Agile Development: How to Become a Qualified Scrum Master?

There are three main roles in Scrum agile development:

3 Scrum Roles
3 Scrum Roles

Among them, Scrum Master is one of its important roles. So today we will discuss how to become a qualified Scrum Master.

What is a Scrum Master?

The Scrum Master is considered a project manager in many project developments, which is actually a misunderstanding. At the same time, I often see people who advocate the complete distinction between the Scrum Master and the project manager. I don’t agree with this. In my opinion, although Scrum Master is not a project manager, it still has many project manager functions. So what is the responsibility of the Scrum Master? What can we do to become a qualified Scrum Master?

What is Scrum Master
What is Scrum Master

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The following six aspects are listed for your reference:

Manage the Scrum process

This is the core responsibility of the Scrum Master and the primary responsibility of the Scrum Master that differentiates it from the project manager is that: the Scrum Master needs to maintain the process of each sprint and ensure the Team adhere to the values and best practices, so that the project can be successfully implemented and completed.

First, the Scrum Master is responsible for hosting each meeting during a Sprint, including sprint planning meeting, daily scrum meeting, sprint review meeting, and sprint retrospective meeting.

In addition, Scrum Master needs to help the Product Owner establishes product backlog and sprint backlog, and establish the priority of each of these stories through on-going backlog grooming sessions.

Finally, the Scrum Master also needs to help scrum team clears the obstacles encountered during the development process. The Scrum Master should have a block list to record the problem barriers that Team encountered during development, namely the impediment log. It is managed by the Scrum Master itself and eventually each problem in the list is processed in a timely manner.

Protect the Team

The Scrum Master should protect the Team to the maximum extent possible to ensure that the Team is not disturbed by the outside world, especially the Product Owner. So how does the Scrum Master protect the Team? Under what circumstances does scrum team need protection?

Scrum master protecting team
Scrum master protecting team
  • Avoid Over Commitment

At the beginning of each sprint, the Scrum Master should reasonably commit to the workload based on the Team’s ability and past experience. Don’t blindly and optimistically promise the Product Owner for committing too much of work. Some Scrum Masters may not be able to estimate the ability of the Team, or hope to get the good impression of the boss by overcommitting too much of work, resulting in the Team’s continuous overtime to meet the target of the sprint. The efficiency of the Team is seriously reduced. At the same time, due to the rush of time and rush to deliver, the quality of the project was very low, and eventually a vicious circle was looped.

  • Balanced Workload

A good Scrum Master should know how to “swing” with the Product Owner to get a reasonable workload at this time. The “swing” here is not passive idle work, or intentionally reducing the workload of Team, but to arrange a reasonable workload to enable the Team to achieve maximum efficiency, while not harming Team’s initiative. This is a virtuous circle.

  • Avoid External Disturbance

We all know that changes in requirements are nightmares for every developer, and one of the important reasons for the emergence of agile is to solve this problem and let developers embrace changes. However, you can often encounter that the Product Owner crossing the Scrum Master, directly find the Team and give them orders. At this point, Scrum Master should protect the Team to avoid distraction of work currently doing by the Team. Change in requirements is alright, but it should not interfere with the Team in the sprint process. It can be proposed on daily scrum meeting or sprint plan meeting to negotiate solutions. I think Scrum Master should have a “calf-guarding” spirit for the Team at all times.

Effective communication

Many times Scrum Master acts as a bridge between the stakeholder (boss, Product Owner) and the development team. It’s easy to make people feel that Scrum Master is trying to survive in the cracks, and it’s easy to not bother. Therefore, the importance of communication art is self-evident. How to convince the Product Owner, make the boss satisfied, and let Development Team happy, this is a learning process to acquire such skill.

Effective scrum team communication
Effective scrum team communication

For this, the following points can be used as a reference:

  • Communicate with the boss:

The status and progress of the project should be regularly and timely notified. Don’t wait for the boss to ask for it personally. It can be sent by e-mail through the form. Mainly report progress status, avoid too detailed content; if problems are encountered, they should be reported in time, so that the problems can be taken seriously when they appear, and they will be resolved in time. If you wait until the deadline to post bad news, then give your boss the opportunity to micro-manage of your team.

  • Coordinate with the Team:

The most important point is to lead by example and correct attitude; fully understand the ability of each member of Team to prevent the blind commitment of workload; through the daily scrum meeting, everyone in the Team can clearly understand the latest progress and situation; if you encounter problems focusing on the issue, not the individual.

Check quality

Quality determines the fate of the product. So how to check the quality. In agile practice, the following experience is available for reference:

  1. We should not overly emphasize on the speed, but a reasonable pace of development. That will ensure the quality of the product quality. The Scrum process should be stably completed in each sprint, making the Team form a habit and eventually achieving a good development cadence.
  2. Develop a coding style and stick to code review. The specification of the code is very important, and good code can improve the efficiency of the overall team development and communication. Good code will speak – Code review can be done in pairs, and the code can only be submitted if the review is passed. You can review the code by creating a pull request, and then merge it into the code base.
  3. Write unit tests – The importance of unit testing I think everyone understands, but many people feel that it is painful, troublesome, and takes up development time. With unit testing, your code is a testable code.
  4. Automated testing. Its benefits, needless to say, who uses who knows.
  5. Early integration to get frequent feedback – The advantage of this is that we can get feedback from users in a timely manner, and then bugs can be corrected early.
  6. Finally, I would like to emphasize one sentence: Don’t work overtime, don’t work overtime, and don’t work overtime.
scrum quality check
scrum quality check

Tracking progress

Progress management is another project manager responsibility and also required for the Scrum Master. We have a lot of tools for monitoring the progress of scrum, and it is very effective such as, burndown chart, task manager, excel to-do list, scrum board and etc. However, most of these tools are offered separately for different vendors. Here is one of the most powerful scrum solution that let you manage your entire scrum project – in one canvas, called Scrum Process Canvas:

Scrum Process Canvas
Scrum Process Canvas

Visual Paradigm’s Scrum Process Canvas allow your team to seamlessly navigate the entire scrum process in a single, beautifully designed scrum process canvas. Perform scrum activities quickly, easily and seamlessly. Keep the whole team fully engaged. Our agile software makes agile projects simple and effective.

Team building

Team building is an absolutely indispensable part of project development. Team cohesion has a direct impact on the combat effectiveness of the whole team. Therefore, building a good team is an important mission of every Scrum Master.

So how to effectively build the Team?

  1. An important feature of agile development is the self-organization of the Team. The advantage of team self-organization is that by decentralizing the Team, letting them think independently, design and develop, and not intervene, so that everyone in the Team has a sense of accomplishment, and thus improve the positive initiative of the whole team.
  2. Create a learning team. One way is to share the knowledge within the Team through regular sharing of knowledge within the Team so that everyone can learn new knowledge and gradually grow the Team.
    For example, at 4 p.m. every Friday, you can use an hour to give a knowledge lecture to the Team members. In this way, everyone’s enthusiasm will become very high. The content that can be agreed to share is not necessarily technical, but also entertainment, as long as you are interested. The advantage of this method is that it not only improves the Team’s technical ability, but also makes it easier for the Team to communicate with each other, so as to enhance the Team’s cohesion and combat effectiveness.
  3. Finally, one of the most effective ways to improve the Team is to use a word: “eat” This is a good time to win over the foodies. Of course, this requires funds, but there will always be methods, you know 😉
About Visual Paradigm
Visual Paradigm help organizations stay competitive and responsive to change faster and better in today’s fast changing environment. Our award-winning products are trusted by over 320,000 users in companies ranging from small business, consultants, to blue chip organizations, universities and government units across the globe. It enables organizations to improve business and IT agility and foster innovation through popular open standards and process frameworks.Visual Paradigm, a killer Agile feature in 2018, introduced Scrum Process Canvas for automating the way a Scrum team to create, manage and deploy software application that empowers the team to continuously improve their performance at unprecedented speed and scale.

Manage the Entire Scrum Process in One Page

  • Automate the Scrum Framework in a fun and enjoyable dashboard with eye-catching updated status.
  • Manage Backlog, Multiple Sprints of different Scrum Roles with a single-page visually executable canvas
  • Allow instantly access, review and generate scrum artifacts and related documents to be archived in the Shared Cabinet
  • Automate the Scrum events and related activities with self-explanatory instructions, samples and required document templates.

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