Saturday, January 14, 2012

Intermediate summary of my experiment as a ScrumMaster

First of all I would like to thank you all for your comments, improvement ideas and especially your encouraging feedback to continue this blog. My first sprint is over and I think it is time to summarize from different aspects.
In short, working with the people in the organization, removing impediments & dysfunctions is fun – I like it. Being everyday in office is personally challenging and I feel that it limits me in doing a good job. My days in the office are quite busy. The overall atmosphere is rather depressing and it is a true challenge to stay motivated as well as motivate others. We try new things in the organization and I am eager to see how those things work out (more about in upcoming posts).
Now the long version.
Here are some deeper thoughts on my role as a ScrumMaster. I think ScrumMaster is a full-time job and a senior position – nothing for newbies in worklife (who cannot open their mouth, freshlings from university, shy people), duck when it comes hard and don't have the guts to stand for what they believe in.
As a Scrum Master – you need to work with all sorts of people in different levels in the organization – APOs, POPs, PO, Line Managers, Project Managers, and many other managers and self-evidently with the people in the team. Yes, there are more then one incident when the opinions clash and the discussions replace the heating system of the building. The important part is that the discussions continue (and are not put under the carpet), hopefully in a more systematic way and that those discussions will lead to e.g., improvement, creating knowledge, learning, creating common understanding.
People come to me to discuss and ask questions – and this feels great. Obviously, my observations, findings, comments are valid and my suggestions, proposals and ideas make sense to other people. On the other hand, this makes me also busy and already now I feel that I cannot serve my colleagues to the extend I would like to. This goes hand-in-hand with the notion that when I need to prepare for a workshop, topics etc. I typically do that at home because (A) the environment is much more stimulating (inspiring views, better coffee, better food, better couch, more peace) and (B) the relevant books I need for this are typically at home (for all Finnish people – if you buy work-related books with your own money, you can deduct those books from taxes).
Currently I am living from the knowledge I gained from past courses, conferences, books, work-groups, interactions with other coaches etc. - yet I do have hard times to keep on learning new theories, new ways of working, getting new ideas on how to tackle the issues at work. For any longer-term assignment (i.e. being a coach in a product line), I would need to find a more satisfying solution.
The feeling I am getting from the overall work environment is currently, that it is rather depressing and this is besides the fact the management wants to cut about 25% of the workforce (see major news articles for exact figures and more info). NO – the little things are the ones which create this feeling. Well, all insiders know what I mean and the rest of you have to guess. The positive thing is that this situation stimulates creativity in finding ways to overcome the shortcomings (in the way my parents told me what happened after WW2).
If ANY manager starts to get worried or/and annoyed by what I write – lets have a chat at anytime you want. I am also fed up with my work PC (too many restrictions with what I can and cannot do in the Internet and related to applications) and now I continue my blog from my home laptop (with Ubuntu – all FOC!!!). This will lead to additional delay for the internal publishing of the posts – sorry folks.
Anyway the next week(s) are already full of stuff which I will share with you – Monday we start in the team experimenting a new way of working. In the retro last week, I asked the team to assess their new SM. We start the organizational wide issue management board. There will be several trainings on various topics and many more workshops about this and that.
Have fun and enjoy the readings.

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