When Ben moved to another team he faced some pretty challenging situations. A fully distributed team with a Scrum Master in another country trying to juggle the time zone differences.
It was only fitting that Ben would then take over the Scrum Master role shortly after. The journey from developer to Scrum Master is hard enough, but in this story, we talk about how to take on the Scrum Master role for a distributed team as well. Not an easy first assignment as a Scrum Master. Listen in to learn about that journey and the lessons that you can apply in your own work.
The major obstacles Ben faced in his Scrum Master journey
As Ben started to learn the ins and outs of the Scrum Master role, he faced certain challenges that many of us face. We explore some of those as well as the lessons he learned during the process.
Many of the challenges we face as Scrum Masters are facilitation skills, so we talk about facilitation and how that helps us perform in the role of the Scrum Master.
In this segment, we talk about Jassy’s journey from developer to Scrum Master. Jassy was a previous guest on the podcast. We also refer to the book by Jeff Sutherland: Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time. When it comes to stories of Scrum, we talk about how some authors use fantasy as a way to explain Scrum, we refer to the episode with Anja Bonatto-Minella, where she presents a fantasy book that explains Scrum.
The sources of inspiration for the Scrum Master role
In our journey to learn the Scrum Master role, we often search for inspiration in several places, from books to podcasts and meetups. In this segment we talk about several podcasts you can take with you and learn from very experienced practitioners:
- The Agile For Humans podcast, where Ryan Ripley (previous guest on the podcast) interviews coaches and Agile authors about people-focused aspects of Agile and Scrum.
- The book by Simon Sinek: Leaders eat last, a good primer for the leadership role that we take on as Scrum Masters.
- And of course, our very own Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast: a daily source of inspiration for Scrum Masters to act, and tackle the challenges we face as a community of practitioners.
There are many other sources of inspiration for our journey as Scrum Masters. The key is to continue learning and trying out multiple tools, enriching our toolbox along the way.
Mentors can boost your learning, and take your Scrum to the next level
No matter how many inspiration sources we have, though, we will need to face problems that are specific, that we struggle with. In those cases, it is critical to have a mentor. Someone who has been there, who’s lived through similar challenges, and collected experience that can help us reflect and find new approaches to those problems.
We often hear that we must be context-aware, that tools that work on one situation may not work in another. It is through conversations with mentors and more experienced colleagues that we learn about other tools, or how to adapt a certain tool to a new context.
For Ben, as well as for many other Scrum Masters, the mentorship of others was a critical aspect of this journey.
We end this episode talking about the key takeaways from Ben’s journey that we can apply in our own path to becoming a more impactful and effective Scrum Master.
About Ben Clark
Ben’s career has spanned from working assembly at Ford Motor Co, IT consulting, DSL Internet provider using wireless building-to-building antennas, systems administration and engineering, data center floor work, DevOps, cloud engineering, cloud architecture, scrum master, people-leader, and agile coach.
Ben is now an Agile Coach.