Today Jesus Mendez is joining us to share a post about Scrum Mastering in pairs. Enjoy it.
First of all, I want to thank you Omar, for honoring me with this invitation to write as a guest in your incredible and well-reputed blog.
Today, I’ll share an amazing experience that I had the pleasure to share with Omar, when working together at Seedbox Technologies during the Scrum Master team Rotation period.
We had decided to rotate Scrum Masters between teams, as our way to break some established patterns, renovate ourselves and our development teams, encourage change and reinforce collaboration between them by sharing our previous experiences. By the way, we have eight (8) Scrum teams and each Scrum Master is assisting two (2) teams simultaneously.
How to rotate Scrum Masters between our teams without impacting their rhythm and performance, reducing potential bad noise within the company (avoid bad perceptions) and learn from the experience?
Set the stage
1) We (The Scrum Master team) had a plan to manage the change. Something that helped us to set the stage was to have a change plan that the Scrum Master team created to communicate its intentions, manage expectations, get alignment and mitigate fears about the impact of the change within the company.
2) We (The Scrum Master team) were fully supported by our managers, once the change started. Having them participating actively was part of setting the stage properly.
Communicate the Change
3) Discuss about the change with the Product Owner. First, each of us met with the Product Owner of our original teams, to discuss the reasons behind the change and to validate if something was in the way of moving forward with it.
4) Discuss about the change with the Scrum Team. Once the Product Owner was on board with the change, each of us met our original teams to discuss the Scrum Master rotation plan. This was a good time to observe how the team was reacting to it; what were the feelings and behaviors expressed regarding the change.
5) Explain change to both teams (Include Software Development Managers if required) together. Once the date arrived, we set a meeting time and place; where together we explained how the change would occur. Both teams were invited, mine that would become Omar’s and vice versa.
Support change (During the Scrum Master rotation)
6) Start interacting with both teams, as soon as possible. Omar and I got an agreement about how and when we would approach both teams. What we agreed on was; to execute the Scrum Master rotation plan within two (2) sprints. During the first sprint, the original Scrum Master of the team would be acting as usual, but the future one, would be shadowing him, in order to establish the relationship of trust required to succeed in the Scrum Master role. Once the first sprint was done, we switched roles, and started playing the role within our new teams.
7) Ask them how things are going. We were both providing support and showing that we were aligned, all the way through, as the change occurred. Also, we tried to be the most transparent that we could with each other, in order to get the best possible result. It had shown that we were fully trusting in each other ways.
8) Pull the trigger, As the end of second sprint is approaching, Omar asked me an amazing question, he said “when are you are going to pull the trigger?” And to be honest, I didn’t realize how hard it would be to leave the team and go for the change, but Omar gave me enough support to help me realize it, and help us both to move on.
9) Prepare the way out of your college, please be kind. Something really important to consider when rotating as Scrum Master, is the fact that your colleague is leaving the team, so in retrospect show respect and set the example for your teams by allowing them to recognize what we learned together and what we consider that needs to be improved in the future. We both did it and it was so good to hear from them; how much your hard work had influenced the team.
10) Retrospect with your Scrum Master partner. Take advantage of this amazing opportunity to learn about yourself and your partner, by working in pairs. Explore your interactions; observe how both teams, the original one and the target team react when you and your colleague interact with them. Inspect and adapt constantly, share feedback between each other often.
Support change (Once it is done)
11) Be there for them, be present. Be sure that you are still there; available for any questions, suggestions or comments. Remember, you just left them, so it is important to show them that you still care for them.
Tips & Tricks
- Plan the change ahead.
- Do the plan in pairs, work together.
- Discuss with your Scrum Master pair, how things are going to happen.
- Share the space with your partner, open it up by showing that you trust him/her.
- Move from speaking to listening.
- Show that you care.
- Inspect and adapt quite often.
- Be ready to receive feedback.
- Move on with the change, and let it go.
- Be ready to be surprised.
- Accept things as they come.
After Scrum Mastering pairing for nearly two (2) months with Omar, here some tangible results:
a) Scrum Master rotation occurred without any major issues, as planned.
b) Teams seem not to be missing their previous Scrum Master, which I believe is a sign of success.
c) Product Owners are not complaining about the Scrum Master rotation, which from my point of view is another sign of success.
d) I’ve validated that Scrum Mastering in pairs is an incredible experience and that I can and should do it quite often in the future.
e) I learned that by trusting pairs we can leverage powerful results.
f) It is extremely fun to Scrum Mastering in pairs; I think that we should go for it to succeed, no matter what challenge we face, we should go in pairs.
Thank you for the ride Omar, and for allowing me to learn, by collaborating and sharing a common place by working together.
Do you want to know more about how I do it?
Well, please come and visit my website www.jesusmendez.ca
All the best