Every candidate for Scrum Master certification must be well prepared for their certification exam. We present you with a rich base of real situations and problems that may concern the Scrum Master role. The article is also useful for professionals already practicing the profession.
All situations are in the context of the Sprint event. Reference: Best Scrum Master Certifications for 2021 and 2022, https://eduwiki.me/best-scrum-master-certifications-for-2021-and-2022/
The preparation materials are suitable for BVOP, CMS, PSMI, and PSMII. Reference: “Sample Exam (Mock) Questions for the BVOP™ Certified Scrum Master Certification Test”, https://bvop.org/posts/scrumexamtestquestions/
The Director and the Scrum Sprint
Your director has heard that your Sprint is over, but there is unfinished business. He is angry and asks you to remove some large User Stories from the planned ones until the end of the sprint and replace them with smaller ones that you can find in the general list.
The Product Owner role must be included in this situation. The director’s wish cannot be ignored, but some factors and rules should be followed to follow the Scrum way of working. One of the tasks of the Product Owner is to prioritize the content of Product Backlog – a solution for the sequence of work, Product Owner role works with stakeholders, represents their interests, and seeks ways to meet their interests and requirements for the product.
The task of the Scrum Master is to protect the interests of the team and all good practices in favor of effective work. Reference: “Why do you want to be a certified Scrum Master?”, (2020, Rita Gavelis, mmrls.org) https://www.mmrls.org/why-certified-scrummaster/
The scrum master cannot decide on his initiative to prioritize the content of Product Backlog, but he has the authority to act as a buffer between the team, the Product Owner role, and the director.
Removing several large User Stories from those planned by the end of the sprint and replacing them with smaller ones from the general list can lead to risks, incomplete increments, dissatisfaction on the part of stakeholders. These smaller tasks from the general list are likely an unnecessary loss, as over time these requirements have changed based on the feedback that product users or stakeholders will provide.
A sprint is a certain time interval that always has a certain number of days. During this time, the Development team only works on the planned work in its Sprint.
There is an option where all unfinished user stories can be moved back to the list of all tasks (Product Backlog) and the Product Owner role decides whether to put the unfinished things at the top of the list of tasks that will be considered the highest priority. If they are placed back on top, they should be taken on the next sprint. However, the Product Owner role can choose to move them further down the list if it deems it possible to work on something else for the next sprint.
Also, User Story can be divided into several smaller user stories. The work completed in the current sprint can be defined as a User Story, and the remaining work can be divided into other user stories, which will be worked on in subsequent sprints.
The Certified Scrum Master must ask the team what way they choose to work in a given situation and pass this information on to the Product Owner role. Reference: The role of the Certified Scrum Master in the Agile organization, https://agileprojectmanagement.home.blog/2020/12/21/the-role-of-the-certified-scrum-master-in-the-agile-organization/
Of course, it is not pleasant when there is unfinished work after the sprint, but such situations happen. Customers and business people want the increment to contain everything expected, there are no started and unfinished tasks.
It would be good in this situation for all parties to reach a consensus.
In this situation, the Scrum Master and Product Owner must explain to the director that changing tasks during the sprint can lead to a more negative situation than having an unfinished task after it is completed. More on the topic: “Free preparation for the Scrum Master certification exam (CSM, PSMI, PSMII, BVOP)”, https://brightonbot.com/preparation-scrum-master-certification-exam/
Scrum The team and the final sprint before the holiday
Your team is very eager to go on vacation and asks you to postpone the retrospective of your sprint to the beginning or end of the other sprint.
One of the tasks of Scrum Master is to ensure that Scrum events take place and that participants understand its purpose, so in this situation, he must convince the team that this is not a very good idea. One Sprint cannot be officially completed, respectively, and the next cannot be started until a Sprint Retrospective is held. During this meeting, the team discusses its work, customer comments, evaluates its work and processes, respectively, can define problems, and seek solutions. Also during Sprint Retrospective the attitude, productivity, work of the team are analyzed.
By the end of the Scrum Sprint Retrospective, the Team must have identified the improvements to implement during the next Sprint. Applying these improvements in the next Sprint is an adaptation of the Scrum Team itself. Although improvements can be made at any time, Retrospection provides a formal opportunity to focus on inspection and adaptation. Without this thing, Scrum’s idea loses its meaning.
The client and the Sprint Review meeting
The client informs you that he is initiating repairs in his office and asks you to send him a summary by e-mail from your meeting with the team and your opinions about the Sprint Review meeting. He trusts you completely for your analyzes.
The task of the Scrum Master in this situation is to explain to the client the Scrum rules and to convince him that it was still better for all parties to appear at the Sprint Review meeting. Reference: Certified Scrum Master shares best practices, https://projectmanagement.cloudaccess.host/certified-scrum-master-shares-best-practices/ One of the tasks of the Sprint Review meeting is to receive useful feedback for the next sprint, in addition to reviewing what exactly has been achieved, inspecting the product increment, and adapting the product backlog.
It is also important to comply with the time limit of the event, even if the customer provides feedback, this limit will be violated. The task of the Scrum Master is to explain to the client that this waste of time interferes with the sprints, the amount of work done and makes planning difficult. Reference: “Free training to prepare for the Scrum Master Certification exam”, https://www.islandjournal.net/scrum-master-certification-exam/
Scrum The team is ready to work on the sprint
The team informs you this morning that they are ready with all their work two days before the end of the sprint and asks you to arrange a meeting with the client to hold the Sprint Review meeting with him and to start the new sprint tomorrow. While you are at the Sprint Review meeting, they will attend an interesting company training, but promise to make up for it by asking the HR department to give you an extra day off this year.
Each Scrum event has a specific purpose and a specific time frame (fixed specific time) and it is the responsibility of the Scrum Master role to maintain compliance with these time frames by all team members. He must also support the Sprint Review meeting, ensure that it takes place and that all participants understand the purpose of the event.
In this situation, the Scrum Master together with the Product Owner role must intervene. Reference: What is it like to be a Scrum Master?, https://projectmanagers.edublogs.org/2020/09/14/what-is-it-like-to-be-a-scrum-master/ The Scrum Master cannot make such decisions as arranging meetings with the client and conducting the Sprint Review meeting on his initiative. The Product Owner invites key figures to meetings at their discretion.
The team wants to start the new sprint tomorrow, which is unacceptable according to the principle of Scrum’s work. All sprints should have the same duration and a fixed time, because the team can easily compare the results of the sprints (speed of work, forecast of time needed for development), get used to their performance and productivity, and can make planning easier, overtime, work habits, and rhythm are built.
Another nuance is that the Sprint Review meeting is an important event because it comments on what exactly was achieved during the sprint, inspects the product increment, adapts the product backlog, and accepts useful feedback for the next sprint. The entire Scrum team and stakeholders should attend this meeting.
The scrum master should try to explain all these moments to the team, to comment on the situation with the Product Owner role. If the team is ready with all their work two days before the end and wants to attend an interesting company training, this is commendable, but non-compliance with a certain fixed time of sprints can lead to losses, improper planning, failure to meet deadlines during upcoming sprints.
In this situation, the Scrum Master should discuss the situation with the Product Owner role and, perhaps, even with management, because he does not have such authority to allow or deny the team to attend various events and training.
The team and the fixed time of the sprint
The team informs you that they prefer not to work with a fixed time for sprints, but prefer each sprint to have a duration according to their work and judgment. They have already discussed this proposal with the Product Owner role and he said he has no claims.
In this situation, the Scrum Master must intervene, because one of his functions is to train and guide all persons involved in the product regarding the practices and concepts of Scrum. He should remind the team and the Product Owner role that one of the key points why Scrum is effective is that the sprint is a certain time interval, which always has a certain number of days, has a fixed certain time. The concept of accurate timekeeping allows event participants to be clearer, more precise, and focused on their goals instead of being distracted by unnecessary activities or unnecessary discussions.
The team has complete freedom to decide the length of their sprint, but throughout the project (from start to finish), all sprints must have the same duration, because it facilitates the comparison of sprint results (speed, time forecast). needed for development), helps the team get used to their performance and productivity, the team can make easier planning over time, build work habits and rhythm.
In a given situation, the task of the Scrum Master to convince the team and the Product Owner role that the fact that they prefer not to work with a fixed time for sprints is a mistake, it can lead to chaos, defects, deadlines, and Scrum will lose all meaning.
Product Owner and Sprint Goal
Your assigned Product Owner on the project goes on a business trip to the client and sent you this morning Sprint Goal for the next sprint. He has also made a collection with all the user stories that the team will work on.
If the Product Owner on a project goes on a business trip to the client and sends a Sprint Goal for the next sprint, then the Scrum Master and other team members should know what to do, because the purpose of the sprint is defined during the Sprint Planning event. together by the whole team. Also, the Product Owner has made a collection with all the user stories that the team will work on. In this situation, the Scrum team should start working on user stories according to their purpose and not be distracted by side and unnecessary activities.
The task of the Scrum Master role is to influence the self-organization of the team, to guide it, encourage it and remind it that the team must be focused on its goals. Each member of the team must be active, make independent decisions, instead of waiting for orders.
Self-organization can be expressed in individual decisions, as well as group team ones. Time optimization, job self-monitoring, and many other topics can be considered. Trust between team members is also a factor that can increase the capacity of a team. All decisions and all the work of the team must be focused on achieving the goal of the Sprint.