Having Certified Scrum Master when your organization is planning to adapt Scrum is one of the best strategy. But hiring new resources will definitely consumes time, effort and cost.
Another way to handle that is by grooming the existing resources to be Scrum Masters. Ideally the resources are the current Project Manager, but could also be someone from other area.
In this article, I will share some tips on grooming someone to be a Scrum Master.
Things To Prepare
Here’s a simple analogy, have you ever buy an electronic device that you are not familiar with? I believe you have. What do you usually do? Read the user manual, right?
Well in Scrum it’s most likely the same. In order to be a Scrum Master, you need to know what Scrum Master “user manual”.
Below are some of the best practices I can share.
Scrum Master, Read The Scrum Guide!
The best resource for understanding Scrum framework is the Scrum Guide itself.
You can download the Scrum Guide here: www.scrumguides.org. It even comes with web page version if you don’t want to download the PDF version.
Ask your new Scrum Master to read the Scrum Guide many times. Let’s say 5 to 10 times 🙂 Ask them to read that until word by word sinks into their brain. Don’t worry, it’s not like the super thick PMBOK, only 16 pages and very straight to the point rule of thumbs. Well 17 pages if you count the cover page.
But most people are bad in reading, at least I am. Some people will learn better if they watch some examples.
Don’t worry there are lots of other resources out there to learn.
Watch Videos Will Be An Alternative
For those who are bad in reading, suggest them to watch some videos about Scrum implementation.
Below are some good resources about Scrum framework that you can suggest:
Though we can see how Scrum practiced from those videos, I still recommend the Scrum Guide as the best reference.
Make the video as the additional reference, not the only reference.
Test The Knowledge
Once your new Scrum Masters complete those exercises above, ask them to start testing their knowledge. The reason behind it is that people need to test their knowledge to make sure they understand what they read.
When I read the scrum guides and watched the videos, I thought I understood all those things about Scrum, until I finally try the exam examples and I realized that my understanding about Scrum is very low.
Below are some good mock up test that you can suggest to them:
Let them do the tests many times until they reach the acceptable score.
Watch And Learn
Monkey see, monkey do
When I started my first task as a Scrum Master, sadly I didn’t have the luxury of having another team to watch as an example.
So I was just counting on those reading, watching and mock up tests.
But if your organization already start practicing Scrum and the team already follow the right approach of the framework, I would suggest to have the new Scrum Master to attend in each Scrum events the other team has.
Let them be there as an observer only and later on, outside the Scrum events, they can ask questions to the current Scrum Master.
Remember, they must act only as an observer. The Scrum events belong to the Development Team and having someone outside the team interfere with questions is not acceptable.
I want to share the obstacles the organization faced when we want to groom new Scrum Masters. Some might applicable for you, some are not. Anyway, this only for the sake of sharing 🙂
Most of our new Scrum Masters were Project Managers. They are used to the Waterfall methodology. They mastered it and comfortable with that.
Having them to shift their mind and change their way of managing project is a HUGE challenge.
My suggestion for this is be patient and be consistent 🙂
Suggest them the tips I shared above and guide them for their first sprints. They will see the benefit of Scrum in no time.
The best practice of Scrum is to have dedicated resources for each team.
In our organization, this is difficult.
A project manager (who is now act as Scrum Master) still handle more than 2 projects in a row. Even I involved in three Scrum Team and not to mention Business As Usual activities.
So having them to read, watch, do exam, in the middle of their busy days is an obstacle we faced.
Lack of resources also happen not only for Scrum Master, but also for the Product Owner and Development Team.
I wrote another article about Product Owner in this blog, you may read it for your reference.
Having the organization that is still new in Scrum and some stakeholders rejecting Scrum approach is also a challenge for the new Scrum Master.
They need to adapt themselves with the new framework and they need to influence the organization in adapting Scrum also. It is difficult to influence someone with something that you are not mastered yet, right?
I suggest to involve the higher management (let’s say IT management) to help with the organization adaption in Scrum.
Have you ever bake a cake or cookie? At the beginning, it was only egg, flour, butter, etc. Meaningless and even look so messy.
But then you read the recipe, you follow the recipe, you do one thing at a time, you mix things, you bake it according to the rule stated in the recipe.
And VOILA !! Your cake is done, smells great, tastes delicious and then you feel proud of yourself.
That’s exactly the same with preparing someone to be ready as a Scrum Master, help them to follow the guidelines, craft them, be patient, soon you will see your hard work paid off.
Above are the straight to the point tips in preparing someone as a Scrum Master. Trust me, it works!