Post CSM – Here is how you design a successful scrum career

December 12, 2016  Giri Saran

So you just attended a certified scrum master training? Two days of training is often good enough to convince you to try out Scrum for your next project. You can be any one of these three people.

Ramesh is already working in a scrum team, as a scrum master, he just wanted to get certified and learn from two days of class from a Certified Scrum Trainer.

Suresh is a traditional project manager, he was having a hard time in his current job and wanted to switch to agile and scrum, he thought of adding a new skill and a certificate in his CV.

Mahesh is a beginner; he wants to work in latest technology and follow latest software development methods, so he chooses to go with scrum.

In all three scenarios, two days of class will convince you to use scrum, and if you are already doing so, it will strengthen your scrum understanding.

Moving from project manager to Scrum Master – Most traditional managers find it counter-intuitive, for them, everything happens because of command and control; Suresh may find it difficult to digest that teams can self-organize and the work can be picked up by people (Not assigned to them). If you are like Suresh, it’s time to read scrum guide one again before you go to next morning stand up.

Being boss is anti-scrum – Yes, you heard that right. Scrum master is often confused as boss and sometimes, the erstwhile project managers become scrum masters, and they are often not very good at it . Scrum is not just a way of working, you have to alter your thinking about power structure, control, and human behavior, and most of it is self-discovery before changing others. They don’t call agile a way of life just like that.

Acting as Scrum Master

Learn to be a servant leader – Welcome to the new way of leadership, here you facilitate without having any formal authority over the team. You are not their reporting manager or boss; you are a facilitator who shows them the way, help teams grow organically. A Good scrum master can be equated to a fitness coach, he/she will tell you the benefits of a healthy diet; will show you your weak areas or a deviation from the fitness plan but has no authority to force you to follow the plan. You do it because you want to meet your fitness goals.

being boss is anti scrum master

Planning for a long-term career in Scrum – Scrum Master is a satisfying role, it offers you an opportunity to grow, to understand human behavior and opens a new world. But what is beyond scrum master?

Scrum is a minimalistic framework – You heard your trainer using this word , you only understand the real meaning of this word once you start implementing Scrum in your team. Scrum does not talk about a career path, organization structure, control, and budgeting, etc. Its left on the organizations and the team to decide. There is hardly any defined career path for scrum masters.

Senior scrum masters – Is there any role like Senior scrum master? Many organizations have devised this role. If you have been a scrum master for some time, you may get an opportunity to groom scrum masters in your organization. Its more like an agile and Scrum evangelist who will guide and mentor multiple scrum masters. You can also contribute to scrum center of excellence and take the lead in agile transformation at your organization.

Scaling in scrum – Scaling Scrum is next challenge which organizations have. If you are working on a complex project, you will have multiple teams working on different functionality and an early integration is necessary to ensure that you get a faster customer feedback. This offers a great opportunity and a challenge to scrum masters; they can grow up and handle scrum of the scrum which includes coordinating between multiple teams, timely integration of the code and feedback from the end customer.

If you are looking for a scaling scurm role, its good to consider training in Scaled Agile framework or disciplined agile delivery. These are two frameworks which can help you in faster achievement of scaling scrum objectives.

Agile project manager, really?
Did you hear an oxymoron? Scrum and project management are often considered counterproductive. You see this designation often, recruitment portals are full of job openings for agile project managers. If you are getting in this role, you will be more like a super product owner or delivery manager coordinating and performing the role on a Scrum team and more with clients seeking their feedback.

Agile project manager really

Product owner – Product owner, is another great opportunity which a scrum master can switch, you may not consider it a career progression or next move, its more like a vertical movement within the team, the product owner role is equally satisfying as that of a scrum master. If you want to switch to a product owner role then going for a CSPO certification is advised, though its not a mandatory criteria.

Agile coach – This is when you attain the stage of Nirvana. An agile coach is a buzzword in the industry these days. The role of an agile coach is to facilitate the Scrum and agile implementation.

You would potentially deal with multiple teams; sometimes an outsider is hired as an independent agile coach. The primary role of an agile coach is to guide the team in agile implementation. You help them adopt agile and groom them to achieve success.

ICP ACC Certification in Agile coaching is getting recognized as credible certification for Agile coaches. Though, you need to have the necessary Agile and Scrum experience to deliver value as an agile coach.

Agile coach

What if I don’t get a role of scrum master in the first place?
If you have this question, I assume that you would have abandoned this post long back. But still, if you are reading this, tough luck. Just a CSM certificate or any other for that matter does not guarantee a scrum career. You need to perform the role of a scrum master for 2-3 years before you can think of moving up in the ladder.

Are you a certified scrum master? What role are you playing currently? What kind of organization structure exists in your organization? Do share your feedback about this post.

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Post CSM - Here is how you design a successful scrum career
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Advance Scrum master online course

Giri Saran
Giri has around 10 years of experience in Marketing, Product devleopment, QA and Strategy. He is leading the marketing function at iZenbridge with focus ​on Sales strategy, Marketing and Promotions, Growth Hacking, Digital Marketing, content and Brand Building through various online and offline initiatives​. Certifications: Agile Coach, CSM, ISTQB
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