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Coding ScrumMaster

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  • DoctorArtem
    At my department we might be able to start a real Scrum project soon (some elements tried already and we liked them). The team is most likely to consist of 3-4
    Message 1 of 6 , Mar 2, 2007
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      At my department we might be able to start a real Scrum project soon
      (some elements tried already and we liked them). The team is most
      likely to consist of 3-4 junior to mid-level people slightly aware of
      agile stuff + 1 senior guy (me) quite aware about the agile stuff
      [though with relatively small practical experience] to be the first
      time Scrum Master (after passing the Scrum Master training soon).

      In this situation I expect that there will be quite big temptation for
      a Scrum Master to take the role of a team member also. At least in
      order to take advantage of the senior subject area and tools expertise.

      Could anybody share his experience of similar situations? Are there
      any usual challenges and solutions in such a situation? E.g. I am a
      bit afraid that taking two roles would look a bit like command&control
      situation, when a mediator (ScrumMaster) is one of the persons voting
      for a solution (Team Member)
    • George Dinwiddie
      ... Artem, I understand your concern, and would advise you not to take both the ScrumMaster and TeamMember roles. While I m sure it can and has been done, it
      Message 2 of 6 , Mar 2, 2007
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        DoctorArtem wrote:
        > At my department we might be able to start a real Scrum project soon
        > (some elements tried already and we liked them). The team is most
        > likely to consist of 3-4 junior to mid-level people slightly aware of
        > agile stuff + 1 senior guy (me) quite aware about the agile stuff
        > [though with relatively small practical experience] to be the first
        > time Scrum Master (after passing the Scrum Master training soon).
        >
        > In this situation I expect that there will be quite big temptation for
        > a Scrum Master to take the role of a team member also. At least in
        > order to take advantage of the senior subject area and tools expertise.
        >
        > Could anybody share his experience of similar situations? Are there
        > any usual challenges and solutions in such a situation? E.g. I am a
        > bit afraid that taking two roles would look a bit like command&control
        > situation, when a mediator (ScrumMaster) is one of the persons voting
        > for a solution (Team Member)

        Artem,

        I understand your concern, and would advise you not to take both the
        ScrumMaster and TeamMember roles. While I'm sure it can and has been
        done, it will certainly make things more difficult for you, particularly
        as the team is still learning agile approaches. If you must do it, I'd
        recommend keeping two very-different hats in the office, so that you can
        be explicit about when you're playing which role.

        I facilitated a retrospective where I had been a member of the team. I
        made it clear that I was not participating in the retrospective. There
        was a point where, for a short time, I said I needed to step out of the
        facilitator role and say something as a team member. In addition to
        stating I was doing this, I moved from where I'd been standing as
        facilitator to a position amongst the other team members. After that
        brief conversation, I moved back to the facilitator position and
        continued as facilitator. When you have dual roles, making it very
        explicit which role you're in is very helpful for both the others, and
        for your own clarity.

        On the other hand, I don't see such conflict between the ScrumMaster and
        Coach roles. As a coach, you could stay out of making decisions, but
        ask leading questions when decisions are being made. You could even
        offer advice and suggestions. You wouldn't want to sign up for tasks,
        but there's nothing wrong with pairing with others to spread your
        expertise. Would that work for you?

        - George

        --
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
        Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
        Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      • Steven Gordon
        ... If you do proceed with both roles, retrospectives is one activity where you should consider recruiting somebody else in the organization to do the
        Message 3 of 6 , Mar 2, 2007
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          On 3/2/07, George Dinwiddie <lists@...> wrote:
          >
          > DoctorArtem wrote:
          > > At my department we might be able to start a real Scrum project soon
          > > (some elements tried already and we liked them). The team is most
          > > likely to consist of 3-4 junior to mid-level people slightly aware of
          > > agile stuff + 1 senior guy (me) quite aware about the agile stuff
          > > [though with relatively small practical experience] to be the first
          > > time Scrum Master (after passing the Scrum Master training soon).
          > >
          > > In this situation I expect that there will be quite big temptation for
          > > a Scrum Master to take the role of a team member also. At least in
          > > order to take advantage of the senior subject area and tools expertise.
          > >
          > > Could anybody share his experience of similar situations? Are there
          > > any usual challenges and solutions in such a situation? E.g. I am a
          > > bit afraid that taking two roles would look a bit like command&control
          > > situation, when a mediator (ScrumMaster) is one of the persons voting
          > > for a solution (Team Member)
          >
          > Artem,
          >
          > I understand your concern, and would advise you not to take both the
          > ScrumMaster and TeamMember roles. While I'm sure it can and has been
          > done, it will certainly make things more difficult for you, particularly
          > as the team is still learning agile approaches. If you must do it, I'd
          > recommend keeping two very-different hats in the office, so that you can
          > be explicit about when you're playing which role.
          >
          > I facilitated a retrospective where I had been a member of the team. I
          > made it clear that I was not participating in the retrospective. There
          > was a point where, for a short time, I said I needed to step out of the
          > facilitator role and say something as a team member. In addition to
          > stating I was doing this, I moved from where I'd been standing as
          > facilitator to a position amongst the other team members. After that
          > brief conversation, I moved back to the facilitator position and
          > continued as facilitator. When you have dual roles, making it very
          > explicit which role you're in is very helpful for both the others, and
          > for your own clarity.

          If you do proceed with both roles, retrospectives is one activity
          where you should consider recruiting somebody else in the organization
          to do the facilitation. Bringing in a person from another department
          with facilitation skills just for an hour every other week to
          facilitate the retrospectives would really help both you and the team
          be less inbred in your ability to look at ways to improve. HR
          departments often have people with facilitation skills.

          Steve

          >
          > On the other hand, I don't see such conflict between the ScrumMaster and
          > Coach roles. As a coach, you could stay out of making decisions, but
          > ask leading questions when decisions are being made. You could even
          > offer advice and suggestions. You wouldn't want to sign up for tasks,
          > but there's nothing wrong with pairing with others to spread your
          > expertise. Would that work for you?
          >
          > - George
          >
          > --
          > ----------------------------------------------------------
          > * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
          > Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
          > Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
          > ----------------------------------------------------------
          >
          >
        • srinivas chillara
          Well, this is slightly tricky, you should read atleast one of Ken Scwaber s books. However since you already sensitive to the potential conflict of interest, I
          Message 4 of 6 , Mar 2, 2007
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            Well, this is slightly tricky, you should read atleast
            one of Ken Scwaber's books.
            However since you already sensitive to the potential
            conflict of interest, I think you will do a good job.
            It is those people who don't have the kind of
            realisation you seem to have, who are likely to kill
            the spirit of Scrum. If this is the first project for
            team members in Scrum, it is likely they'll look up to
            you, and take advantage of your experience. This is
            not against the prociples of Scrum. All you have to do
            is to be careful not to assign tasks to team members.
            If you have concerns regarding quality, or the risk
            that the team will not really complete tasks as
            "done", you can work with the product owner, who can
            do interim reviews of Items done by team, and give
            feedback.

            cheers
            Cheenie
            www.etakey.net





            > At my department we might be able to start a real
            > Scrum project soon
            > (some elements tried already and we liked them). The
            > team is most
            > likely to consist of 3-4 junior to mid-level people
            > slightly aware of
            > agile stuff + 1 senior guy (me) quite aware about
            > the agile stuff
            > [though with relatively small practical experience]
            > to be the first
            > time Scrum Master (after passing the Scrum Master
            > training soon).
            >
            > In this situation I expect that there will be quite
            > big temptation for
            > a Scrum Master to take the role of a team member
            > also. At least in
            > order to take advantage of the senior subject area
            > and tools expertise.
            >
            > Could anybody share his experience of similar
            > situations? Are there
            > any usual challenges and solutions in such a
            > situation? E.g. I am a
            > bit afraid that taking two roles would look a bit
            > like command&control
            > situation, when a mediator (ScrumMaster) is one of
            > the persons voting
            > for a solution (Team Member)
            >
            >




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          • Ayoob Nagore, Unoose
            I experiment with rotating the scrum master role.. and it works well. The idea is to have a team member play the role of the scrum master as well, for a month
            Message 5 of 6 , Mar 2, 2007
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              I experiment  with rotating the scrum master role.. and it works well.
               
              The idea is to have a team member play the role of the scrum master as well, for a month as part of their overall development. Helps get the team buy-in more readily; I have seen distinct changes and developments in team members - for e.g. after they have been a Scrum Master for a month, their participation in / appreciation of  the process improves.
              There is ofcourse an overhead, for appropriate prioritisation - since the team member (now playing the role of Scrum Master as well) may not be always in a position to shuffle priorities; I spend time with them helping out.
               
              This works and helps the team / individual development; but beware, my experiments are always in steady-state, maintenance kind of environments - not with Time Critical, Sensitive projects
               
              Any suggestions / sharing of experiences is welcome
               

              - Unoose

              From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of DoctorArtem
              Sent: Friday, March 02, 2007 5:24 AM
              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Coding ScrumMaster

              At my department we might be able to start a real Scrum project soon
              (some elements tried already and we liked them). The team is most
              likely to consist of 3-4 junior to mid-level people slightly aware of
              agile stuff + 1 senior guy (me) quite aware about the agile stuff
              [though with relatively small practical experience] to be the first
              time Scrum Master (after passing the Scrum Master training soon).

              In this situation I expect that there will be quite big temptation for
              a Scrum Master to take the role of a team member also. At least in
              order to take advantage of the senior subject area and tools expertise.

              Could anybody share his experience of similar situations? Are there
              any usual challenges and solutions in such a situation? E.g. I am a
              bit afraid that taking two roles would look a bit like command&control
              situation, when a mediator (ScrumMaster) is one of the persons voting
              for a solution (Team Member)

            • Henrik Kniberg
              At my current client we encourage the SM to be part of the team. The general instruction is do team stuff whenever you don t need to do scrummaster stuff . We
              Message 6 of 6 , Mar 4, 2007
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                At my current client we encourage the SM to be part of the team. The general instruction is "do team stuff whenever you don't need to do scrummaster stuff".

                We want the scrum master to feel personally commiitted to the sprint goal (along with the other team members) and use the term "we" when referring to the team, not "they". This seems to increase team gel and lessen the risk that the SM is treated as a manager by the team. Being part of the team and participating in the development also increases the likelihood that the SM detects problems and impediments that would have gone unnoticed otherwise.

                For normal-sized teams that are fairly experienced with Scrum the "scrum stuff" amounts to about 50% of the SM's time. But it quickly approaches 100% if the team is new to Scrum, is large, or is encountering problems. Inexperienced SMs need some coaching to manage this. The obvious risk is that the SM gets so deeply involved in the development that he forgets to keep a bird-eye perspective.

                My general coaching strategy has been:
                1) Join the team for a sprint or two as SM, get to know the team and help with coding or whatever else is needed.
                2) Identify the best SM candidate (usually the informal leader).
                3) After a sprint or two, send him/her to a CSM course. Good to get a fresh perspective and a 2-day break from the day-to-day work.
                4) Leave the team and let the newly baked SM take over.
                5) Stay around and coach the SM periodicallly over a couple of sprints. But don't get in the way, let him/her make mistakes and learn from them.

                Any other coaching strategies people want to share? Any good articles or books on the topic? Whoops, did I just change the subject? :o)

                /Henrik

                --
                Henrik Kniberg
                http://www.crisp.se
                +46 (0)70 492 5284

                On 3/2/07, Ayoob Nagore, Unoose <ayoob@...> wrote:

                I experiment  with rotating the scrum master role.. and it works well.
                 
                The idea is to have a team member play the role of the scrum master as well, for a month as part of their overall development. Helps get the team buy-in more readily; I have seen distinct changes and developments in team members - for e.g. after they have been a Scrum Master for a month, their participation in / appreciation of  the process improves.
                There is ofcourse an overhead, for appropriate prioritisation - since the team member (now playing the role of Scrum Master as well) may not be always in a position to shuffle priorities; I spend time with them helping out.
                 
                This works and helps the team / individual development; but beware, my experiments are always in steady-state, maintenance kind of environments - not with Time Critical, Sensitive projects
                 
                Any suggestions / sharing of experiences is welcome
                 

                - Unoose

                From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroup s.com] On Behalf Of DoctorArtem
                Sent: Friday, March 02, 2007 5:24 AM
                To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Coding ScrumMaster

                At my department we might be able to start a real Scrum project soon
                (some elements tried already and we liked them). The team is most
                likely to consist of 3-4 junior to mid-level people slightly aware of
                agile stuff + 1 senior guy (me) quite aware about the agile stuff
                [though with relatively small practical experience] to be the first
                time Scrum Master (after passing the Scrum Master training soon).

                In this situation I expect that there will be quite big temptation for
                a Scrum Master to take the role of a team member also. At least in
                order to take advantage of the senior subject area and tools expertise.

                Could anybody share his experience of similar situations? Are there
                any usual challenges and solutions in such a situation? E.g. I am a
                bit afraid that taking two roles would look a bit like command&control
                situation, when a mediator (ScrumMaster) is one of the persons voting
                for a solution (Team Member)





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