The Challenges of Scrum Masters



Keywords: Agile, Scrum Masters, Solutions, Leadership, Project Manager

1. Three Challenges of Scrum Masters


Challenge 1: Complicated work

Scrum Master helps the team to run scrum and he/she is responsible for all aspects of the Scrum team. So many problems in the team will be solved by the scrum master. Technical problems tackling, team scrum activities, planning meetings, daily standing meetings, review meetings,s and review meetings all need to be arranged, presided over, and implemented by the scrum master.


Challenge 2: Difficulties in overall coordination

At work, the biggest problem is not technology, but people, especially collaboration between people. Designers rely on testers to help them find and locate problems in order to solve bugs. Different software modules need to understand each other’s interface design before they can be coordinated. The development progress of each module needs to be coordinated, and communication of all parts has not disappeared because of the implementation of Agile. Every time in the retrospective meeting of my team, someone mentioned communication problems with other teams. But everyone is still used to completing their own part of the work. Everyone left the problem of collaboration to the Scrum Master.


Challenge 3: Heavy responsibility

The ideal Scrum team is that all the members are proactive, skilled, united, and committed, just like a real Rugby team (the prototype of Scrum). But in reality, there are very few teams that have reached such a state. Under the traditional structure, project managers and superior managers have a lot of power. But in the transition to an Agile environment, the Scrum Master does not have the rights of a manager. Although the Scrum team claims to share responsibility, everyone is in charge of the team. However, the reality is that if there is a problem, the boss first thinks of accountability as the scrum master.


2. Personal Reasons

First, we must admit that we may lack the ability to communicate with others. Especially for most Scrum masters who started out as developers. They know much less about people than about computers. If they don’t understand people, how can they talk about cooperating with people? When you blame others for not cooperating, do you understand the real reason? Do you understand the difficulties of others? Do you understand the needs of others? In this respect, we are not communication experts and psychologists.

Secondly, when we encounter some management problems, we seem to have no good solutions. In addition to a small part of the Scrum Master’s work is technical problems, there are many from the traditional management field. In the decision-making process, technology is not the only factor that needs to be considered. When we consider user needs, technical difficulty, release date, resource allocation, and other factors at the same time, even the seemingly simple priority of tasks will let us frustrated. We also find it difficult to cope with sudden changes in demand and pressure from management. So when the team needs our assistance to deal with such problems, we will naturally become at a loss.


3. Solution: Improve Personal Non-authority Leadership

You will find that even in similar scenarios, some Scrum Masters behave fairly while some Scrum Masters behave beyond ordinary people. There are some people like this in the office. Although he is not the boss, his words are always convincing. Everyone is willing to work with him and push things forward!

What kind of ability is this? Leadership! To be precise, non-authority leadership is a kind of leadership that does not depend on authority.

Leadership is an influence. It can be obtained in the following two ways. One is obtained by title, which is called Authority Leadership. For example, government officials and company executives have the ability to influence others due to the powers they have been given. Power leadership is phased and mandatory. It can only be used within the scope of the power, the power is gone, and the natural influence is gone.

The other is based on one’ s own prestige, charm, and personal relationships, and is called non-authority leadership.

Although these two types of leadership are used in different situations, they are essentially the same. They can exert influence on others and accomplish what she wants to accomplish. In companies and organizations, what is common is authority leadership. Authority leadership can make others obey through commands, but when you do not have authority, such as the agile development environment where the scrum master is located, you need to exert non-authority leadership.

Everyone can learn leadership. There may be someone who has the gift of leadership, just like someone who is born to run fast. You can pass the physical exam after training. Of course, leadership is not the same as knowledge. You have to practice a lot to really learn. It’s like swimming. It’s useless to master the principles of swimming. The best way is to jump into the pool and start practicing. Scrum masters can also learn and have leadership in solving team problems.




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