TL; DR: Four Scrum Master Success Principles
Contrary to popular belief, the Scrum Master success principles are tangible, when we guide the analysis with an outside perspective.
Read on and discover four Scrum Master success principles: From when not to use Scrum to product quality to supporting the Product Owner to putting self-management at the center.
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Meeting Stakeholder Expectations
No matter how diverse the stakeholders of your Scrum Team are, they are all united in one expectation: Your Scrum team delivers—with the precision of a Swiss clockwork—a Done, potentially releasable, valuable Product Increment every single Sprint.
In my experience, four first principles support Scrum Masters to help their teams deliver on this expectation:
Choose Scrum for the Right Purpose
Choosing the appropriate application area for Scrum is essential. Referring to the Stacey Matrix, applying Scrum to the areas “Chaos” and “Simple” is a waste. Scrum is best used in the “Complex” area. Here, empirical process control thrives, applying transparency, inspection, and adaptation to iteratively, incrementally developing valuable product Increments, thus mitigating risk.
Strive for High Product Quality
From day one, keep technical debt small and work continuously on high product quality, reflected in the Scrum Team’s Definition of Done. Achieving business agility requires dedication to product quality and excellence at the technical level. (Learn more: Technical Debt & Scrum: Who Is Responsible?
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Create and Maintain an Actionable Product Backlog
Garbage in, garbage out: No matter how your Scrum Team is everything else, a sub-standard Product Backlog will diminish all other team achievements. Hence, it would be best to support the Product Owner and the Developers to maintain a permanently “actionable” Product Backlog. By “actionable,” I am referring to a refinement level of the Product Backlog that would allow a Scrum Team to run a meaningful Sprint Planning at a moment’s notice. (Learn more: 28 Product Backlog and Refinement Anti-Patterns.)
Embrace Self-Management and Take It to the Scrum Team
Restrain from solving problems that your teammates can solve themselves. I know it feels good to be helpful; however, it is not your job as a Scrum Master to become the team’s helping hand in all matters. Instead, make self-management our number one priority and ensure that everyone lives Scrum Values. Be a servant-leader at heart and, therefore, a good role model for the Scrum team.
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It helps while identifying the success principles of a Scrum Master to take an outside perspective. For example, if I had to summarize everyone’s expectations regarding the work of a Scrum Team in a single sentence, it would be this one: The Scrum team delivers—with the precision of a Swiss clockwork—a Done, potentially releasable, valuable Product Increment every single Sprint.
What principles are guiding your work as a Scrum Master? Please share with us your lessons learned.
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