by Alfonz Martinez, Cristian Sances and Josep Vives

Chapter 4 – Lessons learned from our Scrum Masters

People landing on Scrum on junior Scrum Master’s often face situations like these below and also often they don’t know how to manage them:

  • Receiving a tasks out of the sprint and do not inform the Scrum Master (or inform too late)
  • Be afraid of not obeying a request from a “superior” who is not your Scrum Master
  • Face difficulties evaluating the impact of the new request on the sprint goal
  • Not having a clear knowledge about duties & functions coming from the different scrum’s roles.

Some tips in order to help your team and avoid the previous situations:

  • Plan to refresh the scrum roles and responsibilities to the team members, even more if they are newbies. Do health checks so you get to know if these are understood.
  • Insist in the fact that the team shall work in the stories prioritized in the sprint backlog by the Product Owners. New requests and changes shall imply rethinking the backlog and replan it if necessary.
  • Coach new people/juniors on how to politely answer to external requests and how to inform the Scrum Master.
  • Coach in the following principle: Say NOT NOW is not the same to say NO; it can be a powerful tool to us in order to be the owners of our agenda and be able to prioritize our daily work.
  • Make sure the established procedures in Scrum for requests and the protections levels if exist (i.e. Safe) are known by the team.
  • Coach Product Owners, Managers and stakeholders about how to address their requests in order to be correctly communicated, prioritized and achieved.
  • Train your Assertive skills as a good asset to manage team environment and pressure
  • Track the time and the efforts invested as much clear as we can about the impact coming from unexpected or unplanned requests or interruptions.

Previous articles from this series:

Killed by Overreporting? How to recover trust.

Home alone? Boost Virtual Coffees!

Boosting inspection and adaptation on virtual retrospectives.

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