Currently I’m working as a Scrum Master for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. I’ve noticed that I’m quite a popular guy – being a Scrum Master. I’m not going to be shy about this. But I’m not the only one. Also my fellow Scrum Masters are popular guys within the Airport. Hi Robert, Jasper and Paul. Schiphol is continuously developing lots of innovative products, and Scrum (or Kanban within maintenance departments) is the most used framework to transform ideas into actual products.
As a Scrum Master, we master the underlying values and principles of Scrum. Also, we’ve got experience using practices that enable the Development Team and Product Owner to increase the chances of product success. We have become popular, because the amount of new initiatives exceeds the available Scrum Masters. Therefore, the population of Scrum Masters within Schiphol is also growing.
A common question that we as Scrum Masters often get is:
Are you available to kickstart a Scrum Team and help realise this awesome new product?
This blog post focuses on how to deal with this situation. As a Scrum Master you’re asked to help out with a new, cool initiative. Currently you’re still busy, but after a couple of Sprints you might have some time. Or you know another Scrum Master that could help out. How to proceed? This week, we’ve discussed this situation within our group of Scrum Masters and defined some ideas which I’ll describe below. What are questions you should consider before starting a new Scrum Team?
Questions to consider before starting a new Scrum Team
- What experience does the organisation have with Scrum?
- What is the position of the Scrum Team within the organisation?
- What is the smell of the place and how does this effect the Scrum Team?
- What is the purpose and goal of the Scrum Team?
- What happens if we don’t start this Scrum Team?
- How much support does this team have in the organisation?
- What is the reason they want to use Scrum as a framework?
- Is Scrum the right approach to realise this new initiative?
- What does your gut feeling tells you about this new Scrum Team?
- How will we validate the success of this team and the product they’re going to build?
- Is there a dedicated Product Owner available?
- Is the Product Owner empowered to make important decisions?
- Is the Product Owner able to define a compelling product vision?
- Is the Product Owner able to represent the customers voice?
- Is the Product Owner knowledgeable (basic technical & functional knowledge)?
- Can the Product Owner act on different levels (team- and strategic level)?
- What is the Product Owners take on agile product development and planning?
- What is the Scrum track record of the Product Owner?
- Who are the potential members of the Development Team?
- What is their availability?
- Is the team cross-functional enough to deliver a valuable increment?
- What is the Scrum track record of the development team members?
- Do they know each other? Have the worked together before?
- Are they able to work on the same location?
- Is there a teamroom available with all the necessary gear?
What Are Your Ideas?
These are some questions you might consider when you’re asked as the Scrum Master for a new Scrum Team. Questions to take into account before actually starting with the team. Given the described situation, what do you think of these questions? What is still missing? I would love to receive some feedback that will help us improve this checklist!
You can learn more about Agile & Scrum by: