I make ScrumMasters… sort of…
Actually, I teach a CSM course for those who want to become ScrumMasters. I make a point of telling my students that a CSM course is only the beginning. Most of the work required to become a ScrumMaster (or at least a good ScrumMaster) happens during the daily battle to facilitate a team’s effectiveness, while removing organizational impediments. Scrum is something one learns mostly by doing it. So while a CSM course provides an indispensable and essential foundation for doing Scrum, it’s just that: a foundation.
Given that, what other tools can I provide to help newly minted ScrumMasters do Scrum once they walk out of the classroom? One way to reinforce Scrum’s processes and principles is through ScrumWorks, Danube’s project management tool. There are plenty of other agile tools on the market, but ScrumWorks is the only one designed with Scrum in mind. Many new Scrum practitioners have reported that using the tool in tandem with the real teamwork that takes place every day helps them internalize the tenets of Scrum more quickly—and in a more meaningful way. Think of the tool as a set of training wheels. When you take your first Scrum project around the block, you might feel a little comfortable knowing you’ve got some backup.
Consider this: The team that develops ScrumWorks Pro manages its own development efforts using Scrum. This means that the team understands what features are consistent with the framework and, conversely, which ones undermine it. For example, let’s take a look at how ScrumWorks reinforces the roles of Scrum.
Most of the role alignment provided by ScrumWorks Pro is encapsulated in the “User Access Control” feature. ScrumWorks Pro’s User Access Control limits what individual users are allowed to do, based on their role. In ScrumWorks Pro this is called Role Management. Strictly speaking, the Role Management feature of ScrumWorks Pro allows the system administrator to manage a complex set of permissions related to functionality and data access, but, out of the box, ScrumWorks Pro provides templates for:
Each of these templates limits the individual’s access to data and use of functionality in the tool itself. For example, the Product Owner cannot create tasks in the sprint backlog or assign them to team members. Likewise, a team member cannot re-prioritize backlog items. A stakeholder has very limited read-only access to things like web reports showing current progress, release plan, etc. In this way, the ScrumWorks Pro tool accomplishes two goals related to Scrum roles: It reminds individual what their responsibilities, while preventing them from going outside their role boundaries by limiting data access and functionality.??Perhaps the role that benefits most from ScrumWorks Pro is the ScrumMaster, who now has access to essential data for facilitating team performance: a visible and convenient impediment reporting and management capability; automatic calculation of sprint and product burndown metrics with relevant charts; and an electronic task board for team management of sprint tasks.
After training, It’s easy to forget the why’s of the roles in day-to-day work, especially if you’re transitioning from a micro-management environment. ScrumWorks Pro helps bring to life what will happen if the Product Owner trusts the team to get their tasks done and resists the urge to disrupt the Sprint.
Next week, I’ll address the artifacts of Scrum and how ScrumWorks Pro helps teams manage them.
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