As Agile continues to expand its reach, more and more people are deciding to become a Scrum Master or they are being asked (told) to shift into to the role of a Scrum Master. If you are finding yourself in this situation, should you make the move?
Perhaps you’ve been a project manager for much of your career and, while you’ve known Agile has been around for a while, your company is finally getting serious about it. You don’t want to miss the boat, do you?
Perhaps someone has tapped you on the shoulder recently and thought you would be great at being a Scrum Master. Or perhaps you are just looking for a new challenge and the role sounds interesting.
If you are in the middle of contemplating this decision to become a first-time Scrum Master, here is a suggested journey for you:
Take a few current Scrum Masters or Agile Coaches to lunch. Or for a coffee. Ask them about their experiences. Ask them about a typical “day in the life” of a Scrum Master. Ask them about their journey to become a Scrum Master. When chatting with an Agile Coach, ask them about the best qualities they find in the Scrum Masters they coach every day.
Questions to ask yourself: Does the role of Scrum Master intrigue me? Is this even something to consider?
Observe and learn. If possible, observe an Agile team in action. With the increasing popularity of Agile this shouldn’t be too hard. Formal Agile training or certifications are nice but hold off until you can experience the phenomenon of a self-organizing team in action first hand.
As you are observing, questions may begin to bounce around your head. This post could be a good start to gain insights about the specifics of the role and clarify what you are seeing.
Questions to ask yourself: How well will I be able foster a culture of self-organization? Is this something I could do? This is harder than it sounds. :)
Talk to your reporting manager (or potential new manager) about the expectations for the role. Ask them what a future performance review with you will look like. If they aren’t sure, here is a good template to start the conversation.
Typical project manager success metrics (on time and on budget) are now shifted to the product owner so it’s important to gain clarity on what success is for you. (By the way, if a manager does place these responsibilities on the Scrum Master and won’t budge, turn and run away.)
Question to ask yourself: How will my success as as Scrum Master be measured?
Understand your “why?” After soaking all this in, take some time to think about your broader career aspirations and deeper questions like “Why am I here?” I discuss this in the “Finding Your Spark” chapter in the book, “Becoming a Catalyst: Scrum Master Edition.” Get the book for free here.
Questions to ask yourself: Would the role of Scrum Master align with my purpose? While you may have decided you could do this…is this something I should do?
Make the decision. Answering the questions above should bring you closer to making your decision. With energy, passion, and a heart for change and service you could be just the spark your organization needs.
Questions to ask yourself: Can I be a catalyst for agility and change in my organization?
Up next: Once you’ve made your decision to become a Scrum Master, what next? Look for a post next week to answer this very question…”I’m a Scrum Master…Now What?”