#1 – Is my team healthy? Team health can be quite subjective so this question should be answered by looking for the typical dysfunctional team “smells.” These smells usually manifest themselves with minimal laughter and celebration, constant long hours to complete sprints, lengthy and wandering daily scrums, story hangover from sprint to sprint, consistent lateness to meetings, and a general lack of camaraderie and team togetherness. Ultimately, being able to quickly identify and adjust to these team “smells” are the difference between a mediocre Scrum Master and a good (or great) Scrum Master.
#2 – Is my product owner happy? Happiness is also quite subjective so how can you tell if a product owner is really happy? Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Ask them.
- Ensure they have a firm understanding of your Scrum process and what is expected of them.
- Put your team in a position to reduce sprint hangover to as close to zero as humanly possible.
- Perhaps use a Niko-niko calendar.
- Be active, present, and a real partner to them.
- Be extremely positive. When thing go bad (and they will), you are the one who will keep the team in a positive frame of mind and believing in themselves and the process.
#3 – Are my retrospectives driving change within the team and organization? If the time spent in your retrospectives does not translate to actionable movement by your team or organization then you are wasting time. Continually challenge yourself to make these sessions the most valuable meetings your team will ever have. Pull out all the creative stops to keep this meeting from becoming dull and uneventful. I would argue that nothing is more important to a Scrum Master than hearing from the team about what is working and what is not – and it happens in this meeting.
#4 – Am I doing everything possible for my team? (alternatively, how can I better serve my team?) Start every day with this one and go out of your way to make your team as productive as possible or at the very least, feel special. Focus on the little things (food, comfort, and environment) and work up from there. People can work anywhere they want in this wide world and they have chosen to work with your organization…so make it a meaningful and worthwhile experience for them.