BUSINESS

The Scrum Master Deciphering A Key Role For Business Agility

First discussed in the 1980s, the theory behind the Scrum method states that projects are most efficiently completed when they employ small, self-organizing teams. Formulated by two Japanese researchers and then developed by American engineers, the Scrum approach advocates autonomous work, iterations and the definition of common objectives for team members. Therefore, the Scrum method works by blocks of development carried out collectively, each phase based on the lessons of the previous one. The exchange of information occurs during frequent and dynamic meetings called daily scrums or stand-up meetings. 

The objective of the iterations and these regular meetings:

  • Constantly Refocus The Project Toward Its Objective
  • Update the need in near real-time, based on markets, project obstacles and customer requirements
  • Involve the client regularly to avoid moving towards a project that does not meet expectations

Finally, the Scrum method is based on a set of principles and concepts:

What Is The Role Of The Scrum Master?

The Scrum Master is directly responsible for the correct application of the method. Rather than participating in the product development itself, this key player guarantees the team dynamics, which are crucial for the project’s success.

The three objectives of the Scrum Master are:

1. The Organization And Animation Of The Stages Of The Project

  • Sprint planning: the functionalities produced during the sprint are presented there. The Scrum Master supports developers in estimating work time and prioritization.
  • Sprint: the development phase (the development phases),
  • Daily scrums: this meeting in a concise format (15 minutes) is led by the Scrum Master, who enforces the terms
  • Sprint review: the retrospective of the past sprint is essential for the teams and the client. The Scrum Master analyzes with the group the work carried out and the improvements to be made.

2. Accompaniment During These Phases

At each stage, the Scrum Master accompanies and supports the team. It promotes collective and individual involvement and protects employees from parasitic external elements.

3. Applying The Method Daily And Highlighting Good Practices

The Scrum Master guarantees the application of Scrum practices. He must ensure that the process is well understood and its tools fully used. The mission of the Scrum Master is, above all, organizational and pedagogical. His in-depth knowledge of the method and his ability to apply it in harmony with his company’s culture are the keys to successful adoption.

His communication skills are essential, as well as his ability to create a team spirit and a profoundly collaborative work. However, far from the disorganized image that one can have of the Agile method, the application of Scrum also implies rigor: the Scrum Master must be vigilant in applying the essential points and know how to question the practices of his team.

The Scrum Master And The Agile Organization

The Scrum Master is one of the three essential elements of the method. With him, the Product Owner and the development team guarantee the product-need adequacy and the active part of the product creation. The Scrum Master is in constant contact with these stakeholders, to whom he brings a structured Agile framework.

With The Product Owner

The Scrum Master works on setting goals and prioritizing tasks. His broad vision and the succession of iterations allow him to anticipate any problems. In daily contact with development teams, he understands operational needs and supports the Product Owner in defining a clear backlog.

With The Development Team

The Scrum Master works alongside developers to quickly overcome obstacles throughout the project. He provides his vision and advice to eliminate everyday technical and organizational problems effectively. He is mainly involved in motivating and supporting employees during each sprint. The Scrum Master, therefore, strengthens the link between the Product Owner and the development team.

He participates in a clear definition of the need and the roles and in carrying out the tasks as smoothly as possible. Its role during the sprint retrospective is essential: it makes it possible to implement the right actions to improve future sprints. Finally, the Scrum Master brings his vision for a compelling presentation of each new increment – the part of the project carried out during the past sprint – to the client.

The Scrum Master Is Facing Organizations That Are Still Reluctant

This role of facilitator faces several obstacles. For companies, the Agile method is indeed difficult to fully implement. Often wanting to reconcile the rigor of a fixed specification and the client’s involvement, French firms rarely include Scrum in their DNA.

The Scrum Master is often faced with problems such as:

  • The corporate culture: the Scrum method is too often limited to small teams, even though it should be integrated into the corporate culture. This results in internal gaps in processes and vision, and the Scrum method does not deliver all the expected potential.
  • Excessive documentation and planning: the Scrum method prefers constant adaptation to action plans frozen in time. Documentation is sometimes necessary but must remain limited to allow action and adjustments. Traditional practices or the vital need for contractualization often hinder teams from using Scrum.
  • Fear of change and distorted vision of Scrum: the transition to an Agile organization continues to worry some companies accustomed to the sequential method. However, far from being a vector of chaos, the Scrum method is governed by rigor and organization. Although the Scrum Master personifies these values, he sometimes struggles to have them accepted by all employees.

These pitfalls are sometimes a source of failure for a method that has already proven its effectiveness. Faced with reluctance and fears, the Scrum Master also plays the role of ambassador of the technique. Its action is invaluable for adopting agility throughout the organization, helping it use data to serve processes, thus improving performance in the long term.

Also Read: Applying Agile Practices Can Make Workers More Productive

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