Scrum Master - Scaled Agile Milestone (2023)

“A Scrum Master is like a conductor who guides a group of people to do something that none of them could do alone.

–Mike Cohn

SAFe Scrum Masters are servant leaders and coaches for an agile team. You will help train the team in Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), Kanban and SAFe and ensure that the agreed Agile process is followed. They also help remove roadblocks and create an environment for powerful team dynamics, continuous flow, and relentless improvement.

Use:For more information on applying ScrumXP in SAFe, see the additional framework articles in the Scrum series, includingSecure Scrum XP,the iteration,iteration planning,iteration check, yIteration retrospective.

Stories about Scrum Master: Yolanda

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At SAFe, Scrum Masters help their teams achieve delivery goals. Trains teams in self-organization and self-management and helps with coordination and participation.Agile Release Trains (ART)Events, increasing the effectiveness of SAFe throughout the organization.

SAFe Scrum Masters are integral members of aagile teamand share responsibility for overall team performance.

Characteristics of a SAFe Scrum Master

The SAFe Scrum Master role has primary responsibility for helping the team achieve its objectives. They do this by teaching and training SAFe ScrumXP and SAFe, implementing and supporting SAFe principles and practices, and identifying and removing bottlenecks in the flow.

SAFe Scrum Masters come from a variety of backgrounds and roles and are in high demand. But who is a good Scrum Master? While they don't typically hire managers, they are influential members of an agile team. Therefore, it is important to know what qualities make a good Scrum Master. For example, they often possess the following properties:

  • Sensible. Supports the team by showing genuine understanding and interest in a team member's beliefs or feelings. In turn, the team is more likely to build relationships with others, leading to higher levels of collaboration and achievement. Empathy is an essential part of trust, which is essential for people to accept and welcome coaching.
  • Conflict Browser. Assists team members in interpersonal conflict resolution, problem solving, and decision making. Lyssa Atkins, agile coach and author, says, "Conflict management is our new mindset, where we help teams move from conflict to constructive disagreement, catapulting them to excellence." [two]
  • service leader. Convinced instead of using authority. As servant leaders, Scrum Masters focus on the needs of team members and those they serve with the goal of achieving results that align with the organization's values, principles, and business objectives. [3]
  • Mentor. It supports the personal development of team members and helps them develop a mindset of continuous learning. They guide the team to find solutions to their problems on their own instead of receiving the answers.
  • Transparent. transparency is aValor centralof SAFe and one of the pillars of Scrum empiricism. The Scrum Master is open and appreciates the transparency of others. They help the team provide transparency by ensuring artifacts are investigated, identifying significant differences between expected and actual results, and detecting anti-patterns.
  • Coach. Understands and trains the team in methods beyond Scrum, such as SAFe,kanban Team,Caudal,built-in quality, and more. Help build a high performance team.

SAFe Scrum Master Responsibilities

The SAFe Scrum Master fulfills many important responsibilities by performing the role categorized in Figure 1 below. Each category is described in the following sections.

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Facilitate IP planning

SAFe Scrum Masters play an important role in thisIP planning. Cooperation with other Scrum Masters and thelaunch gear engineer, actively work with the team during PI planning to ensure a successful event.

Prepare for IP planning

Before the event, the SAFe Scrum Master ensures that the team is informed about upcoming features.product manager,entrepreneur, and other stakeholders, as shown in Figure 2. They help the team and theproduct ownerIdentify local stories, maintenance, defects, technical debt, and other work the team needs to do in the upcoming period.Pi.

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Draft IP Plans

The SAFe Scrum Master helps the team create a draft PI plan for the PI iterations and write the draft.IP targetsand identify program risks and problems. They also help the team set up their digital or physical planning areas and provide visual focal points that create transparency and collaboration. They help the team determine its capacity and stay within that constraint.

Coordinate with other teams.

SAFe Scrum Masters often take a leadership role to ensure collaboration and communication during the event. During PI planning, they typically secure subject matter experts (SMEs) and program stakeholders and facilitate communication with other teams to determine how they will collaborate on feature development and resolve dependencies.

Create Team IP Goals

SAFe Scrum Masters help teams build teamsIP targets, these are the things they want to achieve in the next PI. They make sure that the goals are written before the draft plan is reviewed and that there is an appropriate mix of committed and uncommitted goals.

Review final plans and business value

Before the final review, SAFe Scrum Masters help ensure that PI objectives are smart (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) and written in a way that everyone can understand. The Scrum Master often moderatesentrepreneurand team collaboration during business value assignments.

Iteration execution support

SAFe Scrum Masters support the team during the iteration and increase the team's probability of achieving its iteration goals and PI objectives, as shown in Figure 3.

Facilitate successful ScrumXP events

Scrum events are the heartbeat of Scrum, and the SAFe Scrum Master plays a critical role in determining the success of each one, as shown in Figure 3.

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Cooperation with the PO

Since the Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the solution resulting from teamwork, a key aspect of the SAFe Scrum Master's role is to support the CO as the team delivers value. They do this by:

  • Help the PO and team understand and apply customer-focused tools and techniques and design thinking to build the right thing at the right time.
  • Make sure the team understands the need for team backlog items to be clear and concise and aligns with ART's capacity allocation for each type of work item.
  • Support the team in the application of empirical planning and development, where progress is based on observation and experimentation of working solutions in small increments.
  • Facilitate collaboration with other stakeholders when necessary

flow improvement

Set up the team kanban board

SAFe ScrumXP teams use Kanban systems to visualize work and improve workflow. The implementation of an effective Kanban system, customized to the needs of a specific agile team, is based on the type of work being performed (for example, software development, marketing, hardware), the skills of the team members, and their function in the ART.

Setting thekanban teamThe system is best done by involving the entire team under the guidance and facilitation of an experienced trainer. SAFe's expanded guidance article,Kanban application in SAFe, describes the structure of a Kanban system and the connection of Kanban systems in SAFe. Figure 4 below shows an example of a team kanban board.

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Measure and optimize flow

SAFe Scrum Masters help the team set up a metrics system to assess and improve their overall performance. Specific measures for flow, competition and results are described inmetric.

Flow Metrics helps the Scrum Master and the team to iteratively develop their process and continually adapt it to the needs of the team. After defining the initial limits of the process and WIP and some execution, the bottlenecks should be evident. Otherwise, the team refines the process or further lowers some WIP limits until a workflow state is discovered to be overloaded or hungry. Other training opportunities to streamline the flow may include merging or splitting steps, adding buffers, lanes, and classes of service, or redefining workflow states.

build quality

Agile teams work in a rapid, flow-based system to rapidly develop and release high-quality business capabilities, rather than doing the bulk of testing last. The SAFe Scrum Master trains agile teams to create and run many tests early, often, and at multiple levels. For example, unit tests for code changes are defined by test-driven development (TDD) and behavior-driven development (BDD), and feature utility hypothesis testing using lean UX is applied to code changes. acceptance tests of histories, characteristics and capabilities.built-in qualityit ensures that frequent changes in agile development do not introduce new bugs and enables fast and reliable execution.

Building high performance teams

healthy designagile teamsit is essential for creating high-quality increments of working solutions. Fortunately, many of the ingredients for high-performance teams are inherently built into SAFe. For example, agile teams in SAFe are small, cross-functional, and self-organizing. He is empowered to define and execute the work necessary to achieve the objectives of the team and the ART. Everyone agrees that all increments should conform to a common and indeed scalable definition.

While every team is different, there are common traits that high performing teams share. SAFe Scrum Masters are responsible for supporting and promoting the following team characteristics:

  • Self-governance and ownership and responsibility
  • Aligned and collaborative
  • Success is focused on clear goals and purposes
  • Effective decision makers who understand the impact of their work on others.
  • Work with open and transparent communication and trust.
  • Value diversity and healthy conflict
  • Provide effective and timely feedback
  • High commitment and fun at work and with others.

Scrum Masters foster an environment for high-performance team dynamics, continuous flow, and relentless improvement. The Scrum Master advises the team and creates an atmosphere of mutual respect, helps resolve interpersonal conflicts, and identifies opportunities for growth. They support the team in thisapproachby creating high-value increments for each iteration.

Become a more effective SAFe Scrum Master

"Good leaders must first become good servants" - Robert K. Greenleaf, father of servant leadership.

Every servant leader knows that growth comes from nurturing the development of others who deliver the results. Scrum Masters serve the team and the organization as a whole.

The Scrum Master supports the widespread adoption of SAFe throughout the organization by training stakeholders and non-agile teams on effective interactions with agile teams, participating in the Scrum Master community of practice, and supporting the organization.SAFe-Programmberater(CPS).

AsLean Agile Leaders, SAFe Scrum Masters also drive adoption of SAFe, leading by example and integrating theLean Agile Mindsetand SAFe principles in how they conduct themselves and perform their roles, provide training and guidance, and are role models for others to follow.

Encourage team collaboration

The SAFe Scrum Master role fosters more effective and cohesive teams, enabling better business outcomes, solutions, and products. They offer observations, feedback, guidance, and advice based on what they know and have seen on the job.

Coach with Power Questions

However, SAFe Scrum Masters do not have all the answers. Instead they can askpowerful questionsto discover the essentials and then guide others to use their knowledge and experience. Some examples of strong questions are:

  • What brings us to this investigation?
  • What other possibilities or options are there?
  • What are we not seeing?
  • What do we have to do to reach a deeper understanding?
  • If success were guaranteed, what action would you take?

By asking questions in this way, Scrum Masters help teams improve their performance, solve more problems independently, make better decisions, learn new skills, and achieve their goals.

resolve team conflicts

Teamwork is the ultimate competitive advantage. Yet a lot of equipment doesn't work, according to Patrick Lencioni, a consultant and author ofFive dysfunctions of a team. In his book, Lencioni suggests that a lack of confidence leads to the other four dysfunctions. SAFe Scrum Masters help address these five dysfunctions with the SAFe practices illustrated in Figure 5.

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Develop team skills

SAFe Scrum Masters work with team members and their functional managers to help them acquire T-Shape skills. AT-shapedThe person has broad general knowledge in many areas and is an expert in one of these disciplines. They encourage team members to team up with others to expand their skills, take on responsibilities in other disciplines and business areas, attend training, and read books to continue learning.

Improve program performance

SAFe Scrum Masters help teams improve overall program performance through the following activities:

Facilitate collaboration between teams

Cross-team collaboration is a hallmark of high-performance teams. Agile teams must collaborate across departments to bring complete product solutions to market. SAFe Scrum Masters fosters an environment where cross-team collaboration thrives and is supported by practices that provide opportunities for teams to work together, such as:

  • Alignment with the objectives, vision andStrategic Issuesduring PI planning and dependency addressing using the program board
  • Representing the team in Scrum of Scrums, PO and ART Syncs
  • Participate in DSU and other team demos with relevant team members
  • Participated in ART system demos and Inspect & Adapt events

One of the main advantages of working in and between teams is that colleagues learn from each other. In an agile team, learning new skills makes everyone more valuable to the organization and better equipped to support the work of others. It also protects against special abilities becoming a bottleneck, increasing lag and reducing quality.

Build trust with stakeholders

The SAFe Scrum Master helps the team build trust with stakeholders. SAFe builds on a continuous wave of short-term engagements from Agile Teams and ART to help with business planning and results, resulting in better alignment and trust between development and business stakeholders. These are communicated through IP targets. While solution development is inherently uncertain, the business depends on teams to provide any measure of predictable and reliable forecasting. Very little predictability and the company cannot plan. Too much and the organization gets locked into longer-term plans that are unreliable and limit agility. Business and technology stakeholders need something in between, which is the main goal of IP goals.

Exit the IP

The end of each PI is a busy time for SAFe Scrum Masters. They tend to participate in the following types of activities:

  • coach ofip-iteration.Scrum Masters help ensure that the team does not schedule work for the IP iteration during PI planning. Instead, they train teams to use IP iteration as an estimation buffer to achieve PI goals and allocate time for PI innovation, learning, planning,
  • help the crewcheck and adjustMake sure the team is prepared for the I&A event, including the PI System demo, quantitative and qualitative measurement, and retrospective and troubleshooting workshop. You will help guide the team in I&A activities and meet assigned time slots.
  • Facilitate the problem solving workshop.Scrum Masters offer coaching in root cause analysis, the "five whys" and Pareto analysis. They ensure that the relevant work required to deliver the identified improvements is planned and addedlate team work.

Full or part time position?

The SAFe Scrum Master can be a part-time or full-time role depending on team size, context, and other responsibilities. However, at the enterprise level, it can be difficult to justify the need for a full-time Scrum Master for every Agile team. SAFe takes a pragmatic approach, one team member sometimes taking over with other responsibilities, or may support more than one team. However, during the initial implementation of SAFe, the work can be more intensive. It is often advantageous to hire external Scrum Master consultants to mentor teams and help them gain experience with Scrum and SAFe. These consultants will work with multiple teams and new Scrum Masters in the organization. Of course, proper training and experience is required for it to be effective.

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Last updated: August 17, 2022

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