Becoming an Indispensable Scrum Master in 2013

At the beginning of last year, I posted Three Resolutions for Scrum Masters to bring in 2012. For 2013, let’s go beyond resolutions and emphasize how you can leverage your Scrum Master role to become an indispensable person on your team throughout the year.

Focus on Building Community. I recently wrote about how we should focus on building incredible, healthy teams and this is especially true for the Scrum Master. You have a unique opportunity to influence team health more than many other roles. The temptation for Scrum Masters is to become the “process police” but the role should become so much more. Process is important but your attitude, behaviors, and actions will set the tone for your team. If you are welcoming, affirming, and generous, the team will start to become welcoming, affirming, and generous. Try this out for a month and watch your community develop!

Understand Team Cycles. If you have been a part of a team for any length of time, you will begin to recognize patterns or cycles within working sprints. Some teams may be fast-starters but energy begins to wane in the middle of the sprint until “cramming” to finish just before the sprint review. Others may start slow and gradually pick up momentum. As long as the work is getting done this may not be a problem but observing these patterns will provide you with enough insight to…

Make Small Tweaks to Your Rituals. If the team is not delivering committed stories as expected or team dynamics are not very healthy, use the patterns and cycles you have observed to work with the team to improve. Maybe spice up a daily stand up meeting by adding an additional question or two for every team member to answer. “What was the best thing that happened yesterday?” or “What would your newspaper headline be today?” are good ones to start with. Anything to get the team focused on connecting with each other and becoming self-aware and self-healing. Subtle, but creative!

Happy New Year to all the Scrum Masters out there! Remember, you are an important and vital change agent for the health of your organization – perform your role with vigor and pride!

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