The role of the Dev2 Scrum-master. The facilitator-in-chief.

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At Dev2 we use Scrum Methodology, which allows our team to self-organise and make any necessary changes quickly. Our Scrum Master manages and facilitates the process of how we exchange information and ideas to get things done.

“The scrum master hosts daily meetings to get hands-on updates on the project, address potential impediments and link up team activities”

We like to do things a little differently, so before each Daily Scrum meeting we do a quick round of appreciation. People do their best thinking when there is a real sense of appreciation. And it’s also a great way to set the tone for the day. We appreciate everything from individuals on the team, to the wonders of outer space. We move straight from our appreciation into our daily stand-up meeting.

We’ve had 3 people in the Scrum master role and finally we’ve found the one that fits this role the best! Pete is our newest Scrum Master. He’s quick off the block, always early, has a great understanding of the product and the code base. He’s not only technical but fills the leadership role that is really important within Scrum - he is excellent at holding the team accountable.

"A Scrum Master should always keep the focus on the goals set out, look for continuous improvement, and ensure that communication happens consistently within the team." – Pieter Terblanche, Dev2

Our morning stand-up meetings are kept short, approximately 15 minutes in which our Scrum Master reviews the progress of the Developers from the day before and starts the Scrum by asking questions like:

  • What work did you do yesterday?
  • What will you get done today?
  • Are there any impediments in your way?

These questions set the foundation of the Scrum meeting and are important for team members to understand their progress and what is required of them. They also drive a sense of team responsibility, since one of the principles of Scrum is that the team is self-organizing.

We’ve learnt a few important things about the qualities and roles of our past Scrum Masters that are critical for success:

  1. The Scrum Master needs to have the technical understanding of the work involved in the sprint.
  2. The Scrum Master needs to be proactive and initiate the morning stand-ups, let the team know when they are talking too much and guide them to getting straight to the point, and with Pete, the clock is always ticking. There really is no going off track during the stand-up.
  3. He or she must be able to help the team focus on what is important for the day and ensure that the team reach their sprint goal. Pete is sure to let the team know when they need to put in more effort.
  4. It is important that the Scrum Master is physically present. Pete is normally at work at first light, generally an hour before everyone, and being here shows his commitment to the team and allows him to keep track of the team’s progress.
  5. The Scrum Master must be able to give the team critical feedback, support and guidance when making decisions.

It’s hard to find all the qualities of a great Scrum Master in one person. Life happens and sometimes things outside of our control get in the way. Having a team that can continue to be proactive and supportive of each other also makes the role of the Scrum Master a little easier!

If you enjoyed this article, read more on the Importance of Teamwork here.

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