The Certified Scrum Master is part of the Scrum Team, which in addition to this role consists of a Product Owner and a Development Team.
The mission of the Scrum Master role is to help the team use Scrum properly, it takes care of all parties and strives to comply with the order, rules, and principles of Scrum. Otherwise, there would be chaos, micro-management, the disturbance of the peace of the teams. And all this would lead to a decrease in motivation, defects, difficulty to maintain the product, discrepancies in plans, and, probably, failure in many respects.
This help is similar to the actions of a sports coach, who helps athletes maintain a sports regime and an appropriate level of physical fitness. A good coach creates motivation and at the same time takes care and makes sure that his athletes do not “run away” from strenuous exercise. The powers of the coach are limited. It can’t force you to exercise that you don’t want to do. At the same time, the coach constantly reminds you of your goals and how you set out to achieve them.
The Agile coach has the authority to the extent that the client has allowed him. Roughly the same can be said for the role of Scrum Master, he has powers, but they are given to him by the team, these powers concern Scrum processes, events, rules, ideas.
He acts as a team leader, not a manager. Leads the team to its goals and product goals.
Now I would like to draw attention to how Scrum master serves the other roles in the Scrum team and the organization.
Table of Contents
Scrum Master and Development Team
Protects the Developer Team, removes obstacles that hinder progress, acts as a buffer between the team and all external influences, problems, personalities, and phenomena.
Trains the Team of Developers in self-organization and multifunctionality;
Educates the Team of Developers in organizational environments where Scrum is not yet fully accepted and understood. The scrum master must maintain the motivation, ambition, and focus of the team.
Helps the Developer Team to create high-value products;
Assists in conducting Scrum events when requested or when needed.
Scrum Master and Product Owner
Helps the Scrum Team understand the need for clear and concise elements of the Product Backlog. In simple words, a Product Backlog is a list of all the tasks, ideas, user stories, requirements, defects, and a bunch of other things that come together in one huge collection. This collection is all the necessary work (or at least a large part) that needs to be done to see your product white.
Helps to find techniques for effective management of this list (Product Backlog);
Understands product planning in an empirical environment;
Understands and practices flexibility
Assists in conducting Scrum events when asked or when needed.
Scrum Master and the organization
Plans Scrum implementations within the organization;
Helps employees and stakeholders follow Scrum and empirical product development;
Guides and educates the organization in its perception of Scrum
Initiates changes that increase the productivity of the Scrum Team.
After considering all the above functions of Scrum Master, we can see that its role is very important for an organization that wants to use the Scrum method of work because it helps and seeks to create together with other roles a high-value product. Also, the uniqueness of the Scrum Master role is that its knowledge and skills are at the intersection of several areas: management, personality psychology, group dynamics, facilitation, and, of course, the Scrum framework.
Which is the best Scrum Master certification program online in 2022?
Some of the most popular Scrum Master certification programs are PSM I, PSM II, CSM, and BVOSM.
BVOSM stands for Business Value-Oriented Scrum Master and is an Agile title created by BVOP.org
BVOP combines Scrum with modern project management practices, making this certification program one of the best in 2022.
We present you with a detailed report with which you can prepare for your online certification exam on the BVOP platform.
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.
First I would talk to the Development team, it would be good if all members indicate the reason for such a desire, what problems they encounter in the process of working with the Product Owner, misunderstandings, claims, etc. and do they have any ideas on how we can avoid a negative situation. I would also try to explain to the team that my appointment as a Product Owner and taking over its functions is not a good idea.
The Product Owner role requires special knowledge and skills, it represents the voice of consumers and the desires of stakeholders and businesses. I would also like to point out that I want to continue to concentrate on my Scrum Master functions, to help the team, to motivate it, to be a service leader.
There are examples where product progress and value can be severely damaged if these two roles are taken over by one person. Also, both roles require a lot of time daily, and performing both roles by one person would be particularly difficult. All countries would suffer losses again.
After talking to the team, I would make an appointment with the Product Owner, who should also share his opinion on a situation. And if all parties (Product Owner and Development team) fail to reach some consensus, it makes sense to involve management, because the Scrum team can not function productively if there is no constant contact, transparency, trust, and respect.
After 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.
In my opinion, a meeting should be organized with the members of the Development team who are not on leave, we should discuss what situation we have, whether it is possible to solve the problem in the best possible way. I would also try to contact the Product Owner to ask him how it happened that given that he is on leave, we have an appointment in 2 days. I would remind everyone how important rhythm and compliance with deadlines are, they directly affect the result, budget, image, etc. The Scrum Master cannot make self-initiated decisions and measures, but he is a service leader. Reference: “Free preparation for the Scrum Master certification exam (CSM, PSMI, PSMII, BVOP)”, https://brightonbot.com/preparation-scrum-master-certification-exam/
If, after talking to the Development Team and the Product Owner, it becomes clear that we do not have the opportunity to present current product progress, I would try to reach out to stakeholders who need to attend the progress presentation meeting, I would try to “win time “, I would explain the situation and ask to postpone this meeting for a few days.
Business stakeholders share the view that the product is not progressing as expected.
In my opinion, in this situation, one must first be angry about what specific remarks business stakeholders have, I would try to “reassure” them that we can always find a solution. Then we need to arrange a meeting with the Development Team and the Product Owner to discuss the comments that business stakeholders have, everyone should comment on why we have such a situation, analyze the steps in product development to understand where we can and should make adjustments. In a given situation, I would like to remind Scrum once again that we all take responsibility for the result, that we should not be afraid to express our own opinion even if it is not always “pleasant” for other team members (correct, of course with respect and without negativity) because this is a way to find weaknesses (that lead to Waste), transparency is very important, which is necessary for inspection and adaptation.
You notice that the team spends more and more time in the games and entertainment room in your office.
In this situation for the Scrum Master, it would be useful to turn to the method 5 Whys, you need to consider the reason why the team spends more and more time in the hall with games and entertainment. In my opinion, the team lacks motivation or the work process is not organized properly. In the course of the conversation the scrum master should not be negative about the team, he as a service leader must show that he wants to help find a solution together, to identify problems, that a situation leads to a reduction in the value of products, processes is Waste.
The team members should openly and without worries share what difficulties they have, maybe they want some changes, something does not suit them. The Scrum Master should also consider the situation when, for example, the sprint may be planned in such a way that the team does not have enough tasks and has a lot of free time. Reference: “Free training to prepare for the Scrum Master Certification exam”, https://www.islandjournal.net/scrum-master-certification-exam/
Or another situation. It may make sense to give the sprint tasks to the team in such a way that each member of the team feels that he is doing something useful on his own, that it is his “creation”. This is like the “IKEA effect” (the task must be difficult enough for a person to be proud of the fruits of their labor, and at the same time not too difficult to do so, ie the developers work with set tasks with a clearly defined expected result). Team members believe that the work they do is “their job”, which increases the motivation for further work on the project.
There is a possibility that the team is tired or even in a situation when the management has not rewarded the team with bonuses for a long time, etc.
In my opinion, Scrum Master should analyze all these moments, at the same time reminding the team that Scrum is a very liberal method where everyone can show their skills and this will be appreciated, they can freely express their opinion and suggestions (unlike from Waterfall) that it would be better for everyone if the rules and principles were followed.
Product Owner role
The 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 they will work on and your colleagues are worried about the future of the project.
It seems to me that the Scrum Master needs to clarify the situation. It makes sense to turn to senior management. One of the Scrum Master’s responsibilities is to monitor and remove obstacles to the work process, and once team members are disturbed, he must reassure them. On the other hand, the Scrum Master cannot make self-initiated decisions and measures. Reference: “Best Scrum Master Certifications for 2021 and 2022”, https://eduwiki.me/best-scrum-master-certifications-for-2021-and-2022/
In my opinion, the Product Owner could not go on a business trip on their initiative. This decision was likely made together with management and the client.
In such a situation, the Scrum Master may be powerless to react because the described scenario is related to external parties (clients). Although this idea in itself sounds absurd and shocking, this situation with the Business Owner business trip likely provides some kind of business value, without even anyone suspecting it.
One of the programmers in the team asks the designer for regular adjustments to the visual concepts he offers.
The scrum master as a service leader in this situation should help the programmer and designer to understand and reach a consensus. First, you need to avoid the negative atmosphere, the Scrum Master should remind you that respect and equality are very important, that when making individual decisions, handing out tasks all Scrum principles will gradually be violated.
The scrum master must remind that the interaction of the designer and the programmer is very important for the project, they must find a common language. It is possible that the designer does provide the programmer with visual concepts that need regular adjustments, and this may not be the case. The scrum master must help them find a solution. The main reason for the designer and developer to cooperate is to create a more complete and quality product. After the first tests and checking everything for efficiency, adjustments, and adding something new, the product is always improved and this improvement is possible only if the designer and developer interact with each other.
Training for QA specialists
The 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.
In this situation, I would have a conversation with both the QA specialists and the Product Owner. The members of the Development team know best their skills, knowledge of technology, level of competence. They should have the freedom to choose their technologies and tools for work, through which they can achieve better results. If the QA specialists who test the product intend to integrate additional technologies, tools, and testing procedures, then they have a reason for this.
On the other hand, the Product Owner can also be right, it maintains the Product Backlog, communicates with stakeholders, sets phases and dates for the release of new versions of the product, monitors the progress of work, time and budget.
On the one hand, the Scrum Master (as a service leader) must protect the QA specialists who take the initiative, and on the other hand, the observance of the project deadlines. In this situation, it will be a buffer between the QA specialists and the Product Owner, they together, discussing and analyzing the situation, must decide how to make so that as a result we will have a valuable product. Should we work without additional technologies and tools and leave them for further projects, where deadlines can be planned, or still integrate them, how will all this affect the quality of the product, which is more important, to meet deadlines or quality. After all, in a situation where a product is not tested properly, as a result, it is more likely to be defective, and then the team will lose even more time to eliminate these defects than if they integrate additional technologies and tools.
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 do parts of the interface.
The Scrum Master should talk about the situation with the designer and the programmer, why they decided to exchange part of their work on their initiative. When planning a sprint, all the details are discussed, who does what and how they do it, this provides transparency, which is mandatory according to Scrum’s rules and principles. Such a decision can lead to risks, however, everyone in the team must do what they are sure and competent in. The designer and programmer likely have skills that allow them to be interchangeable, have more than one basic skill, then in this situation, it would still be good to discuss all product decisions with all members of the Development team.
Because, on the other hand, Scrum imposes the idea of freedom of action and independent choice of work, if the other members of the team do not object to this way of working and agree, if in this way the result is improved, then there should be no problem.
In this situation, the Scrum Master should help clarify this situation, whether the members of the Development team mind, whether they find real measurable problems, whether the decision of the designer and programmer really will not lead to risks and reduce the value of the product.
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.
One of the responsibilities of the Scrum Master is to help the team if the team experiences any shortcomings to do its job well and to advance in development (technology, tools, or whatever). Reference: “Certified Senior Scrum Master” by Project Management Academy Ltd, https://pma.bg/sm/
If QA experts believe that the lack of good tools for testing new components can lead to defects, then the Scrum Master should assist. It also makes sense to discuss this situation with the Product Owner, who is responsible for tracking work progress, time, and budget, and with management. Business losses can be much more (if the product is not tested properly, defects appear) than investing in good testing tools.
Cases concerning the Development team
The development team wants to replace a major 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.
The scrum master in this situation should have a conversation with the Development team. It needs to be understood whether it is really necessary to change the main software part of the product. If the team has a reason and is convinced that without this thing they will not be able to develop a quality and valuable product, then the Scrum Master must help, because one of his responsibilities is to help the team if the team has any shortcomings to do its job well. and advance developments (technologies, tools, or whatever).
The scrum master must arrange a meeting with the client to explain all the nuances. Likely, the customer will not be satisfied with this change, however, he pays for the license, then the Scrum Master must be a good politician to make sure that the customer is convinced that the change of the main software part of the product is mandatory of the team to develop a quality product, as a result of which all parties will be satisfied.
The Product Owner role requires the designer to increase communication with the product testing team.
In this situation, the Scrum Master should intervene and make sure that all parties are satisfied and do not interfere with each other and the work as a whole. The scrum master as a service leader should talk to the Product Owner, the designer, and the product testing team. Together they must understand and argue why they have reached such a situation and how they will continue to work. There is a possibility that the Product Owner is right and indeed the product testing team needs to increase communication with the designer, on the other hand, this can lead to waste if team members spend their working time irrationally (no need for additional communication).
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.
The scrum master in this situation must explain to the client that in the Scrum Development Team it is accepted to have between 3 to 9 developers in total. This does not include the Scrum Master and Product Owner roles. We have a situation where the client is not satisfied with the tests, the client has the right to require the team to make changes to solve this problem. But people are already working on the product and if the team grows by 9 more, it will be too big.
This will lead to a situation where everyone will find it difficult to follow the rules and principles of Scrum. Accordingly, there will be a risk of defects, misunderstandings, non-compliance with deadlines, etc. Although the project budget has been increased, this can lead to more significant business losses.
The scrum team should consider how to do this and what professionals should be involved so that the team is no larger than 11 people (along with the Scrum Master and Product Owner role) and at the same time be able to improve product testing.
Senior management and the Scrum framework
The 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.
In this situation, the Scrum Master must be a good politician. If he does not want to move to another team, he likes his job, then he must make every effort to convince the director that this action can lead to negative consequences.
First, if the team is already accustomed to working with this Scrum Master, they understand each other well, its temporary relocation can harm the calm and comfortable atmosphere in the team. Second, to avoid conflicts of interest, the Scrum Master and Product Owner roles mustn’t be taken over by the same person on the Scrum team.
If these two roles are combined by the same person, in one negative scenario, we may have a Product Owner, performing Scrum Master functions, which, however, is focused only on the product and fast work. On the other hand, both roles require a lot of time daily, and performing both roles by one person would be particularly difficult. This leads to many risks.
Maybe it makes sense for the Scrum Master to include the Product Owner role in this conversation, to discuss a situation with him as well. The scrum master must remind that as a team they have a common goal and a common responsibility for the results, they must very carefully consider any change, especially if it can lead to negative consequences.