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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Should a Scrum Master be technical?

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  • Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSM PSM I
    I ve seen people who think of a Scrum Master as a more of a team lead -- but those are the typical people who don t know much about Scrum. If you re looking
    Message 1 of 53 , Aug 10, 2011
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      I've seen people who think of a Scrum Master as a more of a "team lead" -- but those are the typical people who don't know much about Scrum.

      If you're looking at the Scrum Guide, then the Scrum framework(coaching) skills and facilitation skills are more emphasized.

      However, in practice, as much as it pains me to say this, I think whether it's more important for an SM to have better technical or facilitation(servant leader) skills will really depend on what brings that particular team the most value.  In some teams, they communicate well already so facilitation is less of an issue, and vice versa.  In some teams, they're already highly technically proficient, so technical leadership is less of an issue, and vice versa.  In some teams, they know the Scrum framework well already, so Scrum framework coaching is less of an issue, and vice versa.

      In general, though, the primary skills are software development/delivery knowledge (not necessarily coding, etc), good servant leadership skills, and Scrum knowledge.  Sometimes the SM will bring other skills (such as formal training in facilitation or coding) that helps support those bigger goals.

      The key thing is to make sure that a SM with a PM or management background doesn't revert to command and control project management, while also making sure that a SM with a dev background doesn't revert to command and control technical leadership either.
       
      -------
      Charles Bradley, CSM, PSM I
      Experienced Scrum Coach
      My blog: http://scrumcrazy.wordpress.com/

      From: Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...>
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 6:25 PM
      Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Should a Scrum Master be technical?



      I must not be familiar with "most people" because I don't know anyone in the community who purports to think that SM is a "coding master."
      However, I am extremely biased, but I think everyone who is responsible in some way for the delivery of software should know a thing or two about how it is crafted (call me crazy.)
      On Aug 10, 2011 5:55 PM, "Joshua Partogi" <joshua.java@...> wrote:
      > Hi,
      >
      > Looking at the job description for a Scrum Master, it doesn't seem that
      > he/she needs to be technical and be able to code. Yet most people think that
      > a Scrum Master is a "coding master". This can be understandable as most
      > organisation doesn't seem to see any value in hiring someone to be a coach
      > because it may seems to be expensive. From your experience and point of
      > view, what is the primary skills that a Scrum Master should have: technical
      > skills or coaching/facilitation skills?
      >
      >
      > --
      > @jpartogi




    • Michael James
      As I understand it, the questions people tended to miss were removed from the online exam! I don t think the online exam will ever be that great, so I ll
      Message 53 of 53 , Aug 11, 2011
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        As I understand it, the questions people tended to miss were removed from the online exam!  I don't think the online exam will ever be that great, so I'll continue to administer a tougher one during my class.  Not everyone passes it the first time, and hardly anyone gets a perfect score (unlike the online exam).  Knowledge and understanding don't prove someone will be any good at doing Scrum; this also requires courage and skill.  But lack of knowledge and understanding are good indicators someone won't be good at doing Scrum yet, and it's pretty easy to test for that during class. 

        --mj

        On Aug 11, 2011, at 10:42 PM, srinivas chillara <ceezone@...> wrote:

         

        Just wondering if the CSM online exam isn't too easy.
        I keep hearing of people scoring 90%+, and many of them are very confident in their opinions, but miss the point of a SM (for example). While exams cannot by themselves ensure quality, hopefully the  filtering can be better.

        cheers
        Srinivas

        --- On Fri, 12/8/11, jean@... <jean@...> wrote:

        From: jean@... <jean@...>
        Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Should a Scrum Master be technical?
        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Friday, 12 August, 2011, 4:36 AM

         

        I've started asking new CSM's specifically what they were taught in CSM training. The answers are sometimes quite concerning. Some courses seem to be strictly lecture with no hands-on exercises at all.

        -- Jean

        Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


        From: Michael James <mj4scrum@...>
        Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2011 13:29:19 -0700
        Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Should a Scrum Master be technical?

         

        And more moles are born every day.  Remember that awful 10 minute YouTube video reenforcing most of the popular misconceptions about Scrum?  A bunch of us watched it and concluded, "Wow, this Shojaee guy should probably take a Scrum class, assuming he'd listen."  Bas Vodde actually asked him to take down the video.  I just heard from folks at Agile 2011 that this company is *training* people in Scrum.  So brace yourself for further dilution of Scrum's accepted definitions.


        --mj

        On Aug 11, 2011, at 6:37 AM, Jean Richardson wrote:

         

        I love that whack-a-mole analogy! -- Jean

        -----Original Message-----
        From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Michael James
        Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2011 6:07 AM
        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Should a Scrum Master be technical?

        On Aug 11, 2011, at 4:55 AM, RonJeffries wrote:

        > It seems to me that at least some people speaking here have not done their
        homework, or have forgotten it.

        Ron, I didn't see anything blatantly inconsistent with what you wrote here.
        Outside of this discussion group it seems the level of understanding is much
        lower. For example, LinkedIn discussion groups about Scrum often contain
        comments like the one below (from "Scrum Practitioners"):

        > Qasim Azhar . In my four years of experience with Scrum, most scrum
        masters lacked "project management" skills. Project management is not just
        controlling Time, Cost and Scope; there is quality, there is bickering
        between developers that a scrum master (many times a senior developer or
        architect or tech lead) is unable to resolve, there is stakeholder
        management and most importantly there is risk management. There are risks
        beyond just "feature" level risks that scrum can handle but rather more
        related to overall program/project/product/quality related.
        >
        > You need people who can see things at macro level and project manager
        seems to be ideal for that. Yes, a development manager might be able to play
        these roles but product owner in a product development setting for any
        decent serious "product" is too busy with his "product management" duties to
        be able to play "project management" role too.
        >
        > So yes you need a project management "role", if your scrum master can play
        it you are a happy man/woman.

        Correcting rampant misconceptions on LinkedIn groups is a never ending game
        of whack-a-mole. For my own sanity I tend to let this stuff go when I'm
        busy with the people who pay me to help them get it.

        --mj
        http://ScrumMasterChecklist.org

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