I feel conflicted by asking this question because it’s any given person’s goal to advance to the next level in their profession. But to advance to the next level you should act/perform/show that you’re at that level. Someone who has been in a position for 3 years, trying to prove that they’re ready to move up the ladder seems like they should have the answer to this question. However, I just can’t ignore it anymore. I come in everyday unsure about what exactly I should be doing as a scrum master.
Of course there’s the textbook answers, “responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide” and enforcing agile values and principles. But how does that manifest when 100% of your job is to focus on these things. If I were to go through my day and explain to people what they did that isn’t agile, people would get sick of me. They would start to avoid me or resent me – which is the exact opposite of what I’m supposed to be working towards!
One of the biggest conflicts I deal with internally is this idea of promoting self managing and self organizing teams. Most of my day I come across teams asking me to help them do little things:
- Can you move this ticket to this team’s board?
- Can you convert this to a story and put it in our backlog?
- Can you create a ticket for blah blah blah?
- Can you setup a meeting for us to talk with this person?
- This person isn’t getting back to me and need them to do something.
- Can you create the deck and send it out to the team?
All of these things are just part of working in a professional environment! There’s nothing special about any of them! Should I be telling people to do it themselves or should I save myself the headache of explaining how I’m not a team secretary and do it. If I do it, I’m reinforcing bad behaviors within the team like paying attention to a crying puppy dog when you put it in it’s crate. If I choose to push back, then I don’t actually have anything else to do but attend meetings just to be up-to-speed.
I am truly lost here. I understand that my job is about trying to improve the way we work and the way we think about work, but it’s everyone else’s job around me to do the actual work. If I continuously slow the team down by interrupting and telling them that there’s a better way of doing things then people get stressed because they’re not getting work done. This is in itself a problem that any agile coach would identify and try and correct, but it’s not as easy as sending out an email saying “don’t stress bro”. The solution requires having many discussions with management which can’t happen every day or even every month. So what are you supposed to do in between all the meetings and discussions?!
Maybe the answer is this? Maybe it’s continuing the conversation of agile amongst our peers whether that be through lean coffees, blog articles, random rants like this or just talking to people. But how does any business justify paying us if all we do is talk to people all day. Do we view ourselves as a specialized organization/team psychologist? What do they do all day? Are there any parallels? I don’t know what to think anymore. I need help.