Most Common Challenges Faced By a Scrum Master

It should come as no surprise that the Agile methodology has truly become one of the most dynamic and popular styles for project management – not only in the software industry but other types of industries as well. Agile can be applied to multiple types of project groups, teams and thereby extends far beyond just engineers & software developers. 

Scrum can be defined as one of the many Agile Frameworks which is usually utilized for non-software and software-based development procedures. The process is also very well recognized among all the engineering groups because of its easy approach and greater benefits. As a result, numerous organizations are implementing the Agile framework regardless of their industry segment, which in turn is increasing the overall risks of the Scrum Master. 

Therefore, in this comprehensive blog post, we are going to look at some of the most common challenges faced by a Scrum Master, while also finding out the methods on how the same issues can be mitigated or solved quickly. So, without further wasting any more precious moments, let’s start by first learning the role of a Scrum Master

What do you mean by a Scrum Master?

A Scrum Master can be defined as a professional who is directly responsible for helping the Scrum Team working on the Agile project. The job includes motivating the entire team, identifying as well as tackling any resistances faced by the team and finally assisting in developing as well as delivering the final product. 

The Scrum Master acts as the leader of the Scrum Team ensuring that all the Scrum practices are well implemented while also making sure that the team is constantly working on improving their overall practices.

What are the roles of a Scrum Master?

The following are some of the major roles performed by a Scrum Master:

  • Keeps the entire Scrum Team happy and together. 
  • Supports the entire team during Daily Scrum and while taking regular decisions. 
  • Assists in building a robust team that is always dynamic and Agile. 
  • Helps in facilitating all the Scrum Events. 
  • Assists the Product Owner to ultimately deliver the maximum amount of value to the end-users or customers.

 

Scrum Master Challenges:

Here is the list of challenges faced by a Scrum Master and the ways to overcome them.

1.Trying to keep everything time-boxed

Time-boxing in Scrum Events means restricting the overall time frame that is to be utilized on a particular Sprint. For instance, the Daily Scrum shouldn’t exceed fifteen minutes. But, in practicality, the time taken will be longer because either the intended purpose will not be served or the Scrum Team members will take additional time to put forward their views. 

Solution:

The best way to mitigate such a problem is to start small and then continue to grow once the team is accustomed to the procedure. In that way, the team will learn how to prepare themselves every time before the meetings, which can lead to the time taken being shorter & shorter. Using a timer for the time-boxed events can also be a great idea. 

 

2. The team’s lack of Agile awareness

A Scrum Master will always expect that his or her team should be well-versed with the Agile methodologies & practices. However, there will be times when some members of the Scrum Team will have difficulties in understanding some of the procedures, which can directly affect the overall development process. The development process could be slowed down considerably and thereby extend the current delivery date. 

Solution:

It’s essential to first identify the issues faced by the team members and then proceed to listen and talk to them personally. The Scrum Master can start holding training sessions for those team members who are having difficulty understanding the procedures so that they can understand thoroughly. As a result, the Scrum Master will be able to gain trust & credibility among his or her team members, while earning more respect as well. 

 

3. Scrum Master trying to work as an admin

Sometimes, the Scrum Master can be tasked with additional duties such as scheduling events, booking meetings, taking notes, and so on. Since the aforementioned duties don’t form a part of the Scrum Master’s role, they will be seen as duties taking up additional time for the Scrum Master. The Scrum Master already has to deal with dozens of expectations & roles, and adding extra ones will turn out to be a total burden. 

Solution:

The Scrum Master should delegate certain tasks to his or her team members so that the overall extra burden could be lifted off the shoulders of the Scrum Master. Such a procedure is known as a shared responsibility. 

 

4. Managing expectations

The organization management can tend to have various kinds of expectations from the Scrum Team such as making the team work harder, better productivity, targeting higher business value, the better ability of the team to solve issues, and so on. While all of these expectations are great to have, they can make the life of the Scrum Master a lot difficult in the long-term. As a result, achieving success can become problematic.

Solution:

The Scrum Master should first try to gain clarity on the overall expectations from the principal sponsor of the project as well as the reporting manager. By gaining a proper clarity of the expectations will help the Scrum Master to focus on the aspects that matter the most and thereby ignore the rest. 

 

5. Fixing problems on time

There’s no denying that a timely fix for a problem or bug can have a massive impact on the overall Scrum Team’s productivity. This is because timely fixation of problems will lead to timely delivery of the final product, which will make the end-user or customers satisfied. Therefore, the Scrum Master must not only identify but also help the team to solve the problems. The team may not know the significance of fixing problems on time, which is why the Scrum Master should take the ultimate reins of pushing the product development forward.

Solution:

In any case, the Scrum Master feels that he or she doesn’t have enough support from within the Scrum Team, then external assistance must be obtained. Adopting such a procedure from an early moment in product development can help in saving a lot of time, effort, and money. It’ll also be a learning experience for the Scrum Team which is currently working on the project. 

 

Conclusion

Since more and more companies are planning to introduce Agile methods, it’s always a great idea to be prepared for the same. That’s why understanding some of the common challenges faced by the Scrum Master and the methods to overcome them can prove to be of great assistance. 

Organizations along with the Scrum Master must learn that it’s crucial to ease the employees into a new management style without rushing the entire procedure. Ultimately, when the correct foundation will be laid, better results could be achieved.

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