retrospective, so it would be the better option to take the lead there.
Organize a Scrum Master knowledge-sharing session or community
Once you have multiple Scrum Masters in your organization, you can use their knowledge to become better Scrum Masters. Organize Scrum Master knowledge sessions within the organization, or take part in them if those already exist. These sessions are often referred to as Chapters or Communities of Practices and help bring the organization’s overall Scrum knowledge to a higher level.
Bring your and your organization’s overall Scrum knowledge to a higher level by frequently sharing knowledge.
Review or compose the Scrum Master vacancy with HR
With the ever-growing demand for Scrum Masters, your organization might be looking for Scrum Masters on a regular basis. Only you and your fellow Scrum Masters know what the activities are and what could convince a Scrum Master to join your organization. Therefore, supporting HR with a job or vacancy description will benefit both you and your organization. Happy hunting!
Join external communities
One of Xebia’s principles is ‘Sharing Knowledge’, and it’s a vital part of our DNA. That’s why we’re eager to join external communities as it’s a great opportunity for exchanging real-life experiences. There are many external Scrum communities to share knowledge and gain practical insights from like-minded ‘scrummers’.
For instance, I’m part of NL Scrum, an active Scrum community. We organize MeetUps with interesting speakers and discuss different topics like aiming for diverse representation in Scrum, scaling your Scrum practices, using Scrum Values, using non-verbal behavior knowledge, and that list goes on and on.
When you’ve experienced something interesting, learned something great, or failed miserably, why not present a talk yourself?
Have talks with other departments
As mentioned earlier in this chapter, your organization will have to adjust to working Agile, which means that other departments will need guidance on how to incorporate Agile in their work.
One of the organizations I worked at, for example, wanted to get more insight – and control – into how to finance teams in an Agile environment. A Scrum Master can support those other departments in their fields, such as Agile contracting, by involving them in things like security and operations from the start, not when the shit hits the fan.
Define approval processes or evaluation moments with HR
Traditional evaluation processes run once a year but that seems unfit for Scrum Teams. Since we thrive on continuous feedback in our normal way of working – not only feedback on the product but also on teamwork, team members, and our own progress as employees – you should have a talk with HR to redefine the processes and organize regular feedback rounds.
Never get bored as a Scrum Master
Now, let’s discuss the final conclusion(s). While a Scrum Master is often seen as an important part of the Scrum Team, people are often not aware of the many other tasks a Scrum Master might have. As the heart of your Scrum team, your reach goes much further than only that team. You have the knowledge and tools to teach others, share your hands-on experience within the organization, and support peers and colleagues.
As I told you in the overview article, the starting point of the ‘What does a Scrum Master do all day?!’ blog series, your days as a Scrum Master will never be boring or repetitive! Your interaction with different roles in the team, with other teams in the organization, and with colleagues from all levels in your organization, truly makes this a job for a people person.
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