A SCRUMMASTER'S BEST DEFENSE: VISIBILITY

As you know, one of the primary roles of the ScrumMaster is to keep the delivery team focused on accomplishing their sprint goal.  There are many distractions that can prevent a delivery team from meeting their commitment to the sprint, the ScrumMaster’s best defense? Complete visibility.

Something is visible if it is easily observed and visibility provides a clear, unobstructed view.  Visibility is one of the three legs of empirical process control used in Scrum (transparency, followed by inspection, and then adaptation).

This clear view can be the ScrumMaster’s best weapon in protecting the delivery team from all types of interruptions. One of the most common distractions from an original sprint plan is new functionality requests during the sprint.

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IDENTIFYING AND TRACKING IMPEDIMENTS

So you know by now, the ScrumMaster controls chaos by championing the Scrum process - each step in the process was created to make development more orderly and focused while also allowing for special attention to continuous improvement and value-driven delivery. In addition to helping the team focus on meeting a product vision one iteration, and day, at a time, the the ScrumMaster is also playing the role of change agent. How? One of the ScrumMaster’s primary responsibilities is to remove obstacles from the team so that they may deliver on their goals. 

What is an obstacle, exactly? I’ll use a general description: an obstacle (or impediment) is anything blocking the team from completing its work in an efficient, productive manner. I could have stopped without adding ‘efficient, productive’  as adjectives, but I think these words are very important because agile teams should be looking for ways to constantly improve how they are delivering product increments. 

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PRODUCT VISION STATEMENTS

We teach ScrumMasters and Product Owners in training how to write product vision statements as part of the extended planning framework of Scrum/Agile. There are a number of ways this can be achieved - elevator statement [Moore], Design-the-box exercise [Highsmith]. Some participants have mentioned that their organizations write "Vision Documents" that go one level deeper than a mere statement. The culminations of these exercises are black-and-white, resulting in a statement, a document, a box.

In thinking about product vision this evening, and on the 'softer side', I like to think that the product vision should have a motivating or inspirational aspect.

 

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