5 Tips to Becoming an Exceptional Scrum Master
New Delhi : If you’re new to Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®), or even if you’ve been doing it for years, you can benefit from brushing up on your certified scrum master training skills. This article provides tips to help you improve your approach to Scrum and master the fundamentals of this popular Agile framework. In addition, we’ll also provide several real-world scenarios that illustrate how to apply these tips in practice, as well as hands-on activities and simulations that will further increase your understanding of these key aspects of CSM® certification mastery.
1) Prepare in Advance
Give yourself at least one day—and preferably more than a week—to prepare for your scrum team’s first sprint planning meeting. Depending on your industry, it might take some research and preplanning to determine what will be built in that first sprint, so you want to make sure that you are ready well before your team is.
Don’t get caught scrambling around trying to find more information or put together last-minute requirements and documents. And make sure that you have time set aside afterward for tracking and evaluating how things went; often it takes multiple sprint planning meetings before teams get into a groove with a new process like scrum.
2) Model the Right Behavior
If you want to be a good Scrum master, you need to model the right behavior. While there are no formal prerequisites for becoming a Scrum master, there are generally accepted characteristics that distinguish good from bad ones. One of my favorite descriptions is a list of principles we use in building our team at DHL Global Forwarding.
3) Focus on Servant Leadership
One of the core elements of servant leadership is humility. It’s essential that you not take on a dominating or condescending attitude toward team members. If they are already in a stressful situation, they won’t welcome being belittled by their leader.
Instead, focus on helping them succeed and supporting them as much as possible during their high-pressure situations. You can accomplish these goals by ensuring that they have all of their tools ready at hand before each sprint begins and offering your assistance during off-hours if needed. Taking these steps will help you avoid accidentally undermining team morale or otherwise providing unhelpful feedback when it’s most important for team members to feel supported by others who care about their success and well-being.
4) Integrate Daily Stand-ups into the Team’s Routine
No matter how experienced your team is, daily stand-ups shouldn’t be optional. They can often be time-consuming and feel like a distraction from doing actual work, but they shouldn’t. Instead, make them something to look forward to because it helps teams get into a regular rhythm.
Everyone should ask each other about their tasks for that day, what help they might need, or if anything is blocking them from being able to complete those tasks. Stand-ups don’t need to last more than 10 minutes—anything longer probably means it's just become a meeting.
5) Celebrate Wins, Learn from Failures
Celebrating wins is a very important way to motivate your team members and create a good environment. When someone completes a task, celebrate it with them! If someone makes mistakes or has problems with their tasks, take time to help them reflect on what happened and why so they can learn from their mistakes.
Encourage team members to reflect on their successes and challenges through daily self-reflections that keep everyone focused on improvement throughout each sprint. Ask for these reflections in regular scrum meetings (every morning). Discussing challenges early allows you to resolve issues before they become insurmountable.
A Scrum Master’s job can be difficult, especially when it’s your first time managing such a large project. Because the tasks are complex and there’s so much to keep track of, you may be overwhelmed by the numerous distractions that come your way every day, leaving you frustrated and discouraged—and making you wonder if becoming an exceptional Scrum Master is even possible.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to become better equipped to handle your responsibilities as a Scrum Master and perform your job well from start to finish, even when times get tough.