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Fixing your Scrum: gently convincing the scrum master towards education in the subject

 
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Scrum, the (in)famous scrum.

It feels like our daily scrums serve only one purpose: holding us accountable for the time. While I understand this is needed, personally I would love to benefit from the scrum meetings - I am sure that's was the original idea, otherwise it just seems unnecessary. Lately we have been having an additional afternoon meeting, solely for the purpose of discussing our daily progress.

How would you go about gently steering the scrum master, a person who does not have any sort of appreciation of the intricacies of the scrum process, towards getting more info on guiding the meetings and the process in general?

Perhaps you are aware of a specific approach towards inexperienced scrum masters? When it comes to these things I tend to have quite a direct approach, which rarely serves me well.

Thanks.

 
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Sebastian Makowiecki wrote:It feels like our daily scrums serve only one purpose: holding us accountable for the time. While I understand this is needed, personally I would love to benefit from the scrum meetings - I am sure that's was the original idea, otherwise it just seems unnecessary.



There's a dysfunction in your process/team if you're using the daily standups as a way to hold people accountable for the time. That's not what the standups are for. Again, they're supposed to be planning and coordination meetings.

It is my understanding that the guidance has changed around the questions you're answering in the standup which traditionally were: What did I do yesterday? What am I doing today? What are my blockers? These questions have led most teams to the "standup as a status meeting" anti-pattern.

Some shifts you can make to encourage more collaboration and transparency:

1. Who needs to know about the work that we have completed since yesterday?
2. Who do we need to collaborate with to complete the work we have planned for today?
3. Who can help us address impediments to our current work? Who needs to know we might be delayed?

If you ask the questions this way, you'll probably start seeing more value in a quick huddle to plan out the rest of your day.
 
Junilu Lacar
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Sebastian Makowiecki wrote:How would you go about gently steering the scrum master, a person who does not have any sort of appreciation of the intricacies of the scrum process, towards getting more info on guiding the meetings and the process in general?


I would be very concerned if you had a "Scrum Master" who didn't "appreciate the intricacies" of Scrum. The Scrum Master is supposed to be the coach for all things Agile and Scrum. If they don't know much about it, then how are they going to coach the team? It sounds like you have Bad Scrum where a project manager or business analyst was anointed as "Scrum Master" but was never given any training or didn't put in any effort to learn about their role, just continued to do whatever they did before. I believe this is something the authors discuss in their book.
 
Junilu Lacar
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Sebastian Makowiecki wrote:Perhaps you are aware of a specific approach towards inexperienced scrum masters? When it comes to these things I tend to have quite a direct approach, which rarely serves me well.


Ideally, you'd have a coach to help the Scrum Master learn what their role entails. Without a coach, you'll have to work with your Scrum Master to figure out what their role is. I had to do this as a technical lead on my team. I was playing both roles, tech lead and Scrum Master, but found it difficult to wear both hats because there was too much conflict of interest, especially with an immature team.

As always, open and honest communication is key, but most importantly, keep the conversation kind and respectful.
 
Sebastian Makowiecki
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I agree: open & honest communication, as with everything else in this world! Thank you for your input.
 
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Hi,

Glad to be here! Interesting scenario because a Scrum Master is not required to attend the Daily Scrum. It is a meeting by and for the Developers to inspect progress towards the Sprint Goal and adapt a plan for the next 24 hours.

One thing we advocate is reading the Scrum guide (https://scrumguides.org/) as a team and reflecting on it in a retro. That may help We also love the comments indirectly referencing the Scrum values (Openness, Courage, Commitment, Respect, and Focus). It is worth being open to the Scrum Master about how you and the team are feeling. It will help with their growth.
 
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