DEV Community

loading...

Being a scrum master

meanin profile image Paweł Ruciński ・4 min read

I work in an international team where we are using Agile scrum methodology for project delivery. Scrum is about being ready to deliver new fully functional version of an application or system in one time period called sprint. One sprint consists of two weeks. It contains some fixed points during every day. One of them is daily stand up. This routine needs a person which will lead the whole ceremony.

Recently I was chosen to be a scrum master for one sprint. I decided to write a sentence or two after every daily stand up. Here you have the results.

Positives

First difficulty was to speak in English for an hour, day by day on daily stand ups. My native language is Polish, and I am not comfortable with speaking English as much as I want to, so it was a little bit challenging for me. Next day I had a feeling that daily stand up would go on forever. I was a little scared that something would go wrong. Every time I took the floor, I felt that I was making so many mistakes... Ugh, that was a though one. After all, it turned out that our client wanted to share with us project mile stones for the next quarter.

Continuous contact with client is difficult. Every time you should to (or even must) have an answer for every question. There is a real need for agile board to be up-to-date. Project Managers work on this on their daily basis. Solution for this is to sacrifice a few minutes before each daily stand up and a few more before leaving the office to sum up the teams' work. I've learned that preparing everything before stand ups pays off. I am less stressed, I know what I want to say, etc.

If somebody has to say something, give her/him to speak. It is good if you give people a chance to express themselves. Keep also in mind to be careful about the length of everyone's speech, because daily's sometimes tend to go on and on. Also, be confident of what you do, what you say. Your co-workers need to be focused on daily meeting content. It will also help you to keep up the pace of your stand ups. When you do not have much to say, stay with the facts only, there is no need to extend your statement. Treat this duty as something normal. It is normal. So many people are driving daily stand ups, why should you worry about what others are thinking of you?

Difficulties

Prevent showing private things during stand ups. Probably you are wondering why I mention it, how is it even possible? In our project we work in international team with people from several countries. For daily stand ups we have a video-conference with shared desktop, to everyone see the JIRA board. We discuss each ticket together and classify it to proper column - depending on whether it's already finished, just started, etc. On the other day I had a setback with facebook. I connected conference, prepared shared desktop and there were still a few minutes left and being aware of that I had two monitors, I decided to check out how my wife was going at home. Unfortunately, when everyone joined the meeting and we finally started, I had to show something on my browser. I opened it with a facebook page on unintentionally, but still, everyone saw it. Luckily, my project manager quickly turned it into a joke. That was a relief, but I will remember that for a long time.

After a few days as a Scrum Master, I got used to this. It is no longer a pain to lead daily's. I am preparing everything 5-10 minutes before it starts, and I try to sum up everyone works on our general slack channel before I leave the office. The worst thing is, that even when you have a bad day (for example one day I had a terrible neck ache), you have to be prepared anyway, full of optimistic thoughts and lead a daily as always, trying to affect others with your good attitude. Moreover, an estimation sessions use to be longer than initially expected, so on that day was a paaaaaaaain. So, it is up to you to keep the pace of the meeting.

The end of sprint meeting was a pain in the ass too... In my case it lasted forever. We had a normal daily stand up, which took about half an hour. I was already tired after normal meeting, because when others were speaking, I was preparing sessions for sprint review and estimation meantime (Yes, I know, I should be prepared before). Unfortunately, that was the longest review ever. People had more and more ideas how to make our team better. I had to read all the reported tickets during session, ask my colleagues one by one for more input, try to suggest the action points for what went wrong during sprint etc. It took so much time again, that for me it felt like the whole eternity.. But to be honest, it was about an hour. Finally, we came to the estimation session. Only 10 tasks to estimate. We could skip a few, as they were misplaced, it was not in our scope to resolve them. At long last we finished with ~5 task to estimate, but those were the big ones. We were arguing about how much story points we should assign them. But luckily, it happens once for a sprint.

Summary

To sum up, from time to time, a few innocent jokes will significantly improve daily stand ups atmosphere. It is not so hard to lead daily stand ups. Just give it a try, be prepared and don't be shy. It is another opportunity to strengthen your language skills. Remember about tools which you can use (in example: poker planning tool, retro session tool), and as Thomas Fuller said: "All things are difficult before they are easy".

Discussion

pic
Editor guide
Collapse
tedfernandess profile image
Ted Fernandes

I really liked your post. I liked the part about Facebook. :D

I'm glad you shared your experience, and your challenge with the English language.

I would be grateful if you see an article that I posted recently

tfsolucoes-tecnologicas.com/14-com...

Take a look. May be it will interest you.

I hope you like it.

Collapse
devmonte profile image
Grzegorz Jońca

Do you have some tips how to kindly inform someone who talk too long to finish his/her speech?

Collapse
meanin profile image
Paweł Ruciński Author

First of all, I wouldn't do that in the ongoing meeting. I'd rather catch him/her up after and have a word about that. I would try to keep this conversation in a friendly tone.

I would inform this person to stick with the facts on stand ups and to remember that we should fit into a narrow time window during whole meeting.

After all, we are all humans, and this is probably your colleague, so keep that in mind :)

Collapse
dansilcox profile image
Dan Silcox

<name> thanks for your updates - can we catch up outside of this meeting as we need to keep to our 15 minutes and others are yet to contribute :)

Collapse
meanin profile image
Paweł Ruciński Author

tl;dr;

  1. Don't be shy
  2. Be prepared (5 minutes before each stand up)
  3. Be focused
  4. Keep personal stuff out of the meeting