I’m posting this on behalf of a guest this week who is not quite ready to “go public” yet. Happy Monday! – Valerie
As a new Scrum Master, I have had the extreme fortune to have a personal Agile Coach guide me. Well, she’s technically not my personal coach, but with the attention and information she has given me, it sure feels like it. In a previous blog post, she stated she wasn’t sure what she taught me. Well I can tell you that. She taught me to “ask the team”. Seems simple enough right? Well it’s not.
I knew the number one job of a Scrum Master was to protect the team. No problem. I’m good at that. I love being the person people can rely on. Co-workers, family, doesn’t matter who. If someone is having difficulty, I want to solve their problem. I want to fix it. You want me to be a Scrum Master? You bet! I got this!
Well, in some situations solving the problem works just fine. But as a Scrum Master, well….. not so much. You see “fixing it” doesn’t help anyone in the long run. Plus, even if I wanted to, I couldn’t do the teams’ job for them. I don’t have the time, or the ability. These folks are smart!! They have mad skills that I can’t even comprehend.
So, I found myself in situations where I wouldn’t know the answer to a question or a problem and I’d run to my coach.
Me: Okay, here’s the problem. What should I do?
Coach: What did the team say you should do?
Me: I don’t know, I didn’t ask them.
Coach: ***silent stare***
We had this conversation more times that I can count. I couldn’t understand how I was helping the team unless I fixed the issue for them. After all, if they knew the answer, they wouldn’t need me! I finally understand that this is exactly the point. The ultimate goal is for the team NOT to need me. A Scrum Team is supposed to be self-organizing… not Scrum Master organizing. If I do my job well, they will eventually no longer need me.
So that’s the scary part. What will I do then? I know what I’ll do. I’ll move on to another team and do my best to make sure they eventually don’t need me either. Or maybe, just maybe, I can start my journey to becoming an Agile Coach. I can talk future Scrum Masters down from the ledge by explaining to them they don’t have to fix everything. I’ll explain to them they should work to make sure their teams can work efficiently without them,,, just like I’ll make sure the people I’m coaching can work efficiently without me,,, just like my coach has been doing for me all along. So thank you! With your help, I got this!
And here’s the best part. I’ve talked a lot about not “needing” each other. The reality is we will always still be there for each other. Even if my teams don’t need me on a daily basis, I’ll still be there for them. My door will always be open. My coach’s door is always open for me too. I know this, and I will walk through that door from time to time. I’ll just make sure before I do, I have the answer ready to the first question she’ll ask me. “What did the team say?”