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Martin has worked with many customers in government, finance, manufacturing, health and technology to help them improve their processes and deliver more. He provides management and technical consulting that intends to expose processes and practices to gain transparency, uncover impediments to value delivery and reduce cycle-time as part of an organisations path to agility. Martin is a Professional Scrum Trainer as well as a Visual Studio ALM MVP and Visual Studio ALM Ranger. He writes regularly on, and speaks often on Scrum, good practices and Visual Studio ALM. You can get in touch with Martin through naked ALM. Martin is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 64 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Are Scrum Masters agents for change?

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If you are interested in finding out more about Scrum and how to implement it you might be interested in the Professional Scrum Master certification. Think of it not as becoming a “Master” of anything, but just making sure that you are not going to be a danger to those around you. 

Do you remember way back in the mists of time when I learned to be a Professional Scrum Developer Trainer? Well, now I have added the fantastic Professional Scrum Master Training to my capabilities, and I am happy to announce that I have even taught it right here in Seattle last week. Not a public course, but my customer was very happy with the result…

The Scrum Master track is a little like your driving test. it does not tell you that you can drive, but that you have met a minimum bar and are less likely to kill someone. The Professional Scrum Master I assessment is like that, with the Professional Scrum Master II assessment being a LOT harder. You really need to know your stuff and how it is applied in the real world to even attempt this exam, but most do not need to attain this level.

The Scrum Master is the person that would be evangelising Scrum to the rest of your organisation so, kind of like the Retrospective meeting, is core to your organisations ability to adopt Scrum.

Figure: No, not that kind of Evangelist… kind of.

So, why would you want to sit through a 2 day course. Well, there are a number of reasons, first of which is that you will need a certain number of people with a firm understanding of what you are about. Even if that is just to allow them to tell you that Scrum is hard to adopt and disruptive to your organisation. If that is all that you learn then it will be a valuable lesson.

If you can change slowly you should probably look at a more sedate change method like Kanban that can incrementally improve your current process. If you MUST have the benefits NOW. Then Scrum is a way to get them NOW. Be prepared…

You need to build up knowledge in your “change agents” or create them if you do not already have them in order to help them understand how they will implement Scrum. It is not good enough to take the folks that are new to your organisation, send them on the PSM and have them implement the change. This will lead to failure. Although these new individuals will tend to be those with the most availability, they are not going to understand how the new technics are going to be applied in YOUR organisation. Nor will they have the experience to understand where many of the challenges will be…

Figure: The old warriors really do know best

Instead take your longest serving, battle hardened folks and send them. Once they understand the ability that Scrum provides to change quickly and get results it will be difficult to hold them back. if you can’t teach an old dog new tricks then you are just not trying hard enough. Its about learning new approaches and applying them to the same old problems. If you don’t know what the same old problems are then it can be difficult to avoid them.

Ultimately the Professional Scrum Master course is primarily targeted at those responsible for the successful use and/or rollout of Scrum in a project or enterprise. In short, they do tend to be the old dogs.

If you are still interested then check out the syllabus for the course and see if it is right for you…

Date Location Title  
29th November 2011 Minneapolis, United States Professional Scrum Master image
1st December 2011 Minneapolis, United States Professional Scrum Master image
6th December 2011 Kirkland, United States Professional Scrum Master image
Published at DZone with permission of Martin Hinshelwood, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Timo Lihtinen replied on Wed, 2012/03/14 - 1:23pm

I think ScrumMaster classes prepare people for the fact that they "could be" agents of change. It's one of the most inspiring positions to be in!

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