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With the rising demand for Agile methodologies, it has become evident that Agile offers dynamic methods to project management teams. Scrum is one of the most popular Agile methodology frameworks, by far. The best part is that Scrum Framework can be applicable across all types of industries such as banking, manufacturing, aerospace, IT etc.
ScrumMaster's play a crucial role in the Scrum Framework. They work as the servant-leader to the team and are entrusted with the responsibilities of facilitating Scrum practices in the enterprise. They ensure that the team understands Scrum principles, processes and implements the same for adding value to product deliveries. ScrumMaster's coaches and mentors the team and Stakeholders; motivate everyone and ensure that impediments are addressed resiliently towards the achievement of the Scrum Goals. There are many challenges faced by Scrum Masters, out of which the top challenges are discussed in this article. Before we move onto the challenges, let us first have a look at the typical responsibilities of a Scrum Master.
The responsibilities of the Scrum Master include:
Working as a servant-leader for the Scrum team and the enterprise, as a whole.
Ensure Scrum practices and principles are implemented and followed by the team.
Facilitate Scrum Events.
Be a part of daily Scrum meetings
Work hand-in-hand with the Product Owner for enhanced product delivery.
Ensure coaching and mentoring to the team and the enterprise so that a strong Agile team is formed in the organization.
Make sure that the Scrum Framework is understood by everyone in the team.
Manage impediments and works progressively in the reduction and elimination of wastes.
Help the team collaborate and work positively
Deliver value to Stakeholders
Work as a change agent in the enterprise and is responsible for educating clients too on agility concepts.
Scrum Master Challenges
The life of a Scrum Master is not a bed of roses. There are many challenges that the Scrum Master needs to face daily and come up with effective solutions. They need to resolve these challenges or issues to ensure that they can work better and the Scrum teams can work effectively.
These are a few Scrum Master challenges and solutions:
This is one of the biggest challenges that a Scrum Master faces. He/She needs to keep every task within the permitted time limit. It can be a big annoyance, especially if others around do not understand the essence of time-boxing.
Solution - The Scrum team needs to understand and respect the concept of time-boxing as it is one of the underlying principles laid down in the Scrum guide. Besides, there are tips like
Have the meeting conducted with everyone standing for 15 minutes.
Ask the team members to prepare their points beforehand.
Use time-boxing methods like the use of time buzzers or Elmo dolls and rubber rats to indicate that a person is taking more time to speak.
2. Issues from the top management
Senior management can make life difficult for a Scrum Master. How?
The top management is not convinced or committed to the change to the Agile environment. As a result, they have unreasonable expectations from the Scrum Master.
The management might not be synced well with the Agile principles and hence each manager has his or her own goals from the Scrum Master.
The management expects a single Scrum Master to handle multiple Scrum teams
These challenges faced by Scrum Master can blow out of the window - the entire work of implementing Agile in the enterprise
Solution - You need to understand what the top management wants and then go about showing them how Agile and Scrum help facilitate faster and value-driven development. Buying in senior management is crucial for the success of Agile in the organization. You need to think out-of-the-box to ensure that your senior managers are with you before you embark on the Scrum journey.
3. Misunderstanding about the role of the Scrum Master
Most enterprises lack a proper understanding of what the Scrum Master is supposed to do. There are issues with his role. Starting from the senior management to the Development Team, everyone could well have their ideas about the scope of work of a ScrumMaster. Often they are viewed as an administrator who books meetings and facilitates events. Or, better still, takes notes in meetings. Some view them as only a facilitator and enabler, rather than an active member of the Scrum Team.
Solution - Educate the team and the Stakeholders about the significance, role, and scope of a Scrum Master in the organization. Communication is the essence here.
You need to prove your worth and mettle and also that of a Scrum Master's role. Also, start to connect with people in the organization who have better clarity about the role and build your relationship with them. Show your courageous and bold side by taking decisions that make people take note of you and respect you for your decisions.
4. Urgent requests for changes
A big botheration is when the Product Owner or the Stakeholders or customers come up to request urgent changes. Now, as a Scrum Master, you know that within the framework and guide, you are not allowed to make changes when the Sprint is on. Therefore, this could be a botheration and a big Scrum Master Challenge.
Solution - One of the ways to deal with this challenge is to bring about a bit of flexibility in your approach. Agreed, that the Scrum Guide does not permit changes in the ongoing Sprint; however, if the change is for the good of the customer or the product, or even the business, there is no harm in adopting and inculcating it in the present Sprint. But, for most of the time, maintain your stand and follow the rules mentioned in the guide.
5. Scattered team
This happens when the Scrum team is spread across different geographical terrains. The time difference, the network issues, the difference in working days and weekends, and more can cause delays and unrequired disruptions in the smooth working of a Sprint. Since Scrum focuses a lot on collaboration and teamwork, this can prove to be a big issue in the proper working of a Scrum.
Solution -The way to resolve this issue is to make use of the latest technological aids and devices so that the hurdle can be minimized to the maximum possible limit.
There are many more Scrum Master challenges and solutions that Scrum Masters need to come up with, each day. You need to take them in your stride and put on your best smile and attitude to deal with each of such challenges. Remember, that hurdles of everyone's lives - be it a Product Owner or a Scrum Master. Keep yourself motivated and positive, and you will find that you are happily meandering all the hurdles with ease.