Showing posts with label Scrum Master. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scrum Master. Show all posts

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Scrum Master - Part Time or Full Time? - Answered!

According to my friend Jeff Sutherland, co-creator of Scrum, Scrum Master is a full time role and here is what he stated in his Scrum Handbook - 

Since Scrum makes visible many impediments and threats to the team’s and Product Owner’s effectiveness, it is important to have an engaged ScrumMaster working energetically to help resolve those issues... Scrum teams should have a dedicated full-time ScrumMaster, although a smaller team might have a team member play this role

Did you get his point? Read this again and focus on the highlighted text above. 

It is a full time role and job both, probably easy to digest for large teams but most would disagree that this is a full time role for an average size scrum team. Going by Jeff's statement above - in a smaller team (6-8 members) a team member may be playing the role of scrum master. Mind it, even in this case, it is a full time role as this member might be involved in coding-testing activities but he would still be spending good time doing servant leader activities as well - like removing impediments, continuous improvement, ensuring scrum is followed, and so on. In a larger team this role gets to spend more time doing all of that and lot more. 

In my experience I have seen a good mix of the following -

- scrum masters supporting more than one scrum teams - team or project compromised? Most likely yes!
- scrum masters involved in tasks not related to scrum or scrum team - compromised? Yes

So think again if you or any of your teams practice part-time scrum master role. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

What is the best way to resolve conflicts in Agile Scrum teams?

Before we discover the best way to conflict resolution - try to answer these questions -
  1. If a team member or some of the team members observe that a particular member is not performing as he/she should who should they talk to about this first? - Product Owner, Scrum Master, Manager or that member?
  2. Who should resolve conflicts in scrum teams? - Scrum Master, Product Owner, Manager, or the team?
Answers to the above questions are 1) member, 2) the team. Did you get you questions right? If not, here is explanation -

There is no role called Manager in scrum, so it has to be one of other three parties - since Scrum teams are self-organizing teams so as first step they are expected to talk to the member they have problem with to resolve any possible issues, conflicts. Important part is 'first step' - if this doesn't work, they may take Scrum Master's help and/or may follow organization escalation process.

So the best way to resolve scrum team conflicts is that team shall discuss about issues within themselves and try to resolve it that way.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

CSM v/s PSM v/s ACP - explained! - updated on 23rd June 2015

Let's understand few of the leading Agile certifications - CSM (Certified Scrum Master), PSM (Professional Scrum Master), ACP (Agile Ceritified Professional), ICP-APM (ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Project Management) - in three easy steps -

1) CSM is from www.scrumalliance.org, PSM from www.scrum.org, and ACP is from www.PMI.org (yes, same organization that offers popular PMP certification), ICP is from another independent organization ICAgile (https://icagile.com)

2) CSM can be equated with PSM (Level1) but none of these two can be equated with ACP - first two are Agile Scrum specific certifications, where as ACP and ICP are more extensive and focus on Agile as whole.

3) CSM - get mandatory training (paid) from www.scrumalliance.org and take exam (free) on their website and you are done (I don't know anyone who has ever failed this exam - so kool!), PSM is slightly difficult, no mandatory trainings - pay exam fee online at www.scrum.org and take exam. As you would know from my earlier point, ACP is the most difficult one to earn. You can learn more about ACP at www.pmi.org, to earn ICP you need to attend a mandatory two day training, no exams though, certification is at discretion of trainer (anyone ever denied a certification thus far?).

Final verdict - as an expert myself, i suggest to go for PMI ACP if you really want a certification that industry cares about. A certification doesn't guarantee you a job or any other award, but it surely is a distinction that stands you apart in this crowded professional world. Good luck!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Is Scrum Master a Project Manager in Agile Scrum?

The straight answer to that would be 'no' - and I guess everyone who has spent 30-40hrs learning Agile Scrum would know this short answer, but let's understand why behind it and that is really important.

OK, lets understand why these two roles are NOT same -
1) Agile teams are self-organizing teams, so if you are PMI Project Management guru (aka PMP) you would know - Project Manager spends lots of time and energy in organizing these resources (developers, testers, analysts etc, and their tasks etc) so by definition, these activities are no more required (to a greater extent), so Scrum Master is not supposed to (and may not even know how to...) do resource management. Scrum Master is like a coach in Scrum Team not manager.

2) Scrum Master (also explained as 'servant-leader' in scrum guides) - is there to do specific job(s) - ensure scrum rules/practices are being followed, remove impediments, (and keep chickens (sounds unfamiliar? - read this) away from team but keep them happy). Project Manager on other hand is assumed to be master of all these - so this is actually similarity between these two roles - but Project Manager is expected to anyways be master of all these (e.g. ensure project management practices are being followed, remove hurdles/blockers, keep chickens happy...), but this role carries lot of other responsibilities as well, than just that.

3) Ever heard of WBS, estimation, gantt charts, critical path analysis? - that's what we don't do in Agile Scrum, but on other hand in waterfall, all these are termed as 'most important tasks for a project manager', and hence a Project Manager is different from Scrum Master. Even estimation is done by developers in consultation with Product Owner, and Scrum Master has little role to play there.

So in nutshell, the role of Project Manager is divided is Agile Scrum, and the tasks are distributed (by nature of Scrum), among all members of Scrum Team.

Further reading - I strongly recommend you to read a short and simple (16 pages) Agile Scrum Guide by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Who updates Burndown Chart?

This is very frequently asked question (usually thrown as one of the options)- who updates Burndown Chart? Product Owner, Scrum Master or Developers or any of these?

Answer: The Developer Team (or say Developers).

Explanation: Since burndown chart is all about the 'remaining work' or 'remaining hours' so developer knows how much work is done and how much if left (and remaining work).

Further, Development Team would also be responsible for updating the work estimates during the Sprint - because of same reason as above - they know it best and can revise estimates (e.g. they raise a question to PO and basis inputs from PO they feel that it would take more effort than expected or remaining).

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Scrum Team v/s Development Team

Lets understand what are Scrum Team and Development Team in three easy steps -

1) Scrum Team consists of three roles - Product Owner, Scrum Master and Developers
2) Every team member (apart from Scrum Master, Product Owner) in Agile Scrum is called a Developer (regrdless of their skills - tester, analyst, architect, SME, etc etc)
3) Group of Developers is referred to as 'Development Team'