Agile 2018

Agile 2018
Speaking at Agile 2018

Monday, May 29, 2017

All about the craft of Scrum Mastery

A good scrum master is like a good camp counselor
I take inspiration from plenty of people online and if you have followed this blog for any length of time you will realize I am not afraid to cite my influences.  I have also been a brig proponent of Scrum Mastery being a profession which requires more than showing up to the office.  This week, I want to talk more about the craft and business of being a scrum master.

I have said before being a good developer is in many respects like being a good jazz musician. You can say the same about being a scrum master.  A scrum master must have some technical chops and be able to perform their duties regardless of the situation.  You need to be prepared for anything and flexible enough for when the unexpected happens.  It is hours sitting around with developers active as a “rubber duck” to help them solve problems.  It is listening to them vent about frustrations. Finally, it is about continuous improvement.

It is not an easy job.  One moment you are a therapist for a developer and the next you are disciplining a product owner who is not doing their job.  I have had moments of deep rage where I find myself shouting at my house plants.  The anger is contrasted with sublime satisfaction knowing I am shipping software and helping the business meet customer needs. I have experienced every emotion between these two polls.  Each day is a new adventure and series of emotions to experience.
Companies are looking for scrum masters at an increasing rate because they are struggling to meet increasingly challenging customer demands.  They are also attempting to take dysfunctional cultures and transform them into something where people are willing to innovate.  They want to turn the peasant farmers who labor in their cubicles and transform them into warrior poets.

It takes strange and caring people to lead this kind of charismatic change.  The ironic part is these individuals are often entrepreneurs and iconoclasts who do not mesh with corporate culture.  I am sure every scrum master has a story about visiting the Vice-President's office for removing an impediment and ignoring the office politics.  I have discovered most transgressions are forgiven if you are getting software into production.

So being a scrum master is both a profession and a craft.  I would not have it any other way, and I am looking to help other people understand this career.

Until next time.