Scrum Master and their relationship with the team and stakeholders

The Scrum Master role is one of three roles in the Scrum framework. Without Scrum Master, we can say that Scrum is impossible.

Nowadays, the business environment is becoming more dynamic and the customer’s needs are changing extremely fast. Even for large and proven corporations, it is a real challenge to respond adequately. For this to happen, they must be flexible and adaptable.

To reach consumers more easily and to make them as easy as possible and add value to their services and products, they need to implement such flexible (Agile) processes. Scrum should be chosen for each company.

This framework, helps teams work together and in sync to achieve a common goal. It encourages them to learn from experience, to organize themselves in solving problems, and to constantly improve the quality of the appropriate way to make it happen.

One of the most flexible and successful product frames. For this to happen, a role is needed that successfully integrates and protects scrum practices in the project. The Scrum Master is the backbone of any Scrum project.

The functions of the Scrum Master role are:

  • Implements Scrum principles
  • Improves team collaboration and encourages self-organization
  • To change the overall attitude towards a more flexible way of thinking
  • Ensures the smooth running of the Agile implementation process
  • Plan and implement steps to increase team productivity
  • To improve the effectiveness of methodologies
  • To remove obstacles that have arisen in the process of work
  • To protect the team from outside interference
  • Supporting and organizing Scrum events
  • Collaboration with the Product Owner role
  • Train and guide the participants in the project in the spirit of Scrum

Scrum Master Certification

Scrum Master certification is a process of validating the knowledge of the Scrum Master role in the principles and best practices of Scrum. Usually the Scrum Master document is obtained after passing an exam. Popular Scrum Master certification organizations are Scrum.org, BVOP.org and the titles PSM, CSM and BVOSM.

Usefull Resources for Scrum Master certification exam preparation

Sample problem situations and reactions from the Scrum Master role

The development team shares your idea that they want to nominate you for a Product Owner appointment and take over its functions, and for the Product Owner assigned to your team to go to another team and have no contact with it.

Scrum Master: I will have a more in-depth conversation to find out the reasons for this desire on the part of the team. If all are found, a way can be found to solve this problem. The main thing to work on is fixing the problem, not a temporary solution like relocating the Product owner.

In 2 days you have a meeting to present the current progress of the product. Your Product Owner role and most of the Development team are on leave for another 5 days.

Scrum Master: Even going on holiday with a sufficiently organized and responsible team should not bring negatives to the project. If I have preliminary information that they will be on leave, I will ask them to make sure that they have taken the necessary measures to clear their tasks according to plan beforehand and to plan their vacations wisely so that there are no disturbances.
If I do not have such information, I will contact them and ask them to take time to a home office to provide me with the necessary information and to inform me promptly if there will be any delay.
Concerning the Product owner, as he represents the stakeholders, I will ask him to get involved online. If this is not possible, we may request a postponement of the meeting. Reference: “When to use the Scrum framework in your projects“, https://www.muzonet.com/when-to-use-the-scrum-framework-in-your-projects/

Business stakeholders share the view that the product is not progressing as expected.

Scrum Master: If I see any specific reasons for this (for example, lack of commitment from the Development team / Product owner) I will share my observations with them and ask them to take measures to avoid more serious shocks in the project dissatisfaction with stakeholders. And this can be detrimental to the project and the company’s image. The main thing that every humble team strives for is to add value to their product and keep stakeholders happy. I will ask what they think is the problem and whether they need outside intervention and assistance.
If my observations show that stakeholders’ expectations regarding implementation are unrealistic, I will ask the Product Owner to discuss the details with them and, if there is a need to change the requirements, do so.

You notice that the team spends more and more time in the games and entertainment hall in your office.

Scrum Master: The idea is for the team to do their project work efficiently enough. If the sprint shows that they are progressing at a good pace, spending time in the games room should not be considered a problem. What I can offer them, if they have extra free time, is to start working on one of the secondary tasks to facilitate their work in the next sprints. Reference: “Scrum Master explains the roles to colleagues in the Scrum project“, https://securityinformationeventmanagement.com/scrum-master-explains-the-roles-to-colleagues/

Product Owner role in your team goes on a business trip for 2 months in one of your customer support centers. No one has made any plans, no comments. The client has not shared anything more, the Development team does not know what it will work on and your colleagues are worried about the future of the project.

Scrum Master: One of the main tasks of the Product Owner is to prioritize and write user stories for upcoming sprints. If they are not available, work on the project cannot begin. I will talk to the Product owner and ask for clarity on whether the team will be given tasks to work on. And if not, whether stakeholders are aware that this will lead to delays and whether they agree. If the purpose of this visit is to better understand the client’s needs and it is necessary, is there a possibility for the team to work on tasks for this project at all or will it be free to work on other projects in the next two months until the details are clarified? Reference: “Why do you want to be a Scrum Master?”, https://ossalumni.org/why-do-you-want-to-be-a-scrum-master/

One of the programmers in the team asks the designer for regular adjustments to the visual concepts he offers.

Scrum Master: Ultimately, they must meet the admission criteria and more attempts may be needed until this happens. It is also important to offer a finished product in which all the components correspond to each other, and in fact, this communication between the programmer and the designer is very valuable. You have to be patient to get a product with higher added value.

Scrum Master: QA specialists on your product testing team plan to integrate additional technologies, tools, and testing procedures. According to the product owner, this will double the work and the progress after the sprints will decrease.

The pros and cons of both cases need to be weighed. Is this delay in the integration of new technologies acceptable and cost-effective, will it improve performance and guarantee a better product? It is a good idea to discuss a meeting with the Product Owner, where QA and other team members can argue why they think this integration is necessary and how it will add value to the project. As well as the Product owner to give reasons why he thinks that the progress after the sprints will decrease. If necessary, before making a final decision, contact the interested parties for confirmation. Reference: “Scrum Master instead of project manager”, https://60yearsnato.info/scrum-master-instead-of-project-manager/

The designer and the programmer have decided to exchange part of their work on their initiative. The designer will take on some of the easy programming tasks, and the programmer will make parts of the interface.

Scrum Master: Self-organization within the team allows such casts to be made if all members agree and think it would help make the work smoother. For this purpose, however, both must be qualified for the work they will perform. If the programmer is more experienced than the designer and can take on his more complex tasks, then this is an option to not stop working during the sprint.

QA specialists want you to assign them good testing tools for the next sprints, as you will already be developing new components that require a different type of test.

Scrum Master: This must be agreed upon with the Product Owner. The team must have the necessary resources for the quality performance of their tasks and I would help them to make this happen as soon as possible so as not to hinder the work on the site.

The development team wants to replace the main software part of your product. We currently use the paid Enterprise popular environment. The license is paid by your customer, who does not think that the cost is a problem.

Scrum Master: It is necessary to determine the reasons for this desire of the team and whether they are justified, the current product or limits reached, who will maintain after the change and how much it will cost, what will be the effect on the project and whether it is acceptable to the customer in terms of security and use (if the customer works directly with him). If the current version works, there is no reason to change it.

References

The Product Owner role wants the designer to increase communication with the product testing team.

Scrum Master: Here again we need to understand what the reasons are, what the expected result is, and the opinion of the team. It is necessary to clarify what are the motives of the Product Owner, is there a problem with testing the UI, are there any bugs after the release, and how much?

Your client is not happy with the tests and wants to urgently increase the number of QA specialists in your team, with an additional 6 people as soon as possible. He wants three more senior programmers to join the team by the end of the week. The project budget has been increased accordingly.

Scrum Master: Here it is important to determine the cause of the dissatisfaction – whether it is insufficient QA or testing technology. Together, the product owner must discuss with whom the right move is – whether to invest in increasing the team or improving the technology and, accordingly, to provide the necessary information to the customer to make the right decision. Because it is possible that the increase of the team and the accompanying increase in the cost will not solve the problem.

Your director wants you to move temporarily, for about a month, to another team. He has discussed moving your role with the Product Owner, who will take over the Scrum Master function in a month, as he said he has time for that.

Scrum Master: This can be a double-edged sword and depends on the Product Owner and the attitude of the teams towards it. In principle, it is possible to combine the functions as long as it does not harm the project.

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