Tips and tricks to get into a experienced scrum team as their new scrum master

In Scrum by chuzzeteLeave a Comment

Some weeks ago, my boss asked me to became the Scrum Master of an existing scrum team within the company. As they promised, I would be dealing in parallel with two teams.

Here both teams profiles regarding Scrum:

The first team, Team A since now on:

  • 5 people team, including the Product Owner.
  • Almost new in scrum, just two sprints of experience with Scrum.
  • A temporary Scrum Master was assigned to the team, actually he is one of their developers.
  • Just 2 sprints of experience with Scrum.
Team A

Team A

The second team, Team B since now on:

  • 5 People team, including the Product Owner.
  • Team members have been working together since at least a year ago.
  • They were attached to their Scrum Master.
  • More than 20 sprints of experience in Scrum.
Team B

Team B

Team A was my first team as a Scrum Master in this company. With them, get some results was pretty quick and straight forward, and I could think that the main raison behind of it, was their experience on practicing scrum. I found them in general quite open to get feedback about the way that they were practicing Scrum, and honestly, after a couple of sprint, some results were visible for them and the stakeholders. In fact, I felt that their lack of experience gave me the chance to avoid enough challenge about what I thought was the right way to show them, how to become a high performance scrum team. In few words, my job as Scrum Master was quite challenging but regarding on how motivate the team, but not on how to teach them or gain their trust.

Team B was in fact a different history. Their level of experience practicing Scrum, their complicity as colleges that had been working together since long time ago, gave me some challenges that for the first time in my career, I did face unarmed I should say.

So these are some tips and tricks that I want to share from that experience, which I would name, as the fundamental rules to gain quickly the heart of a team with the characteristics that I mentioned above:

  1. Once you are named their Scrum Master, introduce yourself.
  2. Try to be humble by sharing your previous experiences as Scrum Master.
  3. Be patient and take the time to know the team and let them know you.
  4. Be an observer. Let the team know that you are with them but for at least a couple of sprint, you are going to take some notes to build up your first impression about how the team is practicing Scrum. Announce your intentions clearly once you start acting as Scrum Master.
  5. Wait, wait and wait. You and the team would need some iterations before know you each other. So before give them some feedback about how you perceive the team if practicing Scrum, wait until you feel they accept you as part of the team.
  6. I strongly recommend you to assess the team by doing an exercise that let you show them that you are interested on knowing how they are doing in Scrum. Show them some respect even if you see that some practices need to be improved right a way.
  7. Be with them, physically I mean. Spend quality time with them to gain their trust. Remember you are the new kid on the block.
  8. Since the beginning of the time I would recommend to start removing some impediments as quick as you can. By doing that, you would by showing them that they are important for you and that you are taking care of them.
  9. If you fail on one or some of these steps, remember that apologizing is a good way to recover their trust.
  10. Always keep in mind that the ultimate goal is that they accept you. That would be your challenge to get directly to their heart and be part of the gang.
  11. Give them some love. Buy some donuts, show some interest about their personal interests, show them that you want to know them better.
  12. Show them respect and be an example all the time.

Well, this is my list so far and for sure in a few months I’ll be back to it, with more tips or less (hehehe), but for know, I think that you should try it, and let us know if some of them work or not for you. Remember, that our job as Scrum Master is relative to the context, so don’t be shied and share whatever is working for you.

See you in our next pill and thank you for reading.

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