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Talk Agility with Vivek – 28-Aug-2018

talk agility with vivek – 28-aug-2018

Talk Agility with Vivek – 28-Aug-2018

Vivek Jayaraman
1st Mar, 2019

How do you measure the performance of a Scrum Master or an Agile Coach?


This is one of the usual questions which people ask in the industry. This is because people think that the Scrum Master or an Agile Coach doesn’t do anything solid that can be measured. Scrum Master or an Agile Coach usually gets hired for a reason.


The reason could be Organization wants help in achieving their vision for a change e.g. faster releases, greater ROI and such. To measure how things are progressing towards the change, they will have list of things to measure which forms Key Progress Indicators. These indicators will help the Organisation to ensure that they are progressing towards their vision.


Now, if the Scrum Master or the Agile Coach helping the Organisation, teams and all individuals inside the Organisation must be measured, they should be measured in terms of the indicators. If the indicators showing positive results, then their performance is good.


Is Scrum Master supposed to collect team deliverables and status to present it to PO and Management?


In traditional methodologies, the module lead, team lead, project lead and sometimes even the project manager will act as delivery or courier boys. They collect the status and the work done by the team and then they either send it or present it to the management. But, in Scrum everything is transparent.


Everyone knows what the team is working on and what they committed for. They need complete autonomy in working and delivering the commitment. Also, when they are done everyone knows it as well. So, there is no need of a role where they can communicate the status. Coming to Scrum Master, that’s not what’s the role was designed for. It's for even a higher purpose.


Scrum Master should handle only teams and help PO? What is next for a SM?


Scrum Master not only service the team and PO but also the entire organisation as a system. It’s a misunderstanding that Scrum Master’s service is only towards the Scrum Team. Scrum Master in a way services the Organisation as a whole. If a certain process in an Organisation limiting the team in becoming self-organising, that becomes an impediment and guess whose shoulders gets heavy? Team’s performance indirectly affects business.


So, Scrum Master focus is on not just the team and PO but the entire system. Scrum Master after helping a team become self-organizing, he/she can focus on the other teams and the scope widens. The scrum master then uses his/her experience and skills towards other teams. As the scope widens and the need for additional skill sets are needed. The Scrum Master over a period could step into the role of an Agile Coach.


Can a Scrum Master do code reviews?


Due to the crunch in budget, many of the Organisations want Scrum Master to be part of the development activities. Scrum Master as a tester, Scrum Master as a product developer, Scrum Master as a business analyst, build & release engineer and such. But, one need to understand that Scrum Master is a full-time job. 


People with partial scrum knowledge thinks that Scrum Master doesn’t do an actual job. Unless the team is self-organized, they cannot remove certain impediments on their own and they need help. 


If the team is a self-organizing team, then the Scrum Master itself is not needed as a full-time person within that team. Now, can Scrum Master do code reviews, he/she can.


Again, one need to understand that the role is an unbiased role either to business nor technical. If Scrum Master, do code reviews which means that certain bias will happen towards the technical side and thereby pulling/pushing people towards their ideologies. 


It is not good for a self-organising team. A question with “can” can be yes, but one needs to look at the big picture. If none available, the Scrum Master can review the code, which is no harm. But my suggestion is not to prolong.


 

Is estimating using Story points is a technique in Scrum? if not, why do scrum teams talk about estimating in Story points?


Estimating using Story Points is not a Scrum technique. Yes, Scrum Team see the value in estimating using story points as it gives you clarity over the Product Backlog Item (PBI), it provides collaboration and planning poker is also fun. Story points talks about the complexity of PBI, amount of work needed, and uncertainty involved.


While, the time taken for completing an item may vary due to lot many factors, the amount of work involved, and the complexity remains the same. So, story points estimation provides value and that’s the reason Scrum teams do estimation using Story Points. Hence the name Agile estimation as well.

About the author
Vivek Jayaraman

Vivek is a compassionate Coach, Mentalist, and Story Teller. He is an ICAgile Authorized Instructor, NLP Trainer, Agile, leadership & Wellness Coach, and a practicing psychotherapist with more than 16 years of experience. He currently works as a Customer Success Officer for Leanpitch Technologies & LeanGears LLC. Vivek has a knack to work closely with people and help them succeed. He shares that experience of working with people on all his training and uses them in his Coaching, Counselling, and Consulting assignments.

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