The Value Of A Dedicated Scrum Master Joining The Team
Agile methodologies have been implemented within South African organisations for many years and one of the top findings is that when it is implemented without total buy-in from management, and when only certain aspects are implemented in a few projects, there is little chance of success occurring.
“When a team does not have the correct players, playing the same game, wanting to achieve the same goal, a successful outcome is not possible,” states Albertus Vermeulen, Bizmod Development consultant.
Agile implementation is based on iterative development which is the repetition of a process until the desired outcome is achieved. When a project is presented to a team and the desired outcomes communicated, the team splits the project into sections known as sprints. They then focus on a single sprint at a time, and only once the product owner is satisfied with the results of this sprint does the team move onto the next one.
When implementing Agile procedures within departments, a Scrum Master is a crucial team player that needs to be allocated. The person in this role ensures that the best team for the project is put together, everyone on the team is working towards the same deadline and is sure of what they need to accomplish to achieve the same goal.
“In most cases a team will form and start self-organising immediately in a new agile implementation, mostly based on an affinity. The developers will sort out who is who, the testers know what they are doing and want to achieve, and soon the business cases, specifications and rules are transformed into stories. Cards will be placed on the walls, which are prioritised giving an indication of what we are tackling. Followed by code being written, and test cases run,” explains Vermuelen. “Everyone feels good about what is happening until something goes wrong, and without a Scrum Master to help the team solve the issue, and make sure that everyone is working together, time is wasted and there is a good chance that the sprint will fail.”
On projects with smaller teams the Scrum Master can be the product owner, while larger teams need a dedicated Scrum Master as this type of project requires time that the product owner does not have. For an agile project to be successful constant communication and fast reverts need to be provided and expected to make sure that deadlines are met.
“A Scrum Master will hold daily scrum meetings with his team to chat about the status of the project, and if there is anything that needs to be communicated. From here any issues will be dealt with as a team, and the sprint will continue,” comments Vermeulen. “A Scrum Master is vital in leading the team and uncovering any issues that may arise before the project continues. Having a dedicated pair of eyes on the backlogs, ensuring that these backlog items are as concise as possible, that priorities are aligned, and continually communicates the status of efforts of the team to all stakeholders adds another layer of transparency to the project efforts.”
A dedicated Scrum Master that is well-versed in agile will almost immediately add value to your agile implementation. Effective communication and leading the change that increases productivity can often be the lynchpin that takes an agile implementation in the organisation to the next level.
Visit Bizmod’s website for more information.