Imagine a project with hundreds of people, a lead time in months, few releases a year. You could compare these as large cruise boats or tankers navigating for few weeks in the immensity and emptiness of the oceans and seas and then stopping to ports very far away from each other. While at sea, or during the build phase, contact is difficult, and you are far away from customers and rescue.
As a Coach, Scrum Master for a Scrum Team it is sometimes difficult to find ways to inspire people and give them a goal to strive for. Most of Scrum Teams have been trained to use Scrum, they have people helping them to apply it but do they really understand the implications of all this?
Scrum or not, companies organizes team buildings for teams, project, groups in order to bring people closer for years now. It is not because it is fun, it has a cost obviously, but we do that because we know that successes comes from motivated group of people. So in order to get better outcomes from a Scrum Team we need to give them an idea of what it means to be a high performance team, not just another team.
High Performance Tree
Few years ago I discovered this video from Lyssa Adkins, very simple but extremely powerful.
In only few minutes by drawing this tree in front of your team and explaining them what it means to be a successful Scrum Team you can get them inspired. Then you can talk about all the attributes of a High Performance Team with them and probably discover more. I encourage you to do it, not a waste of time really.
Becoming a certified Professional Scrum Master is one of the first milestones in an agilist career. Of course
you can live without obtaining it but if you want to move to an agile career path this can help. Whether you are a developer, a functional analyst, a tester or anyone in a scrum team you can consider passing this certification. For developers there is another assessment called Professional Scrum Developer (PSD) but be careful if you are new to Scrum.org assessments. The PSD is a little bit more difficult and it demands PSM knowledge anyway. So I would advice you to pass PSM then the PSD.
First of all let’s see what it is about:
Fee: $150 per attempt
Passing score: 85%
Time limit: 60 minutes
Number of Questions: 80
Format: Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer and True/False
Passwords have no expiration date, but are valid for one attempt only
From this short list you can appreciate the type of assessment it is. A lot of questions, not so much time and multiple choices so be prepared !
If you are already working in a Scrum Team I would advise you to do the following:
Read, read and read the Scrum Guide. You need to understand it deeply instead of basically memorizing it. You need to think like Ken when you answer questions !
Practice a lot with the Scrum Open Assessments. Don’t memorize answers from this assessment but try to understand the type of questions and the way they want you to think. If you have some doubts about answers go check the Scrum.org forums. Once you get 100% correct multiple times it should be fine.
Ideally follow a PSM course. It is two days with a Professional Scrum Trainer and even if you already have some experience with Scrum you will get invaluable knowledge from a specialist.
Check the list of books from this page. Some others can be found for free like this one.
Some recommandations when you pass the test:
Be careful when reading questions and answers. There are differences between “who should be present at the daily scrum” and “who must be present at the daily scrum”
If you have doubts regarding answers, proceed by elimination
There are no Sprint 0 !
A Sprint starts immediately after the conclusion of the previous sprint. And its timebox.
The PO drive the product vision, not the team ! And he is the only one to drive it !
In Scrum we develop products not by technical (horizontal) slices but vertically by features.
The daily scrum is a feedback loop.
The Scrum Master is here to facilitate, coach, teach and remove impediments.
The Definition of Done is the Dev Team check list to consider a PBI ready to be shipped.
In a multiple teams context (for one and only product) the Dev Teams share DoD so each team work is integrated into one common increment.
A sprint can only be cancelled by the PO and when the sprint goal is obsolete.
A Development team is cross functional, everybody is a Dev and the team must have the competencies to deliver what’s in their sprint backlog.
If you’ve never worked in a Scrum Team, find one, work as a member of the team few sprints and then come back here ! If you are a Product Owner think about the PSPO first.