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Advanced Scrum Master – my experience

By Stewart Scott

The company I work for suggested I attended the two day Advanced Scrum Master Course from Growing Agile. I was initially a little sceptical because in my experience any course with the word ‘advanced’ in the title doesn’t often live up to my expectations. The main problem being, what is advanced? This question is all the more pertinent in the realm of the metaphysical aspects of leadership and facilitation of people in pursuit of delivering software.

So with this trepidation I arrived bright and early on the first morning of the course and was pleasantly presented with a beautiful and relaxing setting. The tables were arranged in groups, with generous space between and copious amounts of stationery on each, and refreshments were readily available. Right, this is definitely not a ‘lecture style’ course. I’m guessing audience participation is required! Normal Scrum Masters would be giddy with happiness at this point. However, with a technical background and mostly very analytical approach to my job, I was starting to feel uncomfortable.

The course began with the usual introductions, except for one statement that stood out for me personally, ‘If you do not want to participate in any of the activities, you do not have to.’ Phew, a way out. Incidentally, over the two-day course I think all the attendees took part in all of the activities, but more on that next.

Okay, now on to the content of the course. The first word that comes to mind when thinking back to the course is ‘practical’. I could see practical applications in all the activities we did for myself, personally, in a scrum master or any leadership role. At any point we could stop to discuss, and more often debate, the finer points of the topic at hand. As the trust in the room grew so did the contributions from all attendees, fostering an environment that allowed many viewpoints and experiences to be shared.

The activities were a key success factor for myself. I thought that I would find them quite intimidating, but I was pleasantly surprised at how we all got into the swing of them. The activities had been carefully crafted to show how the topic at hand could be applied to any situations while providing a safe space to try them out.

The course also focused on you as a Scrum Master, supplying tips and techniques to help solve challenges you face every day in your job. Both Sam and Karen were honest and genuine with their input into the discussions. They stimulated our minds with their passion and drive for agile processes and particularly the Scrum Master role.

I think the biggest value I got from course was inspiration. I left the course feeling inspired that I could take the knowledge that I have gained and use it daily. So does the the word in ‘advanced’ in the title of the course live up to my expectation? Yes – I have gained new insights and techniques that have advanced my skills as I continue to strive to be a effective scrum master.