Make your Scrum Team Sync & Happy

06 Mar, 2008
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I had an opportunity to work as a "Scrum Master" (SM) on one of my last few projects. It was lot of fun with challenges and i had great pleasure on doing it. Thought I would share some few things that i have learned from the team management perspective as a SM.

Well!, if you check the Wikipedia site, you can find the definition for Scrum master as …

Scrum is facilitated by a ScrumMaster, whose primary job is to remove impediments to the ability of the team to deliver the sprint goal. The ScrumMaster is not the leader of the team (as they are self-organizing) but acts as a buffer between the team and any distracting influences. The ScrumMaster ensures that the Scrum process is used as intended. The ScrumMaster is the enforcer of rules and sprints of practice.

According to Scrum checklist book the definition of Team is

The team does everything to win the game – to deliver the product. The team is cross-functional. That means the full know-how to realize the product is located in the team. The team needs to understand the vision and Sprint Goals of the Product Owner in order to deliver potentially shippable product increments.

Few other things that i learned/referred/observed as a Scrum master for the Team were…

  • Trust your team member and delegate the tasks to that person
    Unless you do it, the team member wont feel the responsibility and ownership.
  • Have big ears to listen to them.
    Do you need an explanation for this ? 😉
  • Understand the team member problems in the project
    Dont force them to do some tasks, it wont produce quality output. Understand his/her problem and see how you can help for it and make them feel comfortable before that person picks up that problematic tasks.
  • Sometimes, take them out for lunch.
    How frequent you can go is depends on your company wallet strength though. 🙂
  • If a team member makes a repeated mistakes – talk to him/her directly to the face.
    Dont do backbiting, be bold and straight enough to point the mistakes with facts in-hand.
  • Be open minded and open enough to accepts the mistakes pointed by your team members.
    Yes, this helps you to grow on the right direction as a SM and as a person
  • If you get a chance, watch the Chak de movie.
    Yes, i am not kidding. You will learn so many things about important is team spirit, leadership, patience, power to win, plannings, estimation, team co-ordination and so on.
  • Okay to Good to Great
    While Toyota Way reckons to hire only Talented people, if you happen to have a team member who is not fit enough for the project. Spend bit more time with that person. Have a seperate daily tasklists for that person and gently monitor that person. Dont make that person feel bad about his/her incompetence. Depending on your project timeline, give extra time for him/her to improve further. If you feel you are spending too much time for that person alone, then better get ride of that person from the project.
  • Read Chapter 3 from the book “Agile project managment” by Jim Highsmith
    Jim explains about “building adaptive teams” by Getting the Right people, Articulating the product vision, Encouraging Interaction, Participatory decision making, Insisting on accountability, Streering-Not controlling and Self-disipline.
    Well, i wont say i was able to follow everything, but i did manage to reach some. 🙂

The above were my findings with the experience i have, so if you happen to find something wrong or different, please post it as your comment.

Balaji D Loganathan
Working as a Senior Consultant at Xebia India IT Architects Private Limited, Gurgaon, India.

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