3 Things I’ve Learned as a Scrum Master

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Work is better when you’re Agile. I’ve been credentialed as a Scrum Master for the better part of six months and an actual Scrum Master for… two weeks? Yeah, that sounds about right.


After going through the training with Scrum Inc., I joined DH Leonard Consulting, a business that supports nonprofit organizations in their grant-seeking efforts and utilizes Scrum to run the business. I began as a team member with a great Scrum Master and Product Owner leading the charge. I was given the Scrum Master designation after completing a vast number of physical and mental challenges that include doing 100 push-ups and finding the velocity of the team without a calculator (or the previous Scrum Master decided I would be a good replacement). 


  1. Coming into a team already operating on Scrum brings both Pros and Cons. Any starting Scrum Master might dream of entering into a team that knows and loves Scrum just like we do, and that the team will move smoothly into new guidance, ushering in the utopia of workspaces. Rather, I found myself in a team where each individual is trying to be Agile as best they can. The best part about coming onto a team that already exercises Scrum is they already have the mindset of review and change. I see this as the core of Scrum: to look introspectively and then grow. This is great, however, when a team already operates Scrum, a groove is normally cut into the workspace that sometimes makes Scrum adjustments like the way and when meetings take place a lot harder to change.
  2.  Ideas are easy, putting them into practice is hard. I recognized early on that the ideals that you learn in Scrum training are indefinitely tested by life, and it is much easier to think about best practices and adaptation than it is to actually do it. Everything looks better from far away, looking at photos of myself from far away, I might think I’m a redheaded Mark Walburg (from very far away), but on closer inspection, you’d find a slightly better-looking Pumba from the Lion King. When you bring good-looking Scrum ideas into focus, where tough conversations between coworkers need to happen, or team members don’t communicate, you find the challenges that Scrum brings.
  3. What do we all have in Common? We are people, with likes and dislikes, with family and stories. It can be difficult to treat our team as people when they are absolute strangers. If you don’t know someone, it is too easy to think of them as more of a side character or work robot that was made to only edit documents and send them back. As Scrum Master, I’ve learned that you facilitate Scrum practices and it also includes the facilitation of team dynamics. In order for a team to work together, they need to know each other and see each other as people. This can look like icebreakers, favorite movies, anything that connects the team.


Thanks for reading this, if you’d like to read more about my journey as a Scrum Master, check out this earlier piece. https://www.agileinnonprofits.com/my-first-24-hours-as-a-scrum-master/


And our team would love to hear. What is one of the things *you* learned when you started as a Scrum Master?


Become a Scrum Master for your team, view the upcoming credential courses here.