The role of the Scrum Master is often misunderstood. It is not just an administration and facilitation role. You need analytical and investigatory skills as well as the ability to communicate effectively inside and outside of your team. You need to be strong in order to protect your team, while at the same time be flexible in order to ensure that maximum value is delivered.
Through a daily diary, I am looking to understand in greater detail ‘what I do as A Scrum Master’ and what value I am providing my team and the organisation’. The Scrum Guide identifies that ‘the Scrum Master is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum’ and does this through ‘helping everyone understand Scrum theory, practices, rules and values’, but is this what is really taking place?
What better way for me to investigate this than by keeping a record of what I do on a daily basis. This will allow me to reflect on the activities that I undertake, review if I am serving the Product Owner, the Development Team and the Organisation, and to identify any areas where I can make improvements so that I can perform a servant-leader role more efficiently and effectively.
19th January 2018
The majority of my day was spent updating JIRA from the Product Backlog review earlier in the week. As well as closing a number of now redundant user stories, this exercise has provided a clear direction for the remaining development.
The highlight from the Daily Scrum is that the external partner we are working with have provided a file for processing and everything went through as expected. The results have been returned and more files are expected in the coming days/weeks.
My weekly update to the team included the results of their vote for team avatars for our Scrum Board. They selected Mr Men and Little Miss. Now, to spice things up, I have asked them to pick/suggest names and aliases for each other. For example, my suggestion for one team member was Mr Slow, AKA, Mr Slow to update JIRA.
#dayinthelifeofaScrumMaster #JIRAupdates #MrMenalias
18th January 2018
For the second day running someone had parked in my reserved parking space. Not a happy bunny. Let’s hope for more luck on Monday.
My first job this morning was to help review the data being included on a new metrics dashboard that is going to be presented to and then made available to senior managers and Delivery Leads next week. I’m still concerned over one or two metrics and question their value, but it will be interesting to hear the feedback from others.
The Daily Scrum noted that there were several user stories where the work had been completed and that we were now waiting for people outside of the team to review the output. They have now been chased and we should hopefully get the required feedback tomorrow or Monday.
I also spent some time updating JIRA following the Product Backlog review, discussed progress of the delivery with the Product Owner and booked a ‘team outing’ for Monday where we will attempt the Blueprint Room at Tick Tock Unlock as part of a team building exercise and congratulations/well done for their hard work on the current delivery.
#dayinthelifeofaScrumMaster #dudewheredoIparkmycar #ProductOwnercatchup
17th January 2018
This morning I had a very different kind of impediment – someone had parked in my reserved parking space. This issue was resolved relatively quickly as no sooner had I got to the car park office to find out whose space I should steal, the person that had parked in my space returned and moved their vehicle. However, this was nothing compared to the impediments that some colleagues in the office faced yesterday when it took over six hours to get home in the snow.
My mood was not improved by the fact that I then had to justify some feedback that I provided last week, for the third time.
The highlight of my day was a review of the Product Backlog with my Product Owner and Business Analyst. The review meant that we could close a significant number of user stories that were no longer required, while at the same time identify some areas that required further analysis and investigation to see if some development was necessary.
#dayinthelifeofaScrumMaster #dudewheredoIparkmycar #ProductBacklogReview
16th January 2018
After an early start, I spent the time before the Daily Scrum helping a colleague understand how Sprint data extracted from JIRA could be used and how this would need to be filtered in order to use the most recent information. I also spent some time discussing and reviewing a draft ‘Introduction to Agile’ presentation that I have been asked to help deliver/facilitate in a couple of weeks time.
The Daily Scrum yielded some important updates as we have begun to close some user stories in the Sprint. Although we are slightly behind the curve, I am confident that the team will catch up over the next few days.
I went with my Delievery Lead to meet the Release Team and we agreed that the work we had developed and tested along with the defect fix could be deployed into the route to live.
The day contained some important business update meetings, however, possibly the main talking point were thin on/off snow flurries and the likelihood of traffic disruption in the journey home.
15th January 2018
It’s the start of week two of my day in the life of a Scrum Master series and I start the week finding out that my access to the electronic RAID log has expired or been removed. This is the first impediment of the day and one that I will have to remove later.
Once I get to the office it is the normal routine of Daily Scrum and Scrum of Scrums. The focus from these remained the outstanding stories for deployment as part of the release. After another day of chasing, it looks like they are ready to go, although there are some environment issues that may prevent the deployment. Meeting with the Release Team are probably in order tomorrow.
I also got to spend some time today mentoring and coaching a colleague, discussing the role of the Scrum Master, the role of the Product Owner and the challenges that these roles present. We also discussed ways of working with a team in order to identify and implement continuous improvements.
#dayinthelifeofaScrumMaster #weektwo #AgileCoaching
12th January 2018
As I reach the end of my first week recording what I do as a Scrum Master, I have realised that this page may very quickly need to be update to include some sort of achieve.
The majority of my day was spent trying to ensure that the team were on track to fix a broken build, deploy and test user stories for inclusion in the next release.
When time allowed, I cleared some outstading actions from earlier in the week, including the circulation of the team’s New Year’s Resolutions. I was extremely please with their enthusiasm for this task as I only expected them to identify a single item, whereas many of them identified two or three things that they were going to do to help the team continually improve.
Final task of the day was to complete and submit the weekly report for next weeks management meeting.
11th January 2018
I logged on early before the school run and got my second blue screen of death (BSOD) this week. After several BSOD before Christmas, is my laptop on it’s last legs?
Once I was in the office I didn’t end up getting my laptop out of my bag until 11:30 as I went from Daily Scrum, to Scrum of Scrums and then to a metrics strategy meeting. My team called out that needed some support from an SME in another team during the Daily Scrum, so this was raised at the Scrum of Scrums.
I finished creating the index cards for our physical Kanban board after running out of time after Sprint Planning yesterday, before heading off to another metrics meeting – I guess that it is lucky that I am passionate about metrics.
On returning to my desk I was able to provide an overview of Scrum Roles, Events and Artifacts to a colleague who will be shadowing our team to find out more about the way that we work.
Then, you guessed it, more discussions about metrics. This session was really positive, highlighting the limitations of the current process and how with a few small modifications, the requests being made could be achieved. More discussions are required, but a way forward has been identified that everyone is currently agreeing on.
#dayinthelifeofaScrumMaster #dayafterthenightbefore #BSOD
10th January 2018
After following up on the minutes circulated on the strategy and direction of future work items, I started to pull together details of the team’s New Year’s Resolutions. I will need to finish this tomorrow.
The Daily Scrum identified that we needed further conversation around the release vehicle for two user stories currently in flight. This was raised at the Scrum of Scrums, with a follow-up call later in the day. Further discussion on this will take place tomorrow.
The day centered around Sprint Planning. After everyone had the opportunity to talk through their New Year’s Resolution, we review the state of user stories not completed in the festive period and identify which would carry into the next Sprint. This included estimating when the team thought that these user stories would be completed. There were a few very small user stories added, however, most of the additional items added to the Sprint backlog were ‘support’ tickets that provide visibility of work outside of development/testing that the team need to be involved in.
Then came the admin of updating JIRA and circulating minutes from the Sprint Review, Retrospective and Planning sessions.
9th January 2018
Tuesday is one of the days that I am into the office early. This gives me up to two hours where it is quiet and I can get on with things uninterrupted.
I spent some time reviewing the Scrum Master Community backlog identifying an item that I could lead a session on. Over the course of the next month I will be preparing a talk/presentation on Data Driven Process Improvements. This will utilise some of my previously published blog posts.
The Daily Scrum does not identify any impediments, with the team working to complete user stories before the Sprint ends tomorrow. Similarly, there was nothing of note at the Scrum of Scrums.
The afternoon saw four meetings: a metrics session, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective and a review of potential future delivery items.
Although we didn’t get through all the agenda items in the metrics session, the session was extremely positive as new group members were brought up to speed and the current challenges were highlighted. There will be need to be further sessions to cover the outstanding agenda items.
In the Sprint Review we looked at the progress that had been made and where we expect to be at the end of the Sprint. The reasons why not all items were completed were identified and should help during future Sprint Planning sessions to ensure that we do not over forecast.
For the Sprint Retrospective the team held a metrics review, considering how things had evolved during the last year and the progression that had been made. In order to keep progressing, the team were set the challenge of setting themselves a New Years’s Resolution, which we will regularly review in order make sure that we continue to move forward.
The final meeting of the day considered future delivery items that build upon the work currently in progress. The order in which these items should be completed was discussed as well as the amount of effort that may be required and potential need for inception/incubation sessions.
#dayinthelifeofaScrumMaster #SprintReview #SprintRetrospective
8th January 2018
I start the year a little later than most having spent the first week of 2018 looking after my daughter while she is off school for the Christmas holidays. Even before getting into the office I have checked my inbox and found over 600 e-mails waiting for me. Many of these e-mail were weeded out quickly as they related to deployments/sanity testing, Confluence and JIRA notifications, and environment status updates. This left around 10 that required closer attention.
Before I left for an 18 day hiatus, my team had just delivered code for release testing and there were one or two defects that they were looking to resolve during the festive break. I can see from our physical and electronic boards that these have been resolved are are ready to be deployed into the release, however, no user stories have been closed.
Time for the Daily Scrum. Even though clear priorities were set before going on leave, it appears that these were not followed, or, someone change the focus of the team which led to user stories being picked up and put down. This is something that I will need to investigate further during the Sprint Review tomorrow.
I had no impediments/concerns to raise at the Scrum of Scrum, although it was noted that some teams have resources with visa’s expiring in the coming months. This also applies to my team, but it was something I noted before Christmas and just need to follow up on to ensure that there is minimal impact on the team.
I end the day with a few admin tasks including sending out invites to Scrum ceremonies before a couple of governance calls. I also looked at the two upcoming and separate metrics working groups sessions that I have this week as well as looking ahead to tomorrow’s Sprint Review and Retrospective.