The role of a Scrum Master can be difficult. You complete the entire training process, earn the Certified Scrum Master designation, and still feel like there is more to learn. It is always important to push yourself and know what skills you can improve upon to reach the next stage of your Scrum Master career. How do you take your Scrum Master skills to the next level? How do you go from a good Scrum Master to a great Scrum Master?
Don’t Be Afraid of Silence
Scrum Masters too often feel like they always have to be the one to speak. At Agile events for example, you may feel the need to break those awkward silences - but you don’t always have to! Instead of breaking the silence, do a ten-count in your head and wait to see if there is another team member willing to step up. As a Scrum Master, you don’t need to have all the answers.
Also, be sure to listen actively. Take in everything the team is talking about. If you want to contribute, do so, but don’t feel obligated. The role of the Scrum Master is not to be the main teacher. To become an autonomous, self-organizing team, the Scrum Master must not be afraid of taking a backseat every once in a while.
Own the Adoption of Scrum
While the Scrum Master is not solely responsible for the successful output of the project, it is important for Scrum Masters to know that they do own the successful adoption of Scrum. Think of the Scrum Master like a conductor of an orchestra. The conductor knows how to call on the various instruments, the rate to play them, and taps them when the time is right. The Scrum Master should do the same, facilitating the Scrum adoption process.
Remove Any Impediments
One of the biggest tasks of a Scrum Master is to get rid of obstacles the team may face. Team members will always face impediments, but how they deal with them is what matters most. As each problem arises on a daily basis, the Scrum Master must work through them patiently with the team. Take time to mitigate the risk of the impediment occurring or, if possible, cut it out completely.
Focus on the Success of the Team
The best way for a Scrum Master to succeed is for the team to succeed. Even the smallest successes within a project should be celebrated. Flaunt the team wins. Be their cheerleader. When the Scrum Master shines a spotlight on the wins it makes him or her look good and also motivates the team to push forward.
You can go from a decent Scrum Master to a great one with practice. It will take years to master the craft and it goes beyond trying to do better with what you already know. Think about new skills you can gain and new approaches you can take. Practice silence and active listening. Focus on the team’s successes. Eliminate impediments. The more you work at it, the better the Scrum Master you will become!