Scrum Master re-evaluation

It’s fairly easy to get CSM (Certified Scrum Master). Even though it is quite easy experience there are some questions that will make you think more than 2 seconds. While taking this evaluation i marked some things for myself that it is very easy to stop doing with some teams.

So, even though it’s easy, but worth in terms of educational process.

Which of the following is NOT a role in Scrum?

From Do Better Scrum: “The responsibilities of the traditional project manager are divided over the three roles in the Scrum Team:
‣ The Product Owner manages the product (and return on investment)
‣ The ScrumMaster manages the process
‣ The team manages itself.”

From MountainGoatSoftware.com : “One convenient way to think of the interlocking nature of these three roles is as a race car. The team is the car itself, ready to speed along in whatever direction it is pointed. The product owner is the driver, making sure that the car is always going in the right direction. The ScrumMaster is the chief mechanic, keeping the car well-tuned and performing at its best.”

Which of the following responsibilities does NOT fall to the Scrum Master

From MountainGoatSoftware.com: “The Scrum Master is the team’s coach and helps team members achieve their highest level of performance. A ScrumMaster differs from a project manager in many key ways, including that the ScrumMaster does not provide day-to-day direction to the team and does not assign tasks to individuals. A good ScrumMaster shelters the team from outside distractions, allowing team members to focus maniacally during the sprint on the goal they have selected.” (underline added for emphasis)

From the Scrum Primer: “The ScrumMaster helps the product group learn and apply Scrum to achieve business value. The ScrumMaster does whatever is in their power to help the Team and Product Owner be successful. The ScrumMaster is not the manager of the Team or a project manager; instead, the ScrumMaster serves the Team, protects them from outside interference, and educates and guides the Product Owner and the Team in the skillful use of Scrum.”

From Do Better Scrum: “The responsibilities of the ScrumMaster role are:
‣ Empowering and shepherding the team
‣ Removing impediments
‣ Keeping the process moving
‣ Socialising Scrum to the greater organisation
Metaphor: The ScrumMaster is a facilitator, coach, mentor and bulldozer!”

Question – How many new ScrumMasters (transformed from project managers or developers)  really became facilitators in your company ?… Isn’t this just a role game for you?

Which of the following is NOT a responsibility of the product owner?

From Scrum Primer: “The product owner is responsible for maximizing return on investment (ROI) by identifying product features, translating these into a prioritized list, deciding which should be at the top of the list for the next Sprint, and continually re-prioritizing and refining the list.” and “This is a key practice in Scrum: The team decides how much work it will commit to complete, rather than having it assigned to them by the product owner.”

From Do Better Scrum: “The responsibilities of the product owner role are:
‣ Working on a shared vision
‣ Gathering requirements
‣ Managing and prioritising the product backlog
‣ Accepting the software at the end of each iteration
‣ Managing the release plan
‣ The profitability of the project (ROI)
Metaphor: The Product Owner is a CEO.”

From MountainGoatSoftware.com: “While the ScrumMaster focuses on helping the team be the best that it can be, the product owner works to direct the team at the right goal. The product owner does this by creating a compelling vision of the product and then conveying that vision to the team through the product backlog.”

Question – Do Product Owners at your company are able (not only empowered ;)) to make such decisions?

A major theme in Scrum is “inspect and adapt.” Which of the following best summarizes that theme?

Scrum emphasizes taking a short step of development, inspecting both the resulting product and the efficacy of current practices, and then adapting the product goals and process practices

“A major theme in Scrum is “inspect and adapt.” Since development inevitably involves learning, innovation, and surprises, Scrum emphasizes taking a short step of development, inspecting both the resulting product and the efficacy of current practices, and then adapting the product goals and process practices. Repeat forever.” from Scrum Primer

“There are three points for inspection and adaptation in Scrum. The Daily Scrum meeting is used to inspect progress toward the Sprint goal, and to make adaptations that optimize the value of the next work day. In addition, the Sprint Review and Planning meetings are used to inspect progress toward the Release Goal and to make adaptations that optimize the value of the next Sprint. Finally, the Sprint Retrospective is used to review the past Sprint and determine what adaptations will make the next Sprint more productive, fulfilling, and enjoyable.” from the Scrum Guide

Question – Didn’t you forget the purpose of those meetings?

Why does Scrum make it difficult for product owners to make changes to a sprint that is underway?

Because asking the team to make a real commitment comes with an associated cost of not shifting the basis of that commitment in mid-sprint

From Scrum Primer: “One of the pillars of Scrum is that once the Team makes its commitment, any additions or changes must be deferred until the next sprint. This means that if halfway through the sprint the product owner decides there is a new item he or she would like the team to work on, he cannot make the change until the start of the next sprint. If an external circumstance appears that significantly changes priorities, and means the team would be wasting its time if it continued working, the product owner or the team can terminate the sprint. The team stops, and a new sprint planning meeting initiates a new sprint. The disruption of doing this is usually great; this serves as a disincentive for the product owner or team to resort to this dramatic decision.”

From MountainGoatSoftware.com “In return for their commitment to completing the selected tasks (which, by definition, are the most important to the product owner), the product owner commits that he or she will not throw new requirements at the team during the sprint. Requirements are allowed to change (and change is encouraged) but only outside the sprint. Once the team starts on a sprint it remains maniacally focused on the goal of that sprint.”

Question – How do you keep the scope of the sprint fixed? How do avoid prioritization game after everyone understands the system?

Keep in mind, the key reason to adopt agile process like Scrum is to be able to respond to change in a better way.

So don’t use agile methods to build a  right system, use them to learn!