The certified Scrum Master is a professional who has a certificate for the Scrum framework. This is a logical and simple explanation of this modern professional role in software teams.
The certified Scrum Master must know this methodology perfectly. However, there are still many details and areas of activity that this Agile coach and Guru must apply in their practices. Reference: https://bvop.org/scrummaster/
In this article, we will look at a lot of details and mention many ideas for the Certified Scrum Master.
The certified Scrum Master and the traditional planned consistent development
Scrum and the traditional planned sequential development are suitable for use in different classes of problems by the Certified Scrum Master. Reference: Why do you want to be a certified Scrum Master?, https://www.mmrls.org/why-certified-scrummaster/
Planned processes refer to the development of products as factory production – they avoid variability and promote compliance with a particular process. The problem is that product development is not like product production. In manufacturing, the goal is to take a fixed set of requirements and follow a consistent set of well-understood steps to produce the same finished product (within a certain range of change) each time. In product development, however, the goal is to create something new. This unique product is an analog of a unique process. Reference: The role of the Certified Scrum Master in the Agile organization, https://agileprojectmanagement.home.blog/2020/12/21/the-role-of-the-certified-scrum-master-in-the-agile-organization/
We do not want to develop and create the same product twice. Instead, we want to create a unique recipe for a new product. Some variability is needed to produce a different product each time. Every feature we build in a product is different from any other feature in that product, so we need variability even at this level. With this in mind, some manufacturing concepts are applied to product development and can and should be used. For example, the identification and management of inventories (or work in progress), which is essential for production, is also essential in product development. In essence, however, product development and production are not the same things and as such require very different processes.
Planned – consistent development implies that we will anticipate things from the beginning and that most or all of the product pieces will unite late in the effort. Scrum, on the other hand, is based on iterative and gradual development.
Planning – a consistent development process implies little or no variability in output. It follows a well-defined set of steps and uses only small amounts of feedback at the end of the process. In contrast, Scrum accepts the fact that a certain level of variability is needed in product development to build something new. Scrum also accepts that the process required to create the product is complex and would therefore run counter to a full preliminary definition. It also generates early and frequent feedback to ensure that the right product is built and that the product is built correctly.
Agile professionals add business value to the project
Ensuring transparency of work. Scrum is based on the principles of inspection, adaptation, and transparency. At Scrum, we test and adapt not only what we build, but also how we build it. To do this well, we rely on transparency. All information that is important for the production of the product must be available to the people involved in the process of its creation. Transparency makes it possible to check, which is necessary for subsequent adaptation. Transparency also allows all stakeholders to observe and understand what is happening. This leads to more communication and establishes the trust (both in the process and among team members). Reference: Certified Scrum Master shares best practices, https://projectmanagement.cloudaccess.host/certified-scrum-master-shares-best-practices/
The certified Scrum Master finds a balance between the desire to predict and the need for adaptation
When developing a product, the balance point should be set in a cost-effective way to maximize the amount of ongoing adaptation based on rapid feedback and to minimize the number of preliminary forecasts, while respecting compliance, regulatory and corporate goals. Exactly how this balance is achieved is determined in part by the type of product being built, the degree of uncertainty that exists both in what we want to build and how we want to build it, and the constraints placed on development. The excessive prediction would require us to make many assumptions in the presence of great uncertainty. Excessive adaptability can make us live in a state of constant change, which makes our work feel inefficient and chaotic. For the rapid development of innovative products, we must work in a space where adaptability is balanced only with enough predictions so that we do not fall into chaos. The Scrum frameworks well at this point of balance of order and chaos. Reference: Best Scrum Master Certifications for 2021 and 2022, https://eduwiki.me/best-scrum-master-certifications-for-2021-and-2022/
Reduction of all forms of uncertainty at the same time
Developing new products is a complex undertaking with a high degree of uncertainty. This uncertainty can be divided into two broad categories
Ultimate uncertainty – uncertainty about the characteristics of the final product
Uncertainty of the state – uncertainty about the process and technologies used to develop a product.
In certain environments or with certain products, there may also be customer uncertainty. For example, start-ups can only have assumptions about who will be the actual customers of their products. This uncertainty must be addressed, otherwise, they may create brilliant products, but for the wrong markets.
Traditional successive development processes focus first on eliminating all extreme uncertainties by fully defining in the future what needs to be built. This simple, linear approach to reducing uncertainty is inappropriate for the complex area of product development, where our actions and the environment in which we work are mutually constrained. For example, We decide to build a function. We then show this feature to a customer who, after seeing it, changes their mind about what they want, or realizes that they have not adequately conveyed the details of the feature. We make design changes based on feedback. Reference: What is it like to be a Scrum Master?, https://projectmanagers.edublogs.org/2020/09/14/what-is-it-like-to-be-a-scrum-master/
At Scrum, we don’t limit ourselves to turning completely to one type of uncertainty before turning to the next type. Instead, we take a more holistic approach and focus on reducing all uncertainties at the same time. Of course, at any given time, we can focus more on one type of uncertainty than on another. Coping with many types of uncertainty at the same time is facilitated by iterative and gradual development and is guided by constant scrutiny, adaptation, and transparency.
Practice for adding business value:
Application of the last responsible moment (LRM) method
Planned – consistent development requires that important decisions in areas such as requirements or design be taken, reviewed, and approved within their respective phases. Also, these decisions must be made before we can move on to the next phase, even if these decisions are based on limited knowledge. Scrum argues that we should never make a premature decision, only the general process dictates that now is the time to make it. Instead, when we use Scrum, we prefer a strategy of keeping our options open. This principle is often called the last moment to respond, which means that we delay the commitment and do not make important and irreversible decisions until the last moment to respond. And when is that? When the cost of not making a decision becomes greater than the cost of making a decision. At this point, we make the decision. On the first day of product development, we have the least information about what we do. In each passing day, we learn a little more from development efforts. So we have to wait to make all the most critical and perhaps irreversible decisions until we have more information so we can make a more informed decision. As you gain a better understanding of the decision, the cost of decision-making decreases (the likelihood of making a bad decision decreases due to increasing market or technical certainty). That’s why it’s important to have enough information before committing to a solution.
Adopting the principle of “Accept That You Can’t Get It Right Up Front”
Planning processes not only require full requirements and a complete plan, they also accept that we can “predict” correctly in the future. The reality is that it is very unlikely that we will be able to get all the requirements correct and detailed plans based on them in advance. What is worse is that when the requirements change, we have to modify the basic requirements and make the plans in line with the current reality. Scrum assumes that not all requirements and plans can be obtained in advance. With this principle, it is believed that trying to do this can be dangerous because we are probably missing out on important knowledge, leading to a large number of low-quality requirements.
Adoption of an adaptive/research approach by the Certified Scrum Master
Planned, sequential processes focus on using what is currently known and predicting what is not known. Scrum favors a more adaptive trial-and-error approach based on the correct use of research. Research refers to moments when we decide to acquire knowledge by doing certain activities, such as building a prototype, creating proof of a concept, conducting a study, or experimenting. In other words, when faced with uncertainty, we obtain information by researching. Reference: A certified Scrum Master shares the Daily Scrum event, https://projectmanagement.freesite.host/a-certified-scrum-master-shares-the-daily-scrum-event/
Our tools and technologies have a significant impact on the cost of the survey. Nowadays, it is often cheaper to adapt to user feedback based on building something fast than to invest in trying to anticipate and describe everything in advance. At Scrum, if we have enough knowledge to make an informed, sensible step forward with our decision, we move forward. However, when faced with uncertainty, instead of trying to predict it, we use low-cost research to obtain relevant information that we can then use to make an informed, reasonable step forward with our decision. Feedback from our actions will help us determine if and when we need further research.
When we use sequential development, change is significantly more expensive at a later stage than at the beginning. If we make a mistake during the analysis and find it during the analysis, this is a cheap solution. If the same error is not detected by design, we need to correct not only the incorrect requirement but potentially parts of our design based on the incorrect requirement. Thus, the error continues through each subsequent phase, turning what may have been a small correction error during the analysis into a much larger error to be corrected during testing or operations. To avoid late charges, sequential processes seek to carefully control and minimize any changing requirements or designs, improving the accuracy of predictions about what the system should do or how it should do it. Unfortunately, over-prediction in the earlier stages often has the opposite effect. Not only does this fail to prevent change, but it contributes to delayed changes that can put a strain on the budget. The desire to eliminate costly changes forces us to reinvest in each phase – creating more work than is necessary and practical. We are forced to make important decisions based on assumptions at the beginning of the process before we confirm these assumptions with feedback from our stakeholders. As a result, we produce a large inventory of work products based on these assumptions. This inventory will probably need to be adjusted or discarded later as we confirm our assumptions. Reference: Responsibilities of the Scrum Master role, https://projectmanagers.joomla.com/11-responsibilities-of-the-scrum-master-role.html
Three qualities of the teams – “self-organizing” and “cross-functional”, trained and with good communication.
The certified Scrum Master knows Kanban in detail
Each of you should know the differences between Scrum and Kanban. The differences between Scrum and Kanban are not many, but they are important. At Scrum, we have an iterative way of working and creating a product (Scrum Sprints). Reference: Kanban methodology vs Scrum framework, https://www.libraryofmu.org/kanban-methodology-vs-scrum-framework/ This is an interval of time during which some value must be provided to the customer. These intervals vary between 1 and 4 weeks. During each iteration, different in meaning but equally important events (meetings) are held, in which different topics are discussed, such as:
Daily meeting – each member of the team has time to share with others what they managed to complete the previous day, whether there are any difficulties or obstacles to complete the commitment, as well as share their plans for the day (usually these meetings are made at the beginning of workday)
Planning meeting – planning the tasks that will be included in the next iteration. (Only tasks that have been previously discussed with the team can be included)
Refinement meeting – discussion and evaluation of the time that would take each task present in the Backlog, which is to enter one of the next iterations. Each member of the team must be aware of what the task is. As well as each task to have clearly described Acceptance criteria.
Retrospective meeting – during this meeting the things from the past iteration are discussed (This type of meeting takes place at the end of each iteration). Each of the participants shares what he thinks went well and what needs to be improved. It is then discussed (usually from the column what needs to be improved) what actions should be taken to prevent these problems from being present in the next iterations (Action items), which can then move on to tasks that go into one of the following sprints. Reference: Scrum example team and projects scenarios, https://phron.org/scrum-example-team-and-projects-scenarios/
After each iteration, the taskbar is cleaned (restarted), which ends the corresponding sprint. In case there are still tasks that are not completed, they should move on to the next sprint, where their initial estimate of development time should be changed. Also in Scrum, we have different roles such as Development team, Scrum Master, and Product Owner. Kaizen philosophy suggests participating in meetings by all team members. Managers including. This is why we can compare this Kaizen idea with the Scrum roles meetings. Reference: “Certified Scrum Master vs Professional Scrum Master”, https://wikipedia-lab.org/certified-scrum-master-vs-professional-scrum-master/
While in Kanban things are a little different. In this method of work we do not have iterations, this is an endless process in which the amount of work that can be done simultaneously is purposefully limited. This limitation aims to reduce the number of defects, as well as keep teams more focused, which increases their productivity and reduces the possibility of errors caused by carelessness.
An important clarification is that in both Scrum and Kanban, tasks that are WIP (Work in progress) means a task that has not yet been approved. The workflow can include various stages such as development, testing, pending approval, and in each of these stages, the task must have WIP status.
It is not possible to say which of the two frameworks is better. It all depends on the team that will implement it. Depending on whether the client wants to be involved during the development, if so, perhaps Scrum would be the more appropriate choice for the respective team. Both options are suitable for last-minute changes in customer requirements, which makes them flexible enough. Reference: Project Management and Agile (Scrum) training and certifications, https://www.policymatters.net/project-management-and-agile-scrum-trainings-and-certifications/
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In my opinion, it would be more appropriate for most teams to use Scrum, but before that, we need to meet with the different teams and decide together what would bring more value to the teams and customers.