Effective Scrum Master

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Learn how to lead teams and organisations to improve their product delivery capability in this two-day practitioner-level workshop. Effective Scrum Masters do much more than book the meeting room for sprint planning; this course will allow new and existing Scrum Masters to develop strategies to coach, facilitate, guide, and mentor.

Learning Objectives

This course is designed to leave delegates more confident in five key areas:

1.     Understanding the complexities of software delivery.

2.     The elements of the Scrum Framework.

3.     How to teach others about Scrum.

4.     Coaching the team, product owner and organisation through problems.

5.     Facilitating events and workshops.

Audience, Pre-requisites and Assumed Knowledge

The course is especially useful for people who are, or want to become, scrum masters. It’s helpful to be familiar with the basics, and to those who have existing experience with software engineering teams will benefit from exercises designed to expose the choices at hand. Typical attendees include:

  • People who are about to become scrum masters, having previously carried out roles such as project manager or software engineer.
  • Experienced Scrum Masters who want to consolidate their knowledge and share ideas for effective techniques.
  • Programme managers, portfolio managers, delivery managers, heads of department, and other senior leaders who need to learn how to effectively support their Scrum teams.
  • People who are interested in taking the Scrum.org PSM-I assessment, but wish to arrange this separately.

When delivered as a private class, the course may be pitched at an appropriate level. The first sections of the class on Scrum and its complimentary practices may be expanded for teams that need to cover the fundamentals. For more experienced groups, these sections can be covered quickly to allow more time to work on coaching and facilitation.

Approach

We are a friendly team of practitioners and we like to provide a personal level of support, before, during and after the class:

  • Pre-course reading designed to expose questions so that they can be explored in class.
  • Contact details allowing delegates to ask questions to the trainer before and after the class.
  • Access to a comprehensive set of guidance after the course so that delegates apply what has been learnt.
  • Digital course effectiveness surveys with results sent out to delegates and sponsors straight after the class.

Course Content

Introductions and Team Formation

Scrum masters often need to help teams form and learn how to collaborate effectively, so we begin the course by demonstrating the values and principles needed to do so. Teams explore the Scrum values and experience a team formation exercise that sets expectations for the day, as well as giving attendees the skills to do this themselves.

When to use Scrum

We examine the challenges of delivering software products compared with other types of work, and how to match the delivery framework and leadership style to the type of work being managed. The difference between plan-driven and empirical work is discovered, and delegates are able to identify is Scrum is right for the work that their teams are doing. Alternatives such as Kanban are briefly explained.

Agility and Incremental Delivery

Delivering working software frequently with the ability to learn and adapt is a central concept for agility, and this is explored through a non-technical example that allows all attendees to relate the ideas to their own type of work.

The Scrum Framework

We review the Scrum framework to ensure there is a comprehensive understanding of:

  • Roles and their accountabilities: scrum master, product owner, development team.
  • Artefacts and the transparency they provide: product backlog, sprint backlog, increment.
  • Events and their intent to inspect and adapt: sprint, sprint planning, daily scrum, review, retrospective.

Optional: Preparing from Scrum.org PSM-I or PSM-II assessments. If delegates intent to take these Scrum.org certifications, preparation guidance and sample questions may be built into the class.

Complimentary Practices

Scrum is defined as a framework because these core elements are just the starting point. We’ll review some common additions to the framework such as story point estimation, user stories, burndown charts, and other options.

Teams

What makes a great team of motivated, skilled developers? We explore a range of techniques that Scrum Masters can use to establish an ethos of motivated and effective delivery.

Teaching Others About Scrum

A key responsibility of an effective Scrum master is to ensure the framework is understood by the team and the people they work with. Delegates will learn about how people respond to different learning patterns, and will have the opportunity to work in teams to prepare a short presentation on an agile topic.

Coaching Teams, Product Owners and Organisations

A range of case study scenarios will be explored, including:

  • Problems with lack of team commitment and participation.
  • Difficult client-vendor relationships that create problems with team metrics.

In each case we will consider an effective strategy for Scrum masters to coach teams, product owners and organisations towards more effective product delivery. Coaching patterns such as the GROW model will help delegates structure conversations by establishing a goal, current reality, available options and what will be done to achieve it.

Facilitation

Delegates will learn the team performance possibilities arising from well-planned and facilitated team meetings:

  • Agreeing with the team how events should be run and the role of the facilitator.
  • Setting clear outcomes and ending the meeting as soon as they have been met.
  • Managing dominant personalities while ensuring less assertive people are able to contribute.
  • How to change the dynamic of team meetings to keep them focused and engaging.

Effective Scrum Master Outcomes

Delegates will leave with a comprehensive understanding of the practices and accountabilities of the Scrum Master role, and will know how to get started in fulfilling it. Experienced Scrum masters will leave with renewed confidence, and a collection of new techniques to try.

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